Just Like Old Times

G. Gordon Liddy used the “M” word. It’s like the past 40 years of feminist activism never happened. Of course, for Pat “that woman” Buchanan, they really didn’t happen.

You’d think there’d never been a woman on the Supreme Court before. The reactions to the nominations of Sandra Day O’Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg were genteel compared to what’s being thrown at Sonia Sotomayor. As I remember it, Ginsburg’s judicial record at the time of her nomination was, arguably, more “liberal” than Sotomayor’s is now. Certainly when Ginsburg was nominated plenty of conservatives spoke against her confirmation. But (as I remember it) most of those objections were about Ginsburg’s support of Roe v. Wade, not her potentially fluctuating female hormones.

And the way the wingnuts continue to call Sotomayor an “affirmative action” pick is downright hallucinatory. Get this bit of dialog between Bill Bennett and Fred Barnes:

BARNES: I think you can make the case that she’s one of those who has benefited from affirmative action over the years tremendously.

BENNETT: Yeah, well, maybe so. Did she get into Princeton on affirmative action, one wonders.

BARNES: One wonders.

Sotomayor was valedictorian of her high school class and went to Princeton on scholarship.

I doubt any of these same people called Clarence Thomas an “affirmative action pick,” although I found a biography of Thomas that says “Yale University Law School accepted Thomas through its affirmative action program.” To be fair, Thomas’s academic record was respectable enough that he would have been considered for admission regardless of race, I suspect. His academic record is less impressive than Sotomayor’s, however.

O’Connor’s nomination was a long time ago, and my memory of it is hazy. Being nominated by Ronald Reagan rather than a Democrat probably shielded her from the worst of what might have been thrown at the first woman nominee to the SCOTUS.

However, reactions from the Right to Sotomayor are so much more over the top than than they were to the nomination of Ginsburg, who is at least as liberal as Sotomayor, and I do wonder why. Tossing out some ideas —

  • Ginsburg is Jewish. Antisemitism really is a big no-no on much of the Right. Gotta support the state of Israel, you know.
  • Sotomayor is Latina. I think these days the Right is twitchier about Hispanics than they are about any other racial minority.
  • No leadership. There’s no authority on the Right who can order the worst of the hotheads to tone it down.
  • They’re out of power. Nothing fights harder than a wounded, cornered animal.

Anything else you can think of?

18 thoughts on “Just Like Old Times

  1. I guess Ginsberg came up after antisemitism went out of fashion on the right. I didn’t really notice the change until the W adminitration and the advance of the neocons. It was certainly a big feature in my relative youth, though. I think most of your suggestions are spot on and cover a lot of ground the ground.

    Liddy’s use of the M word shows a certain weird fascination with menstruation. Especially when it’s applied to a woman who is probably finished or near finished with that. Menopause just doesn’t trigger the psycho-sexual issues in the same way. In Liddy’s case I think it’s a personal problem, but one shared by a certain number of misogynists.

  2. They all have radio shows as well, or a have guest spots on the radio shows or on Fox. They can say literally anything, anything, and never be held responsible for it. Come on, Liddy has a radio show, in what sane country does that take place. The media cover it, we talk about it, but no one ever loses a job or s shamed into retirement because of what they say. When was the last time anyone resigned in protest or resigned in embarrassment? If there are really no consequences except losing elections, they will continue to say the most outrageous things. Buchanen’s on MSNBC for crying out loud. They trot him out like he’s an expert or something and allow him to continue to say racist/sexist/stupid stuff.

  3. Sotomayor is no liberal. Attacking her like a pack of rabid chihuahuas forces the left to defend her instead of questioning her ideology.

    BTW – she is very qualified in terms of her education and experience.

  4. Anything else you can think of?

    BuckyBlue kind of said it – the differences between Ginsburg and Sotomayer notwithstanding, the cultural context in which these two figures emerged has devolved considerably since Reagan. The right was just getting into its stride with St Ronnie, but now they’ve gotten so much worse. They’ve had twenty years to stew in their hatreds and say whatever vile crap they please, with so few strong voices to counter it. This difference between their treatment of the two women says much more about them than it does about the women in question.

  5. Money. The groups directing this, probably as a practice run for the next appointee, make a ton of money from these attacks. Money.

  6. What’s next? Accusations that she drives a ’67 Impala with rims, no muffler, leopard skin upholstery, and a bobble-head dog on the back window sill?

  7. I thinnk Buckyblue has hit upon a great deal of it. Radio shows that need to be as outrageous as possible while pandering to the predjudices of their troglodyte listeners. The only really appalling thing is how many listeners these people seem to have.

