By Bonnie Erbe, Thomas Jefferson Street blog.
Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota went off the deep end a bit during her questioning of U.S. Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor by asking, as her closing question, whether Judge Sotomayor watched the All-Star baseball game on TV last night. Klobuchar was trying to be funny and make nice-nice with her party's nominee, but it came off as gooey and fawning instead.
It's too bad, because the visual elements of the hearing itself seem to do a better job of raising public support for the nominee than anything her Senate supporters could do. One cannot help but notice on the cable news networks that her Republican opponents, including Sens. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, Jon Cornyn of Texas, and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, as well as the 19 white and one Hispanic New Haven firefighters (who dropped by for a photo-op this morning), are male and almost exclusively white.
While lots of white men also support Judge Sotomayor (Vermont Democrat and Judiciary Committee Chair Patrick Leahy among them), she also already has the support of the two women on the Judiciary Committee. In the audience, her large family of Hispanic and Asian-American origin dominates the first few rows, and an African-American president nominated her.
So Klobuchar did not need to engage in overkill. The message of these hearings is pretty clear. And so is the outcome, to quote Senator Graham, barring a "meltdown."
Corrected on : Corrected on 07/20/09: An earlier version of this article misidentified the state represented by Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar. She represents Minnesota.