Ladies and gentlemen, Julian Sanchez:
Look, it's not racist to oppose a Latina judicial nominee, or to oppose affirmative action, or to point out genuine evidence of ethnic bias on the part of minorities. What we're seeing here, though, is people clinging to the belief that Sotomayor has to be some mediocrity who struck the ethnic jackpot, that whatever benefit she got from affirmative action must be vastly more significant than her own qualities, that she's got to be a harpy boiling with hatred for whitey, however overwhelming the evidence against all these propositions is. This is really profoundly ugly. Like Yglesias, I don't think I'm especially sensitive to stuff like this, or particularly easily moved to anger, but I'm angry. I don't think Republican pundits really appreciate the kind of damage they're probably doing, for no reason I can discern given the slim odds of actually blocking the nomination. Which, perhaps, goes to Sotomayor's point: They really have no idea how they sound to anyone else.
Read the whole post. It's worth it. One thing I'd argue for is the possibility that "Republican pundits" have significantly different agenda than "Republican politicians." Again, it's worth noting that most of the heat is coming from people who don't have much of a say in the process, and thus don't have anything at risk. There are powerful financial incentives for lobbing firebombs. If those firebombs help the GOP, all the better. If they don't, oh well.