The G.O.P. versus Senora Sotomayor
By Chuck Muth
Picture Gen. Lee’s army in full battle retreat, bugles blaring, white flags blowing wildly in the wind, hound dogs barking and yelping among the thundering hooves of panicked horses running for their lives with pots and pans clanging loudly as they’re dragged through the dirt, kicking up giant clouds of dust.
Now picture the modern-day GOP’s present position in the battle over Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s nomination to the United States Supreme Court.
Not much difference, is there?
You know what really fries my green tomatoes about this? The fact that the conservatives who oppose this nomination couldn’t give a Hoover Dam about Ms. Sotmayor’s race. With her judicial record and activist “empathies,” conservatives would oppose her if she was Sen. Orrin “Whitebread” Hatch himself. Indeed, the only people who seem obsessed with Judge Sotomayor’s racial heritage are the people who nominated her and the limp-noodle Republicans who are scared to death to criticize her.
It’s President Obama, not conservatives, who cares about Judge Sotomayor’s race. Let’s face it, she was selected in the first place simply because she’s a Latina, not because she was the most brilliant legal mind in the nation today. If you take her race out of the equation, there are far better qualified individuals Obama could have nominated.
Along a similar path are scared-of-their-shadow Republicans who aren’t treating Judge Sotomayor equally, but instead are treating her with kid gloves for fear of being called racist. But isn’t going easy on an objectionable nominee simply because of her race a racialist act in and of itself?
Judge Sotomayor was chosen by Democrats primarily because of the potential political benefits due to her race. And she’s being supported by establishment Republicans in the Senate primarily out of fear of potential political fallout due to her race. Meanwhile, she’s being opposed on the right for reasons that have absolutely nothing to do with her race. So who are the real racialists here?
The American thing to do would be to take Judge Sotomayor’s race and gender out of the equation completely and hammer her or support her based on the merits – and let the political fallout fall where it may. You know, the way we treated filly Rachel Alexandra in this year’s Preakness.
The ironic thing here, of course, is that Republicans have no one to blame but themselves for the Sotomayor race-based nomination. Republican President Ronald Reagan selected Sandra Day O’Connor for the Supreme Court primarily because she was a woman, and Republican President George H.W. Bush chose Clarence Thomas primarily because he was black. So with President Barack Obama’s nomination of Sonia Sotomayor, the race- and gender-based chickens have come home to roost for Republicans.
Indeed, ye shall reap what ye sow.
Chuck Muth is president of Citizen Outreach, a non-profit public policy grassroots advocacy organization. The views expressed are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Citizen Outreach. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org