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The nominee or the process?

July 18, 2009

There’s a tendency in political reporting to focus on the politicking instead of the policy. I haven’t been around long enough to know if this is a trend or it’s always been like this, but it’s been apparent over the past few election cycles, as has bloggy criticism of said phenomena. I understand the motivation here (horse race=fun! policy=BOring) but to say it’s not very helpful would be an understatement.

So it’s disappointing if not the least bit surprising that this is the approach taken by Politico in their top story right now, Left and right both let down by Sonia Sotomayor hearings. The question of where Sotomayor actually comes down on any key issue is completely ignored in favor of both sides complaining that they didn’t use the hearings to their maximum potential.

The question, to some, is:  Why retreat now when the nomination was a sure bet since Democrats have a supermajority in the Senate, and Republicans haven’t put up a united front of opposition?

“It’s troubling,” said Louis Michael Seidman, professor of constitutional law at Georgetown University and a former law clerk to the late Supreme Court Justice Thurgood. “I don’t think that she had to do this.”

On the right, conservatives are asking: If Republicans won’t fight tooth-and-nail to derail a Supreme Court nominee they find out of the mainstream, what will they fight over?

But, uh, guys, could it be that the failure here is the nominee and not the process?

I’m not saying there was no stage craft at all in her performance this week, but Sotomayor probably came across as a moderate because she’s pretty moderate. And as for the Repub complaints, she just isn’t out of the mainstream and in their tiny black hearts they know this. It would be dumb to fight tooth and nail to derail a nominee that just isn’t that bad, considering who our crypto-Muslim socialist President could have picked.

Update: Credit where it’s due – Politico also examines Sotomayor’s views on nunchucks.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Shlomo permalink
    July 18, 2009 7:57 pm

    I agree that Sotomayor is moderate, so she frustrates both the left and right wings, who wanted, respectively a wingnut of their own or to attack one on the other side.

    But everyone has apparently learned the Bork lesson. At his confirmation hearing he spoke his mind, and was rejected. Since then, everyone sings the same middle of the road tune. Roberts and Alito talked the same moderate talk as Sotomayor, but they lied, as we knew then and as their record on the Court shows.

    It looks like confirmation hearings have been reduced to political theater, an empty ritual. Maybe some day a brave senator (giant shrimp? military intelligence?) will speak out next time a nominee contradicts his or her history and claims a moderate position. And pigs may fly.

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