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May 29, 2009


"I want to have a reasonable opposition party."

You have to enter political combat with the political opposition you have, not the one you wish you had. Works for Donny Rumsfeld and armies, neh?

The insanity is truly amazing. It extends to her food preferences and the way she pronounces her name. (How would most English-speakers pronounce "Scalia" if they had no prior information?)

She sticks close to the law; she follows precedent; having read several of her opinions,

This is more than what 99% of her critics have done.

And, as someone at Ta-Nehisi Coates' blog has pointed out, she'd be the only justice with any substantial experience as a trial judge. That's another kind of diversity (and something no one can complain about).

I thought our reasonable opposition party was Blue Dogs?

This is even funnier than a bunch of Scalia fans whining about Sotomayor's "demeanor".

Bernard, I had been thinking about the pronunciation of "Scalia" too. Given my own last name, this is a fraught topic for me. (Fraught with lots of memories and no small amount of humor, actually.)

But I keep coming back to this: But she is also a Puerto Rican woman. If the Republican Party were led by sane and decent people, this would not matter. But they aren't. As a result, they seem to be unable to see anything about her besides her ethnicity and her gender.

It seems to me that what's most depressing about this is that it does not in fact matter that she's a Puerto Rican woman. That's not what this is really about, it's even worse than that (worse for what it implies about our national discourse; I do agree that other effects of the "open bigotry" are appalling enough).

As has been repeated here over and over in the past few months, the people who are screaming all this nonsense would be screaming nonsense no matter what Obama did and no matter who he appointed.

So the fact that it happens to be a Hispanic female is really irrelevant. Any characteristics, real or imagined, would have had the same result. What the screaming is all about is that Obama appointed her. Or even more broadly: It wasn't a Republican who appointed her.

Since they can't just tell the truth -- that they're having a tantrum because it's not their party doing the appointing -- they're just picking the handiest aspects of the situation on which to hang the insanities and inanities.

Right now it's the inanity that depresses me most. The fact that our national politics is being "debated" in relation to how an appoinee pronounces her name?

Can it get any stupider?

(Don't answer that.)

This is just great. Obama opens the chess match of a Supreme Court nomination with the Ruy Lopez and the Republicans respond by running around in circles hollering and frantically swatting at imaginary bees.

Good stuff.

On a completely unrelated note, why does the text of your post show up fine here but at WaMo it reads like:

"there’s some schools and maybe Princeton’s not one of them, where if you don’t get Summa Cum Laude then or some kind of Cum Laude, you then, you’re a D+ student."

Well, the wing nut Republicans want to oppose her, but there is really nothing there, so .... they run around in circles and make up stuff. I feel almost sorry for them, really-Sotomayor a racist? Menstrual cycles? Pitiful-and abominable.

"And I hate it. I want to have a reasonable opposition party."

You know, on a certain level I agree with you, but the fact that I know that all of this ridiculousness is just going to push the Republicans deeper into irrelevancy is just enormously satisfying. After 8 years of having to take these people seriously because voters might actually be listening to their BS, it's really a relief to just be able to point and laugh, safe in the knowledge that (at least for now) the chances of this sort of thing working for them politically are pretty close to zero.

Note to stonetools:

When accusing people of running around in circles, it is obligatory to also mention swatting at imaginary bees. The word frantically is optional.

Hope this helps.

What the screaming is all about is that Obama appointed her.

Of course. Obama could have appointed Solomon himself to the Court and they would be screaming.

Sugarpie honeybunch
You know that we're scared of you
We can't help ourselves
We'll share power with nobody else

My comment on another blog was "Dear God, what if Obama had chosen a black jurist?" Actually, as the days go by, could it have been any worse? It's as if the big resentment is that they can't say "n****r" or, in this case, sp*c to her or any one else's face. I've spent my whole life dealing with how to respond to racist comments, but it used to be jokes by blue-collar men. By gum, it's now white-collar men (they used to do it only when they thought no "others" were listening -- it's only among "ourselves.") It makes me want to resign my membership in the white race (though most people wouldn't accept that I'm any kind of "other"). It's 2009, I thought we'd all be past that sad, sad defense mechanism. The reaction, which I don't think is just for political advantage, has upset me. Tancredo, the buffoon who nevertheless has a lot of more polite fellow-travelers, might want to parse the difference between "La Cosa Nostra" and "La Raza." Not to mention, "Gangs of New York." Grow up and recognize all our histories.

They can't help themselves... and yet Obama can't seem to resist the urge to help them:

I'm Sure Sotomayor Would 'Restate' Line From 2001 Speech

One of the top three things annoying me right now?

That the Republicans are comparing Puerto Ricans (such as Sotomayor) to illegal aliens.

