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Morning Fix: Winners and Losers, Sotomayor Day Three



Judge Sonia Sotomayor endures a third day confirmation hearings. AP Photo by Charles Dharapak

Are we there yet?

Day three of the confirmation hearings for judge Sonia Sotomayor's nomination to the Supreme Court passed relatively uneventfully as Democrats -- with one notable exception -- largely threw softball questions at the nominee and Republicans rehashed ground that had been well tilled in the previous two days.

The Fix and Political Browser scribe -- and new father (!) -- Ben Pershing sat through the hearings and came up with our daily list of the winners and losers from the third day.

Agree or disagree with our picks? The comments section awaits.

WINNERS

Tom Coburn: The Oklahoma Republican is nothing if not genuine. He started his questioning on a strong note by apologizing to Sotomayor for the actions of pro-life protesters in the hearings; Coburn, who is pro-life, explained that understanding and love rather than condemnation was the path to changing hearts and minds). He then, as Ben notes, went on to hit all of the conservative high notes -- abortion, gun rights -- while bringing a fresh perspective (as a doctor) to the proceedings.

Al Franken: The most-watched question and answer session of day three of the Sotomayor hearings was when the most junior senator on the Judiciary Committee got his chance to interrogate the nominee. Franken was studied and serious -- he spent a good chunk of his time on the wonkish issue of net neutrality -- and yet also showed flashes of well-timed comedic charm, particularly when he brought up his admiration for "Perry Mason." A nice start for the junior senator from Minnesota.

1950s Television Shows: Who would have thought "Perry Mason" AND "I Love Lucy" would make appearances in the Senate? What's next? "Dragnet"? "Leave It To Beaver"?

LOSERS

Arlen Specter: Specter apparently forgot he had switched to the Democratic party a few months ago. He was irritable and challenging of Sotomayor -- often spending five minutes asking his question before allowing the judge 30 seconds of response time before interrupting her. Rep. Joe Sestak, who is planning to challenge Specter in next year's Democratic primary, has to be thrilled with the tone and tenor of the incumbent's questioning.

Sheldon Whitehouse: We had high hopes for Whitehouse in these hearings as many Democrats painted him as a rising star within their caucus. But, Whitehouse started off oddly -- the whole "goosebumps" episode -- and spent the entirety of his questioning immersed in the sort of legal jargon that makes even the most avid watchers of these hearings zone out.

Sweaters: For people, like the Fix, who have a tendency to perspire (heavily) for the entire summer in Washington, D.C., the news that the air conditioning had broken in the Judiciary Committee hearing room sent a chill (or a hot flash) down our spine.

Thursday's Fix Picks: All work and no exercise make the Fix's waistline grow.

1. SOS Clinton outlines her foreign policy vision.
2. Broder on the no-drama Sotomayor hearings.
3. Kelly Ayotte gets big endorsement in N.H. Senate race.
4. Specter hammers Sestak again.
5. Sanford heads out of town again.

RNC Raises $8+ Million in June: The Republican National Committee brought in $8.8 million in June alone and ended the month with nearly $24 million in the bank, according to a source familiar with the numbers. The June haul eclipses the $6.5 million the committee raised in June 2007 although it pales in comparison to the $26 million the RNC collected in June 2008. (That comparison, however, is inexact since last June was in the heart of the presidential race.) So far in 2009, the RNC has raised $46 million -- a strong showing given the current state of the party and the initial concerns surrounding RNC Chairman Michael Steele's ability to raise money. The question before the RNC is how they use their hefty cash on hand total to turn the party's fortunes around. An example: there will be a special election later this year in New York's 23rd district, which is being vacated by Rep. John McHugh (R). How much does the RNC spend to keep that seat in Republican hands?

Romney Fundraising Soars: Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney proved he is light years in front of his 2012 rivals in the fundraising game by collecting more than $1.6 million through his Free and Strong America PAC in the first six months of 2009, and spreading donations out to a variety of candidates and causes in critical states. Romney donated the maximum $6,800 to New Jersey Republican gubernatorial nominee and made a series of $5,000 donations to Bob McDonnell, Bill Bolling and Ken Cuccinelli who are running for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general in Virginia this fall. Romney also directed contributions to key 2012 states; he donated $5,000 to South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint and used his affiliated state PAC to give $10,000 to the New Hampshire Republican Party and $1,000 to Jeb Bradley, a former congressman who won a New Hampshire state Senate special election earlier this year. A dozen Republican members of the House received $1,000 contributions from Free and Strong America including Minority Whip Eric Cantor (Va.) and National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Pete Sessions (Texas). Romney ended June with $842,000 in the bank. The depth of Romney's fundraising coupled with the strategic smarts with which he doled the money out is evidence that he has never really stopped running for president following his primary loss to John McCain in 2008.

Romney has kept his political and fundraising teams largely in tact, and, in doing so, is setting a fast pace for the likes of Govs. Tim Pawlenty (Minn.), Sarah Palin (Alaska) and Haley Barbour (Miss.). None of that trio has nearly the advanced money and political network of Romney and, if they want to compete seriously in 2012, will need to build one quickly to go head to head with the former governor.

Rubio Still Running (For Now): Former Florida state House Speaker Marco Rubio has no immediate plans to end his Senate primary challenge to Gov. Charlie Crist, according to a spokesman for his campaign. "Speaker Rubio is an active candidate for U.S. Senate," said Alex Burgos, who noted Rubio will be campaigning in Miami today and Jacksonville on Friday. Sources familiar with the state's Republican politics suggest, however, that Rubio has been fielding calls urging him to consider a run for the open attorney general's job rather than pursue what looks increasingly like a quixotic challenge to Crist. Those calls almost certainly increased in the wake of financial reports covering the last three months that showed Crist bringing in $4.3 million to Rubio's $340,000. As we wrote recently, that massive fundraising disparity effectively ended the primary before it ever began. If Rubio does drop out of the Senate race, Crist becomes an even more prohibitive favorite to replace retiring Sen. Mel Martinez (R) next fall.

Click It!: As President Obama prepares to visit New Jersey today to boost the troubled reelection bid of Gov. Jon Corzine (D), Republican nominee Chris Christie has released a web video welcoming Obama to the Garden State: "Our state is in bad shape and people are hurting," says Christie in the video. "We need help." Web videos, especially one with the, shall we say, not-so-great production values of this one, are of limited value. But, Obama's appearance in the state and Christie's decision to pre-but that appearance are evidence that although the president won't be on the ballot this fall, he will still play a major role in the gubernatorial campaigns in New Jersey and Virginia.

Sink Inks Dunn: Florida CFO Alex Sink (D) has signed on Paul Dunn, a veteran of Florida politics, to run her 2010 bid for governor. Dunn spent the 2008 cycle as campaign manager for Rep. Suzanne Kosmas (D) who crushed former incumbent Tom Feeney (R) in Florida's 24th district. Earlier in the 2008 cycle, Dunn ran New Hampshire for former senator John Edwards's (N.C.) presidential campaign and has also done work for Sen. Claire McCaskill in Missouri. Polling shows Sink and state Attorney General Bill McCollum (R) running in something close to a dead heat in a race that is certain to draw national attention in 2010.

Say What?: "I am not an expert in marijuana growing." -- Judge Sonia Sotomayor making an important clarification during her testimony in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

By Chris Cillizza  |  July 16, 2009; 5:22 AM ET
Categories:  Morning Fix  
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Comments

Where is the conservative Supreme Court taking us? The World turned upside down.

GET THE FCTS BEHIND THE NEWS. The MOST important part of the recent Supreme Court drama was not discussed. The new Justice will be part of minority of four justices opposed to five conservative justices.

The original thought behind our constitution was to protect the individual against the excesses of a powerful govt. The present Court appears to have taken the opposite tack. It is deciding to protect large businesses and govt institutions against the clams of the citizens.

The Court is accomplishing this by a very narrow, interpretation of the law. It is also being accomplished by limiting citizens rights(called standing) to go to court to seek relief from what the citizen believes to be an injustice.

Some exmples-- in a recent case Lilly Ledbetter a supervisor at Goodyear Tire and Rubber sued her employer for paying her less than the male supervisors. The suit was filled under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. This Act prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.

