Wednesday, July 15, 2009


I dunno -- am I overreacting to this, from The Washington Examiner a couple of days ago? (Click to enlarge.)

It greatly amused a few Freepers.

Meanwhile, Craig Crawford of CQ Politics misses the point:

Smiling GOPers Ought to be Frowning

Watching Lindsey Graham's gotcha grin as he needled Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor with disingenuous and rhetorical questions you had to wonder what was so funny.

Does the Republican senator think it is amusing that he and his party's condescending tone toward the Hispanic woman was costing them ethnic votes with each passing hour of Tuesday's Judiciary Committee hearing?

... the fallout for Republicans could reach well beyond Hispanic voters. They are coming across as a bunch of snarky and bitter old white men who cannot bear the thought of their kind losing power....

But to the Republicans right now, there is no non-Republican world. They exist in a bubble of their own devising, where elected officials and opposition researchers and media blowhards and base voters eagerly pass around every negative tidbit they can find -- she's pro-terrorist! a liberal law professor thinks she's a liar because she said politic things in the hearing! Pat Leahy misquoted her! -- revving up mob anger to the point that failing to respond with outrage seems riskier to the GOP senators than participating in the hate-fest.

Atrios guest blogger Jay Ackroyd thinks she'll get 72 or more votes? I'll be surprised if she gets as many as 65. She really might not get the vote of any non-Maine GOP senator.

And it's important to keep in mind what Thomas Frank says today, in a discussion of Sarah Palin:

The piling-up of petty complaints is an important aspect of conservative movement culture. For those who believe that American life consists of the trampling of Middle America by the "elites" -- that our culture is one big insult to the pious and the patriotic and the traditional -- Sarah Palin's long list of unfair and disrespectful treatment is one of her most attractive features. Like Oliver North, Robert Bork, and Clarence Thomas, she is known not for her ideas but as a martyr, a symbol of the culture-war crimes of the left.

To become a symbol of this stature Ms. Palin has had to do the opposite of most public figures. Where others learn to take hostility in stride, she and her fans have developed the thinnest of skins.

I think it's even more generalized than that: any victory by any non-right-winger whatsoever becomes a permanent grievance on the GOP right. Dick Cheney has harbored a decades-old grievance against those who, after Nixon, curtailed executive branch power, and he's a hero on the right because of it. Palin thinks a journalist who asks a tough question she herself can't manage to answer is, by definition, a liberal fascist -- and the nursed grievance is a point of pride on the right. In the Sotomayor hearings, Republicans (as Rachel Maddow noted last night) have been obsessed with the fact that Miguel Estrada wasn't the first Hispanic nominee for the Supreme Court.

It's all about grievance. Sotomayor isn't going to lose the vast majority of GOP senators' votes because of anything she's ever said or done -- she's going to lose them because she exists, and will almost certainly win, and raging against intolerable facts such as these is simply what Republicans do.

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