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The Top 10 Conservative Idiots
Posted by top10 in Editorials & Other Articles
Sun Jun 07th 2009, 11:52 PM

The Top 10 Conservative Idiots, No. 366

June 8, 2009
Sotomayor Special

Just a few short years ago Karl Rove's Republican party ruled with an iron fist. It was a a fearsome, efficient political machine. A glorious choir of evangelical Christians and pro-business moderates singing in perfect harmony, accompanied by Fox News at the piano.

And now they have completely lost their minds.

Last week President Barack Obama made his first nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court, and it was a surefire hit both academically and politically. Academically, Sonia Sotomayor graduated summa cum laude from Princeton University, and then went on to edit the Yale Law Review. After a successful career as a prosecutor she was nominated to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York by George H. W. Bush, and then to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit by Bill Clinton. She has been a federal judge for 17 years. Politically, she has a compelling personal story - she was born in the Bronx and raised by a single mother (after her father died). And of course she would be the first Hispanic Supreme Court Justice, and only the third female.

So let's be honest. Unless someone discovers that she's actually Osama bin Laden wearing a mask, she's going to be confirmed. But don't tell that to the Republican Party, who never met a brick wall they didn't like to run into head first without a crash helmet!

I Just Met A Girl Named... Sonia?

It all started innocently enough when former Republican presidential primary loser Mike Huckabee released a statement on Sonia Sotomayor's nomination. The statement began:

The appointment of Maria Sotomayor for the Supreme Court is the clearest indication yet that President Obama's campaign promises to be a centrist and think in a bipartisan way were mere rhetoric.

Whoops. But I'll give Huckabee the benefit of the doubt on that one. He corrected his mistake promptly, and after all, what prominent Republican wouldn't look at a picture of Judge Sotomayor and immediately assume her first name was Maria?

Empathize Right On Your Behind

Things remained relatively civil when former Bush lawyer John Yoo wrote on the American Enterprise Institute blog:

President Obama's nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor shows that empathy has won out over excellence in the White House.

Because obviously one cannot have empathy and be excellent at the same time. Unfortunately for Sotomayor's detractors John Yoo was the guy who once publicly argued that George W. Bush had the legal authority to persaude a detainee to talk by crushing their child's testicles, which renders all of his other opinions worthless.

Meanwhile, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Naturally) took to the airwaves to blast Sotomayor for an article she wrote in 1996, which was, as Talking Points Memo notes, "two years before he supported her confirmation to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals." Nice try Orrin.


Nevertheless, it seems Republicans were well prepared for Sotomayor's nomination. How do I know? Because the RNC accidentally leaked their own talking points to the media about half an hour after the nomination was announced. Whoops. Among the highlights:

Republicans are committed to a fair confirmation process and will reserve judgment until more is known about Judge Sotomayor's legal views, judicial record and qualifications.

Until we have a full view of the facts and comprehensive understanding of Judge Sotomayor's record, Republicans will avoid partisanship and knee-jerk judgments - which is in stark contrast to how the Democrats responded to the (Chief Justice John) Roberts and (Justice Samuel) Alito nominations.

Which would be all well and good - if only the GOP's fearsome, efficient political machine hadn't been sold off for parts.

My Country Club 'Tis Of Thee

Step forward former House Speaker Newt Gingrich to show us what the RNC meant by "reserving judgment."

The White House hit back at Newt Gingrich on Wednesday for a twitter post made by the former House Speaker accusing Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor of being a racist.

Gingrich wasn't the only one.

RUSH LIMBAUGH: So here you have a racist. You might want to soften that, and you might want to say a reverse racist. And the libs, of course, say that minorities cannot be racists because they don't have the power to implement their racism. Well, those days are gone, because reverse racists certainly do have the power to implement their power. Obama is the greatest living example of a reverse racist, and now he's appointed one.

Not willing to be outdone, Pat Buchanan threw in his two dirty cents on MSNBC, insisting that "she's an affirmative action appointment for heaven's sakes!" Apparently the GOP's plan to attract minority voters is to let them know that no matter how far they travel down the path to success, there will inevitably come a moment when some crusty old white dude starts driving alongside in a golf cart telling them to be grateful that he let them walk across the sixteenth fairway.

Meanwhile John Derybshire in the National Review responded very favorably to one of his readers who wrote:

I've been hoping that someone might be bold enough to rain on the Sotomayor "compelling life story" parade.

The woman grew up in the capital of the world, went to two Ivy League schools, and was blessed by Providence with the precisely correct right race-gender two-fer for the moment.

This is a story of privilege, dammit, not adversity.

