The president revealed his nominee for the Supreme Court, selecting a 54-year-old daughter of Puerto Rican immigrants, who had been nominated to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York by President George H. W. Bush.
And what a genius political move it was. Sonia Sotomayor -- a woman AND a Hispanic. From the South Bronx. A Catholic with diabetes. Regrettably, it looks like the search for an albino midget lesbian unwed Buddhist Bangladeshi mother with a bum leg and lycanthropy fell just a wee bit short.
It was a mite disconcerting that President Obama came up with Justice David Souter's replacement in about a quarter of the time that it took for him to choose the family dog.
Of course that dog is destined to become an integral part of the First Family. And a choice they will have to live with for 10 or 12 years. A Supreme Court Justice simply affects the country and the world for the rest of our natural born lives.
Although dogs and associate Supreme Court justices do share many commands. A judge must SIT on the bench. They STAY there for a lifetime. Tend to LIE DOWN at the first sight of a third-rail issue. SPEAK only when questioning precedents. Clarence Thomas took a year and-a-half to HOUSE TRAIN. Antonin Scalia is a HEEL. Rumor has it John Paul Stevens' law clerks regularly follow him around with a ROLLED UP NEWSPAPER. And generally all nine will BEG anytime they can FETCH a consensus.
Though they lack the votes to derail the nomination, Republicans will not ROLL OVER and PLAY DEAD. Their antagonism was evident even during the decision process.
Qualms were expressed about the president's use of the word "empathy" describing his search. It was interpreted as code for a radical, left-wing, activist judge. Empathy, to these guys, is a pejorative.
Well, there's your problem right there. No wonder the GOP approval rating is lower than steel-tipped fingernails on a schoolhouse blackboard.
A tape was discovered of Sotomayor riffing off a Sandra O'Connor quote, rhapsodizing about the hope that "a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life," and a chorus of conservatives jumped so far down her throat only the soles of their shoes can be glimpsed wriggling at the ceiling in choreographed mock fury.
Thus, they charge Sonia Sotomayor with racism. For suggesting white men are not the ultimate end-all be-all in this country.
Admittedly, this accusation has not been leveled by any real elected Republicans; just the usual peanut gallery rejects of Coulter, Limbaugh, Gingrich and Tancredo. That's right. Tom Tancredo accusing a Latina of being racist. You can't make stuff up like this.
All the gas emitting from these blowhards is just another example of the Hummer calling the minivan annoying. What's next? Bernie Madoff publicly complaining that the auto-bailout math is suspect?
Their determination to escalate a confirmation fight has multiple motivations. 1.) It's necessary for the party to appear halfway relevant. 2.) Combat provides an excellent opportunity to energize the base and raise money. 3.) And most importantly; they can use the practice. Obstinacy, like a muscle, must be exercised.
Will Durst is a San Francisco-based political comic who writes sometimes. This is one of them.
Durst, a political comedian who has performed around the world, is a familiar pundit on television and radio. E-mail Will at firstname.lastname@example.org.