Patterico's Pontifications

5/28/2009

Sotomayor or Healthcare “reform”?

Filed under: General — Karl @ 8:16 am



[Posted by Karl]

Senate Republicans plan no scorched-earth opposition to Judge Sotomayor’s confirmation to the Supreme Court. This dismays conservatives so predictably that Democrats like James Carville would like to fuel it. To date, commentary on the issue tends to be rather narrow, considering how forcefully Republicans (or conservatives, which is a different calculation) should oppose Sotomayor as a single issue in a vacuum.

However, earlier this week, Richard Wolffe reported at The Daily Beast that “[b]y drawing fire to its Supreme Court nominee, Obama’s aides believe that health-care and environmental politics may face less-intense opposition.” The next day, Jan Crawford Greenburg reported for ABCNews:

There also was a slightly different political argument. Advisers calculated she would be the savviest move for the President to avoid an all-out battle over his Court nominee, according to sources close to the process.

With the president hoping to achieve a crowning accomplishment in his first year with health care reform, advisers pointedly warned against another big fight elsewhere, sources said.

Those two accounts might seem contardictory at first blush, but both reveal a White House that wants to conserve its resources for building a Left-center coalition around a government takeover of the healthcare sector, while hoping to distract conservatives with a fight over Sotomayor (fighting among themselves as well as with Democrats). Wolffe’s fight scenario is the more plausible, as it fits with Pres. Obama’s general “too much, too soon” approach. He does not want a perceived crisis to go to waste, and likely has calculated that his best strategy is to mount a multi-front war that divides and overwhelms his opponents.

The Senate remains the real obstacle on all of these fronts. The difference among these fronts is that stopping Sotomayor currently appears to be the least promising for the GOP. Indeed, even if the GOP managed to derail Sotomayor, Obama would simply turn to the next left-wing judge on his list.

In contrast, there is a much greater likelihood of getting a few key Democratic defections on the more controversial elements of whatever healthcare proposal emerges from Sen. Baucus’s sausage factory, or on any cap-and-trade proposal to wreck the economy in pursuit of insignificant reductions in projected global warming. Moreover, a defeat on these agenda items could take them off the table for years.

Senate Republicans institutionally have less staff and fewer resources to mount each fight than the Democrats in the majority, let alone the bureaucracies that can be mobilized by the Obama White House. (There is also the related issue of whether the Senate GOP can walk and chew gum at the same time.) Accordingly, it makes more sense for GOP Senators to fight harder on the issues they stand a better chance of winning, particularly given the weight Obama has put on those issues.

That does not mean that Sotomayor should get a free pass. She is a deeply political pick who engages in racial stereotyping and doubts whether she can rise above her own biases in most cases. Senate Republicans can make the debate on her nomination a teachable moment, making the case that the philosophy she and Obama espouse runs directly contrary to the oath federal judges take. But given the marginal benefit of actually derailing Sotomayor, Senate Republicans should probably save the scorched earth tactics for fighting a government takeover of healthcare.

–Karl

23 Responses to “Sotomayor or Healthcare “reform”?”

  1. “That does not mean that Sotomayor should get a free pass. She is a deeply political pick who engages in racial stereotyping and doubts whether she can rise above her own biases in most cases. Senate Republicans can make the debate on her nomination a teachable moment, making the case that the philosophy she and Obama espouse runs directly contrary to the oath federal judges take.”

    It’s the part that’s quoted above that worries me, or more particularly, that current GOP caucus in the senate will not even go that far, as if asking tough questions of a nominee is somehow off limits.

    I can accept the basic mathematics of the situation (only 40 GOP senators = almost impossible to stop the nominee), but none of us should accept a GOP that rolls over and fails to take this opportunity to illuminate Sotomayer’s radical philosophy – and by extension, Obama’s.

    thirteen28 (fb294d)

  2. Just ask lots of good questions during the televised hearings.

    Techie (9c008e)

  3. Republicans need to put a stake through the judicial filibuster. They need to go on every TV show they can and say:

    “We don’t normally filibuster judges, and the Democrats shouldn’t either. Even though the current nominee cannot keep her misguided politics out of her decisions, we respect the President’s right to appoint judges and we will not filibuster.”

