So Much for Subtlety

For Republicans to do well in the fight over President Obama’s pick for the Supreme Court, they needed to employ a careful, well-calibrated strategy that would raise important questions about the nominee’s qualifications and judicial philosophy without alienating critical swing voters, especially independents and Hispanics.

What they got were Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich.

Rush called Sonia Sotomayor a racist — no, let me soften that, a reverse racist.

Gingrich just called her a racist.

So much for subtlety.

Thanks, guys. Instead of having a careful, high-minded discussion that could actually do the GOP some good, we have a food fight, where conservatives look like a bunch of silly cartoon characters.

You have to feel for the Senate Republican Conference. They are doing their best to look high-minded. They want to actually examine the nominee’s record. They want a good discussion about her judicial philosophy. They want to bolster their arguments with some facts.

But now they are stuck between Rush and Newt on one hand and Mark McKinnon on the other. McKinnon advocates complete surrender.

There is a middle ground. We could ask the nominee to clarify why she decided to give the back of her hand to the New Haven, Conn., firefighter who got screwed in his hard-earned efforts to get promoted, only to see that promotion snatched away because it didn’t meet some diversity test.

Ask her to explain this case without asking her to explain how she would rule on future cases. Ask the president to explain where he stands on this monumental case. Demand that she explain why she decided the case the way she did.

When Newt and Rush complain that Sotomayor is a racist because she thinks that she is a better judge than the white men on the court because she is Latina, they look like crybabies.

Yes, there is a double-standard. Minorities can say things about white people that white people can’t say about minorities. That is the way of the world these days, and my guess is that most white people can handle it.

But what they can’t handle is getting screwed out of a job just because of their race. That is not fair, no matter what the reasons for the screwing.

Republicans can make that case, but it gets harder with Rush and Newt leading the rhetorical bandwagon.

Republicans need some subtlety and some nuance as they discuss this Supreme Court nominee. Instead, they get Rush and Newt. Oh well. So much for subtlety.


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