Republicans like Newt Gingrich are pretty sure that Sonia Sotomayor is racist against white men, but just to make sure, the U.S. Senate's only Hispanic Republican, Mel Martinez, went in for a closer look. As you can see in the video above, the Florida senator exchanged some awkward Spanish with the Supreme Court nominee and then, well... he sounded kinda starstruck. The St. Petersburg Times:
"I think she's a very, very bright person, very, very much someone who the Supreme Court will find will fit in very well," said Martinez.
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Very! And actually, it was the White House who suggested Sotomayor hang with Martinez, as Obama's people try to blunt some of that Republican criticism in advance of the July confirmation hearings. For Martinez, I reckon the fun part of being a lame duck senator is that you get to engineer passive aggressive swipes at the the party's white anglo alpha males. To wit:
When asked about Sotomayor's 2001 statement that she hoped a Latina would make a wiser decision than a white male without the same experiences, Martinez said he understood her point.
"The richness of her experience informs who she is -- it informs who I am," he said. "I think the question really is, will she rule as a Latin woman, or will she rule as a judge based on precedence, based on the law, and obviously the facts before the court.
Martinez also predicted Sotomayor would cruise to confirmation. Notable ommissions: He failed to call her an activist judge who would let gay abortionists get married while reciting a godless Pledge of Allegience. You know, since those are the Republican talking points. Unfounded speculation: Martinez didn't injure his middle finger in a "dirtbike accident," as he claims. Rather, some burly Republican busted it after Martinez responded to party orders with the one-finger salute.
Later today, expect Rush Limbaugh to kick Martinez out of the party, where he can join John McCain and Colin Powell.