Apparently all the questioning is wrapping up. I know I’ve mean more harsh than not about the GOP senators. That has been on individual interrogations. Now is the time for the overall grade.
Try a C+. And I consider a C+ to be a weak grade. The object should be to give the public a clear understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the nominee and of how and why THEY, the public, should care. The biggest problem was the GOP senators’ weakness in asking follow-up questions. The nearly co-biggest problem was their inability to connect the dots and summarize them concisely. They had a lot of individual questions and comments that were strong, but the overall impression was of people sure of what they believe in but not sure that their beliefs are politically winning beliefs (even though they are), and thus a bit tentative in making all these issues explicit IN A MEMORABLE way.
They didn’t have to play dirty like Democrats so often did against Republican nominees. But they DID need to be tough, declarative, firm, and eloquent. Overall, they did only a moderately good job of that. They did NOT do anything strong enough to really pressure their DEMOCRATIC colleagues outside of the committee to feel the heat for voting for Sotomayor. In all, they gained a few points, but it was a larger opprtunity very much missed.
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