Here's Ramesh Ponnuru, trying to bring the snark:
It's also true, as Sotomayor's defenders keep saying, that Miers never served on the bench and didn't go to Ivy League schools. I am, incidentally, enjoying the spectacle of leftists who spent years saying President Bush was a moron carry on about how insane and probably racist it is for anyone to doubt the intellect of someone who went to those schools.
True, George W. Bush attended Yale and Harvard Business School. Being the son of a millionaire oilman (and later congressman, CIA director, and President) and the grandson of a Senator, both of whom attended Yale, probably had a little something to do with that - especially given that he never made the honor roll at the elite prep school his family connections got him into.
Sonia Sotomayor didn't have benefit of being a Fortunate Son like W. But that isn't the only way the comparison fails. While at his daddy's alma matter, George W. Bush compiled an academic record that led the University of Texas Law School to reject his application. While at Princeton, Sonia Sotomayor won the University's highest academic prize and graduated summa cum laude.
George W: Attended Yale as a legacy descendant of the wealthy and powerful; compiled mediocre academic record.
Sotomayor: Worked her way from South Bronx housing projects to Princeton University's highest academic honor.
So, uh, they're a little different.
To be fair, Ponnuru did concede that Sotomayor is of at least average intelligence:
For whatever it's worth, I am perfectly willing to assume that Sotomayor's IQ is north of 100.
Mighty generous of him, don't you think?
Or maybe RedState's Erick Erickson just doesn't want to hear certain things. But does he have to advertise that fact with a comically inaccurate blog post? Apparently, yes he does.
Erickson was taking a whack at Pennsylvania Republican Tom Ridge who over the weekend committed a RedState mortal sin by tweaking Rush Limbaugh. Ridge had the audacity to suggest Limbaugh turn down the temperature on some of his hate speech rhetoric.
Erickson did not approve and dubbed Ridge a liar:
Tom Ridge, on CNN, said this of Rush Limbaugh:
"Rush articulates his point of view in ways that offend very many… let's be less shrill… let's not attack other individuals. Let's attack their ideas."
Since when has Rush attacked individuals? I listen to the show regularly. He certainly pokes fun at some of them, but he highlights absurdities of character, etc. in pointing out the fallacies of positions on the left.
For example — the President of the United States wants us all to stop breathing to save the environment, but his administration sends Air Force One on a joy ride to take pictures.
Is that an attack on Obama? No. It is pointing out the inconsistencies in Barack Obama's policies.
According to RedState, Ridge had it all wrong. Limbaugh doesn't attack individuals, he merely questions policies. Rush is practically a policy wonk. Like when Rush recently claimed Obama supporters have "anti-American" feelings and don't like the U.S.A. Oh wait, that was an attack on tens of millions of individuals.
More like when Rush said Obama's inner circle of "sycophants" would likely die of "anal poisoning." Oh wait, that's a hateful attack on specific individuals also.
What about when Rush attacked Britain's prime minister Gordan Brown, suggesting that if he kept "slobbering" over Obama he'd also be stricken with "anal poisoning"? Oops, obvious attack on an individual (Read: head of state) there.
And remember the time Rush likened Al Qaeda operative Abu Musab al-Zarqawi to "Howard Dean, Al Gore, Jimmy Carter, Harry Reid, Ted Kennedy, John Kerry ... Carl Levin, Nancy Pelosi"? That seemed sort of individual-ish.
What the heck, lets dial up the way-back machine and travel to April 8, 2004 and listen in to Limbaugh's show:
"Senator Kennedy, a simple question. Does it please you to learn who your friends are? Does it excite you, Senator Kennedy, to learn that the militant, firebrand, murderer of American civilians and military personnel is on your side, Senator Kennedy? Does it encourage you? Does it invigorate you? Does it inspire you, Senator Kennedy, to know that a murdering Al Qaeda-related terrorist has taken up your argument for use against his enemy? How does that make you feel, Senator Kennedy? Does it embarrass you? Because it should. Or does it probably excite you and think you're making headway now. You've got the enemy aligned with you."
Or how about November 2002? From Spinsanity:
On Nov. 15, [Limbaugh] asserted that [Tom] Daschle's criticism of the conduct of the war on terrorism amounted to "an attempt to sabotage the war on terrorism," called him "Hanoi Tom" and suggested that he is " a disgrace to patriotism." On other occasions, Limbaugh has suggested that "In essence, Daschle has chosen to align himself with the axis of evil" and has drawn an extended analogy between Daschle and Satan.
I could probably go on for 34 more paragraphs, but I think you get the idea. Limbaugh apologists like Erickson pretend Rush would never say anything nasty about individuals. But grown-ups like Ridge know the truth.
