I’m very pleased to see that the Obama administration’s inexplicable decision to concede the right’s illegitimate “racist” argument is getting some well-deserved criticism in blogtopia:
One of the things that used to drive me nuts about Bill Clinton was his propensity to concede points he didn’t need to concede, thus moving the ball down the field for the other side. Over and over again, his White House succumbed to overwrought harassment by the worst elements of the Right Wing Noise machine by making incremental “admissions” out of a misplaced belief that doing so would cool the shrill shrieking craziness. (I’m pretty sure they figured they would gain allies among the allegedly saner establishment Republicans, which was also foolish because they play their own role in the loony pageant.)
It never works very well. The political press inevitably begins to look differently at the debate once the president validates the complaint in any way and it takes on a salience it would never have had if the White House simply held and let the other side fulminate and froth like the kooks they are. Unfortunately, Obama made a move in that direction today, and the press is featuring it in a way that should make everyone a little bit queasy:
The White House says Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor acknowledges she made a poor word choice in a 2001 speech in which she said that a Latina judge would often reach a better conclusion than a white male judge who hasn’t lived the same life.
That’s according to presidential spokesman Robert Gibbs. He says he has not talked directly to Sotomayor about it but has spoken to
Ed Schultz pushed hard on this point in an MSNBC interview with Lannie Davis, who was one of the people advising Pres. Obama to say that Sotomayor “misspoke.” And who better to urge the president to “clarify” what does not need to be clarified than Davis, currently a White House lawyer and formerly an adviser to that very Bill Clinton?
Davis said, “Every day that goes by that they don’t say she misspoke and she used the wrong words … they just feed it and give it life and give Rush [Limbaugh] and [Sean] Hannity more airtime unnecessarily.”
Schultz wasn’t buying it. I can’t find the video clip anymore that I watched yesterday, but here is what Schultz said, quoted in a Politico article (last paragraph):
“I think this is a blunder and I’m really surprised at the White House’s reaction to this week’s right wing rhetoric on this issue,” Schultz said during his cable program. “They’re caving in, that’s the only way I can read it…. It really validates critics who were never going side with him on anything. Hey, get tough against these people. What’s really odd about this is that the White House I think really had this battle won all week long.”
Which is pretty much what digby said:
… They had the better of the argument — Republicans were acting like crazed, freaks, alienating Hispanics by the thousands and making women hate them even more, and the whole country was aghast. Why they gave them validation on this, I don’t really understand.