Title VII requires that the complaint be filed within 180 days of the alleged discrimination. Since the 1960’s the Courts and the Equal Employment Commission had ruled that that the 180 days began every time the employee received an unequal paycheck.

The Supreme ruled that the 180 days began when the first unequal paycheck was received. In Ms .Ledbetter’s case this was 19 years earlier. Ms. Ledbetter had been underpaid for 19 years.

This is very unfair. Wages are a subject that is usually not discussed particularly when there is discrimination between employees, Secondly the Supreme Court’s interpretation means that if an employer discriminates for six months without getting caught they are exempt from future discrimination lawsuits for that individual. More examples to come.


Posted by: robtdi | July 19, 2009 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Sotomayor is a sexist and a racist.

For the person going after Senator John Kyl for pointing that out, you don't have a clue.

Posted by: scotash | July 18, 2009 4:14 PM | Report abuse

That photo is of Sonya laughing at Franken, not worn down from 'enduring' questioning. Guess you have to resort to disingenuous antics like this when your arguments are so shabby.

Posted by: jimneill | July 18, 2009 2:39 PM | Report abuse

I gotta stay away from that stuff, it makes me paranoid. Staring bug-eyed out the window waiting for the squad cars, y'know?

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 16, 2009 11:03 PM | Report abuse

to chrisfox8:

Oh, sorry if it sounds as if I'm over-reacting, but it's the middle of the night here and I couldn't sleep. Must be all the crack I shared with Jeff Sessions and Sonia after the hearings! ;-) (do I need to add that it's a joke?)

Posted by: sverigegrabb | July 16, 2009 10:50 PM | Report abuse

Sveri: I know you're good people, I was talking to the Lisa421 troll

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 16, 2009 10:35 PM | Report abuse

to chrisfox8:

What on earth do you mean? I have absolutely NOTHING against homosexuals! And, if it's true that Sen. Graham is gay, I commend him for not marrying some poor woman as a 'beard' to parade around in a loveless marriage!

I rarely like to get involved in personalities here, but what on earth have I ever said or done on this blog to 'alienate' ANYONE (other than perhaps K_o_Z or JakeD, perhaps)?

Posted by: sverigegrabb | July 16, 2009 9:57 PM | Report abuse

To sverigegrabb, I believe the insinuation is that Sen. Graham is a homosexual.

==

Maybe you can alienate him away too

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 16, 2009 8:08 PM | Report abuse

I think the damage to Latino support for the GOP was done just after the nomination.

Latinos went for McCain at about 33%, IIRC, and Latino GOP identification dropped to 8% when Tancredo and the rest of the d|ckheads sounded off.

I wonder what it's down to now.

But hey, the "base" is all nice and riled up.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 16, 2009 8:02 PM | Report abuse

Considering just how much damage these hearings seem to have done to Republican relations with minroties in general, the big winners are Democratic Candidates where the Latino vote is strong and potentially active. When you drive a voter into the other party, you have to find two more for your party just to make up the difference.

By the way, while the Ricky Ricardo act became a stereotype, apparently much of the schtick was just Desi Arnez being Desi Arnez. Ricky is never dumb, just maried to a true zany who might make anyone, of whatever intellectual attainment, lapse into the neighborhood dialect of his childhood. Frustrate SS enough and see if the Brooklynese begins to print through.

Posted by: ceflynline | July 16, 2009 7:53 PM | Report abuse

Welcome to the ideology of the early 1930's that led a bad recession into a Deep and Long Depression....

==

Actually the Depression was caused by Hoover's belief (maybe "faith" would be a more accurate word) in free market principles, in letting the "inefficient" companies fail so the "efficient" ones would bubble up to the top.

Hoover believed in the marketplace.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 16, 2009 7:53 PM | Report abuse

hey dbw I hope you're writing to the GOP and urging them to run on a platform of reducing wages as close to zero as possible. I'm sure that Joe Hourly Worker will cheer you on, delirious with excitement at enabling his employer to compete inna global marketplace. I mean, everyone knows that if workers can afford to eat three meals a day then something is WAY wrong and his future employment, such as it is, would be in jeopardy.

(slaps forehead)

what could I have been THINKING?!?

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 16, 2009 7:10 PM | Report abuse

"Step 1) we levy outrageously high tariffs on goods coming into our country to 'protect the turf' of American companies...and save a gabillion union jobs in the process, no doubt."

Whoa, a Republican a**wipe who sneers at labor organization. I am shocked.

Nothing wrong with tariffs. If some other country achieves lower prices through subsidies, lousy labor or environmental practices, we can re-level the field with a tariff. I'll take tariffs over free trade any day.

"Step 2) we jack up tax rates on any profits or income made overseas by American companies or wealthy individuals."

And why wouldn't we?

"Step 3) we impose high tax rates on the wealthiest Americans, because it will flood the Treasury with money for sure."

We could raise tax rates on the wealthy a lot and still come nowhere near what they were under that rabid Socialist Ronald Reagan. I think anything but a steeply progressive tax code is bad for democracy. I don't want people who haven't been elected able to use their prodigious wealth to control government. Why would you?

"Step 4) we guarantee high incomes for every poor old Joe Hourly Worker. Maybe $50k per year, minimum wage. Heck, I'm feeling generous...let's guarantee everyone will make $100k per year!"

Now you're gone from being ribaldly sarcastic to just plain stupid.

Welcome to the ideology of the early 1930's that led a bad recession into a Deep and Long Depression....

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 16, 2009 6:51 PM | Report abuse

To dbw1, I thought that your sarcasm was spot on.

Posted by: Lisa421 | July 16, 2009 6:40 PM | Report abuse

dbw: looks like sarcasm is the only arrow in your quiver. It gets a little old, since you don't pull it off very well.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 16, 2009 6:37 PM | Report abuse

To sverigegrabb, I believe the insinuation is that Sen. Graham is a homosexual.

Posted by: Lisa421 | July 16, 2009 6:33 PM | Report abuse

chrisfox8:

I would be glad to talk about the economics of investing overseas vs protectionism, if that's where you wanted to go with this.

You know, if what would really bring financial success to America is to punish people/companies who 'send their money overseas', how about this:
Step 1) we levy outrageously high tariffs on goods coming into our country to 'protect the turf' of American companies...and save a gabillion union jobs in the process, no doubt.
Step 2) we jack up tax rates on any profits or income made overseas by American companies or wealthy individuals.
Step 3) we impose high tax rates on the wealthiest Americans, because it will flood the Treasury with money for sure.
Step 4) we guarantee high incomes for every poor old Joe Hourly Worker. Maybe $50k per year, minimum wage. Heck, I'm feeling generous...let's guarantee everyone will make $100k per year!

Welcome to the ideology of the early 1930's that led a bad recession into a Deep and Long Depression....

Posted by: dbw1 | July 16, 2009 6:33 PM | Report abuse

chrisfox8:

Actually, "we" weren't talking about low-cost countries. In one post you leveled two laughable charges about how tax policy can't be thought of today like it was in the 1960's because 1) people didn't invest money overseas then, and 2) you accused Republicans of "laughing" when called to civic service.

I addressed the idiocy of both statements. Perhaps you didn't catch the sarcasm.

Posted by: dbw1 | July 16, 2009 6:25 PM | Report abuse

When you have some free time during your 'emeritus years' in Vietnam, do a little research on whether there is a link between political affiliations and how much time and money a person gives to charitable causes. Tell us what you find out.

==

You've abruptly changed the subject to charitable giving, when we were talking about investing the largesse of lower taxes in business, investing domestically instead of investing in "low cost countries."

I need to presume that you attempted this bait and switch because you know I'm right and you're wrong, and you're not a person capable of admitting that.

Hint: when did we start talking about "globalization?"

Hint: when did your heroes start indoctrinating Americans about "competing in the global marketplace?"

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 16, 2009 6:18 PM | Report abuse

chrisfox8:
"Back in JFKs time a president could issue a call to public service and to civic responsibility without being laughed at by every Republican in the country."

When you have some free time during your 'emeritus years' in Vietnam, do a little research on whether there is a link between political affiliations and how much time and money a person gives to charitable causes. Tell us what you find out.

