Is Pat Buchanan a 50s holdover? Or just really, really dim? In yet another harangue on the subject of Affirmative Action (or, for the knuckle-draggers in the crowd, "reverse discrimination"), good old Irish Pat went up against young upstart lesbian Rachel Maddow on her show on MSNBC. I think Rachel has him on sometimes just to get the extreme whacko viewpoint. They're friends, of course, but on TV, how could you tell?
While Ms. Sotomayor was having her legal abilities tested by some of the poor, downtrodden, rich white guys in the Senate Judiciary Committee, dear Pat was swiping at her from the sidelines. Quoting Ms. Sotomayor herself, who once said that she was an "affirmative action baby," this incensed dear Pat, because she took some poor, downtrodden, rich white guy's spot at Princeton (in the 70s!). And then got good grades (maybe better than dear Pat's). Her career after law school was a mixture of prosecution, corporate law and public service law in her home community of Brooklyn. She's had many years on the public bench.
Let us remind ourselves how things have "changed" over the last fifty years: In the early sixties, Black people had to prove they could read before they could vote in many southern states. Black people were routinely lynched in many southern states. Latinos were rarely allowed to get beyond "wetback" status in society at large. Even though Puerto Rico is considered a US Protectorate (and its citizens can pass to and from the US without a passport), folks from Puerto Rico won't be treated any better than the local Mexican, Honduran, or Salvadorean population.
Since then, Black people have finally been allowed to vote (unless you're in Florida or Ohio). And being Latino is not as much of a strike against you.
But people's minds don't change that easily. Rachel pointed out that, of the 110 jurists who have sat on the Supreme Court, 108 have been white or male. We've had two jurists who have been Black. And two that have been female. So far, no ethnic minority females (would that be too much, or what?). So what does this tell us? When we pick Supreme Court justices, why do we pick nothing but white guys? Could it be that white people tend to pick other white people, so as to be assured that the person they're picking is as much like they are as possible? And is this not normal, for the person in charge to pick someone who looks like him?
Pat pointed out that he opposed Harriet Miers on the grounds that (even though he suspected she'd vote exactly the way he'd want) she was horribly under qualified. I applaud him for that. Why didn't he say that John Roberts, current Chief Justice, wasn't qualified? He's younger than Sotomayor, and was only on the circuit bench for a couple of years before being nominated to the top post in the highest court in the land. In contrast, Sotomayor was on her local district bench in the early nineties and moved to a federal court bench in 1997. So if she's not qualified, how is he qualified?
The farther right (can you see that far? because I'm needing glasses) comes up with a wide variety of ethnic slurs and/or anti-feminist wackness (G. Gordon Liddy, that perennially law-abiding citizen, suggested that Sotomayor's PMS might be an issue). And I guess I have to say, if people who are paid to be listened to on the TV can't resist revealing what bigots and idiots they are, doesn't that mean that Affirmative Action is still necessary? Don't we need to keep ramming Blacks and Latinos and Indians and Chinese down the throats of these poor, downtrodden, rich white guys, until they either shut up - or evolve? I sure think we do.
I'm convinced that one day, dear Pat will either have an epiphany or apoplexy, and I really hope it's the former.