WASHINGTON - Republican senators on Sunday avoided joining those in the party using racially charged criticism against President Barack Obama's Supreme Court nominee, underscoring the party's challenge in opposing the first Hispanic to be chosen for the nation's highest bench.GOP senators tone down Sotomayor criticism - Capitol Hill- msnbc.com
Appeals court judge Sonia Sotomayor already faces scrutiny from conservative commentators and former officials over a 2001 remark that her experiences as a Latina would lead her to better decisions than a white man. Talk-show host Rush Limbaugh has called her a "racist" while former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, saying a "Latina woman racist" is unsuitable for the court, has called for Sotomayor to withdraw her nomination.
Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, a Republican from Hispanic-heavy Texas, asked her colleagues to focus on Sotomayor's record instead of wading into a racially tinged debate.
Read the subtext of the story: Senators in the GOP suddenly not afraid to contradict Rush. Is this a change in GOP attitude to Rush, a growing GOP understanding that Rush is ruining them, a change in public attitude among Republicans or has Rush finally just gone too far for the GOP to follow.
The question, I think, comes down to siding with old white males with 10 years to live or new younger voters who are the fastest growing part of the population. The GOP simply can not afford to repeat the mistake of the 1970s and 1980s with blacks and the 1990s with Asians now with Hispanics. George W. Bush was even elevated to a President because of his support among Hispanics in Texas, supported that turned out to be an illusion as the Bush administration saw another minority group gutted by an increasingly racist right wing nationalism.