Republican Senators not tired of Latina bashing have set their sights on Obama's nominee for Ambassador to El Salvador - Mari Del Carmen Aponte.
It is hard to gauge if the right misses the cold war as much as they miss having the Sotomayor nomination to vent their political frustrations at, but Aponte seems to have both bases covered in their eyes.
The Weekly Standard and political gossip monger Andrew Breibart attempted to create an echo chamber for an old allegation that Aponte was targeted for recruitment by Cuban intelligence. The allegation turned out to be false, and the FBI cleared Aponte for federal appointments after a thorough background check. In true propagandistic style, even Brietbart acknowledges that the allegation is false, but only as a minuscule side note. After his eight paragraph "story" breathlessly rehashing the old allegations his next to final sentence reads: "Ms. Aponte was later cleared by the FBI." But why should facts get in the way of a good Latina bashing?
The right being presented with two possible lessons that could have been learned from the Sotomayor debacle seems to have learned only the obvious one: bash a Latina Democratic nominee and your story gets play throughout the right wing media circuit. Hannity, Rush, and their cadre of media spokes-followers seemed to receive no limit of enjoyment from pushing out lies, distortions, and racial slams against Sotomayor, so it seems like a good bet that beating up on Aponte can have legs.
The right, not having received the memo that the cold war is actually over, is ignoring the fact that Aponte was cleared of the smear over a decade ago, and is framing her as a secret Castro spy. When you look at the age demographics of the right's core, you can see how ideas of an expansive Soviet threat might have some play. But bad memories do not make current fact, unless, of course, Hannity says so.
During the Sotomayor debate conservative Senators showed their willingness to be the wagging dog to the conservative media's tail, and repeat whatever absurd talking points Rush's producers came up with. This means that soon you will be treated to yet another three ring circus concerning Aponte, where fiction replaces fact and sexist racist innuendo overtakes good judgment.
But as I said upfront there were two lessons that could have been learned from the Sotomayor spectacle. While the first is simply about media play, the second is obviously too complex for the GOP Senate caucus. But in the spirit of being able to say I told you so in the future, let me state it here: Latinas/Latinos and fair minded Americans were ultimately outraged by the GOP's behavior toward Sotomayor and they will react the same way in the Aponte matter. The GOP will deepen the growing wedge between itself and the Latino community with this racist attack disguised as a 50's spy novel. The party of cold war century once again is zipping shut the canvas door of its increasingly small 21st Century tent.