Um, guys? Puerto Rico is a US Territory. Puerto Ricans are nationalized citizens. They're *not* illegal in all 50 states. Well, maybe Alaska. But that's about it.

Right now the voter registration in Puerto Rico just shifted 50 to 80 percent away from the GOP. They might have, oh, maybe 12 registered Republicans left down there. Smart move, guys. Stay classy, Tancredo. I knew you were meant for such sterling race-baiting when you insulted Miami Cubans (man, that takes a special kind of death wish to pull that off).

hilzoy: "you do something right, which you suspect might lead your opponents to do something wrong. If you are right about them, they discredit themselves, without your having to lift a finger."

I love it. Obama goes all Sun Tzu on their asses.

and if new quinnipiac and gallup polls are to be believed,


then the republicans are also driving away the republican women.

republican men: disapprove of sotomayor 57%.
approve of sotomayor 18%

for a net of -39%

republican women: disapprove of sotomayor 40%.
approve of sotomayor 31%

for a net of -9%

so the gender gap among republicans is huge.

keep it up, gordon liddy, you nixonian scum. keep shrinking that party.

You all should revisit this post in the context of a minority woman coming out of Princeton to the Supreme Court and a Republican Supreme Court Justice trying to step on her neck:

While I'm happy that all of this will result in the Republican party scoring several more "own-goals," I am really getting sick and tired of having to put up with all the lies and filth from people like Liddy and Newt. Maybe it's always been this way, but my ability to tolerate the level of insanity and inanity in our national discourse is swiftly reaching a nadir.

You guys are just being elitist and fussing about snooty things like facts that not Real American could possibly care about. Republicans know their strategy well -- throw enough mud and trust that some of it will stick. Historically, it has worked. I would not be too confident that it will fail this time.

i was kinda hoping that obama would nominate anita hill, just to see the look on clarence thomas' face when he heard that shit.

Given that, in our two-party system, the Republicans will almost certainly be back sooner or later - and it really could be sooner, if blame for economic or national-security disaster attaches to the Democrats and to Obama - it really is scary that they seem to have almost no serious people, people who care about and know about policy and are even reasonably honest about it.

I mean, I'm glad that they seem to be flailing because it lessens the odds of their return to power, but I think I'd willingly trade their haplessness away if their utter irresponsibility would go with it.

She could get into one of her quaint native costumes, go berserk, and start writing on the walls in menstrual blood with a tampon

Presumably one forcibly removed from a nice young white lady.

Forcibly removed from a high school teen during an ibuprofen search, I would think.

(For the record, when I was there, Princeton gave summas to around 5% of its students.)

So in any class of 20 kids, on the average one would wind up with a summa? That's actually less impressive than I had thought.

It isn't relevant to Sotomayor (it's a different school and a different decade), but Harvard was rather thoroughly embarrassed almost ten years back when it broke in the newspapers that 91% of their students that year had "graduated with honors".

Now, of course, most Harvard students are smart, and ambitious, and in particular know how to game the system, to seek out opportunities such as the honors system and to legitimately meet the requirements as formulated. Still, 91% was too much to swallow, and the system was subsequently reformed.

Still, to bring it back to Princeton, if not to Sotomayor, the idea of 5% getting Summa seems excessive, but on the other hand Princeton educates an awful lot of extremely smart, ambitious, competitive students; I'd bet that many of those people would have achieved similar distinction wherever they attended.

She could get into one of her quaint native costumes, go berserk, and start writing on the walls in menstrual blood with a tampon

And of course in GOP-land the appropriate thing for her to do would be to smear it on a Muslim prisoner.


Respectfully, I think that you're painting with a broad brush here. There are several conservatives, like yours truly, who believe that Sotomayor is just about the best we could have hoped for from President Obama.

I think that you're painting with a broad brush here.

I think Hlzoy is pretty careful to distinguish between conservatism and the GOP, Feddie. Awareness of that distinction would also give rise to the yearning for a credible, serious opposition party, I would think. I think it is *you* who are implicitly painting with too broad a brush: calling these fools 'conservative' is a bit of an insult to conservatism, don't you think?

You make a compelling argument, Johnny. I'll concede the point. :)

The most shocking thing about the quote from Fred Barnes is that it's in response to William Bennett being the voice of reason, saying "Summa Cum Laude, I don’t think you get on affirmative action. I don’t know what her major was, but Summa Cum Laude’s a pretty big deal."

Now_what, the funny characters are because ObWi uses UTF-8 encoding, while WM uses ISO-8859-1, which doesn't do curly quotes and apostrophes (though you can still use HTML entities for them). Probably WM should take the leap into the modern world and switch to UTF-8.