The reason most conservatives don't need a call to "public service" is because they are already more likely to be doing it than their supposedly-more-compassionate liberal friends.

Posted by: dbw1 | July 16, 2009 6:05 PM | Report abuse

chrisfox8:

My bad, you're correct. I forgot that in the 1960's wealthy Americans never owned homes in other countries, or owned businesses that operated in other countries, or invested in foreign companies, or had money in foreign bank accounts. That's only a recent phenomenon, right?

Probably George Bush's fault, would be my guess.

Posted by: dbw1 | July 16, 2009 5:53 PM | Report abuse

What sort of fear-mongering, hateful, intolerant, insensitive-to-the-plight-of-the-poor politician would ever suggest LOWERING the top tax rates on the highest income earners in America in order to get the economy moving out of a recession?

==

Hey, newsflash, we're not in the 1960s, we're in the two thousand aughts.

Give the wealthy more money to play with and they will move it offshore, not invest in the American economy.

Back in JFKs time a president could issue a call to public service and to civic responsibility ("Ask not what your country can do for you ...") without being laughed at by every Republican in the country.

Now we're enouraged to look our for ourselves and to hell with the country; why would the wealthy invest here, with our pesky minimum wage and the straitjacket of environmental laws? They'll invest in India and China and in places where the foreman carry whips and guns.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 16, 2009 5:48 PM | Report abuse

You know, if you dream of living in a truly 'progressive' society where the government regulates every aspect of life, where 'evil private capitalists' are banished, where everyone gets the same health care regardless of income, you know such a utopia exists. Pack your crap and move to that world-leader that is Cuba for a taste of a true left-wing society.

==

Don't you get tired of dealing in these cartoonish caricatures? If you really believe this simpleminded crap that would go a long way to explaining your allegiances.

Anyway, it's not Cuba, it's Việt Nam. I already own the land, got one house and building another, and that's where I will live out my emeritus years when I go.

And I think Bush's nominees were a lot more into looking out for the privileged than in respecting the Constitution.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 16, 2009 5:43 PM | Report abuse

I wonder what this guy would do today if he were President, facing this economy, and were scratching his head over how to generate more tax revenue to offset potential astronomical deficits:

"It is increasingly clear that no matter what party is in power...an economy hampered by restrictive tax rates will never produce enough revenues to balance our budget just as it will never produce enough jobs or enough profits. In short, it is a paradoxical truth that tax rates are too high today and tax revenues are too low and the soundest way to raise revenues in the long run is to cut the rates now."

What sort of fear-mongering, hateful, intolerant, insensitive-to-the-plight-of-the-poor politician would ever suggest LOWERING the top tax rates on the highest income earners in America in order to get the economy moving out of a recession?

None other than that notorious facsist right-wing pig, John F. Kennedy.

Welcome New York to the return of 60% effective tax rates thanks to the Democrats in Congress.

Posted by: dbw1 | July 16, 2009 5:38 PM | Report abuse

'colburn will never be a winner does this writer belong to the FAMILY too.and graham has his eyes on ensigns ex chief of staff.'

donaldtucker:

Would you mind clarifying that remark about Sen. Graham, please? What does '...has his eyes on' mean?

Posted by: sverigegrabb | July 16, 2009 5:31 PM | Report abuse

To jeffw3:

I apologise for not clarifying my comment more clearly. In principle, you are completely right that one should transcend partisan lines.

However,

1.) These hearings can only be viewed through a partisan prism. What are they really but 'political kabuki'? If you've watched them, you can see that all the R. senators are grandstanding for their base--yes, some of their meanspiritedness is genuine, but any temperate responses (excluding Lindsay Graham's today), are largely uttered so as not to further alienate the Hispanic portion of the electorate.

2.) The Democrats, 95% of whom are falling over each other to kiss Judge Sotomayor's arse, are no better, NOR are Judge Sotomayor's excessively neutral responses.

3.) What I was getting at is that--regardless of how he winds up voting--Senator Specter is now a member of the Democratic party, and will be judged POLITICALLY by the tenor and tone of his questions.

And I continue to assert that he did himself no favours POLITICALLY by his 'performance' in these hearings in his upcoming DEMOCRATIC primary fight against Joe Sestak--particularly with a State electorate which will place the onus on Sen. Specter to prove his bona fides as a Democrat.

I wish the real--and grubby--world of politics were not as it is, but....

Posted by: sverigegrabb | July 16, 2009 5:25 PM | Report abuse

chrisfox8:

If Obama's nominees aren't 'left-wing' enough for you, then I suppose what qualified Bush's nominees as 'out-and-out yahoos' was that they, like, used the Constitution and stuff like that to make decisions?

You know, if you dream of living in a truly 'progressive' society where the government regulates every aspect of life, where 'evil private capitalists' are banished, where everyone gets the same health care regardless of income, you know such a utopia exists. Pack your crap and move to that world-leader that is Cuba for a taste of a true left-wing society.

Posted by: dbw1 | July 16, 2009 5:22 PM | Report abuse

Getting a little sick and tired of reading that Obama voted against Alito and Roberts and participated in filibusters against some of Bush's irresponsible appellate nominees.

Bush nominated two far-right justices to the SCOTUS, and they have proven far more activist in their rulings than anyone in memory. They've already done a lot of damage to American social policy and given their ages and their aggressive ideological outlooks, they will do a lot more.

Some of Bush's appellate nominees were out-and-out yahoos.

Obama and his Democratic colleagues were right to oppose them, just as decades ago the Democrats were right to block Robert Bork.

Yeah, elections matter, and Obama's election has given him a chance to get some responsible and centrist people into the courts. He's not nominating people far enough to the left for me, but Sotomayor isn't likely to come to the bench with a hit-list like Alito and Roberts.

Bush's nominees were irresponsible and extreme. Obama's aren't. let's stop pretending there's symmetry.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 16, 2009 4:15 PM | Report abuse

colburn will never be a winner does this writer belong to the FAMILY too.and graham has his eyes on ensigns ex chief of staff.

Posted by: donaldtucker | July 16, 2009 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Good Lord. They've got Fox News testifying.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | July 16, 2009 3:07 PM | Report abuse

I would disagree with the notion that there can or even should be no prism through which the senators question Judge Sotomayor. Indeed, she argued this very point that our experiences are going to affect how we consider facts presented to us. I expected tough questioning from the Republican senators. Theirs is now the roll of loyal opposition and they should fulfill it.

I agree with the notion that Specter shifting to a partisan cheerleader on the Dem side would be a terrible idea. If people think you might lack principles, the last thing you should remove all doubt. Specter hurt himself not by tough, but fair questioning, but by the approach he took. Rambling questions and not allowing the judge to respond. She received greater deference from the Republican senators.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | July 16, 2009 2:44 PM | Report abuse

There should be no "Democratic" prism. There should be no "Republican" prism. That fact that you and Mr. Cilliza maintain partisanship SHOULD motivate politicians is disgraceful.

==

Shouldn't be, but there is. The GOP is betting all its chips on blocking and obstructing Obama and hoping the voters see the slow pace of progress as Obama's fault. Four years ago it would have worked, now it won't. The GOP brand is too tarnished.

They don't even realize how they look.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 16, 2009 2:22 PM | Report abuse

sverigegrabb,

There should be no "Democratic" prism. There should be no "Republican" prism. That fact that you and Mr. Cilliza maintain partisanship SHOULD motivate politicians is disgraceful.

I'm certainly not disputing party lines drives American politics. Shouldn't we be lauding those few figures who transcend these barriers just as JFK did in "Profiles in Courage?" Or should the political system be a game where two teams struggle to win for themselves but not the greater good?

Posted by: jeffw3 | July 16, 2009 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Chris,

To start off on a note of humour: I had no idea that the air-con in the Judiciary Committee hearing room had given up the ghost! What utter torture: to have to sit through the soporific hearings and endure not only the heat produced by all those senatorial bloviations but to additionally have no air-con in a D.C. summer! As a fellow heavy perspirer (particularly the forehead, for which no anti-transpirants exist), I sympathise (dare I say 'empathise', or has that term become a no-no?).

