Saved by the Sobs

Bloggers want to know: Were Martha-Ann Bomgardner's tears during her Supreme Court nominee-husband's confirmation hearings for real, or staged for effect?

Had Martha-Ann Bomgardner not begun to weep in the middle of her Supreme Court nominee-husband’s confirmation hearings yesterday, we’re not sure that poli-bloggers would have had anything to get bloggy about today.

But she did, so questions abound: Were those crocodile tears just cheap theater, delivered for effect? Or were they genuine, brought on by Senator Lindsey Graham’s soliloquy castigating Democrats for hours of brutal and shameless questioning of the nominee? James Wolcott, for one, sounds suspicious: “Mrs. Alito suffered a case of the weepies that was so dramatically well-timed and patently maudlin that I was reminded of the classic stage direction in Private Eye (takes out onion, wipes away tear), and suddenly the proceedings turned into a soap opera with Fox News commentators arriving on cue to deplore the toll taken on innocent bystanders in these brutal proceedings.”

Wolcott directs readers to fellow blogger Jane Hamsher at Firedoglake who is perhaps even less sympathetic, smelling in the “poorly executed little melodrama” “pure setup 101.” Scoffs Hamsher: “Mrs. Strip Search Sammy sure had herself a Kodak moment today, didn’t she? … [A]ny attempt at intelligent discussion of quite serious and weighty matters will undoubtedly get trumped by a moment of quick burlesque ripe for the evening news. A slavish press will need no coaching to play along.” Her conclusion? “These boldfaced crooks are absolutely desperate to stack the court and keep all their bacon out of prison.”

Mark at Abject Conjecture says much the same, minus most of the stinging sarcasm. Calling it “a bit theatrical,” Mark notes “this one tearful moment gets seized on by the media and manages to smear the Democrats with the politics of personal destruction brush, for honestly looking for information regarding the extent of Alito’s involvement in the Concerned Alumni Of Princeton organization.” Mark has this advice for Democrats: “With Mrs. Alito’s tearful performance being replayed on all the news channels, the Dems better tread softly.”

It’s too late for soft-treading, to hear Captain Ed tell it. To Ed’s mind, “When what should be a simple confirmation process reduces family members to tears, it shows that one party has degenerated into a secular Inquisition.” We’re sure that is exactly what the Desert Rat is trying to say over at Desert Rat Ramblings when he rambles: “OMIGOD … I am telling you … a normal human being would not … COULD NOT … withstand the amount of abuse … hour after hour … after hour … after hour” and, “The minutia … the mudslinging … the false accusations … the truth-twisting … All of it … only confirms what we have known all along … Liberals are losing it … In fact … They are officially LOST …” The Rat also disapproves of the behavior of one Dana Milbank of the Washington Post — his “snickering on C-SPAN over Alito’s wife’s reaction to the abuse was disgusting,” revealing “his lack of respect towards a sitting judge.”

Also tut-tutting the Democrats is Michelle Malkin who, in a post titled, “Shame, Shame on the Dems,” offers two different screen-grabs of Martha-Ann Bomgardner (or, as bloggers prefer to call her, “Alito’s wife” or “Mrs. Alito”), her face in mid-crumple, brow-furrowed, and then refers readers to “video of Judge Alito’s wife breaking down as Sen. Lindsey Graham offers an apology for the past three days of relentless smear attacks by the Dems.”

And so, as day four of the hearings commences — same time, same channels — permit us a novel thought:

Maybe Martha-Ann’s were tears of boredom?

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Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.