It appears that liberal activist group People For the American Way's smear campaign against Connecticut firefighter Frank Ricci is bearing fruit. Dahlia Lithwick has already responded with an obedient hit piece in Slate magazine, which perfectly fits the bill.
Why are liberals targeting Ricci? Because he had the audacity to challenge Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor's 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals summary ruling against him and other firefighters denied promotions because of affirmative action policies. Worse, he prevailed when the Supreme Court reversed the Sotomayor court.
Worse yet, Ricci has agreed to testify at Judge Sotomayor's Senate confirmation hearing, so liberal hardballers supporting Sotomayor's confirmation must personally discredit him -- just as they did Joe the Plumber.
You know the drill; liberals always go to the mat for the common man and for African-Americans and women -- unless, of course, those common men, African-Americans or women (e.g., Joe, Clarence Thomas, Sarah Palin) oppose their agenda.
People For the American Way triggered this opposition research campaign against Ricci in an e-mail, which cited "Frank Ricci's troubled and litigious work history." Dahlia Lithwick then helped to fill in the blanks in her article "Fire Proof." (I wish some of these lib crack investigative reporters would use their formidable talents to fill in the blanks on President Barack Obama's largely undocumented life. But here I merely fantasize -- and digress.)
Right up front in her article, Lithwick tells us that "Ricci has become a sort of folk hero for white men everywhere, having dared to stand up against the evils of affirmative action and race-based employment preferences." At the confirmation hearings, "he will be called on to make the point ... that Sotomayor, for all her talk of empathy ... 'demonstrated no empathy for the real world consequences' of affirmative action on Ricci."
This is wrong -- and offensive -- in several ways. While I don't expect doctrinaire liberals to understand this, conservatives don't see the world through the same race-conscious prism as they do. We don't see Ricci as white or Italian or any other category, and we certainly don't see him as a type of folk hero fighting reverse discrimination.
His skin color and ethnicity are utterly irrelevant to us, except to the extent they were used by his employer and the Sotomayor court to deny Ricci and his colleagues promotions they had worked hard to achieve.