Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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May 26, 2009

STRATEGERY.... It's only been about six hours since the political world learned of Judge Sonia Sotomayor's Supreme Court nomination, but a battle-plan has been coming together since Justice Souter announced his retirement. That Sotomayor was a leading candidate from the outset means the president's Republican detractors don't have to scramble -- they've been planning for this announcement for at least four weeks.

But that doesn't mean there's a GOP consensus.

Rush Limbaugh ironically called Sotomayor a "racist," and said the shrinking Senate Republican caucus has to fight her nomination "as far as they can take it." Scott Reed, a Republican consultant and manager of Bob Dole's presidential campaign, said, "The G.O.P. has to make a stand. This is what the base and social conservatives really care about."

Some fairly high-profile Republicans are offering some very different advice.

[S]ome Republicans warned that the image of Republicans throwing a roadblock before an historic nomination could prove politically devastating.... "If Republicans make a big deal of opposing Sotomayor, we will be hurling ourselves off a cliff," said Mark McKinnon, a senior adviser to Mr. Bush and a long-time advocate of expanding the party's appeal. "Death will not be assured. But major injury will be."

Matthew Dowd, another one-time adviser to Mr. Bush, said ... barring any revelation about Ms. Sotomayor's background, Republicans could doom themselves to long-term minority status if they are perceived as preventing Ms. Sotomayor from becoming a judge. He argued that the party could not even be seen as threatening a filibuster.

"Because you'll have a bunch of white males who lead the Judiciary Committee leading the charge taking on an Hispanic women and everybody from this day forward is going to know she's totally qualified," he said. "It's a bad visual. It's bad symbolism for the Republicans."

"Republicans have to tread very lightly," he said. "They can't look they are going after her in any kind of personal or mean way. There's no way they can even threaten a filibuster; I think a threat of that sort would be a problem, even if they didn't do it."

Whether the party takes this advice seriously will depend, at least in part, on whether Republican officials believe they can get away with it. The GOP base is, predictably, throwing a fit, and is making all kinds of demands of their party.

And while this fit puts the Republican Party in an awkward position, it's also, as Kevin Drum noted, helpful for the White House's larger strategy: "The wingnut wing of the Republican Party seems hugely energized by Sotomayor's nomination and ready to go ballistic over it. This might be good for them in the short term (it's a nice fundraising opportunity, brings internal factions together, etc.), but Obama, as usual, is looking a few moves ahead and understands that a shrieking meltdown from the usual suspects will mostly help the liberal cause: the American public already thinks the conservative rump running the Republican Party is crazy, after all, and this will help cast that feeling in stone. Most normal people think empathy is a good thing, not a code word for the dictatorship of the proletariat."

Quite a conundrum for the GOP.

Steve Benen 3:40 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (21)

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Yes, President Obama's choice for SCOTUS will give the Senatorial Republican leadership yet one more opportunity to display themselves as leaders of the PARTY OF NO! I'm sure they aim not to disappoint! Most of us will savor the imagry of middle-aged to aged white men of power obstructing American's move forward, by questioning a qualified jurist through a bigotted filter of privilege! -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on May 26, 2009 at 3:43 PM | PERMALINK

Rush Limbaugh ironically called Sotomayor a "racist,"

There's nothing ironic or even odd about it. Republicans have been routinely accusing every up-and coming non-white Democrat of being racist for quite some time.

Posted by: Rob Mac on May 26, 2009 at 3:53 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, if a non-white person even mentions the existence of race, this allegedly proves that they are racists, because they say that race matters. They should be like Steven Colbert, you see, who doesn't see race, but people tell him he's white.

Posted by: Joe Buck on May 26, 2009 at 3:59 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, it's not a conundrum.

1. General Powell graciously provides cover for the Not Insane wing of the GOP.

2. The Powell Republicans offer only token resistance and even encouragement to this foregone conclusion of a confirmation.

3. Powell Republicans become relevant, leaving the Limbaugh Knuckledraggers behind the dumpster of history, where they belong.

4. the GOP begins their slow march back to relevance.

Oh. Wait. That all makes sense. Never mind. Cue Mike Pence in 5, 4, 3, 2....

Posted by: Cazart on May 26, 2009 at 4:02 PM | PERMALINK

Quite a conundrum for the GOP.

The GOP believes there is no conundrum so large that it cannot be overcome by consistent reference to Ronald Reagan and the steady application of blundering, short-sighted, ignorant folly.

Posted by: Jon on May 26, 2009 at 4:04 PM | PERMALINK

And (h/t to TPM) leading the charge against Judge Sotomayor is none other than John Yoo, who attacks her over "empathy".

Posted by: Joe Buck on May 26, 2009 at 4:04 PM | PERMALINK

1. Fight nomination tooth and nail with every silly arguement known to man.

2. ??????????

