It gets even better than that for Republicans. What's the one case most often mentioned when discussing the nomination of Judge Sotomayor? Of course, it's the Ricci case in which she ruled against seventeen white firefighters, including Mr. Ricci a dislexic, who had done well enough on a test to get a promotion but were denied.
All of this actually makes perfect sense. After all, how long could the media talk about her humble roots and rags to riches story? Don't get me wrong. That's still part of the narrative and it's parts relevant, important, and something to admire. Still, her humble roots get lost in the shuffle of these comments and the case.
Both the comments and the Ricci case are inflammatory and so they are potentially quite venomous. Furthermore, short of Rush and Newt, the Republicans have mostly been measured and disciplined in their message. Rather than rushing out to call her racist, they have almost as a group stuck to the term "troubled". Senator Lindsey Graham struck the right tone this morning.
What she said is that based on her life experiences is that she thought a Latina woman, somebody with her background, would be a better judge than a guy like me -- a white guy from South Carolina. It is troubling, and it's inappropriate and I hope she'll apologize.
Senator Schumer responded on another show by downplaying the comments. Schumer said that the comments merely reflect her experience as a poor minority.
Ultimately, all of this is entirely unimportant. Dick Morris once made an astute commet. He said the media doesn't influence opinion by what they say but rather what they cover. In other words, the manner in which the media covers these comments is a lot less important than that they are spending so much time covering it.
Like I have said, we still have two more months at least until the nomination. Furthermore, because of protocol, Sotomayor is very unlikely to speak publicly until the hearings. That means we are for endless analysis of these comments for two months without the one person necessary to really be able to explain them able to speak.
Now, it's still an overwhelming possibility that Sotomayor becomes a Supreme Court Justice. Still, if Republicans are able to make the next two months a narrative over these comments and the Ricci case, they will have won an important battle. That's because with it there will be a national debate on identity politics, activist judicial philosophy, and affirmative action and other quota systems. All of these are debates that Republicans will win. The public would then be likely to reject Sotomayor even if the Senate does not, and President Obama's radical philosophy will be on display. All of this is good for Republicans even if they ultimately lose the vote.