I had mixed reactions to Sen. Coburn's questioning. That 'ricky ricardo'-moment was grossly reprehensible. Other than that, I agree that he was less confrontational than the other Rep. senators.

I also largely agree with your criticisms of Sen. Whitehouse, although I've noticed that he usually tends to be very temperate and 'deep' in his comments, and therefore not prone to newsworthy utterances, so I, for one, give him a pass.

Arlen Specter, on the other hand, was a disaster--you couldn't be more correct. It took him 5 mins. to extrude his impossible-to-follow questions, which indeed seemed to neglect the fundamental reality that he was now looking at the proceedings through a DEMOCRATIC prism. He'll need to remember that when he confronts Joe Sestak in the primary. As you so presciently wrote on Twitter, he did himself no favours yesterday--in fact, he may well have injured himself!

Posted by: sverigegrabb | July 16, 2009 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Let me toss in my chip too, calling Coburn a "winner" in this is disgraceful. He's a buffoon, tossing red meat to the stupid and nasty GOP base.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 16, 2009 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Why is Sen. Specter a loser? Democrats and Republicans owe the American public a thorough grilling of all nominees. Apparently, The Fix thinks doing one's job is a partisan issue. Shame on them.

The American public always the winner when partisanship is set aside and the truth is sought.

Posted by: jeffw3 | July 16, 2009 1:09 PM | Report abuse

@mstratas - Have you been listening? If so, what "improper English" has Coburn been using. I'll wait for you to consult the transcripts.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | July 16, 2009 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Cilizza, you are losing your mojo. Coburn was a winner? After these hearings, now we know why the Republicans lost and will continue to lose. They need to read up, learn proper English, do more critical thinking, logic and complex sentences. the Repubs seemed to have become like George Bush.

Posted by: mstratas | July 16, 2009 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Lindsay Graham is setting down an interesting marking on detainees. I think he'll be voting for Sotomayor.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | July 16, 2009 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Palin is in the news more than a leading nominee in the heat of a campaign. And all she's gotten from allllll that press is a measly million. Stop clutching at straws in front of everyone, Jake, it's really creepy

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 16, 2009 12:28 PM | Report abuse

I see that Mr. Cillizza has yet another thread up about Gov. Palin. The only new point I have is actually on-topic here: Romney may have raised more cash, but that was from only 750 of his closest friends, whereas Palin got over 11,000 individual donations in the same timeframe and she's not even trying. See you all tomorrow.

Posted by: JakeD | July 16, 2009 12:16 PM | Report abuse

My apologies to all. Coburn did say it yesterday (heard about it via email and didn't check the time info). That much said, Coburn just finished questioning her right now and is quite effective.

Arrgh. The Republicans are moving for a third round of questioning. This is like a 15 inning game.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | July 16, 2009 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Gov. Charley struck a deal with real estate developers. He signs a bill gutting Florida's land-use and anti-sprawl laws, especially those requiring developers to pay for roads. In return, the real estate industry guarrantees Charlie unlimited campaign funds.

Gov. Charlie will bury Rubbio. The Christian Right will be unable to save Rubbio, even Gov. Charlie has no problem with gay marriage. Gov. Charlie will run such an overpowering primary campaign that no one will know Rubbio is running.

Gov. Charlie will have at least a 2-to-1 funding advantage over ANY Democratic opponent. Again, he will swamp the airwaves with ads and leave any possible Democratic challenger in the dust.

That's the deal. Signed, sealed, and delivered.

Then Sen. Charlie will start working at the federal level to gut federal land-use laws. He'll smile, and Florida will kiss its wetlands goodbye.

Posted by: Garak | July 16, 2009 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Obama was declared a "loser" not winner -- at least his "judge's heart" standard was shot down.

Posted by: JakeD

==

You hang on tight to little straws like that, Jake.

Long eight years ahead.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 16, 2009 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Stare = State (darn Spellchecker ; )

Posted by: JakeD | July 16, 2009 11:57 AM | Report abuse

WASHINGTON – The number of U.S. households on the verge of losing their homes soared by nearly 15 percent in the first half of the year as more people lost their jobs and were unable to pay their monthly mortgage bills.'

the economic conditions created by 8 years of republican rule are going to take more than 6 months to repair, and everyone except th e mentally impaired understand this.

Posted by: drindl | July 16, 2009 11:57 AM | Report abuse

SWB2 wrote: "King_of_Zouk has almost turned me into a Republican. When I think about the fact that he is clearly unemployed and living off one government entitlement or another, I want to cut off the spigot."

THIS.

Posted by: Ken_Davis1 | July 16, 2009 11:54 AM | Report abuse

WASHINGTON – The number of U.S. households on the verge of losing their homes soared by nearly 15 percent in the first half of the year as more people lost their jobs and were unable to pay their monthly mortgage bills.

the perils of Lib economics at work.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | July 16, 2009 11:50 AM | Report abuse

JakeD asks "does anyone think that Stare budget gaps should be filled with marijuana "fees"?"


I think you should smoke a bowl and lighten up. Or light up and smoke a bowl. Or something like that. Anyone else in the mood for some pizza?

Posted by: bsimon1 | July 16, 2009 11:42 AM | Report abuse

John Kyl = Racist Loser.

As an Arizona attorney his performance was an embarrassment. What a maroon, Arizona hispanics will be out in droves voting against this jerk.

Posted by: anarcho-liberal-tarian | July 16, 2009 11:41 AM | Report abuse

off topic: does anyone think that Stare budget gaps should be filled with marijuana "fees"?

Posted by: JakeD | July 16, 2009 11:34 AM | Report abuse

"Double Standard for Sotomayor?
07/16 8:10AM --

The three-column headline across the top of the front page of this morning's Washington Post: "Sotomayor Avoids Pointed Queries" "Supreme Court Nominee Is Elusive About Abortion and Other Issues." But read down to the story's tenth paragraph (which appears over on page A6) and you'll learn that there is no news here: "In not allowing senators to pin her down on concrete matters of law, Sotomayor, 55, borrowed an approach that has been used by most nominees to the nation's highest court . . . . Like her, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., at their confirmation hearings in 2005 and 2006, respectively, said they could not address many of the questions senators raised because they involved areas of the law that were settled -- or on which they might be asked to rule in the future."

Andrew Pincus, appellate litigator at Mayer Brown LLP in Washington who has argued 19 cases in the Supreme Court. He also is co-director of the Yale Law School Supreme Court Clinic.

http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/live/sotomayor/#279854

Posted by: drindl | July 16, 2009 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Sen. Teddy Kennedy accused Reagan nominee Robert Bork of trying to murder women, segregate blacks, institute a police state and censor speech -- everything short of driving a woman into a lake! -- within an hour of Reagan's announcing Bork's nomination.

To defend "the right to privacy," liberals investigated Bork's video rentals. (Alfred Hitchcock, the Marx Brothers' movies and "Ruthless People" -- the last one supposedly a primer for dealing with the Democrats.)

Liberals unleashed scorned woman Anita Hill against Clarence Thomas in the 11th hour of his hearings to accuse him of sexual harassment -- charges that were believed by no one who knew both Thomas and Hill, or by the vast majority of Americans watching the hearings.

But when the tables were turned and Bill Clinton nominated left-wing extremist/ACLU lawyer Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Republicans lavished her with praise and voted overwhelmingly to confirm her, in a 96-to-3 vote. (Poor Ruth. If Sotomayor is confirmed, Ginsburg will no longer be known as "the hot one in the robe.")

The next Clinton nominee, Stephen Breyer, was also treated gallantly -- no video rental records or perjurious testimony was adduced against him -- and confirmed in an 87-to-9 vote.

As Mrs. Sam Alito can attest, the magnanimity was not returned to Bush's Supreme Court nominees. She was driven from the hearings in tears by the Democrats' vicious attacks on her husband's character. The great "uniter" Barack Obama voted against both nominees.

Even Justice Ginsburg recently remarked to The New York Times that her and Justice Breyer's hearings were "unusual" in how "civil" they were.

Hmmm, why might that be?

To the extent that the Sotomayor hearings have been less than civil, it is, again, liberals who have made it so, launching personal attacks against the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee, Sen. Jeff Sessions, and even the fireman whose complaint started the Ricci case.

