Kevin Williamson offers a candid summary of the cynical frustrations of the American Right, by which I mean Americans who are either “right” or have a propensity to be correct and fair. Comparing the way in which prosecutorial discretion is the name of the game for Democrats like Hillary Clinton with the nakedly political prosecutions of Republicans, like Tom DeLay and Rick Perry, Williamson suggests that Leftists (generally Democrats) “prefer their politicians a little crooked,” because:
… It helps them, a Chavista party constrained mainly by the temperamental (rather than ideological) conservatism of the American electorate, to make up in viciousness what they lack in policy ideas appropriate to the 21st century.
That lack of policy ideas isn’t really very important. The Left isn’t interested in policy; it is interested in power, and the things you can do with it, meaning rewarding one’s friends and punishing one’s enemies. Barack Obama has been, in his less guarded moments, fairly plain about that. For the Left, all justice is Wonderland justice: decision first, arguments afterward as necessary. There is seldom if ever any doubt about how the so-called liberals on the Supreme Court (who are not liberals at all) will vote on any question: They will vote the way the Left wants them to. Elena Kagan, you may recall, testified in her confirmation hearings that there is no constitutional right to same-sex marriage lurking in the penumbras to be discovered. Once confirmed, she reached a little deeper and pulled one out. Conservatives can never really guess which way a Kennedy or a Roberts is going to come down on a question, but you know how the judges of the Left are going to vote. Arguments do not matter; only outcomes matter.
One can observe this at every level of government, from the local to the metastasizing international totalitarianism. For some, the payoff is simply filthy lucre — money that they could never have a hope of earning fair and square transferred from other people to them. For many, though, it’s just the cheaper (if deeper) payoff of feeling that they are good people making a positive difference in the world. Power serves the first group inasmuch as it can be exchanged for cash; it serves the second group by enabling them to impose diktats on others. (These motivations overlap in actual individuals, of course.)
As a general matter, they don’t really care about outcomes in the sense that the world actually becomes a better place. Per Williamson’s phrasing, they measure good by helping those whom they perceive as their friends and hurting those whom they perceive as their enemies.