When the history of the Obama Administration is written, there will undoubtedly be many great policies and decisions that will be recorded and referenced as long as American history is studied. However, he's going to have to really step up his game in order to surpass the sheer brilliance of his decision to nominate Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court earlier this week.
From the projects in the Bronx to Princeton University and Yale Law School to appointments by two previous Presidents, her story is the kind screenwriters love to write. Which is why it's fascinating to watch the wingnut frenzy in the wake of this historic appointment. From the moment Justice Souter announced his retirement through this week's announcement, leaders in the Republican Party (motto: "At 23%, we still kind of matter ...right? ...right?") and their friends in the right-wing media have been bouncing from one talking point to the next and getting blown out of the water everywhere they go.
Pointing out the right-wing reactionary hypocrisy and intellectual dishonesty could turn this into the largest and best Spin City: Who Said That? game ever. The forons, however, have that covered on the other side of the site. You can check out their work.
They did miss one. Pat Buchanan, among others, has been hyperventilating for days over the idea that men may not have been on the President's short list. Reverse Sexism! Reverse Discrimination! Why, the President even said:
Within the guidelines of excellence, appointments can carry enormous symbolic significance. This permits us to guide by example, to show how deep our commitment is and to give meaning to what we profess.
One way I intend to live up to that commitment is to appoint a woman to the Supreme Court.
Wait, wait... Obama didn't say that? That was Ronald Reagan on the campaign trail in 1980?!? Say what you want about The Gipper, that guy knew how to keep a campaign promise.
And so the war among what's remaining of the right is joined. While Rush and Pat Buchanan scream and Newt tweets, people like Ed Rollins, Peggy Noonan and Michael Steele try to play the role of the sensible ones (for once). Meanwhile, I'm popping the popcorn as this isn't stopping anytime soon and President Obama continues to play Road Runner to this cavalcade of Wile E. Coyotes.
(For more entertaining analysis on this story, I recommend The Rude Pundit. Just a word of warning: the content lives up to the title -- in other words, content for consumption by adults using words Miss Manners wouldn't approve. More on her later.)
Chapter 33 of the Madison Code of Ordinances describes the city's Boards, Commissions and Committees structure, and I found myself going over it as there has been a lot of discussion (mostly, as usual, by Citizen Konkel) about mayoral appointments to committees in the wake of the April elections -- particularly the non-reappointment of Carl DuRocher to the Transit and Parking Commission.
Mayor Dave has weighed in on the issue as well as Paul Soglin -- who offers an uncharacteristically confusing post where he seems to simultaneously agree and disagree with the Mayor on DuRocher's non-reappointment.
It's true, the Mayor gets to make the appointments and can make them for whatever reasons he wants. But I've always thought that was too much power (especially in the case of making aldermanic appointments) and that, perhaps, at least that power should be given to the Common Council to appoint their own -- much like how the Dane County Board does it. This would be one of those many ways in which the City should work more like the County.
Until those changes are made, I hope the Common Council remembers that Chapter 33 says "appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by the Common Council" or "appointed by the Mayor and approved by the Common Council". What it doesn't say is "appointed by the Mayor and rubber-stamped by the Common Council". They can and, in the case of Carl DuRocher, should take the confirmation process seriously and demand Carl returns to the TPC.
And I hope the Mayor understands the Council's role in oversight. While he's correct to point out that, "I don't think many of us would say that Barack Obama needs to appoint Newt Gingrich to the Supreme Court." If there wasn't oversight and the President got what he wanted all the time with his appointments, Robert Bork and Harriet Meyers would be Supreme Court Justices.
Miss Manners Update
As TDP's version of Miss Manners continues to wage war on minority teens swearing in the streets, he calls one of his critics "batshit crazy." So now, along with the f-bombs, we get s-bombs from the self-appointed arbiter of behavior. That is, unless you're old and white -- in that case, curse away!