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News » Deep End

Sonia and Sarah

For Orrin Hatch, the wheels of politics are lubricated with skin cream



Utah’s senior senator, Orrin Hatch, is still catching flak for his first question to Sonia Sotomayor during the hearings on her nomination to the Supreme Court. Surrounded by the usual clamoring media scrum, the senior senator was visibly exasperated as he responded to the fusillade of cynical questioning.

“Gosh, I wish you guys—and I see there’s some gals here, too—I just wish sometimes you members of the media would cut me a little slack. What’s the big deal about asking Ms. Sotomayor how much she weighs? I was just trying to break the ice. Goodness, I remember how riled up everybody got when I ask Anita Hill about the pubic hair on the Coke can.

“And speaking of Anita Hill, I think it’s perfectly understandable why I might slip up and address that Latina gal, Ms. Sotomayor, as Ms. Hill. Where I come from it’s pretty darn difficult to tell these colored ladies apart. No insult intended toward Ms. Sotomayor. Besides, if you remember from those Clarence Thomas hearings, I made a point of saying how attractive I thought Anita Hill was, even though she accused my good friend Clarence Thomas of indulging in porno.

“The point is, all I wanted to do was toss Ms. Sotomayor a few softballs before getting into the nitty-gritty of abortion and affirmative action. Did you notice that she very cleverly dodged those questions? So, I had very little choice but to ask her to recommend a good Mexican restaurant in the D.C. area. How was I to know she’s Puerto Rican? If you have a beef with me on that, take it up with my staff, who forgot to brief me on her background.”

The senior senator from Utah got really heated when a member of the media suggested that asking Ms. Sotomayor about skin-care products was perhaps sexist.

“Now that’s a really disgusting accusation. I don’t suppose you recall that skincare products are a special interest of mine. If you people would do your homework, you’ll find out that I spent an entire afternoon in my Senate office comparing notes on skin care with Sarah Palin, the former governor of Alaska and principled quitter.

“So, explain to me why it’s sexist to talk about skin-care products with a wise Latina and not sexist to talk about skincare products with a ditzy beauty queen? Let me just say that both gals have really nice skin, and it turns out that all three of us use the same moisturizing cream, Lancome, which may be a lot more expensive than something like Neutrogena but it really pays off in the end. I recommend it to all my friends.”

Some in the media wanted more details on moisturizers, and others wanted to get back to Ms. Sotomayor’s qualifications for the Supreme Court, but Sen. Hatch, warming to the subject, wanted to defend his friend, Sarah Palin.

“Look, I think the media should be taken to task for piling-on Mrs. Palin. It’s really instructive, I think, that everybody’s giving a pass to Sonia, and not to Sarah. I know the arguments in favor of someone like Ms. Sotomayor—immigrant parents, scholarships, a brilliant student, a distinguished career as a prosecutor and then as a judge, and so on and so on.

“My heavens, I certainly have to hand it to her for her illustrious accomplishments but, in my book, we have to hand it more to someone like Sarah, who has really lived the American Dream by proving that almost any dimwit can be plucked from obscurity and thrust in the national spotlight and get rich and famous.

“She’s someone for kids today to emulate, pardon my elitist big vocabulary. It takes too long to work hard and succeed at a difficult career. Why do that when you can run for office somewhere and maybe get lucky, like Sarah? And it’s not just that she’s hot, which she is. In her confused, inarticulate way, she expresses all the seething resentment against elites, which is code for excellence and accomplishment.

“People used to make fun of my friend, Nebraska Senator Hruska, who was a champion of mediocrity. Nothing wrong with mediocrity, which has grown by leaps and bounds among politicians. My friend Sarah has surpassed all standards of mediocrity, establishing new benchmarks in incompetence that will last for generations.

“So, in conclusion, it’s good to be a quitter and a dead fish, as long as you remember to use good moisturizer.”