Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Saturday, May 30, 2009

Sound-Bite Coming of Age

Grownups are just children who owe money, said a character in the 1992 movie "Peter's Friends" and now, with the economic crisis, they owe even more and, thanks to 24/7 cable TV, seem less mature than ever.

"Republicans, Let's Play Grown-Up," Peggy Noonan urges in the Wall Street Journal, suggesting that "idiots" in her party rise above temper tantrums in opposing Sonia Sotomayor:

"Don't grill and grandstand, summon and inform. Show the respect that expresses equality and the equality that is an expression of respect. Ask and listen, get the logic, explain where you think it wrong. Fill the airwaves with thoughtful exchanges."

As a grown-up White House tries to deal with overheated attacks on Obama's nominee as "racist," thoughtful exchanges are in short supply.

In his weekly address, the President observes, "There are, of course, some in Washington who are attempting to draw old battle lines and playing the usual political games, pulling a few comments out of context to paint a distorted picture of Judge Sotomayor’s record. But I am confident that these efforts will fail; because Judge Sotomayor’s seventeen-year record on the bench--hundreds of judicial decisions that every American can read for him or herself--speak far louder than any attack; her record makes clear that she is fair, unbiased, and dedicated to the rule of law."

But how many Americans will read any of those hundreds of decisions? How many more will make up their minds based on Keith Olbermann's rage about G. Gordon Liddy's radio rant comparing La Raza to the KKK and hoping that "key conferences" of the Supreme Court don't take place "when she's menstruating or something"?

Noonan says, "Comment-thread conservatives, like their mirror-image warriors on the left ("Worst person in the woooorrrlllddd!") are perpetually agitated, permanently enraged. They don't need to be revved, they're already revved. Newt Gingrich twitters that Judge Sotomayor is a racist. Does anyone believe that? He should rest his dancing thumbs, stop trying to position himself as the choice and voice of the base in 2012, and think."

Sounds good, but don't hold your breath from now until 2012 waiting for them all to grow up.

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