Newt: Sorry about the “racist” allegation

posted at 2:15 pm on June 3, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

After Sonia Sotomayor’s 2001 remarks at UC Berkeley came to light last week, in which she claimed that her Latina heritage and gender made her a better judge than a white male, pundits rightly criticized Sotomayor and the identity politics that remark represented.  In fact, even the White House eventually conceded that Sotomayor had chosen her words poorly, distancing themselves from the sentiment she clearly expressed.  However, some of the criticism involved calling Sotomayor a “racist”, which became another flashpoint for the backlash against Sotomayor’s critics.  Now the most prominent of those critics has begun walking back the comment:

Shortly after President Obama nominated her to a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court, I read Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s now famous words:

“I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.”

My initial reaction was strong and direct — perhaps too strong and too direct.  The sentiment struck me as racist and I said so. Since then, some who want to have an open and honest consideration of Judge Sotomayor’s fitness to serve on the nation’s highest court have been critical of my word choice.

With these critics who want to have an honest conversation, I agree.  The word “racist” should not have been applied to Judge Sotomayor as a person, even if her words themselves are unacceptable (a fact which both President Obama and his Press Secretary, Robert Gibbs, have since admitted).

So it is to her words — the ones quoted above and others — to which we should turn, for they show that the issue here is not racial identity politics.  Sotomayor’s words reveal a betrayal of a fundamental principle of the American system — that everyone is equal before the law.

Exactly.  Republicans have an opportunity to have a “grand debate” on judicial philosophy and equality under the law, and Sotomayor’s comments are a gift to the GOP in pressing their own position on the judiciary.  Most Americans believe that the rule of law should be gender- and ethnicity-blind and reject the notion that government and the courts should privilege one group over another based on their ancestry or sexual equipment.  Republicans have a golden opportunity to tap into that value, and to show that the Democrats are more committed to identity politics than ever before.

However, that opportunity will vanish if the public sees Republicans overreacting to the Sotomayor nomination.  The statement speaks for itself; we do not need to arrogate to ourselves the ability to peer into Sotomayor’s soul to determine whether she “hates” or is just enamored of identity-based outcomes.  The latter is sufficient enough to paint this nomination, and the man who made it, as problematic and troubling for the rule of law.  Getting hysterical only undermines the credibility of the opposition.

Newt gets it right the second time around, and he’s man enough to admit he blew it on the first try.

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What do you expect from an apologetic, guilt ridden has been.
He’s being apologetic because he’s had “BAD THOUGHTS” about the race in subject.
For Newt to be completely absolved of his transgressions, he needs to commit suicide in the Nations Capitol, on the 4th of July. And with the explicit conditions that no residue of his remains shall desecrate the founding fathers monuments. And have ABC, CBS, Larry King, the New York Times, Barbara Walters, National Public Radio, and Juan Williams in attendance as witnesses.

Cybergeezer on June 3, 2009 at 8:22 PM

I won’t I promise.

blatantblue on June 3, 2009 at 8:21 PM

Good. Good for you and her…IF there is a her in your future.

ladyingray on June 3, 2009 at 8:26 PM

Good god, man. Why are you backing off on this? The only reason to back down is because she is pro-life and we want her confirmed. If you are doing it for any other reason then I lose all respect.

BrideOfRove on June 3, 2009 at 8:58 PM

She is – if Levin is correct – an Independista. The Green Party in Puerto Rico – which is about ten percent of the population and prone to violence. They want freedom from the US and anarchy. Quite possibly the most racist Latin American group in this Hemisphere. Do.Not.Back.Off.On.This Wench. Unless she is pro-life in which case she’s a-ok in my book and Puerto Rico can cut loose as soon as they pay back the 11 billion a year in Situado we’ve been sending them.

BrideOfRove on June 3, 2009 at 9:02 PM

Dear Republicans:

When the opposition has the advantage, it’s time to stop shooting yourself in the foot.

PS Don’t preen for the MSM, they only like you when you’re shooting yourself in the foot.

Merovign on June 3, 2009 at 9:33 PM

Dumb meet A$$.

I think you two would make a nice couple.

No soup future public office for you!!

omnipotent on June 3, 2009 at 9:33 PM


fossten on June 3, 2009 at 10:34 PM

I have grown increasing tired of people saying things and then deciding there needs to be some backtracking or spin involved if their words either offended or upset some people. Especially so when it is not even the person who uttered the words who is giving the ‘clarification’. How someone can explain what was going on in someone else’s head simply amazes me. Case in point just about anytime Biden opens his mouth.

It is one thing to say something in the heat of the moment that you regret later. We have all done that. It is quite another to actually think about expressing something, such as a statement or a speech, and then come back to apply the necessary spin. The common thread between these two examples is at the time the words were uttered or thought there was some truth to them. As far as I know a person’s brain does not set out to mislead itself. So unless a person is pathologically unable to even think the truth let alone speak it people mean what they say at the time they say them.

Only point of credit I give Newt, and its a small one, is that he did it himself and didn’t need an Administration or Press Secretary to say it.

It is quite simple, if you are going to use the brainpower to formulate a coherent thought and express it, be willing to admit there was some validity to it, stand behind it and move on. If you feel the need to have to continually revise what you said and what you meant then it is quite apparent that the ability to think and speak is a little too much for you to handle at the same time and you need to leave the speaking to us sentient ones.

