Bork Becomes a Verb
I've pondered the above title for some time. What does it say about a man when his name becomes another part of speech--or takes on a life of its own? With the exception of brands (Disney, Ford) or overt marketing (Bush Doctrine, Bush's War), what does it mean when one's name takes on a life of its own? Consider Reaganomics, for example, and a few others. (Add a few to the comments--what am I missing?)
Reaganomics--any economic plan that promotes low taxes, low social-services spending, and high military spending --which then contributes to low interest rates, low inflation, and large budget deficits.But I can think of only two men whose names have actually become verbs, one of whom is Julius Caesar--whose name is really only an adverb at best (at least in English).
Jeffersonian--Jeffersonians, so named after Thomas Jefferson, support a federal government with greatly constrained powers, as directed in the original U.S. Constitution, and state and local governments that are defenders of the rights and property of citizens. Jeffersonians have also held that the American economy should rely more on agriculture for strategic commodities, than on industry, which can easily be affected by foreign competition and technological change. Jeffersonians recognize both private and .
Madisonian--The Madisonian model is a fundamental part of the U.S. Constitution. Developed by James Madison, the model attempts to thwart factional tyranny in the U.S. government by establishing a system of separate powers, checks and balances, and federalism. The writings of French political theorist Baron de Montesquieu heavily influenced this vision for government.
Caesarean--the delivery of a fetus by surgical incision through the abdominal wall and uterus (from the belief that Julius Caesar was born that way).
Consider this CNN transcript from July 1, 2005.
Here's special contributor Frank Sesno.
SESNO (voice-over): The culture wars rage on, abortion, gay rights, the role of God in schools and public places, which is why the political battles over federal judges in the Senate confirmation process were so impassioned and just the warm-up for the real prize, the Supreme Court. Just ask this man.
BORK: I do, Mr. Chairman (audio from video clip).
SESNO: Judge Robert Bork. A judicial conservative and outspoken critic of activist judges, his nomination to the Supreme Court in 1987 broke nasty new ground in America's culture wars.
I visited with him in his suburban Virginia home to get his take 18 years later on the court, culture and his own confirmation hearings. (on camera): How did that feel, personally, to be the first one out of the cannon?
BORK: Well, I knew what was happening. The core of the issue was, they were afraid I would vote to overrule Roe against Wade. And they were quite right. [This position is different from his book, published fifteen years ago.]
SESNO: And your name became a verb.
BORK: My name became a verb. And I regard that as one form of immortality.
SESNO: To Bork means what?
BORK: I think to attack with -- to attack a person's reputation and views unfairly.
SESNO (voice-over): Bork on Bork. Like many conservatives, he feels the court is enacting law, not judging it, going way beyond what the framers intended or the Constitution allows.
BORK: The Supreme Court has become a major cultural force in this country. The court is clearly on the path to homosexual marriage as a constitutional right. They have been quite hostile to religion, driving it from the public square as much as they can.
SESNO: Whether it's court's decision striking down a ban on gay sex in Texas or forbidding organized prayer before high school football games, Bork says these justices for life have simply gone too far.
BORK: It's the one branch of government as to which there are no checks or balances.
SESNO: Separation of powers is being compromised, Bork argues, along with what he calls America's moral environment.
BORK: When they begin to say that the most blatant forms of pornography, including computer-simulated child pornography, is protected by free speech, they're changing the culture of this country.
SESNO: Sentiments which explain the passion and the frustration, especially among those conservatives who feel their political gains over the past two decades, from the White House to Congress to vast swathes of the country, have not been matched in the courts, a branch of government, they argue, out of sync with America.
So, White House officials have indicated they'll be looking for genuine judicial conservatives in the future, which is why Robert Bork believes his name will again become a verb in the national debate over the courts and culture and why interest groups and key senators have already mobilized along the same battle lines drawn nearly 20 years ago, when Planned Parenthood took out ads proclaiming Robert Bork's position on reproductive rights, "You don't have any," and some 180 civil rights and civil liberties groups joined forces to stop Bork.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The yeas are 42. The nays are 58. The nomination is not confirmed.
SESNO: And they succeeded.
BORK: Nobody had ever seen radio ads, television ads, newspaper ads, and so forth by -- particularly by these activist left-wing groups. I think that started it and I think caused a lot of bad feeling between the parties.
SESNO (on camera): What's the likely scenario for future Supreme Court nominees?
SESNO: You know something about that.
SESNO: And is it inevitable that future Supreme Court nominees are going to get Borked?
BORK: Oh, yes.
SESNO: Part of the culture wars?
SESNO: Wars that really are about America's future. Think of it this way. If the next justice serves as long as William Rehnquist...
CHIEF JUSTICE WILLIAM REHNQUIST, U.S. SUPREME COURT: Will you raise your right hand, Mr. President?
SESNO: He or she will still be writing opinions in 2038.
Finally, Stuart Taylor of the National Journal has a great piece called "Borking Alito." It provides an excellent contrast between outrageous claims and the reality. I heard it read by the most-excellent Laura Ingraham, so I didn't bother buying the full article....