Supreme predicament for GOP
If Republicans will just keep pulverizing Sonia Sotomayor, they might well achieve a rare double fiasco for the Once-Grand Party - pursuing a doomed campaign against a highly qualified Supreme Court nominee and guaranteeing that Latinos will vote Democratic for the next 30 years.
Yes, they can!
And the Soto-bashers have been getting loud encouragement from the official party elders: Newt Gingrich (Racist!). Rush Limbaugh (Racist!). Karl Rove (Stupid!).
That same nasty rhetoric has been lighting up the phones this week on conservative talk radio, just as the build-a-wall-and-send-the-immigrants-home talk did last year and the year before.
And its proving every bit as alienating to the one growing group in America that Republicans actually had a chance with.
Hispanics.By now, most Americans - and almost all people with Spanish surnames - are aware of Sotomayors extraordinary bio and impressive accomplishments.
The childhood in a Bronx housing project with a hardworking single mother. The top grades at Princeton and Yale Law. The stints as a Manhattan DA and corporate lawyer. Her 16 years as a federal district and appellate court judge.
Theres also the political reality that Democrats have 59 votes in the Senate and probably will have 60 by the time this nomination is voted on.
So whats the explanation? Why fight a losing battle against an obviously qualified nominee? Why needlessly alienate a crucial voting bloc?
Habit and shortsightedness, mainly.
The people whove been guiding the Republican Party - the ones who lost the White House, the Senate and the House - keep falling back on some once-effective techniques: Forget about the middle. Play to the rigid conservatives in the Republican base.
Feed em guns, gays, religion and hostility to immigrants.
Between Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, that was enough to win some bare majorities.
But America has been changing, growing more diverse, and that divisive rhetoric isnt working like it did.
But it still fills the coffers of special-interest groups. And it still excites the base.
It may be yesterdays strategy. But until something new comes along, its todays strategy, too.