3. Return to power.

God bless them . They sure are consistent

Posted by: John R on May 26, 2009 at 4:06 PM | PERMALINK

Thinking Republicans (I know there must be a few out there; give me a moment and I’m sure I can come up with a name) will clear their throats and after a bit of hemming and hawwing, will move the nomination to the Senate floor. Where she will be approved 90-6.

Meanwhile, caught between a rock and a hard place, (Oh, I’m lovin’ the luscious anticipation!) Rush Limbaugh will fulminate against her for weeks, "Drudging" up irrelevant and erronious “facts”, because his sponsors and the dwindling base of dittoheads demand it.

Grab a chair and call the kids. . .

Posted by: DAY on May 26, 2009 at 4:06 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah let's just watch the little wingnuts post their next video of 'Pussy Galore'...forget pissing off the Latinos and start worrying about the WOMEN...enough is enough.

Posted by: SYSPROG on May 26, 2009 at 4:07 PM | PERMALINK

It is too, too bad that we can't simply park the Navy off the coast of Rush's house, and shell it into oblivion. That would be a violation of our laws---and to respect our laws, we have to respect the Limbaughs of America, as well as the truly law-abiding citizens who have an IQ to the right of zed (hard to imagine liberals and progressives being to "the right" of Limbaugh and his noxious ilk on anything within the known and unknown Universe combined, but there you have it).

Like I said---It's too, too bad....

Posted by: S. Waybright on May 26, 2009 at 4:11 PM | PERMALINK

2. ??????????

There's got to be a tax cut for rich people somewhere in there.

Posted by: qwerty on May 26, 2009 at 4:11 PM | PERMALINK

Rush Limbaugh calls Judge Sotomayor a "racist."

Hmmm ... uhhh ... because?

This is either a classic case of projection, or it is a clear clue that these guys have got NOTHING, but that they plan to fling it at Sotomayor's nomination anyway. And that they will go down flaming, while trying to rake in the dollars from their contributors in the GOP party base.

WOLVERINES!!!!

Posted by: Bokonon on May 26, 2009 at 4:25 PM | PERMALINK

@ qwerty How could I have been so dumb ....I amennd it;
Fight nomination tooth and nail with every silly arguement known to man as well as tax cuts for the rich

Posted by: John R on May 26, 2009 at 4:35 PM | PERMALINK

Republicans needn't sully their brand by leading a filibuster. I'm sure they can recruit a couple Democratic senators to perform that task.

Posted by: steve duncan on May 26, 2009 at 4:35 PM | PERMALINK

It gets even better, though. Sotomayor is just not the far-left ideologue that they are desperately trying to pretend she is. By throwing all of their weight against someone who appears to be a slightly-left-of-center, moderate, well-qualified judge, they'll be in the classic position of the boy who cried wolf if/when Obama nominates a *real* civil libertarian of the likes of William Brennan, the left's equivalent of Scalia, Thomas, Roberts, or Alito.

Sadly, I don't think that Obama will do that but if he does, his butt is covered, since all he has to do is point to their frothing over this nomination.

Posted by: PaulB on May 26, 2009 at 4:54 PM | PERMALINK

In 2004 the Republicans were on a winning arc with Hispanic voters; they got 43% of the Hispanic vote. Then came their racist tantrums over immigration, and in 2008 they wound up with 31%. Did they learn anything from this? Are they in fact even capable of learning? Of course not, if they were, they wouldn't be Republicans in the first place. With their reaction to the Sotomayor nomination, in 2012 they'll be lucky to get 22% of the Hispanic vote.
The GOP: Onward to Oblivion and Proud of It!

Posted by: Chaim Rosemarin on May 26, 2009 at 7:11 PM | PERMALINK

Quite a conundrum for the GOP.

I suppose they could always act like grownups and approve the qualified nominee of a very popular president on a voice vote. I wonder if that possibility will even occur to them.

Posted by: David Bailey on May 26, 2009 at 9:40 PM | PERMALINK

Obama, as usual, is looking a few moves ahead and understands that a shrieking meltdown from the usual suspects will mostly help the liberal cause: the American public already thinks the conservative rump running the Republican Party is crazy, after all, and this will help cast that feeling in stone.

*yawn*

Yeah, this is the exact same excuse that progressives gave for every right turn Bill Clinton made, and all it gave us was centrist justices, rightwing lege, and GWB as his successor.

Posted by: Disputo on May 26, 2009 at 10:27 PM | PERMALINK

I sometimes like to do a reverse word fill in and see how it sounds:

Duke: 'I would hope that a wise white man with the richness of his experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a brown female'...

OK with y'all libs?

Original: Sotomayor: 'I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male'...

Posted by: Luther on May 26, 2009 at 11:12 PM | PERMALINK

Would one of you oh-so-intelligent leftists please answer me this: Name one, just one, benefit (other than kumbaya drivel) that this nation has gained from "diversity"?????

Conservatives believe in equal opportunity and leftists believe in equal outcome, no matter the qualifications - hence affirmative action.

Posted by: fred on May 27, 2009 at 10:11 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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