The Power Of Appointment

More

I think Matt makes a great point here:

I think if you look at election results over time, it's clear that a large number of non-white or non-Anglo Americans seem to have the sense that the Republican Party and the conservative movement don't have their best interests at heart. And when people see conservatives not just saying "well, I'm a conservative and Sotomayor isn't, so I'm not happy about the choice" but engaging in bizarre tirades against the "unnatural" pronunciation of her name and the evils of Puerto Rican cuisine while suggesting that the kind of resume that was suitable for Samuel Alito doesn't cut the mustard for Sonia Sotomayor, well then I think that tends to reinforce the sense that conservatives are very interested in white people's problems and not so interested in anyone else.

One problem with the GOP is that when you build your brand on Willie Horton, "white hands" and the Minutemen, you end up with a party that, well, believes in those things. People keep saying that the GOP is playing into Obama's hands. I've said similar. But as I think about this, that takes chess-match thinking to a rather silly extreme.

More likely, when you have a party, in which people feel comfortable coming to rallies and saying on camera that they won't vote for a black guy, then that party will have people asserting the right to mispronounce Sotomayor's name. That party will have people arguing that Sotomayer's food choices are evil.  It's highly unlikely that that party will have some sort of sophisticated tolerence game at the ready. They are who they are.

That said, it's interesting to note the difference in tone between GOP figures with something at stake (people who have to win elections) and those who have nothing at stake. Newt has a megaphone, but he has no real responsibility. He can yell whatever he wants. He's got books to hustle, dog--not Senators to elect.


Jump to comments
Presented by

Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

Why Did I Study Physics?

In this hand-drawn animation, a college graduate explains why she chose her major—and what it taught her about herself.


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Why Did I Study Physics?

Using hand-drawn cartoons to explain an academic passion

Video

What If Emoji Lived Among Us?

A whimsical ad imagines what life would be like if emoji were real.

Video

Living Alone on a Sailboat

"If you think I'm a dirtbag, then you don't understand the lifestyle."

Video

How Is Social Media Changing Journalism?

How new platforms are transforming radio, TV, print, and digital

Video

The Place Where Silent Movies Sing

How an antique, wind-powered pipe organ brings films to life

Feature

The Future of Iced Coffee

Are artisan businesses like Blue Bottle doomed to fail when they go mainstream?

Writers

Up
Down

More in Entertainment

From This Author

Just In