I'll say this for them: Right-wing commentators have a talent for taking obscure quotations of the people they seek to criticise, untethering them from the context in which they were made, and then building huge arguments on the foundation of these thin little straws. Any alternative, reasonable explanation to what was said is, of course, ignored.
This happened with Barack Obama's "clinging to guns and religion" comment on the election trail and also his "spread the wealth around" remark to Joe the Fake Plumber. Both were open to innocuous and harmless interpretations if the listener were so inclined. But conservative listeners would have none of it - to them, these remarks were proof that Obama was a Marxist bed wetter who probably stole library books and kicked dogs when no one was looking.
Something similar has happened to Judge Sonia Sotomayor. Obama's nominee for the Supreme Court.
In 2001 - eight years ago! - Judge Sotomayor made a speech in Berkeley about Latinas and the judiciary, in the course of which she uttered these shocking (to right-wing gottcha artists) words:
"I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life."
You will note that she only hoped this were the case - and what she was really doing was talking up and taking pride in her heritage before a sympathetic crowd. No matter. She now stands convicted by the right-wing idiotocracy of the terrible crime of "identity politics," which is apparently as bad as having empathy.
Just this week, columnist George F. Will was going on about this as he does regularly. (I looked up our electronic library and he has used the "identity politics" phrase 15 times in columns since 1995. I would have thought it more often - the guy seems like a talking Tory parrot when it comes to squawking about "identity politics," but sometimes he takes a break to chew on a cracker, as he did between 2003 and 1999, when he was silent on the subject. Now Judge Sonia has his feathers ruffled again).
Sometimes I don't know whether to laugh or cry.