Friday, May 29, 2009

Quotes From Around Yon Soniasphere

Modern conservatism is nothing if not self-contradictory. It stands athwart history yelling “stop”, but it would never interfere with the free market forces that drive history. It worships Burke and Oakeshott, but it distrusts anyone who’s read a non-Regenery book in the past year. It believes that Ivy League pedigree is a true mark of distinction, but finds that everyone at an Ivy League school—except Robert George and Harvey Mansfield—is a pinko commie. It rejects science and polling, but believes that a few surveys are all it takes to prove that feminism is a failure.

None of this is surprising. In fact, it is exactly what you would expect from the love-child of William F. Buckely and John Birch.

But it can make for an incoherent message. Part of the reason Republican attacks on Obama haven’t worked is that they alternate between describing Obama as an arugula-loving, elitist mastermind who will lead us to commusociafascism and as a watermelon-eating nitwit who will unwittingly cede our sovereignty to North Korea.

I think the same thing is happening with Sonia Sotomayor.

President Obama’s nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor shows that empathy has won out over excellence in the White House

Yep, that's already the unofficial conservative message -- that no matter how hard an Hispanic may work, and how high she might rise, and how many honors she might win (such as Princeton's highest undergraduate award), and how much jurisprudential experience she might accrue, in the end she will never be recognized as equal to a white person because she is just an "affirmative action" hire.

Indeed, one observer issued this warning to conservatives earlier today: "Going into weeks or months of paroxysms and hysterics (about Sotomayor) is just going to make the party look bitter, mean, tone deaf, and out of touch."

That would be Mark McKinnon, Texas Republican and former presidential campaign consultant for George W. Bush.

McKinnon correctly perceives Sotomayor's ethnicity to be an asset that conservatives dare not contest. Obama, of course, would love it if the Republican right keeps talking about "affirmative action. The president is probably thinking, "That's great, guys, just keep being who you are." There's no better way to prove to Hispanic voters that he and the Democrats, despite their sluggishness on immigration reform, are ultimately the only game in town.

It is as close to certain as anything gets in Washington that Judge Sonia Sotomayor is on her way to the Supreme Court. What impact she will have there is far harder to predict.
What this really boils down to is how much political courage will Republican senators demonstrate both at her confirmation hearings and on the floor of the senate?

In other words, are the principles involved in this nomination fight so important that a Republican senator should be prepared to go down to defeat rather than act pragmatically and tone down their opposition and perhaps even vote to confirm?

. . . Whatever tactics the opposition decides upon, there must be a clear message sent to the American people that the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor is a bridge too far and is antithetical to the founding principles of the republic. On that, Republican senators should reflect before genuflecting to Obama's crass identity politics and cynical use of the race card to pander to a minority constituency.

While many have assumed she’s reliable on Roe, there's precedent for surprising turns from Supreme Court justices, such as David Souter’s 1990s vote to uphold abortion rights.

Republicans would be foolish to fight the nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court because she is the most conservative choice that President Obama could have made.

And even though they should support her confirmation, liberals would be foolish to embrace Sotomayor as one of their own because her record is clearly that of a moderate. It is highly unlikely that she will push the court to the left. Indeed, on many issues of concern to business, she is likely to make the Chamber of Commerce perfectly happy.

Hispanic voters favor confirmation by a 66% to 15% margin.

Cartoons by Tom Toles, Matt Davies, Pat Oliphant, Steve
Kelley, Ben Sargent and Jeff Danziger

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