Sweet: Graham makes Sotomayor squirm over "wise Latina" nonsense

The money bit comes between 14:45 and 17:45 when he forces her to confront the egregious double standard in what she said but I’m giving you the full half-hour interrogation just because it’s that good. CNN’s analysts were raving afterwards about what an expert cross-examination it was but I’m struck less by the substance than the tone, with Graham lapsing in and out of his genial southern gentleman routine to land some withering shots. (Right at the beginning, he mocks her shameless lying about empathy by saying, “I listened to you today, I think I’m listening to Judge Roberts.”) The highlight comes at 7:30, when he goes out of his way to tell her how much he likes her personally — before dredging up lawyers’ comments about what a bully she is on the bench. Well played, counselor.

It’s not all about tone, though. There’s little to be gained politically for the GOP in the hearing so Graham, very shrewdly, seems to be using it as an opportunity to lay down markers for the next time a GOP nominee comes up for confirmation. Note well what he says about giving people who’ve misspoken a second chance. He’s bound to remind the Democrats of that in defense of some Republican at a future date.

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