Friday, June 19, 2009

Inhofe the captain of GOP's Ship of Fools.

THROUGHOUT HISTORY there have been crackpots, religious zealots and boobs, some of whom were either dangerous or plainly stupid. Figures like Torquemada, Savanarola, Caligula and Praise-God Barebone come quickly to mind. So I have to remind myself that we are not the only generation of fools every time Jim Inhofe's name pops up in the news, which has been happening with more than normal frequency for a politician of his trifling worth since President Obama nominated Sonia Sotomayor for the U.S. Supreme court.

Inhofe is the Republican senator from Oklahoma who spends a lot of his time preaching about wholesome American conduct when he isn't hanging out with bulging-pocketed oil interests. He's also been extraordinarily open about whom he considers worthy of a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court. He doesn't exactly say so, but you easily get the feeling that he prefers to seat white guys on the bench rather than women of Puerto Rican lineage that would serve America more efficiently in the kitchens of Manhattan restaurants. Of course, he doesn't get it. Boobs seldom do.

Inhofe's latest expression of protecting the long-held turf of upwardly mobile Caucasian males was his refusal this week to meet with Sotomayor as she made the rounds of senators' offices before heading for her committee hearings. Having decided 11 years ago that she was unworthy to be seated as a federal appellate judge (he voted against her at that time, but she got the job. Great memory, that guy!), he decided that nothing could have happened in more than a decade to change his mind about her judicial qualifications. He may have noticed that she was still a woman as well as one still retaining her Puerto Rican ancestry.

In 2009, we should all be embarrassed by the actions of the senator from the Okie state. But if Inhofe's fellow-Republicans on Capitol Hill are embarrassed as they are reeling from the John Ensign affair, they aren't saying so. Instead they have rehearsed their talking points well about Sotomayor. Four GPO senators have been recorded saying virtually the same thing: Orrin Hatch, Mitch McConnell, Charles Grassley and John Cornyn want everyone to know that the high court job should not be about "personal feelings, politics or preferences".

Read: personal feelings (women), politics (liberal) and preferences (Puerto Ricans and others who worked their way up from lean childhoods.)

Before the GOP can get serious about returning to power with the votes of women and minorities it might consider giving up its addiction to Kool-Aid. It might also work out a cash- for-clunkers deal for Inhofe.

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