According to the Times, the rhetoric surrounding the Sotomayor fight has become ugly on "both sides" [emphasis added]:
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich on Wednesday called Supreme Court nominee Judge Sonia Sotomayor a "racist" for remarks she made in 2001, joining an emerging conservative line of attack and enflaming both sides of the battle as interest groups fundraise over her nomination.
Slight problem. While the Times details the unhinged "racist" rhetoric from the right, the newspaper never even hints that similarly enflamed lines of attack have been unleashed from the left. (Either from liberals defending Sotomayor or questioning her record.) That's because there haven't been any such attacks.
The news is that the right-wing has already gone completely ballistic over the Sotomayor nomination, but the Times wants you believe everyone has.
Gloria Borger on CNN, moments ago: "Conservatives believe that empathy is about feelings, and that feelings have no place when you're deciding the law."
No. Conservatives say they believe that. But in reality, they support conservative judges who -- they say -- demonstrate empathy.
Look, this is really simple: conservatives have been consistently lying about Sonia Sotomayor. They've been lying about more or less everything for quite some time. There is simply no reason whatsoever to assume that what they are saying is true, consistent, or principled.
two·fer: "One who belongs to two minority groups and can be counted, as by an employer, as part of two quotas."
From NRO's the corner:
Celebratory Ode [John Derbyshire]
What has been absent from all the rejoicing about the nomination of Judge Sotomayor? Why, a celebratory ode, of course. We humble scribes must supply the deficiency.
All hail the brave and wise Latina!
Compelling is her story!
And jurisprudent her demeanor -
She's on the path to glory!
At SCOTUS she'll make policy
(What need for legislators?)
More jobs! More opportunity!
For twofer second-raters.
Latina wisdom, egged on by
La Raza mischief-makers,
With fill her soul with empathy
(Though not for white test-takers).
Most people tend to think the more money a politician raises, the more likely he is to win his next election. Candidates across the country raise as much money as they can, and are poked and prodded by party committees to raise even more, and to do so even more quickly. The reasons are fairly obvious: Money pays for things like staff, ads, get-out-the-vote programs, and donuts -- all the things you need in order to win. And early money scares off potential opponents, while attracting yet more money. (That's the idea behind the name EMILY's List -- Early Money Is Like Yeast.)
But maybe all of that is wrong. Politico suggests that raising a lot of money might actually hurt Sen. Harry Reid:
Could big money haul hurt Reid?
By: Carol E. Lee
May 27, 2009 12:41 AM EST
LAS VEGAS - Sen. Harry Reid has made no secret of his plans to shore up a massive war chest to scare off challengers and aid his reelection bid.
But could Reid's boasting that he will raise $25 million to keep his seat actually hurt him?
Wow. That's just ... dumb. And what is this rather far-fetched idea that raising a lot of money might hurt Reid based upon? As Josh Orton notes at MyDD, it's based on nothing other than a Republican saying it could hurt Reid:
To be fair, the state Republican chair said it could hurt Reid! Ignore the fact that Republicans boast of raising nearly the same amount to mount a challenge. I know Republicans want to bluff that Reid's vulnerable - but I didn't expect the chutzpah of specifically using a metric of electoral viability as proof.
This Politico craziness follows a CNN report yesterday suggesting that Barack Obama might face a "backlash" as a result of his raising money for Reid. CNN offered no evidence to support the thesis, which seems far-fetched at best.
It seems some in the media are desperate to find signs of political trouble for the Democrats, even spinning successful fundraising as bad news.
Now, let's fire up the way-back machine and head back to 2006. That's when NBC's Matt Lauer suggested that President Bush's unpopularity was good news for the Republicans, because it meant they could run against Bush. No, really, he did:
LAUER: These approval numbers, Tim, are they in some ways a blessing in disguise for Republicans in these midterm elections? Because, basically, they can look and say, "Look, I don't have a popular president here. I can turn my back on that president, or even oppose that president going into these elections and stem the tide of this voter anger."
Two landslide electoral losses for the Republicans later, reporters are still frantically searching for a way to interpret everything as good news for the GOP.
In his report about how Republicans in the U.S. Senate might not marshall much of a fight against Obama's POTUS pick Sonia Sotomayor, Allen writes [emephasis added]:
GOP officials say they realize the party needs to improve its standing among Hispanic voters in order to have any hope of winning a national election, and they admit that trashing the first Latina nominee to the court could cement stereotypes or further alienate minorities.
This reality limits Republicans' options dramatically and virtually guarantees they would be called racists if they said anything that smacks of being out of bounds about such a qualified nominee.
