President Obama hit a home run by nominating Sonia Sotomayor for the Supreme Court because the GOP cannot really oppose her on the so-called “merits” without, to be candid, looking ridiculous.
Consider this: Sotomayor is from poor working-class roots. Her father died when she was 9. She worked her way to and through the nation’s finest Ivy League schools with scholarships. With the support of a mother from Puerto Rico who was a nurse, she and her only brother (who, by the way, is a medical doctor) pulled themselves up “by the proverbial boot straps.”
This is a Republican’s dream come true. Is it not?
Even more troubling for Republicans is that Sotomayor was nominated to the U.S. District Court by Republican President George H.W. Bush. She was elevated to the Court of Appeals by President Bill Clinton, and her elevation to the Supreme Court was, in my view, inevitable. By choosing her, Obama showed a stroke of genius and made a bold move toward solidifying his base of support among Hispanics.
The statement released by RNC Chairman Michael Steele on the Sotomayor nomination said it all: “Republicans will reserve judgment on Sonia Sotomayor until there has been a thorough and thoughtful examination of her legal views.”
Wow! Talk about cowering in a corner. I was shocked because I fully expected the first official statements from the GOP leadership to come out hard against Sotomayor because of some of her legal decisions, particularly the most recent controversy over her holding in the case of the white New Haven firefighters who sued the city for discrimination.
Could it be that the GOP’s problem is that they don’t want to pick this fight on so-called cultural issues like affirmative action? I think not.
So what explains Steele’s tepid statement as well as the few statements we have seen from Republicans in Congress so far?
The GOP conservative base is stepping back and wringing their hands over what they privately admit was a shrewd political choice by the president.