Thursday, July 16, 2009

BUCHANAN ON SOTOMAYOR (& OF THOMAS)

I rarely agree with Pat Buchanan, a former Nixon speechwriter, sometime Republican presidential candidate, and current television commentator—which is shorthand for saying that I never agree with him. But I do like to listen to him except when he is being rude in interrupting the person with whom he is paired to debate. He is smart man and worth attending; sometimes I learn something from him.

He has a past which can be fairly said to reveal a racist streak. But, in the case of Sonia Sotomayor, he is not racist; he is simply partisan, so partisan that he cannot avoid inconsistency. Just this week, he attacked Judge Sotomayor as being an “affirmative action baby." She is and admits to be such a beneficiary. Buchanan uses this fact to discredit her record of accomplishment as a student at Princeton and Yale, and as an editor of the Yale Law Review; and to imply that she was not qualified for the Supreme Court. He implies that she got her grades and her editorship because she was favored as a minority. He says nothing about her record as a prosecutor or, by virtue of two previous Senate confirmations, as a federal district or appellate judge.

Here’s the rub. Buchanan said nothing in criticism of Clarence Thomas, also an “affirmative action” beneficiary, appointed as such by George H. W. Bush to the Supreme Court, with no law review or judicial experience. Buchanan did not oppose him as an "affirmative action baby" unqualified to serve on the Supreme Court.

Why the inconsistency? Two reasons. One, Buchanan is a hard-core partisan. Two, Buchanan fears Sotomayor as another embodiment of the demographic change changing American from a white man’s preserve.

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