But it was a nice speech.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | July 16, 2009 11:32 AM | Report abuse

The reason the Psycho Von Limbaugh crowd keeps asking the same dumb question is because they are too stupid to understand the first time.
No wonder President Obama does his fancy footwork dance around the idiots, and still gets his way. Has anyone told the idiots they lost?

Posted by: analyst72 | July 16, 2009 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Recall, please, the outrage liberals voiced at Bush administration deficits running to hundreds of billions of dollars. One might have thought they were born-again free-marketeers. Hardly. The deficit is going to come in at oh about $1.9 trillion for this fiscal year - courtesy of Obama, Pelosi, & Co. And the leftist silence about it all just screams.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | July 16, 2009 11:30 AM | Report abuse

From the left wing echo chamber: a commendation of Sen. Graham. I am surprised and pleased, although his comment that the 'courts have moved away from their proper role,' is disingenious at best:


"Senator Graham seems to begin to lay the groundwork for a vote in favor of the nominee. He first says he wants to make sure that the nominee understands the difference between the role of the courts and the role of the political branches. Judge Sotomayor says she understands the Constitution. Graham says that he believes that the courts have moved away from their proper role, and that is why the left and right fight so much over these nominations.

He returns to the Second Amendment and the question whether the rights it protects will be found "fundamental" and therefore apply to the states. "What binds you" in making that decision, Graham asks. "The rule of law," she replies. But won't your decision just be based on your opinion of the importance of the right, he responds. No, says the nominee, fundamental is "a legal term" that is given content by the Court's precedents evaluating whether other constitutional rights met the "fundamental" standard. It is not a subjective judgment. Those precedents would govern the decision, she says.

Graham then says that he believes Judge Sotomayor is "able to embrace a right that you do not want for yourself. . . that is what makes you more acceptable as a judge"; she is not an "activist" who is "looking to impose her view of life on the rest of us." He concludes, "you are broadminded enough to understand that America is bigger than the Bronx and bigger than South Carolina."

Graham points out that former Solicitor General and federal appellate judge Ken Starr has sent a letter supporting Judge Sotomayor.

Finally, he returns to the "wise Latina" comment, asking "to those who may be bothered, what do you say"? She responds: "I believe that my life demonstrates it was not my intent to leave the impression that some have taken from my words."

"You know what judge," Senator Graham says, "I agree."

Posted by: drindl | July 16, 2009 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Oh, the things Congress has done and left undone. By raising the minimum wage, effective July 24, from $6.55 to $7.25 an hour, it will exacerbate teenage unemployment (in June, 24 percent for teenagers overall - and 38 percent for teenage African-Americans).

can our congress be any more short-sighted and stupid than when led by morons and ombeciles like Peloony and Reid?

Posted by: king_of_zouk | July 16, 2009 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Column -- On Faith

PROFESSOR, CHICAGO THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY
Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite
Former president of Chicago Theological Seminary (1998-2008),

This is the same week where the American people have been treated to the unseemly spectacle of conservative politicians using "racism" as a club to beat up Judge Sonia Sotomayor, the first Hispanic American woman nominated to the United States Supreme Court. These attacks on her, as illustrated but not limited to Senator Sessions' remarks, illustrate that her questioners have no insight into their own racial formation, and deformation, in a white-dominant American society.

Posted by: drindl | July 16, 2009 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Senator Spector raised an issue which showed some interesting true colors of SS - the interesting thing is Sepctor missed an opportunity to show her hypocracy

In the EPA decision SS found best technology over cost effectiveness was the law - the Supremes reveresed her

But then when it served her purposes she stated she would have to see the cost effectiveness in having her clerks review all Pets for Cert, as opposed to being part of the Cert Pool.

Okay which is it? Because for me when someone is willing to spend the money to apply for Cert they should at least be afforded the respect of having each justice read their Petition. These Petitions are not long - in fact they are normally very short.

Spector raised another issue - I think he said 1886 the court issued 451 opinions - in 2007 it was maybe 67 opinions.

I give a lot of credit to Scalia for speaking to the issue of the growing number of splits between the circuits - your know the average Joe can go to jail or go bankrupt over a law - a law which in a different circut could mean a different result

Do we the people not deserve better than a SCOTUS too lazy to do its job - maybe it is time Congress mandate the SCOTUS resolve all split circuit decisions.

Somehow I think the press is going to miss this entire discussion so important to the American people and their rights.

I did not know Alito has opted out of the Cert pool - good for Alito - my hats off to Associate Justice Alito.

Bobby Wightman-Cervantes

Posted by: bobbywc | July 16, 2009 11:22 AM | Report abuse

swb2 -- it's the general consensus here he's instituionalized and spends all his time in the day room typing.

Posted by: drindl | July 16, 2009 11:21 AM | Report abuse

FarlingtonBlade writes
"Unless I'm mistaken, Coburn's 'splaining reference came during his opening statement."

It was yesterday during the back 'n forth between the Senator and the Judge. They were talking about the 2nd Amendment & self defense. Her honor explained that shooting in self defense is different from (hypothetically) her going home to retrieve a piece and returning to shoot Sen Coburn; his response was, should she do such a thing, she would "have a lot of 'splaining to do."

In summary, apparently the bad ricky ricardo imitation is high drama, but hypothetically blasting a couple holes in a Senator is not cause for criticism, or even taking note. This brouhaha is high drama about nothing; the left wing echo chamber is overreacting in their zeal to cast every utterance of Sessions et al as indication of their alleged fear of all things brown or broad.

Posted by: bsimon1 | July 16, 2009 11:21 AM | Report abuse

I think zouk is living off his mom, actually.

Posted by: nodebris | July 16, 2009 11:19 AM | Report abuse

King_of_Zouk has almost turned me into a Republican. When I think about the fact that he is clearly unemployed and living off one government entitlement or another, I want to cut off the spigot.

Posted by: SWB2 | July 16, 2009 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Any Senator may vote against any nominee they wish for whatever reason they wish. They need justify themselves only to their own constituents. That's the point of being a Senator.

Whether it is wise for them to do so is another question.

Obama became president and led his party to control of Congress after voting against two conservative nominees. If a conservative Senator thinks it would benefit his party to vote against Sotomayor, I assume he or she will vote that way.

Personally, I rather doubt that they will reap the same benefit Obama did.

Posted by: nodebris | July 16, 2009 11:15 AM | Report abuse

A Real Curve for White Sox Fans
Matthew May

So the President of the United States cannot throw a baseball with any sort of velocity or modicum of athletic grace. So what? He is at best an average basketball player, but it's easy to look great when you aren't being guarded.


Certainly it would be gravy for baseball fans if all of our chiefs were able to duplicate what George W. Bush did at Yankee Stadium during the 2001 World Series. It would be lovely if they could fondly reminisce about their own days in the sandlots fielding grounders and trading baseball cards, dreaming of making The Show. But not every president is the same and that is just fine.


Yet this president happens to be a dissembling charlatan and his awkward, cringe-inducing traits were on full display once again. The White House obviously had a metaphorical gun pointed at the Fox Sports camera crew, making sure their man was not embarrassed by what would have been a bouncer to the plate -- which Albert Pujols happened to be stationed upon and not behind. It had to have been the only ceremonial first pitch ever filmed as if the camera were a fan wedged uncomfortably in between two fat guys in the stands squabbling over nachos, unable and unwilling to make any sudden movements. But the overprotection of President Obama sure made a contrast between President Bush taking Yankee captain Derek Jeter up on the latter's admonition to throw the aforementioned ceremonial pitch on the mound and not in front of it.


The biggest howler of the evening (aside from the unfunny quip about the government being "out of money") came when sycophants-in-training Joe Buck and Tim McCarver began asking the president about his allegiance to the Chicago White Sox vis-à-vis the Cubs. President Obama with, presumably a straight face, and still sporting his White Sox warm-up pleaded that he wasn't "one of these Sox fans" who despises the Cubs, that he actually likes the Cubs.


Any real baseball fan's immediate reaction should have been "Then you aren't a real Sox fan."

He may wish to brush up on the former name of where his beloved Sox play, though - it used to be Comiskey Park, not "Cominskey Field" as he told Bob Costas.


