Since the election of Barack Obama as President of the USA, the Republican Party, now in opposition, has apparently not been providing coherent opposition to the ruling Democrats. I’ve covered the thus far fruitless attempts to question Obama’s legitimacy; now comes a sign that the GOP is out of ideas, and out of credibility.
The Prez has nominated Sonia Sotomayor for the Supreme Court. Ms Sotomayor once said that folks like herself, with her background and experience, might bring a better understanding to race and gender issues than white males. Maybe so; it might make an interesting subject for a school debating society to chew over. But that isn’t how the Republican right see it. They have called Sotomayor racist. The Guardian has the story here.
So now we have former House speaker Newt Gingrich, and former Bush mover and shaker Karl Rove, denouncing Obama’s pick, egged on by the deeply unpleasant Rush Limbaugh, who has said that the GOP should press the issue. My reaction is that all of these flannelled fools need to grow up: once again, they are failing their party – yet another example of less than coherent opposition – and, worse, they are failing the reputation of their country. Those looking on from this side of the pond see the debasing of politics into mean spirited pettiness.
But, as the man said, there’s more. As if the use of the R-word was not bad enough, there is now a further charge against Sotomayor: that she uses a Hispanic pronunciation of her surname. This is held to be A Bad Thing. It is being urged that she should “anglicise” that name, whatever that means in a land where the form of English spoken does not always match that in England.
The “Unamerican” pronunciation argument is, surprise surprise, not being wheeled out against Republican Rudy Giuliani. But enough. This is not the politics of rational intellectuals. It is the politics of the playground.