Friday, May 29, 2009


A more or less reasonable column today from Peggy Noonan, on the subject of Sonia Sotomayor:

Some, and they are idiots, look at Judge Sotomayor and say: attack, attack, kill. A conservative activist told the New York Times, "We need to brand her." Another told me a fight is needed to excite the base.

Excite the base? How about excite a moderate, or interest an independent? How about gain the attention of people who aren't already on your side?

Noonan recommends a line of questioning at Sotomayor's hearing that's probing but thoughtful and respectful. She urges Republicans not to grandstand.

I think she's asking a lot of her party. I think Republicans need to start by taking baby steps -- for instance, by trying to concoct arguments that are merely internally consistent, rather than preposterously self-contradictory.

I give you Wesley Pruden in today's Washington Times:

Limp legacy of the wet and weak

Barack Obama's legacy is coming sharply into focus, four years early. He's out to transform "a nation of laws," once the pride of the Anglo-Saxon heritage and exemplar to the world, into "a nation of feelings." We won't need judges, just social workers damp with empathy.

This is in line with the president's larger vision, to cut America down to a size a community organizer could manage, making it merely one of the nice nations of the world, like Belgium or Brazil. The home of the brave and the land of the free would become what our English cousins call "wet," weak, ineffectual, fragile, fearful, and inconsequential.

Sonia Sotomayor is one of the building blocks of the president's envisioned Mediocre Society. She's a perfect first nominee to the Supreme Court, "untouchable" for anyone tempted to look at who she really is, ... determined to help the president render America harmless, armed with good intentions but at the mercy of ravenous rivals. We may one day look back at her as the best of the worst.

The president is the master of demographic politics, playing the race card in a way that no one else could.... Robert Gibbs, the president's press agent, was an unapologetic intimidator, warning everyone to be "exceedingly careful" in talking about her....

This is scary enough, but [Obama] told a Hollywood audience this week that "you ain't seen nothin' yet." ...

If I'm following this correctly, Pruden is saying that totalitarian dictator Obama, his reverse-racist nominee, and his intimidating press secretary are all slipping on the jackboots to trample good old-fashioned Anglo-Saxon America and start a reign of terror that involves ... um, abbey-brewed ales and chocolate? The samba? Did I lose the thread here somewhere? Isn't this a rather unusual sort of fascism?

See, this is where the right gets into trouble. Right-wingers hate Obama and everyone around him in every conceivable way -- but that means a right-wing storyline about Obama frequently meets another storyline in a head-on collision. Obama's a dim bulb who can't even talk without a Teleprompter ... and yet he's also a ruthless puppetmaster who has everyone he meets wrapped around his finger! Obama's a cold-blooded successor to Mao, Hitler, and Mussolini ... and yet his Supreme Court nominee got picked because he's a squishy liberal who thinks it's Everybody Gets a Prize Day! (Oh, and I guess that Court pick is so ineffectual she can't do anything without a healthy dose of affirmative action ... but also such an intimidating infighter that she's put shoe prints on the faces of all the people, presumably whites, she's trampled on her way to the top.)

Settle on one narrative, would ya, guys?


And regarding that Noonan column: it's OK, but it contains one squirm-inducing line, at the end of this paragraph:

[Sotomayor] is of course a brilliant political pick -- Hispanic when Republicans have trouble with Hispanics, a woman when they've had trouble with women. Her background (public housing, Newyorican, Catholic school, Princeton, prominence) is as moving as Clarence Thomas's, and that is moving indeed. Politically she's like a beautiful doll containing a canister of poison gas: Break her and you die.

Am I wrong to be creeped out by that image? Am I wrong to read it as the work of a woman who finds women icky, if not outright toxic? Politico's Ben Smith actually seems to like the line, but to me Noonan seems to be channeling the most cringe-inducing misogynist pronouncements of Ann Althouse.

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