Media Matters catches a bit from yesterday’s Hannity show that demonstrates how completely unhinged the right has become on the Kagan nomination. During his interview with Newt Gingrich, Hannity regurgitated many falsehoods but none as silly as his claim that Kagan wants to tell Americans “what to eat”:
HANNITY: Yes. Well, I’m wondering, for example, watching the confirmation hearings of Elena Kagan. I mean, you know, the more I hear from her, she says she’s a progressive. She says she’s a liberal Democrat. She has no experience on the court.
She’s openly talked about the idea that the Supreme Court, it would be acceptable to her that the government can write laws and legislation and it wouldn’t be unconstitutional telling Americans what to eat….Do you think the Republicans should pick a fight here and should she be filibustered?
Hannity is referring to this exchange in which Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) asks Kagan whether it would violate the Commerce clause if Congress passed a bill requiring Americans to “eat three vegetables and three fruits, every day.” Kagan replies that she considers such laws “dumb” but would rely on precedent surrounding the Commerce clause to decide if they were constitutional.
The naive blogger in me wants to say that Hannity simply misunderstood Kagan’s answer, but the cynic sees that the answer makes no difference; it’s the question that matters. Throughout the hearing, Coburn and the other conservative senators were fishing for quotable soundbites to use on cable news and in fundraising letters. Hannity is amplifying their message and helping to rally the base.