DISGRACED FORMER LAWMAKER REFUSES TO GO AWAY…. The lead story on CNN’s political blog right now:

Rush Limbaugh isn’t the only one calling Sonia Sotomayor a racist. Newt Gingrich is, too — and he’s demanding that Obama’s pick to the Supreme Court withdraw her nomination. […]

On Wednesday, Gingrich tweeted: “Imagine a judicial nominee said ‘my experience as a white man makes me better than a latina woman.’ new racism is no better than old racism.”

Moments later, he followed up with the message: “White man racist nominee would be forced to withdraw. Latina woman racist should also withdraw.”

I see. The disgraced former House Speaker, who hasn’t served in public office for over a decade, and has no relevance or influence in the Senate at all, wants to see Judge Sotomayor withdraw. I guess the administration won’t have much choice but to get right on that.

As hard as this may be to believe, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs encouraged the public and members of the Senate to “look at more than just the blog of a former lawmaker.”

(I know, I know, Gingrich’s Twitter feed isn’t the same thing as Gingrich’s blog. The prior features Newt’s madness in smaller bursts.)

So, once again, we’re back to the common question: why are Newt Gingrich’s silly ideas the lead story at CNN’s political site right now? And why does CNN treat his rants as political news on a nearly daily basis? Were his screeds surprising? Were his accusations of racism against Sotomayor compelling? Is there any chance at all that anyone will actually care whether Newt wants to see the nominee withdraw?

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.