Really, it does not matter in the long run if our president is neither an exceptional athlete nor even a casual fan of some team in his adopted hometown. But be up front about it; don't try cheap tricks using a compliant media and assume prominent residence in a group with which you are unfamiliar and attempt to relate. It stinks of emptiness and desperation.


Actually, it just stinks.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | July 16, 2009 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Using the same exact bar set by then-SENATOR Obama, every Republican would be justified voting against Stotomayor. Who knows, maybe he learned something since then and Kmiec's gamble will pay off if there's a conservative seat open.

Posted by: JakeD | July 16, 2009 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Unless I'm mistaken, Coburn's 'splaining reference came during his opening statement. That's on DAY ONE folks. You may have failed to notice this post was about Day 3. I listened to some of Coburn and Franken's questioning yesterday. Both seemed reasonable from their perspectives.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | July 16, 2009 11:07 AM | Report abuse

'Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), a member of the Judiciary Committee, was a featured guest at a Georgetown fundraiser for the Committee for Justice in 2003. According to the New York Times, the event raised at least $50,000 for the right-wing group that is responsible for the recent Sotomayor slime piece.

The attack ad makes the claim that Judge Sonia Sotomayor “led a group supporting violent Puerto Rican terrorists.” It attempts to link Sotomayor to “Obama’s buddy Bill Ayers, the unrepentant terrorist who bombed American buildings in the seventies.”

The right-wing group also has other ties to GOP Senators. CFJ’s Chairman of the Board worked on John McCain’s presidential campaign as a “Director of Conservative Outreach.” In 2003, a CFJ ad led Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) to characterize CFJ as a “partisan hate group.” In response, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) defended CFJ and its ad on the Senate floor:

There has been an awful lot of railing about this ad by the Committee for Justice. It has a courthouse chambers with a little sign on it, and the sign says ‘Catholics need not apply.’ Isn’t this a legitimate commentary on how people feel about what is happening here? You can agree or disagree, and say it is not a really an accurate statement if you want to. I say it is legitimate commentary.

Are Sessions, Hatch, and their conservative colleagues still willing to defend the Committee for Justice and argue that it is “legitimate commentary” to imply Sotomayor is a terrorist?'

Posted by: drindl | July 16, 2009 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Poor Messiah, his weakness and fluff revealed for all.

Allah at Hot Air points out he's down 9 points in a month with the all important independents dropping the president like yesterday's dead fish:


Net approval: Down 15 points since June. Net who say they'd vote to reelect The One rather than vote for someone else: A measly +3, down 13 points. Number who say they're confident the stimulus will turn the economy around: 39 percent, also down 13 points. And the number who say the country's "seriously off on the wrong track": 55 percent, up 13 points.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | July 16, 2009 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Obama's Head Full of Academic Yada Yada
Clarice Feldman

Obama is a symbol of everything wrong in higher education today:He has graduated Columbia and Harvard Law School with a head full of a fluff, no substance. He throws around words that are in vogue among the academicians, but it is clear that he (and probably they) have no notion of what they mean. Even Democrat Mickey Kaus catches on today that Obama doesn't know what he's talking about when he's talking about his own health plan.

Professor Ann Althouse made a similar observation yesterday re Sotomayor and Obama's use of "empathy".

I recall that in the soft courses to get an "A" you really had to come up with an outre take on stuff that had been studied from the beginning of time. Smart kids knew that was because professors liked to be able to read something new in stacks of blue books to keep from falling asleep -- they did not take this nonsense seriously. Apparently, Obama does.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | July 16, 2009 11:02 AM | Report abuse

highest unemployment by state:

State Rate
51 MICHIGAN 9.6
50 RHODE ISLAND 9.3
48 CALIFORNIA 8.4
48 SOUTH CAROLINA 8.4
47 OREGON 8.1
45 DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 8
45 NEVADA 8
44 NORTH CAROLINA 7.9
43 GEORGIA 7.5
39 ALASKA 7.3
39 FLORIDA 7.3
39 ILLINOIS

Posted by: drindl | July 16, 2009 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Think what you want about George W. Bush, but he did do this: he saved us from a Gore Presidency. Is there a greater smelly stew of vanity, vacuity, ignorance, arrogance, and hubris in Washington than Albert Gore Jr.? This spoiled man-child of a wealthy racist senator, after having lost -- several times, in fact! -- his presidential bid in 2000, proceeded to collect a Nobel Prize (Or was it the Stalin Prize?) for elevating the cartoon show science of global warming into something otherwise serious people actually ponder ("No, we couldn't possibly build a missile shield to keep Kim Jong Il from nuking Seoul or President Haman of Iran from turning Tel Aviv into radioactive wastes, but we can stop the cyclical changes in planetary temperature.")


Now he makes one of those tiresome "analogies" that so enchant the Left. The campaign to halt global warming is the "moral equivalent" of our fight against the Nazis in the Second World War. At the risk of stating the stunningly obvious, no it is not. The Nazis constructed deliberate policies intended to murder tens of millions of innocent people and to enslave hundreds of millions more. They developed weapon systems, like nerve gas, "Vengeance" missiles, and Blitzkrieg to stampede people into irrational, terrified, chaotic mistakes. The strategy of Nazism was a combination of terror and deception.


Wait a minute! Maybe Al is onto something after all! The Stormtroopers of the Global Warming Party do not want to "discuss" whether the planet is warming or cooling or whether the process is natural or man made. Their "science" is just as immutable and absolute as, say, the Aryan Science of the Nazis or the weird genetic theories of Lysenko in Stalinist Russia. That is to say, the science of global warming is driven exclusively by political ideology -- intolerant political ideology.


The consequences of implementing Al's version of "Aryan science" would inconvenience greatly Americans and Europeans, a price that a rich chubby old man like Al is willing for us to make, but in those other parts of the world, the implementation of his "Aryan science" would have effects at least as deadly as Frau Carson's "science" which led to banning DDT (i.e. a few dozen million or so non-Aryans died.)
Silent Spring led directly to an explosion of malaria in the Third World and the deaths of countless children. Global Warming Hoaxology would lead to a dramatic downturn -- a carefully calculated downturn -- in the global economy. What that means is to please Al Gore's dubious aesthetic and his party-line science, many innocent poor people -- people "in the way," so to speak -- will have to be reduced. Call it the "liquidation of the Kulak Class" or call it the "Final Solution to..." (The Nazis had more than one ghastly "Final Solution" in the works.)

Posted by: king_of_zouk | July 16, 2009 11:00 AM | Report abuse

History repeats.

Jimmy Carter's Most Pathetic Moment: 30 Years to the Day

Today is the 30th anniversary of President Carter's "malaise" speech. Gordon Stewart, Carter's deputy chief speechwriter, has had published on today's Times' op-ed page a pathetic piece in praise of his boss and his boss' spoken words.

There is also pathos in the description of the speechwriting process. Here's just what one instance of how the Carter (and presumably also some of his staff) collected ideas: "Some 130 V.I.P.'s from Gov. Bill Clinton to Walter Cronkite were shuttled in and out of Camp David to offer their advice on what he should tell that nation. The great and wise talked and talked and the president took careful notes..."

Another quote: "Eventually, we had to insist that all the principals gather around a very long table until they reached agreement."

This is embarrassing enough.

But the speechwriter is still puzzled by why the populace never stopped knowing the address as the "malaise speech."

It was not only that there was no gasoline. Or that interest rates and unemployment rates were very high. (Remember, if you're old enough, the "pain index.")

A catastrophe had also befallen American foreign policy. The shah had fallen and been replaced by the regime of the ayatollahs. But, just before that, at a New Year's Eve party in Tehran, the president did such a suck-up toast to the incumbent of the peacock throne that even his allies in the C.I.A. and at State blushed deep red.

The regime of the ayatollahs is still in power.

And President Carter's very visage inexorably reminds of the holy bearded one whose epigones are still torturing their young and threatening the rest of us with nuclear weapons.


Posted by: king_of_zouk | July 16, 2009 10:56 AM | Report abuse

"Putting Coburn on the winner's list is an error.