Got that? If Republicans criticize Sotomayor, Democrats and liberals will automatcially use the race card, which cergainly paints them in a negative, knee-jerk kind of way. But what did Allen fail to mention? The fact is it's been Republicans who have been playing the race card with wild abandon less than 48 hours after Sotomayor was nominated. Allen left that part out.
One of the questions I get asked most often as I do interviews about my new book, Bloggers on the Bus: How the Internet Changed Politics and the Press, is why is it that conservatives trail so far behind liberals when it comes to building their side of the blogosphere into something important and influential. The simple answer is that so many right-wing bloggers aren't serious people and the nonsense they blog about revolves around loopy conspiracy theories that, aside for providing comic relief, aren't really good for anything.
Which bring me to the budding Obama scandal that's been hatched this week within the right-wing blogosphere, and which has all the hallmarks of previous failed Obama conspiracy theories that bloggers excitedly chased. The latest to be embraced is the idea that the Obama White House, as part of the restructuring that the auto maker has been forced to undergo, personally selected which Chrysler dealership would be closed. Not only that, but the Obama White House punished dealerships whose owners who gave campaign contributions to Republicans.
It's just like Nixon's Enemies' List!
Go here if you want to read the pained analysis, where bloggers excitedly claim that their research proves a massive conspiracy's afoot. What is the research? It's a laundry list of name of dealers who have indeed given money to the GOP and have indeed been closed down as part of the GM restructuring. So why doesn't that prove Obama has a hit list? First, because nearly 800 dealerships are being closed down, yet bloggers only detail campaign contributions for less than 10 percent of those dealership owners.
Second, all the bloggers actually prove is that lot of dealership owners are Republicans. Does that surprise anyone?
So rather than uncovering massive White House conspiracy to throw thousands of auto industry workers of work simply as a way to "punish" GOP donors, all the bloggers have proven--I'm repeating myself, I know--is that car dealership owners tend to write checks to Republicans. And all this time I had thought of dealerships as a bastion of progressive politics.
The only way GOP bloggers could get this whole soggy mess off the ground is if they can prove, definitively, that Chrysler dealers who survived the cut were all massive, across-the-board, Democratic donors. But bloggers don't and I suspect they cannot because local car dealership owners tend to give lots of money to Republicans.
Thanks for the news flash.
P.S. And no, bloggers don't even pretend to produce any evidence that the Obama White House somehow peered over GM's shoulders and picked which dealership got canned and which ones survived.
UPDATE: When Michelle Malkin of all people urges people not to get carried away with an anti-Obama conspiracy theory, you know the story's going nowhere.
UPDATE: Malkin's changed her mind and now thinks the Obama-closed-Chrysler-dealerships is a big, big story, which means more comedy is bound to ensue.
At first, Malkin urged caution on the story but apparently after Fox News producers invited her on to discuss the (pseudo) scandal, Malkin decided it was legit. Ah, right-wing bloggers....
UPDATE: Nate Silver demolishes the right-wing Dealergate with, y'know, actual research. He also notes this:
It shouldn't be any surprise, by the way, that car dealers tend to vote -- and donate -- Republican. They are usually male, they are usually older (you don't own an auto dealership in your 20s), and they have obvious reasons to be pro-business, pro-tax cut, anti-green energy and anti-labor. Car dealerships need quite a bit of space and will tend to be located in suburban or rural areas. I can't think of too many other occupations that are more natural fits for the Republican Party
The really striking thing about Mark Krikorian's bizarre screeds about Sonia Sotomayor's name isn't that Krikorian can't be bothered to learn how Sotomayor pronounces her name. Krikorian knows how she pronounces it. And it isn't that he refuses to make a little effort to pronounce her name the way she does. It's that he doesn't want anyone else to do so, either.
That's really a huge difference. Most people mispronounce names from time to time. But most people don't petulantly insist that everyone mispronounce names that sound "unnatural" to us. That's what Krikorian is doing.
And he comes right out and admits that annoyance at having to hear correctly-pronounced names is at the basis of his opposition to immigration and bilingual education:
here's what I was trying to get across: While in the past there may well have been too much social pressure for what sociologists call Anglo-conformity, now there isn't enough. I think that's a concern that most Americans share at some level, which is the root of the angst over excessive immigration, bilingual education, official English, etc.
Politico's Mike Allen (via TPM):
[T]he media's left-of-center bias is rarely more apparent than during court fights. The coverage running up to the pick was slanted heavily toward the notion of how "pragmatic" Obama's legal views are and how unlikely he was to pick a liberal.
While we're on the topic of "bias," what bias do you think led Mike Allen to assume that Sonia Sotomayor is a single mother?
From Kurtz's Twitter on Wednesday: