Obama's Identity Politics Identified
The Sotomayor nomination commits the cardinal sin of identity politics: It seeks to elevate people more for the political currency of their gender and ethnicity than for their individual merit. (Here, too, is the ugly faithlessness in minority merit that always underlies such maneuverings.) Mr. Obama is promising one thing and practicing another, using his interracial background to suggest an America delivered from racial corruption even as he practices a crude form of racial patronage. From America's first black president, and a man promising the "new," we get a Supreme Court nomination that is both unoriginal and hackneyed.Steele's critique would be more powerful if he observed Republicans have fallen into the same practice. G.H.W. Bush nominated Clarence Thomas cynically claiming he was the best the candidate for the job, when it was the color of his skin that elevated him on the list of potentials. At least Thomas never claimed that a wise black man would make better decisions on the bench than a wise white woman. He has proven to be a solid and very competent justice even if Barack Obama refuses to notice.