McConnell Encouraged NRA to ‘Score’ Sotomayor Vote
Over the weekend, NPR’s Nina Totenberg reported that a senior aide to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) confirmed that McConnell, at a meeting of conservative groups, asked the National Rifle Association whether it would score the vote on Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor as a critical vote hostile to gun rights, with the intent of encouraging the NRA to do just that. The aide admitted that in asking the question, McConnell was promoting the NRA to take that unusual step — which it then did.
Since then, Republicans have increasingly turned against Sotomayor, with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) the only one on the Judiciary Committee to support her nomination. In her report, Totenberg said Sotomayor will be lucky to get even ten Republican votes, and half of those are lawmakers who are retiring. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said on Sunday that he’s still “going back and forth” on whether he’ll vote for the nominee, despite the large Latino population in his home state.
While some Republicans, like Graham, realize the Hispanic vote is growing and will be important to Republican influence in the future, many more are simply eager to appeal to their conservative white base in upcoming elections. And with influential conservative TV pundits like Pat Buchanan saying that white working class folks are the most discriminated-against group in America today, as he did on MSNBC, and Fox News commentator Glenn Beck saying President Obama “has a deep-seated hatred for white people,” the Republicans’ immediate fears seem to be getting the best of them.