“Hegel remarks somewhere that all great, world-historical facts and personages occur, as it were, twice. He has forgotten to add: the first time as tragedy, the second as farce.”-Karl Marx

The confirmation hearings of Robert Bork occurred as tragedy-but Sam Alito’s hearings, which so far look to have a better outcome, are occurring as farce.

John Podhoretz notes in a piece headlined “Alito and the Clowns”:

“Alito’s opponents on the committee are just too deeply in love with the sounds of their own voices and too deeply limited by their own limited understanding of constitutional law to give the judge a run for his money….

“We also learned also about [Senator Joe Biden’s] expansive definition of discrimination in the 21st century. “Can you tell me how you can tell the difference when an employer is saying, ‘Ms. Feinstein, I am not going to hire you because the person seeking the job has a Rhodes scholarship and I like him better,’ and it turns out they weren’t a Rhodes scholar? The real reason is, ‘I just don’t like your glasses. I do not like the way you look.’ And I’m not being facetious . . .”

“No, alas for Biden, he was not being facetious. What he was being was asinine. Biden’s courageous stance on behalf of myopic Americans might come as welcome news to a nearsighted person such as myself, but it had nothing to do with the ideological fight he was trying to pick with Alito.”

Michael Goodwin of the New York Daily News:

“While Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) tried to portray his rulings as evidence of a sweeping anti-liberty philosophy, Alito kept coming back to the facts of each case. If nothing else, the hearing illustrated how political ideologues differ from good judges. The former start with the result they want and ignore the facts, while judges like Alito apply the law to facts to reach a just conclusion.

“Still, that didn’t stop Kennedy from putting on another shameless performance. He huffed and puffed about how Alito had not initially recused himself from a case involving a mutual fund company where he owned shares, as though an innocent young woman drowned. Never mind that he twisted or ignored the key facts, as Alito convincingly demonstrated when another senator let him finish his answers. You know Dems are in trouble when Kennedy takes the lead on ethics issues.”

On National Review’s The Corner, Wendy Long reports that “[Senator] Hatch was a guest on the Imus radio show this morning. The following exchange is a good glimpse at how the hearings are going:

“IMUS: ‘How did Senator Kennedy do with him?’

“HATCH: ‘I’d rather not comment on that. We’ve been friends for a long time. He could have done better. They keep beating the Vanguard thing to death. There is nothing there.'”