Here, let me read you a little something about the idyllic Bronx circa the year of Sotomayor's birth, from the book The Bronx by Evelyn Diaz Gonzalez:

By 1955 gang warfare and teen violence had resulted in the fatal mugging of an elderly Bronx resident and several killings of gang members and innocent youths. This violent behavior reflected the fraying social fabric of the black and Hispanic communities of the city and the South Bronx and also prefigured a more violent epidemic of gangs, drugs and street crime.

What a lucky duckie.

Knee Jerks

To recap, the RNC's talking points memo insisted that "Until we have a full view of the facts and comprehensive understanding of Judge Sotomayor's record, Republicans will avoid partisanship and knee-jerk judgments." And so far we have various conservative luminaries calling her dumb, a racist, an privileged affirmative action candidate, and getting her name wrong. But I think they can do even better than that.

Last night on MSNBC, former Republican House member Tom Tancredo declared that Judge Sonia Sotomayor "appears to be a racist" and indicated she would only be confirmed because she's a Hispanic woman.

Tancredo also called Sotomayor "a radical" - though he admitted he doesn't "know anything about the cases...she's reviewed." He complained that since "she is a Hispanic woman," "therefore we can't say things like this."

Er, except I think you just did. But let's be clear: you really can't say things like this:

Sotomayor also claimed: "For me, a very special part of my being Latina is the mucho platos de arroz, gandoles y pernir -- rice, beans and pork -- that I have eaten at countless family holidays and special events."

This has prompted some Republicans to muse privately about whether Sotomayor is suggesting that distinctive Puerto Rican cuisine such as patitas de cerdo con garbanzo -- pigs' tongue and ears -- would somehow, in some small way influence her verdicts from the bench.

Curt Levey, the executive director of the Committee for Justice, a conservative-leaning advocacy group, said he wasn't certain whether Sotomayor had claimed her palate would color her view of legal facts but he said that President Obama's Supreme Court nominee clearly touts her subjective approach to the law.

Dude, Don't Be A Dumbass

But forget about Sotomayor's creepy and un-American preoccupation with, um, Puerto Rican food - Mark Krikorian of the National Review had a far more important question for his readers:

So, are we supposed to use the Spanish pronunciation, so-toe-my-OR, or the natural English pronunciation, SO-tuh-my-er, like Niedermeyer?

Good question Mark! What did you learn?

Most e-mailers were with me on the post on the pronunciation of Judge Sotomayor's name (and a couple griped about the whole Latina/Latino thing - English dropped gender in nouns, what, 1,000 years ago?). But a couple said we should just pronounce it the way the bearer of the name prefers, including one who pronounces her name "freed" even though it's spelled "fried," like fried rice. (I think Cathy Seipp of blessed memory did the reverse - "sipe" instead of "seep.") Deferring to people's own pronunciation of their names should obviously be our first inclination, but there ought to be limits. Putting the emphasis on the final syllable of Sotomayor is unnatural in English (which is why the president stopped doing it after the first time at his press conference), unlike my correspondent's simple preference for a monophthong over a diphthong, and insisting on an unnatural pronunciation is something we shouldn't be giving in to.

Yes, whatever you do, don't give in to the sexy er I mean unnatural pronunciation.

Coleman Watch

If you've been following the exciting drama in Minnesota's ongoing senate race, you might be interested to know that:

Former Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN) has released a statement on the Sotomayor nomination, promising to make a thorough review of her record -- as soon as he's re-elected.

So, never then.

Let's Recap

Thus far, according to various important conservatives, Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor:

* Is actually called Maria
* Is dumb
* Is a racist
* Is an affirmative action candidate
* Has led a life of privilege
* Has a troubling fondness for Puerto Rican food
* Has an unnatural-sounding name

What did those RNC talking points say again? Ah yes... "Until we have a full view of the facts and comprehensive understanding of Judge Sotomayor's record, Republicans will avoid partisanship and knee-jerk judgments."

Fuck The Talking Points

Who needs talking points when you've got Tom Tancredo?

The National Council of La Raza doesn't think much of former U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo's attack on the 40-year-old civil rights organization as "a Latino KKK without the hoods or the nooses." The Littleton Republican made the claim Thursday afternoon in an interview on CNN, arguing his claim that Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sottomayor "appears to be racist."


Tancredo piled on the information, or misinformation, during his CNN appearance, making the charge NCLR's "logo is 'All for the race, nothing for the rest.'"

"What he said was our motto is not our motto," Navarrete said, giving Tancredo the benefit of the doubt that he meant motto, not logo. "It's not anybody's motto. He doesn't really know what he's talking about if he doesn't know the difference between a logo and a motto."

Crazy Nonsense Empathetic

Will everyone quiet down please! The chairman of the Republican National Committee has got something to say!