He provided a hypothetical (in which Coburn was himself pregnant) and then asked Judge Sotomayor to issue an instant ruling. Bizarre.

The 's'plaining' remark was cringe-inducing, not praise-worthy."

Earlier poster is correct. Coburn's 'question' was an obvious bit of rightwing dogwhistle politics. Imagine, he says, that he is 38 weeks pregnant, which as we all know is easily viable. Should he be allowed to 'terminate' his child's life? Puhleeze. Other than the absurdity of using hmself as an example, he chose an extreme position -- that of an ovbiously viable fetus -- to gin up violent feelings among abortion supporters.

Posted by: drindl | July 16, 2009 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Which state has the highest unemployment?

Oregon.

Which state has the highest minimum wage?

Oregon.

Lins never figure out economic marginal cause and effect.

Next up, the job killing mandatory health scare boondoggle.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | July 16, 2009 10:52 AM | Report abuse

esch:

If David Duke were the nominee last time around, you think the Dems would have been fine with that?

Posted by: JakeD | July 16, 2009 10:51 AM | Report abuse

No Joke: Senator Al Franken
didn't have any real questions to ask
so he asked Judge Sotomayor about Perry Mason.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | July 16, 2009 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Tom Coburn a winner? This column gets to be a bigger rightwng joke all the time.

Posted by: drindl | July 16, 2009 10:45 AM | Report abuse

I just very much enjoyed Senator Graham's handling of SS. He closed in a professional manner and made me think - maybe the most we can get out of these hearing is a hope SS considers the concerns of all Americans as expressed through their Senators.

I was blown away by Graham's acceptance of the 9th circuits analysis of when a right is fundamental - it has some very broad implications well beyond the right to have a gun.

I just hope SS takes from these hearings a sense of Americas frustrations and consideres these frustrations in her rulings and how she handles the lawyers and parties while before the Supreme Court

Bobby Wightman-Cervantes

Posted by: bobbywc | July 16, 2009 10:40 AM | Report abuse

The only thing the Republicans have shown me is that they did not learn anything from their losses in November. They are well on their way to losing again. Judge Satomayor is the best they can hope for from this administration. They should support her as adding diversity to the Court.

Posted by: esch | July 16, 2009 10:31 AM | Report abuse

bsimon!, I think the worst thing a senator can do in a hearing like this is not give the witness ample time to answer the question. Sessions and Coburn were ardent in their views and addressed their fears in their questions - but they gave SS ample time to reply. In so doing I do not think they were outside the bounds of respectful examination.

Every senator should be attempting to find out something from her. As several persons have intimated, post-Bork the script for nominees is pre-ordained to "give" little. Still, a question about the unitary executive should elicit a reply that praises Jackson's formulation in "Youngstown Steel". If it does not, then we have learned that the nominee is either untutored in constitutional law or does not understand the limits of executive power. Questions
can be framed that will be revealing. Usually they are not, unfortunately.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | July 16, 2009 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Franken's line of questioning shows his true lack of understanding of the law and the function of the Court. Asking the Judge to declare that the mere possibility of a threat to free speech outweighs any other equally legitimate right is ridiculous. The fact that Franken chose to question the judge about net neutrality is scary -- there are dozens of other issues that the court will actually deal with in the next few years -- yet he focuses on hypothetical first amendment violations.

Posted by: the_dude2 | July 16, 2009 10:11 AM | Report abuse

mark_in_austin writes
"Am I the only Fixista who remembers that both JB and TK used so much of their question time with Roberts to bluster that no answer time remained?"


You are not. But would it be fair to characterize the JB & TK monologues in the same category as the Coburn & Sessions browbeating: acts of frustration in knowing that the candidate is not one they want to let past, but there's not a damn thing they can do about it?

Posted by: bsimon1 | July 16, 2009 10:02 AM | Report abuse

"Am I the only Fixista who remembers that both JB and TK used so much of their question time with Roberts to bluster that no answer time remained? For those of you who do not know, I supported JB for the D nomination despite his ungracious performance on the SjC, btw, not because of it."

I mentioned the other day that recent hearings (Roberts, Alito and Sotomayor)have devolved into posturing and grandstanding exercises. These accomplish nothing. As another poster pointed out, this behaviour does us all a disservice. Instead of getting intelligent discussion, we get party soundbites. It's very boring and condescending.

Posted by: RickJ | July 16, 2009 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Boring.

And duh, yeah, Franken's a very smart guy.

Posted by: nodebris | July 16, 2009 9:59 AM | Report abuse

On Franken; firstly the Perry Mason thing was a response of sorts to the comment made by Judge Sotomayor during Sen Klobuchar's questioning. Franken didn't initiate it, he followed up on earlier references. Still a bit silly, in my view, but he doesn't deserve all the blame for raising the subject.

Regarding the Fix's labelling of Sen Franken as a 'winner', local to MN blogger/newsman Bob Collins argues the opposite side:

http://minnesota.publicradio.org/collections/special/columns/news_cut/archive/2009/07/live-blogging_franken_question.shtml

As I posted there, I don't know that his performance was that dismal & was certainly an improvement on Monday's debut.

Posted by: bsimon1 | July 16, 2009 9:54 AM | Report abuse

'Sup with the picture Chris?

Makes it look like Sotomayor is saying:

"Yes, yes, yes, it's true dammit, I'm a WISE LATINA, and I'm better than the freakin' lot of you!!!"

("Except Al Franken.")

Posted by: Bondosan | July 16, 2009 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Margaret, I apologize for singling you out - I had not seen your 9:40A post. I should add that SDO'C and Rehnquist and Souter were all better lawyers than the SJC, too.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | July 16, 2009 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Am I the only Fixista who remembers that both JB and TK
used so much of their question time with Roberts to bluster that no answer time remained? For those of you who do not know, I supported JB for the D nomination despite his ungracious performance on the SjC, btw, not because of it.

As these hearings go, this one has been a model of propriety. The temperament questions had been raised by lawyers in the SDNY:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/29/us/politics/29judge.html?_r=3

and were properly raised by LG.

All of the Senators save Specter are giving SS ample time to answer. Margaret, Specter's questions were serious and different than the others. But he IS Specter. See:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/07/15/AR2009071503887.html?sid=ST2009071501683
wherein Specter says the last time he got straight answers was from SDO'C.

SS is incapable of being badgered and is a better lawyer than the entire SJC - which was true of Roberts, Alito, RBG, Breyer, and Scalia, as well. There is no drama here except the aforementioned HVAC malfunction.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | July 16, 2009 9:50 AM | Report abuse

I went back and read Specter's questions and I am going to take back my statement that he didn't cover new territory. He did, and if you look beyond his crankiness he was commenting on legitimate concerns on really big issues.

And I have to agree with him about his frustration with the way these hearings have devolved in the past 10 or 15 years: the candidate for SCOTUS is hardly heard from, while the Senators on the committee are heard from too much. Instead of trying to get her to speculate about future decisions she might make (because she won't speculate) the Senators need to stick to her record and get off their own political agendas.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | July 16, 2009 9:40 AM | Report abuse

"I didn't hear the Senator Franken "Perry Mason" exchange; did that occur before Senator Coburn's time? If so, perhaps ancient TV shows were in the air?"

---

Senator Franken, being the most junior senator on the committee, went last. His Perry Mason question was at the end of his questioning, and essentially wrapped up questioning for the day.

Posted by: VTDuffman | July 16, 2009 9:37 AM | Report abuse

In anticipation of the topic coming up again, fivethiryeight has an interesting article that relates to "judicial activism": http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/2009/07/conservative-activist-judge-is-not.html

Posted by: Kili | July 16, 2009 9:37 AM | Report abuse

Losers - hands down the American people. These hearings are a disgrace. There are huge problems facing our nation that need to be dealt with seriously because they will effect the fate our children and our way of life. This Senatorial posturing and partisanship as usual insults us and shows contempt for the people they are supposed to represent.

Posted by: maddymappo | July 16, 2009 9:28 AM | Report abuse

Tom Coburn was effective. I was impressed with his ability to draw Judge Sotomayor into a hypothetical.

Ricky Ricardo was a cultural icon - all that great music! And, while Desi Arnaz's character relied on stereotypes, so did Lucille Ball's character. He was no Bill Dana (who created the "Jose Jiminez" character that he later repudiated).