It looks like some reporters are latching on to the number of times Sonia Sotomayor's decisions have been overturned by the SCOTUS, as though it tells us something about her. But it doesn't mean nearly as much as they seem to think it means, simply because there is no particular reason to think Sotomayor was "wrong," and the Supreme Court "right" based solely on the fact that the Court overturned her.
Liberals and conservatives alike can, with great ease, point to SCOTUS decisions that they think were incorrect. Having a decision overturned by SCOTUS doesn't necessarily mean a judge was "wrong"; it may just mean that the majority of Supreme Court justices at the time disagreed with her.
Is it news to simply collect in one place all the knee-jerk talking points issued from Republicans to Obama's SCOTUS pick? Hard to see how it is. Nonetheless, that's the approach Politico takes with article headline:
Sonia Sotomayor starts taking hits from opposition
And that literally is what the entire piece consists of; a laundry list of press releases issued by conservatives such as Mike Huckabee, as well as outlets like the National Abortion Control Board, the Judicial Confirmation Network, Cato Institute raising objections to the Supreme Court nominee.
It seems the right is frantically trying to explain away the fact that the first President Bush nominated Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. district court, and having some success getting reporters to buy their spin. A little bit ago, Washington Post reporter Robert Barnes downplayed the appointment, making a factual error aong the way.
Now, Politico's Ben Smith says a Weekly Standard writer has "partially puncture[d]" the talking point that Bush appointed Sotomayor. Here's Smith:
One of the key talking points about Sotomayor is that she was first appointed by a Republican, President George H.W. Bush.
John McCormack partially punctures that one, noting that "Sotomayor was nominated as part of a compromise in which Democratic Senator Moynihan was allowed to recommend judges for two of the seven vacancies."
So it's worth keeping in mind that New York's other senator, Republican Al D'Amato, spoke glowingly of Sotomayor. As Media Matters has previously noted:
[D]uring the September 30, 1997, Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the confirmation of several judicial nominations, D'Amato stated: "I predicted to this committee, almost five years ago, that Judge [Sonia] Sotomayor would be an exemplary, outstanding justice. She has demonstrated that, repeatedly. She has shown compassion, wisdom, one of the great intellects on the court."
In fact, during D'Amato's 1998 unsuccessful re-election campaign, backers praised him for his support for Sotomayor. Here's a 1998 New York Post report:
D'Amato, meanwhile, snagged Herman Badillo's endorsement, marched in the Hispanic Day parade and launched a radio ad in Spanish attacking Schumer for missing votes in Congress on Puerto Rican issues.
Badillo praised D'Amato for spearheading the confirmation of Sonia Sotomayor, a Puerto Rican, to the U.S. Court of Appeals and for organizing disaster relief efforts recently for the hurricane-ravaged Dominican Republican and Puerto Rico.
Finally, the right's effort to downplay Bush's appointment of Sotomayor by pointing to the fact that Moynihan recommended her is, well, nonsense. Moynihan may have recommended her, but Bush still appointed her. Nobody would say Ruth Bader Ginsberg doesn't count as a Clinton nominee because Orrin Hatch recommended her to him, would they?
Washington Post reporter Robert Barnes:
Obama also said he would try to bridge the gap between Republicans and Democrats, and I think Republicans will argue this choice is not designed to appeal to them. That is part of the reason the President pointed out this morning that Sotomayor was initially appointed to the bench by President George H.W. Bush, although that was part of a deal with New York's Democratic senators.
New York's senators at the time were Democrat Patrick Moynihan and Republican Al D'Amato.
The conservative onslaught against Sonia Sotomayor should begin any minute now, and will presumably focus on the things conservatives always focus on: abortion, gay rights, affirmative action. They'll call her a "judicial activist," which they will suggest is the worst thing a judge can possibly be - even though the phrase basically has no meaning, and to the extent it does, the most "activist" member of the high court is probably Clarence Thomas.
And the media will likely proceed as though the topics the conservatives are focusing on are the most important things to address in their coverage of Sotomayor's nomination. And, certainly, abortion, gay rights, affirmative action, and executive power are important subjects; the media should examine Sotomayor's record and philosophy in these areas.
But the Supreme Court deals with a lot of other issues, too - issues that tend to get comparatively little media attention during nomination fights. Economic and regulatory issues, for example, are extremely important at any time, but particularly in the midst of one of the worst economic environments in American history. The media should assess Sotomayor's record and philosophy as they pertain to a wide range of important issues, not merely the ones the conservatives think they can boost their direct-mail fundraising by yelling about.