As the well-orchestrated hearing for Sonya Sotomayor hit the luncheon break Tuesday afternoon, replete with righteous pontificating so often disguised as rigorous inquiry by onetime lawyers on the Senate panel, one again viewed the Charade of the Empty Vessel.
The political strategy for any nominee who appears before the Judiciary Committee is crystal clear: Say as little as possible about your actual views of cases or your personal opinions. Of course, you should be prepared to be overtly contrite about controversial minutiae, specifically Tuesday morning hyperventilating over the now legendary "wise Latina" remark.
But why not? What about being open and candid about your views?
Imagine being a friend who was on vacation with Sotomayor. "Sonya, what do you think about cameras in the courtroom?" the friend might declare between sips of a Club Med pina colada.
"Sally, it's a question that I'm sure I'd offer my views on if the issue comes up before the court," responds Sotomayor at poolside. "And I certainly think that a new gal on the block might bring a different pair of eyes to the topic."
"Oh, Sonya, pass the suntan lotion and, please, tell me what you actually think about cameras in the courtroom? Hell, we're on vacation!" Sally again inquires.