This post is about the right and their reactions to the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to fill David Souter's seat on the Supreme Court. But let me start out by making one salient point; it's important to remember that Newt Gingrich is a horse's ass. He was forced to resign as Speaker of the House and, when re-election became impossible, decided to retire. He's often rumored to be considering running for president, but those rumors probably originate with Gingrich. Even if he did run, he would have no hope of ever winning. Newt is merely a media whore of the first order, a ridiculous, pompous nobody with an inflated sense of self-worth and a confidence in the wisdom of his own opinions that's shared by pretty much no one. Why we're supposed to give a crap what Newt thinks is a mystery to me. Yet there he is, on cable news talking head shows almost daily, repeating the most inane talking points out there.
Then again, we live in a world where Michele Bachmann can get camera time anytime she wants, so I guess being ludicrous and insane is no impediment to being a Republican tastemaker these days. And we all know that, with few exceptions, cable news isn't home to the best and the brightest. Maybe Newt gets all these talking head gigs not because he's smart enough, but because he's dumb enough. Either way, it's hard to imagine serious Republicans (and yes, there are one or two left) seeing Newt Gingrich as being helpful to their party.
That said, I give you this typical bit of Gingrichian stupidity, courtesy of Politico:
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) on Wednesday charged that Judge Sonia Sotomayor is a "racist."
"Imagine a judicial nominee said 'my experience as a white man makes me better than a Latina woman.' Wouldn't they have to withdraw? New racism is no better than old racism," Gingrich wrote in a post on his blog.
"A white man racist nominee would be forced to withdraw. Latina woman racist should also withdraw," he added.
At issue was this comment by Sotomayor; "Because when a case comes before me involving, let's say, someone who is an immigrant -- and we get an awful lot of immigration cases and naturalization cases -- I can't help but think of my own ancestors, because it wasn't that long ago when they were in that position... When I get a case about discrimination, I have to think about people in my own family who suffered discrimination because of their ethnic background or because of religion or because of gender. And I do take that into account."
Oops! I'm sorry, I got my notes mixed up. That's Bush nominee Samuel Alito. Sotomayor said something pretty much along the same lines. It's so easy to get your ethnic supremacist bigots confused.
"I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion [as a judge] than a white male who hasn’t lived that life," she said. The comment was made at a speech to the University of California, Berkeley's annual Judge Mario G. Olmos Law and Cultural Diversity Lecture. In honoring the memory of a Hispanic judge, Sotomayor said something nice about Hispanic judges. How awful!
Of course, the idea that someone might use their life experiences to gain insight on the job is nothing new -- as Justice Alito explained. Does anyone really believe Newt would be freaking out if Sotomayor talked about a "wise Christian woman?" I doubt it and -- if you allow yourself a moment of honesty -- so do you. Gingrich is just fishing for things to be outraged over, so he can keep getting his face on the teevee machine. He's got books to sell.
If you think that Gingrich mines the depths of possible stupidity here, you'd be wrong. Others have made much more idiotic statements and much less sense. Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe comes pretty close to finding the absolute bottom. "Of primary concern to me is whether or not Judge Sotomayor follows the proper role of judges and refrains from legislating from the bench. Some of her recent comments on this matter have given me cause for great concern," Inhofe said in a statement. "In the months ahead, it will be important for those of us in the US Senate to weigh her qualifications and character as well as her ability to rule fairly without undue influence from her own personal race, gender, or political preferences." Backing up Inhofe is Lamar Smith, who worries that Sotomayor may display "personal bias based on ethnicity and gender."
See. because white men are raceless and genderless, I guess. Or, at least, automatically neutral. I think the best comment I've seen on this comes from John Aravosis; "GOP members of Congress Inhofe and Smith do have a point. I mean, do we really want Sotomayor yelling 'Lucy I'm home!' every time she arrives at an oral argument?"
But that's still not the bottom. It's possible to be stupider and Mark Krikorian of the wingnut Center for Immigration Studies finds it -- Sotomayor is forcing us to speakie the Spanish. See, pronouncing her name correctly is "unnatural in English" and her insistence on pronouncing it that way means she's not adapting to the glorious melting pot of American society. She's the product of -- gasp! -- multiculturalism. As such, "insisting on an unnatural pronunciation is something we shouldn't be giving in to."
You want stupider? Because I've still got some. Check out this bit from an article in The Hill:
Sotomayor also claimed: “For me, a very special part of my being Latina is the mucho platos de arroz, gandoles y pernir — rice, beans and pork — that I have eaten at countless family holidays and special events.”
This has prompted some Republicans to muse privately about whether Sotomayor is suggesting that distinctive Puerto Rican cuisine such as patitas de cerdo con garbanzo — pigs' feet with chickpeas — would somehow, in some small way influence her verdicts from the bench.
The paper says Curt Levey, the executive director of the Committee for Justice, "said he wasn’t certain whether Sotomayor had claimed her palate would color her view of legal facts..."
It'd be nice for Republicans if Newt Gingrich were the stupidest voice on that side of the aisle. Fortunately for Democrats and unfortunately for conservatives, he's not. Looking over everything I've put together here today, I have one bit of advice for conservative voters out there.
Stop letting stupid people speak for you. It's not helping.
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