Guest hosting Bill Bennett's radio show this morning, Steele told conservatives to back off the racial aspect of Sotomayor's nomination:

"I'm excited that a Hispanic woman is in this position," Steele said. He added that instead of "slammin' and rammin'" on Sotomayor, Republicans should "acknowledge" the "historic aspect" of the pick and make a "cogent, articulate argument" against her for purely substantive reasons.

Steele warned that because of the attacks, "we get painted as a party that's against the first Hispanic woman" picked for the Supreme Court.

That's a very astute observation. So in deference to Michael Steele, let's wrap up with the most cogent...

Gingrich warns that all of American civilization is at stake here. "If Civil War, suffrage, and Civil Rights are to mean anything, we cannot accept that conclusion," he writes.


GLENN BECK: Okay so she's taking an affirmation, she's not swearing, she's just taking an affirmation, that she's going to try her best to impartially discharge her duties. ... Who reads all the way to, I mean, sure it's chapter one, it's title 28 which implies there's 27 other things you have to read before it, and sure it's chapter 1 but it's part 453, who's reading that? They're just like hey, Hispanic chick lady, you're empathetic? She says, "yep." They say "you're in." That's the way it really works.

...and substantive arguments that the GOP has to offer.

G. GORDON LIDDY: Let's hope that the key conferences aren't when she's menstruating or something, or just before she's going to menstruate. That would really be bad. Lord knows what we would get then.

Final Score

Time for one last recap. According to top Republicans, Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor, who has spent her entire life pulling herself up by the bootstraps:

* Is actually called Maria
* Is dumb
* Is a racist
* Is an affirmative action candidate
* Has led a life of privilege
* Has a troubling fondness for Puerto Rican food
* Has an unnatural-sounding name
* Is a member of the Latino KKK
* Is a threat to American civilization
* Is a chick lady
* Should not be considered for the job because she menstruates

I think that just about sums it up.

The Best Worst Of The Rest

Elsewhere in the last two weeks...

Scott Roeder was arrested for gunning down Dr. George Tiller, a Kansas women's health practitioner. The assassination took place inside Tiller's church - just what Jesus would have wanted. Roeder allegedly received assistance from Operation Rescue, and was apparently a member of the website Free Republic.

Bill O'Reilly, who had repeatedly called Tiller "The Baby Killer," warned of "judgment day" and once said, "If I could get my hands on Tiller -- well, you know," took to the airwaves to declare that he wasn't backpedadling. "Everything we said about Tiller was true." Two days later he backpedaled, saying "I reported what groups were calling him."

Wiley Drake, former second vice president of the Southern Baptist Convention, said that George Tiller's death was "an answer to prayer" and then said he was also praying for the death of President Obama.

After President Obama's groundbreaking speech in Cairo, Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) remarked that it was "un-American" and said he doesn't know whether Obama is on the side of the U.S. or the terrorists.

White supremacist radio host Hal Turner was arrested for "inciting violence against two state lawmakers and a state ethics official." According to the Hartford Courant he wrote on his blog, "It is our intent to foment direct action against these individuals personally. These beastly government officials should be made an example of as a warning to others in government: Obey the Constitution or die."

Bernie Kerik - once George W. Bush's nomination to run the Department of Homeland Security - was indicted last week for "making false statements to White House officials." This indictment will go nicely with the one he got a couple of years ago for "fraud, tax evasion, taking bribes, and concealing more than $500,000 in income from the IRS."

Dick Cheney revealed that "On the question of whether or not Iraq was involved in 9-11, there was never any evidence to prove that." One wonders then why he spent the last six years going around saying things like "there clearly was a relationship" and "the evidence is overwhelming." Oh well.

Michael Steele - last heard telling his cohorts to tone down the rhetoric - said of the Obama administration, "can the people appoint a czar to make sure these numb nuts don't do what they're doing?"

Alan David Berlin, a "a longtime staffer for a Republican state lawmaker" according to the Lehigh Valley Express-Times, was arrested for attempting to "engage in sex acts with a teenage boy while dressed in a panda costume." They further report that a spokesman for the state attorney general says "the boy's parents alerted authorities after finding sexually graphic messages on his computer. He says agents found a wolf and cat-type costume in Berlin's home."

Aronld Schwarzenegger said (read this with a thick Austrian accent) "Look, I think they say that Rush Limbaugh is the 800-pound gorilla in the Republican Party. But I think that's mean-spirited to say that because I think he's down to 650 pounds. So I think one should be fair to him about this whole thing."

And finally, Norm Coleman announced that the GOP's comeback will take place "in the ethernet." Perhaps his reliance on the "ethernet" is the reason why he hasn't heard that Al Franken won the election.

The Top 10 will return on June 22. See you then!

-- EarlG
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