It’s Alright


When Judge Sotomayor’s views on the superior judgement of Hispanic women hit the media, you can understand some Republicans drooling with glee.

ONE DAY after President Obama nominated federal judge Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court, former House speaker Newt Gingrich labeled her a racist.

The racist label has long been used by Democrats as a bludgeon, implemented at the drop of a hat to marginalize members of the GOP.

Rush Limbaugh called Sotomayor a “reverse racist” on his radio program; Fox News Channel’s Glenn Beck announced that “she sure sounds like a racist.” There were similar comments from controversialist Ann Coulter and former GOP congressman Tom Tancredo.

As a result, some, like Newt Gingrich, over-reacted to Sotomayor’s statements, figuring that the rules could be applied to a liberal the same as they would be to a conservative.

“What the hell is going on here?” demanded Chris Matthews on MSNBC after playing a clip of Limbaugh calling Sotomayor “a bigot . . . a racist.” In The New York Times, columnist Charles Blow denounced the “fringe Republican race-baiting.” Senator Dianne Feinstein of California lamented, “To call someone a racist . . . is just terrible” and only adds a “visceral and terrible heat” to public discourse.

Jeff Jacoby, the conservative columnist at the Boston Globe, today clarified the important mistake that the Republicans made.

The demonizing of Sotomayor as a racist was outrageous. Liberals and Democrats were justified in decrying it. And if they now agree that such political hate speech should have no place in public life, perhaps they will insist on apologies from those in their own ranks who have been guilty of comparable slanders.

Jacoby goes on to highlight times when, in their attacks on court nominees, Democrats were similarly outrageous.

In 1991, Clarence Thomas was slimed as a traitor to his race for having married a white woman, and as a mouthpiece for white supremacists. “If you gave Clarence Thomas a little flour on his face,” declared Carl Rowan, “you’d think you had David Duke talking.” Judge Charles Pickering, a longtime advocate of racial reconciliation, was defamed by Senator John Kerry in 2002 as a “forceful advocate for a cross-burner” and by Senator Charles Schumer for his “glaring racial insensitivity.”

Read the column here.

Few weapons of character-assassination are as abhorrent as the “racist” label falsely applied. Those angry when conservatives apply it to liberals should be equally scandalized when liberals apply it to conservatives. And, it should go without saying, vice versa.

One Response to “It’s Alright”

  1. 1 Brian

    Holding back against Sotomayor’s double bigotry would have done nothing to cause future restraint by the ordinary purveyors of “I spot a racist!” and “I spot a sexist” rhetoric. Deploying that charge against a new darling of liberals at least gives liberals an indirect taste of that rhetoric, which they perhaps had not realized is so bitter.

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