Friday, June 05, 2009


Sotomayor: are the Republicans crazy?

Or crazy like a fox?

To say that Republican attacks on the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court, like calling her a "racist," have been off the deep end is to understate the depth of the deep end. They've largely succeeded in making fools of themselves, in a process in which their chance of "winning" (stopping the nomination) is zero. So what are they up to?

Some say it's just Republicans trying to appeal to their "base," at the expense of their appeal to the "middle." But I think it's more than that, specifically, a case of "the best defense is a good offense." And what do I mean by that? By all accounts, Sotomayor is a moderate, a "centrist." See SCOTUSblog for the legal analysis, or just read the words of Sotomayor herself:

"I was dealt with on the basis of stereotypes . . . and it was painful . . . and not based on my record," she told the lawyers in New York in 1998. "I got a label because I was Hispanic and a woman and [therefore] I had to be liberal."
I read that statement as a denial that she is a liberal (which just reinforces the facts based on her judicial record).

So back to the Republicans. What are they up to? By putting up such a huge stink over a centrist judge like Sotomayor, they are making a preventive strike, issuing advance warning of the level of opposition they would put up if Obama dared to nominate an actual liberal, and, in so doing, trying to make sure that Obama keeps nominating people like Sotomayor, or even judges even further to the right. Based on Obama's own record, which is also that of a centrist, I frankly don't think the Republicans had that much to worry about, but they have no reason to take chances.

Crazy? Yes, but also crazy like a fox. A little of both.

Why stop here? There's more...

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