I have more respect for those who say things they actually believe and will stand behind their words even if I do not agree with them than I do with people who speak the words I may agree with but may not actually believe what they are saying or are unwilling to stand behind their words if they do believe them.

So in the case of Mr Gingrich, I have given you your small point sir, but in the larger picture you are simply one more whose ability to stand behind what they stand is as solid as a picture written on an Etch-a-Sketch. Good day sir.

RuffledRaven on June 3, 2009 at 10:39 PM

The need to treat a Democrat nominee like the Dems treated Pickering and Bork is a silly reason to attack this Wise Latino Lady. She will be confirmed for sure. So why smear her with nonsense just to be like the Dems?

jimw on June 3, 2009 at 11:25 PM


First you and Peloser on a bench, talking smack about climate change. Now this.

I used to belive you.

No longer.


realitycheck on June 3, 2009 at 11:43 PM

Come on Newt, man up.

AZfederalist on June 3, 2009 at 11:43 PM

Im a libertarian, but a strong Republican party is the only thing to prevent the Dems from going wild. Barack Obama is already so easy to beat in 2012 IF, and only IF, there is one set of kevlar testicles in the entire Republican party (its a metaphor ladies, no disrespect). I identified 3 men who had them: Cheney, Newt, and Mitt. Now obviously Newt has shown himself to not have what it takes to stand up against what will be a brutal onslaught. I doubt Cheney will run, or could win, based on the general mythical opinion of him.

Newt, you’re a friggin invertebrate.

[email protected] on June 4, 2009 at 1:20 AM

Newt unfortunately is like every other white person who has sinned against the mighty race hustlers of the day. He had the unfortunate reality of being a white man and saying something offensive to the non whites and the guilt ridden white leftists. Shelby Steele calls this unforgivable sin white people commit on a daily basis White Guilt. The only way to stop it is to stand up to it period no backtracking no walking back no crawling back stand up and stand strong: Read Steele’s Definition:
What is white guilt? It is not a personal sense of remorse over past wrongs. White guilt is literally a vacuum of moral authority in matters of race, equality, and opportunity that comes from the association of mere white skin with America’s historical racism. It is the stigmatization of whites and, more importantly, American institutions with the sin of racism. Under this stigma white individuals and American institutions must perpetually prove a negative–that they are not racist–to gain enough authority to function in matters of race, equality, and opportunity. If they fail to prove the negative, they will be seen as racists. Political correctness, diversity policies, and multiculturalism are forms of deference that give whites and institutions a way to prove the negative and win reprieve from the racist stigma.

FontanaConservative on June 4, 2009 at 1:35 AM

but Sotomayor is historic?

Never before has a person born in Kenya ever appointed a Latina to the SCOTUS while Oprah cried. It is historic.

Geochelone on June 4, 2009 at 4:02 AM

**cough, cough**…words have meaning.

Alden Pyle on June 4, 2009 at 7:39 AM

Newt is a joke to me now. He was right the first time. He pusses out constantly these days. Of course anyone who buys into the climate change crap is be definition and idiot or a liar. Not sure which Newt is in this case.

echosyst on June 4, 2009 at 8:48 AM

Newt has much to learn. Having been in Washington DC all that time, he should have learned long ago that White men can’t claim racism, and it is BECAUSE of White men that others experience it.

I guess it is time for another couch/coach session with Pelosi so she can school him on what is proper to say or not to say.

Bleed_thelizard on June 4, 2009 at 11:24 AM

but Sotomayor is historic?
Never before has a person born in Kenya ever appointed a Latina to the SCOTUS while Oprah cried. It is historic.

Geochelone on June 4, 2009 at 4:02 AM


bill30097 on June 4, 2009 at 12:42 PM

IMO Newt tends to do this type of thing – throw something out to light a fire and then once the blaze gets – going put on his fireman helmet and try to look like the solution. He wants to appeal to the base AND stilll be thought of as a statesman. JMO.

katiejane on June 4, 2009 at 1:15 PM

Smart man. He’s got to be good for someones cabinet some day. eh maybe when we take our country back in 2010 and 2012.

johnnyU on June 5, 2009 at 8:24 AM

How about we do a donation drive and buy this has-been wuss a rocking chair? As long as this DC insider is the face of the GOP, losing elections will feel like instinct.

Sarah! in 2012.

platypus on June 5, 2009 at 10:44 AM

I hope there are some Republicans that will stand up against Sotomayor’s nomination. If anything good comes from this, it will be that Newt has shown his true colors. He’s a populist and deeply concerned about what others think of him. He will try to walk the middle on everything when push comes to shove. He is worthless!
Those of you thinking he a true conservative and potential nominee for our party, please look closer at this man. Newt is one of the biggest, so called “conservative”, frauds of our time.

MichiganMatt on June 5, 2009 at 1:03 PM

Come on Newt, stick to your guns, tell it like it is. She is a racist pig and should be called out for it. If the shoe was on the other foot and a white dude said the same thing he would have been hung on the whitehouse steps for all to see.

Solution: Get some Kerosene dip some rags in them and tie them to your ankles to keep the ants from carrying off your …. candy A$$

workingforpigs on June 5, 2009 at 2:14 PM

Newt was trained at The International House of Pancakes Republican Spokesman School; He’s got more flops than a Chinese shoe manufacturer!

Cybergeezer on June 5, 2009 at 7:14 PM