Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Grasping at Strawmen

Gov. Charlie Crist (R-FL), who is running for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Mel Martinez (R), says he opposes the confirmation of Judge Sonia Sotomayor.

He says it’s because of what he describes as a “lack of respect for the fundamental right to keep and bear arms.” Seeing as how the only ruling on the right to keep and bear arms that Judge Sotomayor has made in her years on the bench had to do with upholding New York’s ban on nunchuks, this is a pretty thin reed on which to hang his opposition.

Not that it really matters as far as the Sotomayor confirmation is concerned, but it’s pretty obvious why he’s doing this. He’s trying to shore up some right-wing creds with the voters in the panhandle who might be inclined to vote for his primary challenger, Marco Rubio, but at the same time he’s trying not to sound like he would vote against the appointment of the first Hispanic nominee to the Supreme Court so as not to come across like he’s anti-Hispanic; not a good move if he hopes to win in South Florida. So he came up with this straw man about the 2nd Amendment as his safest bet to sound like a real macho right winger without coming up with a substantial reason to oppose her. (Last week, Sen. Martinez said he would vote to confirm the appointment.)

Not that I’m in the habit of giving campaign advice to Republicans, but if he wants to come across anything other than craven, Mr. Crist is going to have to do better than this.