Ed Driscoll

Some Narratives Are Better Than Others

Betsy Newmark spots Diane Feinstein “gushing yesterday on Fox News Sunday about Sonia Sotomayor’s personal story”:

And what has been amazing to me is how she’s overcome adversity and disadvantage and carried on and done it basically by herself. She’s an amazing story, and I think that’s been written up now. I think people are beginning to understand her.

And you know, she’s entered into some 3,000 appeals. She’s tried 400 cases. She’s written opinions. Obviously, people will find this or that they don’t like.

But overall, the story is so encouraging — it is so much a part of the American dream — and she has done so well at what she’s done, it’s really — I take enormous pride as a woman in voting for her. And I never say how I’m going to vote before a hearing, but in this case, I — John, I find her amazing. I really do.

As Betsy writes, “clearly having an amazing personal story is only good for Feinstein if the candidate is a liberal”:

Otherwise, she wouldn’t have voted against Miguel Estrada, a Honduran immigrant who had made it on his own in his new country, or Janice Rogers Brown, the daughter of an African American sharecropper. She voted against Samuel Alito, the son of an Italian immigrant. And does anyone doubt that she would have voted against Clarence Thomas if she’d been in the Senate in 1991? No one had a more amazing up from poverty story than Clarence Thomas.

But the story isn’t what matters. I was always uncomfortable with conservatives who acted like Clarence Thomas’s personal story was what qualified him to be on the Supreme Court. If we don’t like the idea of “empathy” being a qualifying trait for the Supreme Court when liberals speak of it, then we shouldn’t be aiming to out-biography them with our nominees. It’s playing the game on their field and we’ll never win, because biography only counts when the nominee is a liberal who has learned the politically correct lessons from having grown up poor.

Meanwhile, at Commentary’s Contentions blog, Jennifer Rubin is blogging a storm on the first day of rubber-stamping hearings for Sotomayor; just keep scrolling. (Unless you’re Lindsey Graham, of course.)

Update: “Video: Wise Latina sends Chris Matthews to leg-thrill heaven.”