Kabuki Watch

KABUKI WATCH…. We’ve heard quite a bit of this scuttlebutt behind the scenes, but it seems a growing number of Republicans are willing to say out loud what’s been apparent from the beginning: they’re not going to defeat Sonia Sotomayor’s nomination.

Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor on Tuesday launched her campaign to convince senators she’s worthy of a lifetime appointment, and at least one GOP member of the Judiciary Committee acknowledged her confirmation is all but a foregone conclusion.

The unidentified senator conceded that the nominee may win as many as 75 votes in the chamber.

Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, the head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee and a member of the Judiciary Committee, added, “We don’t have enough Republicans to filibuster even if we wanted to, which I don’t think we do.” He’s not the first to acknowledge this.

I mention this because I realized this morning I’ve been referring to the confirmation process as a “fight.” Upon further reflection, that’s not the right word. A “fight” suggests either side might win, and all evidence points to the fact that one side is clearly going to lose. Every relevant player in this process seems well aware of this fact.

Perhaps the only group of people who want to maintain the fiction that Sotomayor might be defeated is conservative activists — some of whom want to keep up the charade for fundraising purposes, and some of whom seem to sincerely believe the outcome is in doubt.

The tricky task for Senate Republicans, then, is putting on a good show for these folks.

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Steve Benen

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.