Yglesias joins the fray in defense of Greenwald's and my position:
This strikes me as part of a broader set of questions where I tend to see older straight liberals seeing things one way and gays and younger straight liberals seeing it differently.
When you think about it, the whole reason these “it’s none of your business” situations arise is precisely because facts about your sexual orientation aren’t considered on a par with questions about one’s sex life. Straight people don’t normally discuss our sex lives with casual acquaintances or unknown readers, but we’re expected to over time bring dates to events or make passing reference to current or former partners. It’s when someone doesn’t do that stuff that people begin to wonder if the person is gay. Failing to mention one’s past experience or lack thereof with threesomes doesn’t lead anyone to inferences of any kind, it’s just normal social behavior.
I think it's also generationally true of conservatives as well, with many of the younger types finding the whole thing a non-issue. But I'll tell you someone who gets it more than anyone I know in the Obama administration: good old right-winger Ted Olson. Noah Millman, who argued earlier that I should ask Kagan about her sexuality in person, also weighs in:
If Andrew had said, “you know, lots of people I know are gossiping about whether so-and-so is gay, but I have no evidence she is, and she’s never said she is, so if she is then she’s a closet case and all I want to say is that I don’t want a closet case on the Court; in fact, in this day and age, I think it should be an automatic disqualifier” if he’d said that, and left it at that, he’d have been making a clear, direct point, and one that could be debated as a matter of principle by, well, even by the nominee herself, without forcing anyone to give the lie direct.
Much virtue in if.
Well I really don't think I've strayed far from that, except for wanting some clarity on the empirical question in the first hours after her confirmation when the issue could and should have been laid to rest from the get-go. As to Noah's suggestion that I should ask her myself, I'd love to but somehow doubt the Obama administration would be willing to provide access.
And, yes, Noah, it can be rude in a private - and some public - context. But the reason I'd happily ask her to her face is because this case is not a private context. It's about as public a context as you can imagine.
If you agree to be a SCOTUS nominee, you enter a public zone. You don't have to agree to that. But if you do, deal with something this obvious simply and quickly. And no one is going through her old porn tapes and coke cans, ok?
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