Republicans have been given fair warning.
Should GOP senators treat Sonia Sotomayor as contemptuously as Democrats treated Robert Bork, Clarence Thomas and Sam Alito, they should expect Hispanic hostility for a generation.
The chutzpah of this Beltway crowd does not cease to amaze.
They archly demand that conservatives accord a self-described "affirmative action baby" from Princeton a respect they never for a moment accorded a pro-life conservative mother of five from Idaho State, Sarah Palin.
Pundits here gets hoots of appreciation for doing to a white Christian woman what would constitute a hate crime if done to a "wise Latina woman." But, as no Republican who followed the script of the mainstream media ever won a national election, why should the party pay them mind?
The imperative of the GOP is not to appease a city that went 93-7 for Obama, but to win back its lost voters.
In 2008, Hispanics, according to the latest figures, were 7.4 percent of the total vote. White folks were 74 percent, 10 times as large. Adding just 1 percent to the white vote is thus the same as adding 10 percent to the candidate's Hispanic vote.
If John McCain, instead of getting 55 percent of the white vote, got the 58 percent George W. Bush got in 2004, that would have had the same impact as lifting his share of the Hispanic vote from 32 percent to 62 percent.
But even Ronald Reagan never got over 44 percent of the Hispanic vote. Yet, he and Richard Nixon both got around 65 percent of the white vote.
When Republican identification is down to 20 percent, but 40 percent of Americans identify themselves as conservatives, do Republicans need a GPS to tell them which way to go?
Why did McCain fail to win the white conservative Democrats Hillary Clinton swept in the primaries? He never addressed or cared about their issues.
These are the folks whose jobs have been outsourced to China and Asia, who pay the price of affirmative action when their sons and daughters are pushed aside to make room for the Sonia Sotomayors. These are the folks who want the borders secured and the illegals sent back.
Had McCain been willing to drape Jeremiah Wright around the neck of Barack Obama, as Lee Atwater draped Willie Horton around the neck of Michael Dukakis, the mainstream media might have howled.
And McCain might be president.
McCain soared a dozen points when he picked Palin, who seemed to Reagan Democrats to be "one of us." They came roaring back, but left for good when McCain declared the economy fundamentally sound and rushed to D.C. to persuade Republicans to vote for a huge bank bailout opposed by Americans 100 to 1.
How, then, to handle Sotomayor?
As Republicans have never brutalized a Supreme Court nominee -- Ruth Bader Ginsburg got 96 votes and Stephen Breyer 87 -- they need no lectures on decency or decorum.
What they must do is expose Sotomayor, as they did not in the case of Ginsburg, as a political activist whose career bespeaks a lifelong resolve to discriminate against white males to the degree necessary to bring about an equality of rewards in society.
Sonia is, first and foremost, a Latina. She has not hesitated to demand, even in college and law school, ethnic and gender preferences for her own. Her concept of justice is race-based.
Testifying to Democrats' awareness that America does not want liberal justices for whom affirmative action is holy writ, Sotomayor is being promoted as a practitioner of judicial restraint who faithfully follows the Constitution and the law.
Yet here is a judge who ruled that New York state, by denying felons the vote, violated their civil rights.
How so? As there are disproportionately more blacks and Hispanics in prison, denying convicts the right to vote has a disparate impact on minorities.
The New York law does discriminate, but not on the basis of race, but whether or not you raped, robbed or murdered someone.
Even if Sotomayor is confirmed, making the nation aware she is a militant supporter since college days of ethnic and gender preferences is an assignment worth pursuing. For America does not believe in preferences. Even in the blue states of California, Washington and Michigan, voters have tossed them out as naked discrimination against white males.
As Sotomayor would be a colorful personality in a bland liberal lineup of Ginsburg, Breyer and John Paul Stevens, she would stand out, like the co-ed-chasing "Wild Bill" Douglas in the 1960s and 1970s.
And if Republicans, in 2010 and 2012, can point to the court and say Sotomayor is their kind of justice, and Scalia, Roberts, Alito and Thomas are our kind of justices, that will not be all bad.
Justice Douglas, Ramsey Clark and Jocelyn Elders, after all, did a whale of a lot of good for the Republican Party in days gone by.