A Supreme Court nomination is one of those classic Washington moments when careers and reputations are made or lost. Much of what goes on from day to day under the Capitol dome is useless wheelspinning or jaw jacking, of interest only to lobbyists or activists. A Supreme Court nomination is the polar opposite. It rivets the entire country. Of course, every talking head and political consultant know this and are desperate to throw in their two cents worth. The subject du jour has been how should the republicans respond? Pretty much the consensus, not just from the usual media lefties but respected republicans as well, has been that they should proceed with extreme caution. Vin Weber and Joe Scarborough both made this point, as did White House Press Secretary Gibbs. The clear implication is that strong criticism will alienate hispanics, perhaps women as well, and ruin any hopes the GOP has of erecting its long-wanted Big Tent. Some of today's warning chorus was no doubt prompted by Newt Gingrich broadside at Sotomayor, in which he basically accused her of being a racist. Rush and other conservative talkers have made essentially the same point, harping on her claim to law students that a latina woman's life experience somehow would lead her to make better decisions than white males. In her favor is a compelling rags to judicial robes personal story and an apparently superb academic record, ie Princeton summa and Editor of the Yale Law Review. Republican Senators face an additional problem. Most of them still hold to the traditional view that a president is entitled to have his nominee confirmed unless serious problems emerge, and that the nominee's politics should not be a factor. Democrats of course have long abandoned this approach, and opposed superbly qualified candidates like Robert Bork, Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alioto solely on the basis of politics. They also took the low road, attempting to destroy Bork and Justice Clarence Thomas, and making an issue of Justice Alioto's religion (catholic). Republicans face a choice. They can continue their unilateral disarmament in confirmation battles. Or, they can accept that one must fight fire with fire. Sotomayor no doubt will be confirmed whatever they do. So why take the risk of opposing her? The answer should be clear. Despite her appealing personal story, Judge Sotomayor is badly out of step with the majority of voters. She is on record as being against a constitutional right to own firearms, she is apparently in favor of racially biased hiring and promotion and she clearly is a proponent of racial identity politics. Each position of course is a staple of the democrat base, but is not popular with the general public. This nomination battle gives the republicans the opportunity to identify not only her but Obama with unpopular positions. They can demonstrate that Obama made yet another dubious decision in selecting her. Plus, with a party line vote against her, they can lay down a marker for Obama that they will not roll over for the next liberal activist he sends up. My prediction is that they will do exactly the opposite. A few will question her aggressively, but most will not. Probably half or more of the republicans will vote to conffirm her, with much background hissing at those who want to make a fight out of it.