Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Why the Right will fight Obama on the Sotomayor nomination
by Larry Geller
Obama was not the “most liberal senator” and has not turned out to be a liberal president. The right also labeled John Kerry as the most liberal senator when he was running for president. They lie. Why do they do this, I wondered.
Now, although confirmation of Judge Sonia Sotomayor is pretty much assured unless something unforeseen happens, the Right echo chamber is already resounding with lies and distortions. And just plain repetition (see video below). Why do they do this, I wonder.
Especially, with the Republican Party in disarray you’d think they would want to court, rather than alienate, Hispanic and minority voters and women. But no, they are assailing Sotomayor as racist, misquoting what she has said, and lying whenever they can think of something to lie about.
Ben Dimiero from Media Matters for America put together this video. He also sends out a daily email which is a compendium of the day’s media issues and well worth subscribing to.
Viewers who depend on Fox News for information must be convinced by now. It’s been pounded into their heads so much.
This morning’s Democracy Now explained a bit about why the Republicans do this. It was something I hadn’t thought about. From the program (Oahu viewers can see it tonight at 10 p.m. channel 56 or from the web at any time):
JUAN GONZALEZ: And you also write, Tom, about the cottage industry that has developed around Supreme Court nominations and how sides, from both the left and the right, gear up for these nominations. Could you talk about that a little bit?
TOM GOLDSTEIN: Sure. It’s as with Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito, who are really smart people. They are more conservative than me, to be sure, but they have a lot of integrity. They are, you know, good judges. And when they were nominated by President Bush, they were attacked mercilessly by the, you know, folks on the left. And same with Judge Sotomayor, a person of incredible integrity, great intelligence, and now attacked from the far right.
And the cottage industry point is that these groups gear up now, and this is their principal fundraising mechanism, to say, “The President now is trying to either destroy the Supreme Court or save the Supreme Court. You need to support us.”
So, even though it’s certain that Judge Sotomayor is going to be confirmed, absolutely certain, absent some totally unexpected ethical transgression, she is going to go through the wringer now, so that these groups are able to fundraise.
I never thought of that. But it has that air of truthiness about it. By yelling and screaming that Sotomayor is a racist, or that the world will end if she is seated on the Supreme Court, these groups will get to wring money out of the lemmings who are predisposed to believe whatever the Right says anyway.
The snippet above implies that both sides engage in this.
In the wings but under the radar are white supremacists who are no doubt doing the same, warning their followers that not only have blacks taken over the White House itself, but now immigrants are moving into the courts. Aside from raising funds, let’s remember that these folks usually have guns or worse. Armed, angry lemmings.
Of course, it takes an adequate supply of lemmings, and I suppose our educational system is being re-designed to fulfill that need. Amazing how it all fits together.
It also takes a press that is salivating over potential profits from the controversy at best, and that will turn its back on white racist remarks except to package them and deliver them to the public, to create the chamber in which the Right can echo. The media will amplify their voices. The fundraising groups will find it easier to gather support.
Here is how the echoing is going so far. Not necessarily in chronological order, and I’m sure this is far from complete:
Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, in a written statement, said Tuesday he's concerned Sotomayor has shown "personal bias based on ethnicity and gender."
"Judge Sotomayor will need to reassure the country that she will set aside her biases, uphold the rule of law and interpret the Constitution as written, not as she believes it should have been written," said Smith, who will have no vote in the matter, as the confirmation is a Senate matter. [Fox News, Sotomayor's Judicial Record Could Be Battlefield for Critics, Advocates, 5/26/2009]
Give me a break. Has Smith been concerned, in the past, that white male appointees need to set aside their biases? Is Smith genuinely as bigoted as this sounds, or is he just pounding the Republican drums?
Here’s another of the same. Another Republican, of course, Sen. James Inhofe, (R-OK) is concerned that Sotomayor be without the “undue influence” of her race and gender:
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. In the months ahead, it will be important for those of us in the U.S. 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. [Talking Points Memo, Inhofe Wants to Make Sure Sotomayor Is "Without Undue Influence" From Her Race And Gender, 5/26/2009]
"I mean, do I want her to fail? Yeah. Do I want her to fail to get on the court? Yes -- she'd be a disaster on the court."
"You know, Obama talks about 'we need people with empathy.' It's not even about empathy, folks; that's just cover. He just wants one of his own on the court to do his dirty work from the highest court in the land, and she fits the bill."
"So here you have a racist. You might want to soften that, and you might want to say a reverse racist. And the libs, of course, say that minorities cannot be racists because they don't have the power to implement their racism. Well, those days are gone, because reverse racists certainly do have the power to implement their power. Obama is the greatest living example of a reverse racist, and now he's appointed one." [mediamatters.org, 5/26/2009]
Rush Limbaugh isn't the only one calling Sonia Sotomayor a racist. Newt Gingrich is, too — and he's demanding that Obama's pick to the Supreme Court withdraw her nomination. [CNN Political Ticker, Gingrich: Sotomayor 'racist,' should withdraw nomination, 5/27/2009]
Enough for now. I’m wondering if the Republican party is harming itself further with these tactics, or if they are cleverly feeding as well as preaching to the choir.