You can think back to the Democratic opposition to the Roberts and Alito nominations. Frankly, there was no reasoin to oppose them, except that they are very conservative. Otherwise, they were very well qualified to be on the court.
The Democrats opposed the nomination-but they didn't go around accusing Roberts of being a racist, or saying that Alito may be unable to make good decisions because he might have prostrate problems.

The wingnuts just bring disgrace to themselves in a way even left wing Democrats did not.

Which btw did not stop the GOP to accuse the Dems of being anti-catholic racists for opposing Bush nominees.
Can't we find an African American albino eunuch (preferably also sex-changed) just to see the reaction? ;-)

the idea of 5% getting Summa seems excessive,

Yes it does, but as far as Sotomayor goes isn't this just a matter of framing?

I mean, if she were described as having graduated in the top 5% of her class everyone would be duly impressed, as they should be.

Another point worth making is this: suppose she would not have been admitted to Princeton under "standard" criteria. (I have no more clue about this than Barnes and Bennett). Well, she did just fine - was clearly an outstanding student. Doesn't that suggest that the standard criteria might have some flaws, and that Princeton did well to look beyond them?

There are a lot of Latinos & and non-Latinos who love sending these right-wing articles to their Hispanic Republican friends.

Warren T: "the idea of 5% getting Summa seems excessive".

I should say that this is from memory, and in fact, memory suggests it might be a smaller percentage, but I didn't want to make my claim stronger than I was willing to stand behind. I have written to Princeton to ask what the actual percentage was, having been unable to find it on their website, but they haven't gotten back to me.

Basically, cum laude is pretty easy to get, magna is considerably harder, but not that rare, and summa is quite difficult.

Liddy's comment is especially funny considering the likelihood of Sotomayor being past the menopause already.

I mean, if she were described as having graduated in the top 5% of her class everyone would be duly impressed, as they should be.

Sotomayor also won the Pyne Prize, the highest achievement award given to a Princeton undergraduate: http://www.dailyprincetonian.com/2009/05/15/23735/

It means she was one of the 2 best students in her class.

i have no objections to Sotomayor-but I think all the outrage at GOP criticism is ridiculous. Obama opposed both Alito and Roberts and voted to fillibuster-both very smart and capable justices. He is hardly in a position to demand anything on the issue of justices.

I can hardly sympathize with Obama on this one. I do feel for Sotomayer just as i felt for the GOP nominees the democrats raked through the coals for no other reason than that they didn't agree with their politics.

Pot meet kettle.

I seriously doubt we will ever see any opposition party act sanely in the future when it comes to justices, since the past is nothing to write home about.

but I think all the outrage at GOP criticism is ridiculous. Obama opposed both Alito and Roberts and voted to fillibuster-both very smart and capable justices.

Not equivalent. You yourself are not being same in treating the two as the same.

Not equivalent. You yourself are not being same in treating the two as the same.

How are they not equivalent?

Obama thinks it is okay to oppose justices based on ideology, but wants them treated differently.

I stated clearly I have no opposition to Sotomayer, and that I feel for her, but not any empathy for the hypocritical Obama. The democrats treated Bush's nominations horribly. They eventually succeeded in driving Estrada to withdraw his nomination. I really don't see any reason for the GOP to play nice,. when the democrats haven't done it since Bork, and Obama himself thinks filibusters and no votes are fine when ideologically opposed.

I think a filibuster would be stupid. I think a no vote is perfectly legitimate given the presidents track record on the issue. I also think rolling over and not actually exercising some due diligence in the confirmation process would be wrong.

Saying she is a racist is over the line, but I think her remarks about how a wise Latina woman would be a better judge than a white man deserve some clarifications.

But Obama has earned himself no cakewalks on judicial nominees as far as i am concerned.

How are they not equivalent?

Well, Obama said he didn't agree with Roberts' or Alito's ideology. Lo an behold, if you look at their ideology, there is a basis for his objection, even though others can rationally not agree with that basis.

Look at the opposition to Sotomayor. It is not based on ideology (it's not clear that some people have an idea what her ideology is); it is not based in truth (people are clearly non-factual on her background); it is clearly based on her ethnicity and sex.

And, oh yes, Obama voted no. He clearly did not denigrate or insult Alito or Roberts.

NOT EQUIVALENT. You can oppose without being stupid. Or racist. Or sexist.

ANd how about doing a LEETLE reading about her wise Latina comment? You've clearly have not done so (it's available here quite readily) and it really doesn't need much clarification.

"I really don't see any reason for the GOP to play nice,. when the democrats haven't done it since Bork"

Do please explain what horrible things Democrats did to Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy, David Souter, and John Roberts. Thanks.

I think her remarks about how a wise Latina woman would be a better judge than a white man deserve some clarifications

Then read the rest of the remarks she made at the same time.

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