Note: Cross-posted at the Huffington Post.
A series of events over the past several days and weeks show that the
Republican Party still has not learned the lessons of the 2006 and 2008
elections. As Senator Tom Coburn might say — they have some “splaining to do.”
In a remarkable and mostly unconscious display of white identity
politics, Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee spouted
condescending questions at the president’s distinguished nominee for
the Supreme Court, Sonia Sotomayor. Failing to trip her up, all but one
of the Republicans on the committee voted against her nomination.
This proved too much for conservative-leaning columnist Ruben Navarrette:
Judge Sonia Sotomayor cruised through her confirmation
hearings without a scratch. Too bad we can’t say the same about the
seven Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee who tried to dent
her credibility and wound up demolishing their own. The problem wasn’t
that Republican senators challenged Sotomayor. That’s their job. The
problem was that they did their job in such an obsessive and boorish
way so as to make clear to the entire country that they had no idea how
to deal with someone like Sotomayor.
Navarrette added that the GOP missed a huge opportunity to make “lemons
into lemonade by grabbing the moment and using it to make the point
that their party does, on occasion, open doors for the talented but
underrepresented. Instead, they gave the appearance of standing in the
Unsurprisingly, Ranking Minority Member Jeff Sessions
became the GOP’s point person in the opposition to Sotomayor. For a
party needing to shed its reputation as an all-white club for Southern
gentlemen, this proved to be an unfortunate development.