Frank Rich is surely the most dishonest writer and the biggest bigot working at the New York Times today.
In his latest column this haughty bloviator who must every passing day mourn his decreasing relevance to modern political discourse as his newspaper fades away into insignificance tries to turn the tables by accusing Republican senators who grilled Judge Sonia Sotomayor during her confirmation proceeding of being the real racists.
Yet the Sotomayor show was still rich in historical significance. Someday we may regard it as we do those final, frozen tableaus of Pompeii. It offered a vivid snapshot of what Washington looked like when clueless ancien-régime conservatives were feebly clinging to their last levers of power, blissfully oblivious to the new America that was crashing down on their heads and reducing their antics to a sideshow as ridiculous as it was obsolescent. […]
Much of the audience was surely driven away by the sheer boredom of watching white guys incessantly parse the nominee’s “wise Latina” remark. This badgering was their last-ditch effort to prove that Gingrich was right when he called Sotomayor a racist at the start of the nomination process. She confronted that overheated controversy directly. “I do not believe that any ethnic, racial or gender group has an advantage in sound judgment,” Sotomayor testified.
And of course on this point the hopelessly incompetent Sotomayor lied through her teeth. She made the comment repeatedly before and only backed away from it during her confirmation hearings. But her perfunctory explanation was more than enough to absolve her in Rich’s eyes.
It’s the American way that we judge people as individuals, not as groups. And by that standard we can say unequivocally that this particular wise Latina, with the richness of her experiences, would far more often than not reach a better conclusion than the individual white males she faced in that Senate hearing room. Even those viewers who watched the Sotomayor show for only a few minutes could see that her America is our future and theirs is the rapidly receding past.
Rich is correct in saying that “It’s the American way that we judge people as individuals, not as groups.” This is probably why Rich avoids discussing Sotomayor’s vile ruling in Ricci v. DeStefano, which centered around a case in which New Haven, Connecticut discriminated against a group of firefighters precisely because they belonged to the wrong race.
One of the plaintiffs discriminated against, firefighter Ben Vargas, who like Sotomayor claims Latino heritage, testified at the hearings. Vargas said
I am Hispanic and proud of the heritage and background that Judge Sotomayor and I share. And I congratulate Judge Sotomayor on her nomination.
But the focus should not have been on me being Hispanic. The focus should have been on what I did to our new promotion to captain and how my own government and some courts responded to that. In short, they didn’t care. I think it important for you to know what I did, that I played by the rules and then endured a long process of asking the courts to enforce those rules. […]
I was shocked when I was not rewarded for this hard work and sacrifice, but I actually was penalized for it. I became not Ben Vargas, the fire lieutenant who proved themselves qualified to be captain, but a racist statistic. I had to make decisions whether to join those who wanted promotions to be based on race and ethnicity or join those who would insist on being judged solely on their qualifications and the content of their character. […]
So Rich ignored the fact that the hearings weren’t only about aggrieved white men. At least one Latino man was victimized by Sotomayor but Rich couldn’t care less because he considers it his mission to defend Sotomayor at all costs.
Imagine the cognitive dissonance that must cloud Rich’s troubled mind: A member of the “Latino” victim class gets thrown under the bus by Rich in his zeal to protect “a wise Latina.”
And only a truly ambitious liar like Rich can attempt to portray a hearing at which the nominee’s blatant, in-your-face racism was challenged (for the most part feebly) by members of the opposition party as an event that showcased the opposition party’s racism.
In the same column he insults black Americans and Republicans by describing Michael Steele as “the G.O.P.’s token black.”
Rich is the same fellow who tried to incite hatred against conservatives in a recent column on the DHS report on “rightwing extremism.”
You may also recall that it was the pathologically obsessive Rich who in 2004 couldn’t help attacking President Reagan while he lay in state at the Capitol Rotunda. “Although mourners paying their respects to Reagan were often touted as representative of the entire nation, you could nod off counting the white visitors before a black person appeared.” Rich argued that the massive outpouring of grief regarding Reagan was phony and that media coverage of the death strongly resembled the saturation coverage of O.J. Simpson’s murder trial.
The fact that the Old Gray Lady keeps Rich on staff is just more proof that the newspaper left the news business long ago.