So much with any pretense of being anything but a person with a set-in-concrete ideology: Republican Senator Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) has made it known that he won’t EVEN MEET with Barack Obama Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor.
It would be inconceivable 10, 20 or any number of years ago that any United States Senator whose duty includes voting on Supreme Court nominees would REFUSE to meet with a Supreme Court nominee, arguing that, why, he already knows he’s going to vote against her. So why bother to sit down and hear from her own lips how she’d answer questions from him? Why waste the time?
Actually, in one sense, it’s not surprising.
Inhofe has made it known he has intense dislikes in the debate over climate change — and also those pesky science reporters, as Columbia Journalism Review has reported.
And he is clearly part of the GOP’s talk radio political culture that eschews dialogue for raw partisanship: two years ago he created a stir by alleging that he overheard then Presidential hopeful Sen. Hillary Clinton talking with Barbara Boxer about seeking a “legislative fix” to reign in conservative talk radio, an allegation both of them denied.
But make no mistake about it:
This isn’t the first time in American history that a politician knew in advance that he or she would vote against an opposing party’s nominee. In fact, a good number of the votes for nominees sent up to the Hill by Presidents in advance can be counted on as soon as as nominee is named.
But throughout American history, even rank partisanship was accompanied by opponents, particularly in the Senate, displaying a degree of courtesy.
It’s a sign of how intense partisanship is now that a Senator effectively postures to show that, why, not only is he against Sotomayor but he’s against her more than the others who are against her are against her and he’s so against her that he won’t even meet with her — so there!
It’s one more nail in the coffin of politicians or activists from one party treating each other with respect (“Respect? What’s THAT? Wasn’t that a word in a golden oldie rock song where they spelled the word out?”)
Here’s Eric Zimmerman’s piece, linked above:
Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) is dead set on voting against Sonia Sotomayor’s nomination. In fact, he’s so certain of his position that he refuses to even meet with her.
Sotomayor has been meeting privately with Senators over the last few weeks, but when it was Inhofe’s turn, he declined.
Inhofe’s spokesman explained that since the Senator has already decided to vote against the nomination, there’s no reason to waste time on a sit-down discussion.
Earlier this week, Inhofe called his vote against Sotomayor a “foregone conclusion,” citing his vote against her nomination to a circuit court in 1998.
“If you voted against anyone on the circuit [court], I have never been able to see how you turn around when the bar is actually higher and support it at a higher level,” Inhofe said, according to the Tulsa World.
According to Zimmerman, the state’s other Republican Senator Tom Coburn did mange to meet with Sotomayor and not only did he come out of the meeting alive, but he by meeting her he could begin to sort out some thoughts about her nomination:
“She’s got the demeanor of a judge,” Coburn told NewsOK.com. He added that the two had a “philosophical discussion [about] life, problems in our country, difficulties we face.”
Inhofe has no time for discussions. And, really, what is the big deal?
He already knows what he believes and where he stands.
Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.