The Judge in the Gray Flannel Suit

I haven't generated great interest in the Elena Kagan nomination. She's a liberal, which is not exactly an unexpected feature in a candidate nominated by a Democratic president. Maybe she's gay, but since I couldn't tell you which of the other eight justices are married, or to whom, I can't say I find this very interesting. She has no track record, the better to dodge uncomfortable questions. She's a bit of a hypocrite. Out of this stuff, great blogging is not made.

But I do think that David Brooks is onto something when he notes that her relentless careerism, her pitch-perfect blandness, are a little creepy. Not in themselves, but because they're a symptom of a culture that increasingly values what Brooks calls Organization Kids: the driven, hyperachieving spawn of the Ivy League meritocracy who began practicing Supreme Court nomination acceptances and CEO profile photo poses long before they took notice of the opposite sex.

What's disturbing is that this is what our nomination process now selects for: someone who appears to be in favor of nothing except self-advancement. Then we complain when the most passionate advocates for ideas are the lunatic fringe.

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Megan McArdle is a columnist at Bloomberg View and a former senior editor at The Atlantic. Her new book is The Up Side of Down.

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