  8. Let’s not forget that G. Gordon Liddy is notorious for holding his hand in flames and eating rats, so it’s not like sober analysis is his stock-in-trade. Still, I’d expect that even he would realize that, although youngish for a Supreme, Judge Sotomayor seems a wee bit old for that particular concern to be an issue. (Actually, in view of his many charms, I suppose I can see why Liddy might not have much experience with female biology, but you’d think he might have at least read about it somewhere.)

    It was a little eerie to hear his comment though, as if I’d fallen through a time warp. But no, it is still 2009. So what was going on? Have ‘mad rat’ prions gotten to his brain, and made him forget that we’ve already had two women on the Court? No, I think it was just Liddy, trying as usual to be outrageous, rude and disgusting. (He did, after all, invent the shtick that Ann Coulter now uses.)

  9. Their insane wing was ascendent during the Clinton administration, and was tolerated because it helped the cause. They were placated to a degree during the last eight years, being able to start wars and torture people and all, but they took over the leadership and now that insanity needs an outlet and we hand them Sotomayor. There are a few rational Repubs out there who are stunned by all the venom, but they’re drowned out by the self-destructive raving lunatics. Add Buckyblue’s anything-goes-the-more-outrageous-the-better media outlets and corporate media’s addiction to “he said / she said” gives them voice. In better days, I like to think they would have been ignored.

  10. Liddy’s use of the M word shows a certain weird fascination with menstruation.

    During the first war against Iraq, I saw this graffiti (graffito?):

    War is menstruation envy.

    I don’t recall that G.G. Liddy ever fought in a war, unless he considers his Watergate days to be a kind of Army Rangers training for his invertebrate kind. So I’m thinking: Yep, envy.

  11. You missed one: she was nominated by a black man. And one who they don’t dare attack as racially inferior, even though that’s what they’re thinking. So they redirect that hatred at Sotomayor.

  12. You missed one: she was nominated by a black man. And one who they don’t dare attack as racially inferior, even though that’s what they’re thinking. So they redirect that hatred at Sotomayor.

    Yes, and to continue on this thought, she herself comes from a culture where racial mixing was the norm and defined the culture, and a culture where, OMG, English is not the first language.

    And, she was nominated by a Democratic President. Had she been nominated by a Republican President they would be defending her against the very minor complaints coming from the opposition party.

    You are dealing with wounded threatened rabid dogs. The only survival tool they know is attack. Its instinctive. Why else do they grow ever more rabid?

  13. “Ginsburg is Jewish. Antisemitism really is a big no-no on much of the Right. Gotta support the state of Israel, you know.”

    That’s rude and offensive and insinuating.

    I think the Republican culture back then, while it was verbally assaulting was nowhere near as savage as it’s become. I think they have tapped onto and brought out the worst of who America is. They have exposed the hate and ugliness of a lot of Americans that has always been lurking beneath the surface but didn’t feel comfortable expressing their bigotry. But now they feel it’s okay and it’s due to the media which is the single most contributor to this verbal slop. They allow this dialogue – in fact, they encourage these offensive feral goons by giving them a bull horn to shout out their vicious and cruel drivel.

    The GOP has tapped onto a whole lot of disempowered people (bankrupt and broke – monetarily and intellectually) and they’ve worked them up into a lather, riling them up and they feed off each other – and viola! Ratings.

    The conservative HATE MACHINE has a monopoly in the media and that’s why they’re ratings are so low because there are so many people who are getting their news off the internet.

    I blame the media for vomiting this sewage on the airwaves which has created this acceptable culture of assaulting people without any consequences.

  14. “That’s rude and offensive and insinuating.”

    Why? I thought it was one of the nicer things I’ve said about the Right for a long time.

  15. It’s because she’s latina. Ginsberg and OConner were not as forward or forceful as Sotomayor, but even if they were, they were white. Even if OConner had once said “a woman can make some decisions better than a man” well, that’s not gonna set off the Pat Buchanons of the world like Sotomayor. Latina? they’re supposed to be the cleaning women you pay under the table, not acting like your Betters…

  16. First, just remember that Liddy is about ten layers lower than pond scum.

    It seems that the above commenters have covered the gamut of theories; but, I want to add that these people (and I use the term loosely) have no sense of human decency and no manners. They are a disgrace to the human race.

    I believe the sexism is the gorilla in the room. Even under the racist remarks, their hatred for women simmered working up to a boil. And, yes, the media is a great contributer to this horrifying display of bad manners and inhumanity. If I had owned the station Trancredo was first on, I would have cut off his mike and told he would not be asked back ever again to comment. And, the same should have been done with the rest of the gang. But, I don’t own any media outlets.

  17. As Bill Maher said recently in a different context, they’re “terribly sexually repressed.”

    But, more to the point, Bonnie and other commenters are exactly right about the media. Where is the news anchor who will have the courage to stand up to these people? We could use an Edward R. Murrow about now. –Or, for that matter, a Joseph (“Have you no decency, sir?”) Welch.

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