I didn't hear the Senator Franken "Perry Mason" exchange; did that occur before Senator Coburn's time? If so, perhaps ancient TV shows were in the air?

This just feels to me to be the Left trying to find their own "Wise Latina" phrase - something to grab onto that, in fact, has no real importance.


Posted by: Kili | July 16, 2009 9:27 AM | Report abuse

What a bunch of prima donnas. In a Tuesday chat Paul Kane complained the hearing room was too cold - so much so that diva milbank reportedly brought a thermometer to record the temperature. Then the a/c breaks, which presumably would be good news to the hypersensitive press corps. But, no, now its too hot. Perhaps this isn't the best job in politics after all.

Posted by: bsimon1 | July 16, 2009 9:13 AM | Report abuse

Putting Coburn on the winner's list is an error.

He provided a hypothetical (in which Coburn was himself pregnant) and then asked Judge Sotomayor to issue an instant ruling. Bizarre.

The 's'plaining' remark was cringe-inducing, not praise-worthy.

And finally, this is 'winners/losers' list is phony -- it's a theatre review posing as political analysis. Anybody who watched television could glean these things, and no one reads the Post for the glip opinions of its bloggers. We want news.

Tell us something we don't know; or at least, can figure out ourselves by watching a few minutes of C-SPAN.

Posted by: 1EgoNemo | July 16, 2009 9:11 AM | Report abuse

Maybe Coburn was just trying to "inspire" the youths out there? Seriously, I thought we weren't "judging" based on one comment any more.

P.S. to parker: check Day Two thread -- Obama was declared a "loser" not winner -- at least his "judge's heart" standard was shot down.

Posted by: JakeD | July 16, 2009 9:01 AM | Report abuse

Look Chris, the big loser here is the GOP. The image of these crabby, priviledged old white men trying to find some sort of weird moral equivalency between Sotomayor's really quite bland assertion on a "wise Latina woman" and the 200 years of lynchings, church burnings, cross burnings and flat out racist government policies implemented and sustained by white old men just like Sessions, Cornyn, Coburn, Limbaugh, Hatch and Graham.

The idea that your writers and observors can see "winners" among this group speaks violumes about your own biases.

Posted by: jaxas | July 16, 2009 8:59 AM | Report abuse

The biggest fool of all was Specter.

Posted by: ravitchn | July 16, 2009 8:56 AM | Report abuse

Coburn's reference to Ricky Ricardo was both sexist and racist. He would have never said that if Sotomayor was a white man...

He was definitely a loser. If he really believed in 'understanding and love' he would have never said it...

It's really amazing how out of touch these Repubilcan white males are!! It's not the 1950s anymore....

Posted by: RickJ | July 16, 2009 8:52 AM | Report abuse

Political "oddities" -- or omens of a hidden evil?

1. Infamous Obama teleprompter glass appears to shatter BEFORE it hits the floor. Stand does not tip over. Laws of physics denied -- or something more sinister?

2. Obama bald "streak" suddenly appears on left rear of POTUS' head behind ear (see Rose Garden presser video).

3. A/C "breakdown" makes "wise Latina" sweat.

4. Leaks about foreign "CIA hit squads" divert attention from GOV'T-ENABLED NATIONWIDE DOMESTIC EXTRAJUDICIAL TARGETING AND TORTURE NETWORK.

***

The security/military/intel politicidal purge secretive agencies and commands are trying to cover up...

THE EXTRAJUDICIAL POLICE STATE 'TORTURE MATRIX'
SPAWNED OR EXPANDED BY BUSH-CHENEY:
ONGOING -- UNDER TEAM OBAMA RADAR

***

The "aware" call it "the program."

"The program" is a nationwide, federally-overseen multi-agency
coordinated action...

...A SECRETIVE SECURITY / INTEL / MILITARY EXTRAJUDICIAL TARGETING AND
PUNISHMENT 'TORTURE MATRIX' THAT IS DESTROYING THE LIVES AND
LIVELIHOODS OF UNTOLD THOUSANDS OF UNJUSTLY 'TARGETED' AMERICANS.

This is an entrenched, GPS-activated high-tech American Gestapo vigilante army...

...fronted by federally-funded volunteer community police, town watch and anti- "terrorism" organizations. It makes a mockery of the rule of law at the grassroots -- literally holding Americans hostage in their own homes -- terrorizing, vandalizing, destroying lives, reputations and livelihoods.

A companion array of "programs of personal financial destruction" decimate "target" family finances, what victims charge is a fascistic theft by deception that involves U.S. mail interception and tampering.

This "torture matrix" also has WEAPONIZED the electromagnetic spectrum, allowing the silent TORTURE of Americans via so-called "directed energy" microwave and laser radiation weapons. The victims have been deemed as "undesirables," "dissidents," or "social deviates" -- in other words, anyone that those in power seek to neutralize.

The mainstream media already has begun to buy into the cover-up.

THE 'TARGETS' ARE U.S. CITIZENS -- A SOCIAL PURGE -- NOT JUST "AL QAEDA." THIS GOES FAR BEYOND FOREIGN CIA 'HIT SQUADS.'

The REAL story -- as reported by a longtime mainstream journalist and a victim of this Bush-era spawned- or expanded "torture matrix," can be found HERE:

http://nowpublic.com/world/gestapo-usa-govt-funded-vigilante-network-terrorizes-america

OR (if link is purged):

http://NowPublic.com/scrivener RE: "GESTAPO USA: Govt't Funded Vigilante Network Terrorizes America" (see list of posted articles.)


Posted by: scrivener50 | July 16, 2009 8:52 AM | Report abuse

Definitely a big winner for Senator Franken. The haters will never be swayed by virture of the D by his name, but if there were any "fence sitters," I have to believe that Frankens balance of policy knowledge, seriousness, and humor won over a couple of them.

Posted by: VTDuffman | July 16, 2009 8:40 AM | Report abuse

Once again Chris' ideas of winners and losers shows he who is the real loser.

Coburn a winner with his racism is beyond me. Of all the people on TV how he could bring in "Ricardo" is beyond me.

Posted by: rlj1 | July 16, 2009 8:26 AM | Report abuse

I think that Franken's detractors who thought he would hit the Senate as some sort of blowhard buffoon got a taste of the type of humor we will see from him in his new role.

Posted by: pdech | July 16, 2009 8:25 AM | Report abuse

notice what cillizza thinks of as a highlight -- the utterly revealing ricky ricardo quip by coburn; and a lowlight -- senator whitehouse speaking in detail about policy.

and he's a star wapo political reporter.

Posted by: mycomment | July 16, 2009 8:13 AM | Report abuse

Chris, in dubbing Tom Coburn a "winner" of yesterday's hearings, you unfortunately forgot to add to your list of great "conservative high notes" the fact that he invoked the spirit of Ricky Ricardo, one of the great gold standards of hispanic/Latino stereotypes. Yes indeed - this "winner" decided to play up infantile Latino stereotypes at the confirmation hearings of the first Latino nominee to the Supreme Court. Now I'm sure he might have newfound heroism amongst the GOP base, but (and perhaps I'm naive) I would like to think that the average viewer, like me, cringed upon hearing this idiocy...which would probably make Senator Coburn a net "loser" of yesterday's hearings. But hey, you're the expert...

Posted by: jms9z | July 16, 2009 8:07 AM | Report abuse

Obama is the ultimate winner here. Senate Republicans are managing to make bullying fools of themselves while doing absolutely nothing to stop Sotomayor's confirmation.

http://www.political-buzz.com/

Posted by: parkerfl1 | July 16, 2009 8:01 AM | Report abuse

Coburn shouldn't be counted as a winner after that embarrassing Ricky Ricardo reference.

Posted by: tkinnama | July 16, 2009 7:57 AM | Report abuse

Arlen is proving that you can't teach an old dog new tricks, and maybe he can't function as a Democrat.
The lengthy demanding and crabby impatience reminds voters of how old he is and there was nothing new in what he was harrumphing about -- it was all ground that had been covered. By the Republicans.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | July 16, 2009 6:30 AM | Report abuse

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