Newt Gingrich has, essentially, apologized for calling Sonia Sotomayor a racist. Via CNN:
In the conservative magazine Human Events, he writes on Wednesday: “My initial reaction was strong and direct — perhaps too strong and too direct. … Since then, some who want to have an open and honest consideration of Judge Sotomayor’s fitness to serve on the nation’s highest court have been critical of my word choice. … The word ‘racist’ should not have been applied to Judge Sotomayor as a person, even if her words themselves are unacceptable.”
First of all, when you do something like calling somebody a racist and then walk backward from it, you make yourself look stupid. Not just that, but you make the whole damn PARTY look stupid. Newt Gingrich has, with this apology, hurt the effort to oppose Sonia Sotomayor more than his previous comments could possibly have done so. Essentially, by apologizing, he has said that she isn’t a racist.
Full disclosure: I don’t think Sonia Sotomayor is a racist. But I can see how thoughtful and reasonable people looking at the same information as I am could come to a different conclusion. And that’s a debate that the country should have.
New has thrown all of that out of the window now. By walking back on his comment, he has essentially argued that Sotomayor is not, after all, a racist. A false start like this one pulls the rug out from under the people lining up against Sotomayor, and makes the whole fight more difficult.
The rest of the article is even more infuriating:
One Senate Republican told me that the GOP caucus grew increasingly furious at Gingrich’s grandstanding.
“People are really angry,” the senator says. “Newt and Rush have simply made it far more difficult for Republicans to raise the legitimate issues. They’re so quick to throw the word racist around, they look ugly, and make us look the same way.”
“Is calling her names our best talking point?” asks GOP pollster Tony Fabrizio. “It’s a symptom of being leaderless; it’s every man for himself these days.” The point, he says, is not to question whether Sotomayor is qualified to sit on the court. After all, after 17 years on the bench, there’s no doubt she has the right resume.
Any bets on who that Republican Senator is? Possibly someone from a state that rhymes with “insane”?
Let’s face it, we’re probably going to lose the Sotomayor fight. And we’re going to lose it because of people like Tony Fabrizio, who thinks that legitimate questions about someone’s on the record statements are “name-calling,” and people like Newt Gingrich, who just can’t stand up to the pressure of an annoyed Republican Senator. Here at RedState, people man the ship of principle, but in Washington DC they evacuate at the first sign of combat. Pathetic.