Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Out of touch: Conservatives eager to ramp up the fight against Sotomayor

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Politico is reporting that "Conservatives are demanding that Senate Republicans take a harder line on Sonia Sotomayor":

In a letter to be delivered to Senate Republicans Tuesday, more than 145 conservatives – including Grover Norquist, Richard Viguerie and Gary Bauer — call for a filibuster of Sotomayor's nomination if that's what it takes to force a "great debate" over judicial philosophy.

But in an interview with POLITICO, Manuel Miranda – who orchestrated the letter – went much farther, saying that Mitch McConnell should "consider resigning" as Senate minority leader if he can't take a harder line on President Barack Obama's first Supreme Court nominee.

Miranda accused McConnell of being "limp-wristed" and "a little bit tone deaf" when it comes to judicial nominees.

First off... "limp-wristed"? Are conservatives now lobbing anti-gay slurs even at their own kind? The insinuation here is clear -- McConnell is a faggot -- and what's amazing, given how these conservatives want to be taken seriously, is how blatant it is. What credibility do they have -- and they don't have much anyway -- if they resort to such bigotry even when it comes to intra-mural squabbles?

Otherwise, though, these conservatives are lobbying for a fight that even their Republican brethren in Congress, or at least in the Senate, don't want to fight. And why don't they? Because these Republicans, from McConnell on down, are, unlike these far-right conservatives, accountable to the American people, or at least to their own constituents, and as Gallup finds, a majority of Americans, and by a substantial margin, want to see Sotomayor confirmed.

As John Cole sarcastically puts it: "The great conservative outreach continues unabated." Indeed. But they don't seem to understand the risk: In fighting the Sotomayor nomination, they will (further) alienate women, Hispanics, and, well, decent people everywhere (not least because of her inspirational background, impressive qualifications, and sensible (moderate) liberalism).

But what do conservatives care? They want power, but they evidently prefer ideological purity and absolutism to the compromises necessary to secure it. And they are becoming, in their zealotry, not just more extreme but ever more irrelevant. Even their friends in the Senate must think they're nuts.

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