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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

32 Words

The punditocracy has spoken: the full legal portfolio of federal Appeals Court Judge Sonia Sotomayor is irrelevant. It all comes down to 32 words.

Let's start with Newt Gingrich, remember him? He's the conservative former House Speaker who carried on a jihad against Bill Clinton over the ex-president's affair with Monica Lewinsky -- while having an affair himself. And that wasn't the one where he stepped out on his cancer-stricken wife.

But the Newtster -- who along with Dick Cheney and Rush Limbaugh pass for leaders of the Republican Party -- is bent out of shape over 32 words in a Sotomayor 2001 speech from 2001:
"I would 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."
Why she has empathy! Off with her head! Why can't she be more like a white male who cheated on two wives but was in high dudgeon when another white male of a different political party did something similar.

Yep, Newt is opting for the ultimate affirmative action -- keeping the Supreme Court safe for white men.

But Gingrich could not succeed without the indulgence of the Washington press corps -- always on the prowl for the "gotcha" story -- because it is so much easier than doing the digging to get at her record.

Witness this piece of opinion by the Washington Post's Dana Milbank who, since we are into gender issues, is the snarky male version of Maureen Dowd. He thinks it falls to Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs to single-handedly save the nomination:

Gibbs ducked again, telling the reporters that the speech was "about the unique experiences that she has" and again recommending people "look at her whole record" in its "totality."

"You're not spinning us," [ABC News White House Correspondent Jake] Tapper complained. "We're asking you, spin us! Explain what you think she meant."

"I have done that," Gibbs said.

But he'll have to do better to make the 32 words go away

There you have it -- from Newt's mouth to Milbank's word processor. It doesn't matter where she stands on abortion, guns, presidential power or business regulation. If the Obama spinmeister can't convince the denizens of the press room, she's doomed.

And you wonder why newspapers are losing circulation? They've tuned out this trash passing for analysis.

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