SotoSkirmish: Kinsley: Her Race and Gender Are Assets

A provocation of the day, courtesy of Michael Kinsley, who contends that liberals and conservatives aren't being intellectually honest -- nor are they being honest with themselves -- about race, gender and Sonia Sotomayor.

Listening, via the media, to the debate inside the Republican Party, you also have to wonder about the party's commitment to a colorblind society. The Democrats' too, but Democrats don't carry on about colorblindness the way Republicans do. It's clear that the one paralyzing fact about Sonia Sotomayor, to Republicans, is the color of her skin. If she weren't Latino, they would be in full revenge-for-Clarence-Thomas mode. Instead, they are in an agony of indecision, with GOP strategists openly warning: Support the Latina or die. If the 40 remaining Republican senators end up voting for Sotomayor, her race will be the reason. Democrats, meanwhile, can enjoy supporting her for her impressive intellectual qualifications. They don't even need to mention the obvious: that these qualifications aren't the main reason President Obama picked her.

Yes, of course, ethnicity in politics is different from ethnic job quotas, and a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court is a special kind of job. Nowhere is a bit of diversity more obviously desirable. Nowhere is the case stronger for taking race, ethnicity and gender into account. And conservatives apparently agree. If only they could bring themselves to say so.


Presented by

Marc Ambinder is an Atlantic contributing editor. He is also a senior contributor at Defense One, a contributing editor at GQ, and a regular contributor at The Week.

Life as an Obama Impersonator

"When you think you're the president, you just act like you are above everybody else."

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

Life as an Obama Impersonator

"When you think you're the president, you just act like you are above everybody else."

Video

Things Not to Say to a Pregnant Woman

You don't have to tell her how big she is. You don't need to touch her belly.

Video

Maine's Underground Street Art

"Graffiti is the farthest thing from anarchy."

Video

The Joy of Running in a Beautiful Place

A love letter to California's Marin Headlands

Video

'I Didn't Even Know What I Was Going Through'

A 17-year-old describes his struggles with depression.

More in Politics

Just In