    Kevin Murphy (0b2493)

  4. Does anyone have any confidence in any of the current Senate Republicans to make a strong case against this lady?

    JD (84e317)

  5. I wouldn’t trust today’s Republicans to light my cigar… and I don’t smoke.

    The Dems are even worse!

    Conservatives need to stand for principle, and do the right thing.

    GM Roper (85dcd7)

  6. Our soldiers stuck phosphorescent lamps up Iraqi prisoners’ behinds, news reports reveal today.
    Females and males were raped in Abu Ghraib and six other prisons (age not specified)…

    http://www.usatoday.com/news/military/2009-05-28-iraq-abuse-photos_N.htm

    What do you guys think?

    Andrew (25a0c1)

  7. Andrew, why are you trolling again?

    SPQR (72771e)

  8. You really are dumber than a sack of Andrews, and your assinine attempts at threadjacking are as apparent as the earth and the sky. This story is so old it’s already moldy, and the fact that the military uncovered the abuses at the prisons years before the media found out speaks volumes about anyone’s agenda for discussing it ad nauseum. Either discuss the actual post or go screech into the night.

    Dmac (1ddf7e)

  9. I agree with Kevin Murphy above. Ask the questions, make the points, and let her pass out of committee to the full Senate for a vote. That’s the way it should always be done although I know Democrats play by different rules sometimes. We need to be in a position to try to thwart government takeover of more of the economy.

    Laddy (2fbb24)

  10. Every time Andrew is stupid, an angel loses it wings.

    Why do you hate angels, Andrew?

    JD (84e317)

  11. Was the willie pete lit or unlit, Andrew? Never mind … These people have already been prosecuted and jailed, yet this douchebag still wants to talk about it, see pics, etc … It is like pron for the Leftists.

    JD (84e317)

  12. And every time an angel loses its wings, it falls and crushes a basket of kittens.

    Think of the KITTENS, man! THINK OF THE KITTENS!!

    PCachu (e072b7)

  13. There are some fairly controversial things she has said, plus her reversal rate which is probably less than it seems, so lots of talk about her on TV by (and here is the hard part ) thoughtful Republicans, would seem to be the best strategy. Playing nice and expecting Democrats to do so is using Obama’s strategy for North Korea and will get similar results.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  14. If you rearrange the letters in Sotomayor, you get “mayo torso” and “a moors toy.” Just sayin.

    Official Internet Data Office (f918cf)

  15. sorry for mentioning things and letting someone else do the work…

    Two things I’ve heard today while driving on Judge Sotomayor:

    1. In a case that is now before the Supremes, she ruled to the effect that there is no right for an individual to own a gun

    2. In reference to her yesterday, another Freudian slip was made by the President, saying something about how he can’t wait for her to climb the marble steps so we can “begin (start?) to have justice”- just like when the First Lady felt proud about the United States for the first time.

    Why do I keep getting this feeling that the Obamas have contempt for anything that is American and are eager to make it “how it should be” according to their biases. I can have respect for people who have a different opinion, but trying to respect someone who holds you in contempt probably is not only hard, but seems somewhat inappropriate.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  16. I completely agree, Karl. This confirmation is, at best, a teachable moment but the real fight is healthcare.

    DRJ (2901e6)

  17. MD in Philly – TOTUS accidentally let that slip out. It should bother people, very much. Will it? Sadly, no.

    JD (f8b50e)

  18. Can anyone give me one good reason we need someone on the Supreme Court who practices reverse racism? You do not combat racism by reversing the racism.

    It is a terrible road to go down for the USA and an insult to the very institution of the Supreme Court.

    bill-tb (26027c)

  19. Given that we have a president who would be an avowed Marxist if he had a shred of honesty, we could do a WHOLE LOT WORSE than Sotomayor.

    What congressional Republicans (and sane Democrats) need to do is make sure the public is fully advised of what they are getting; i.e., no shying away from questioning her about her leadership role in the vile (and racist!) La Raza.

    Glen Wishard (02562c)

  20. Andrew, that was like basic Sex-Ed in San Franssssssiscoooooo!!!!!

    We are introducing these religous yahooos to the wonders of secularism.

    You should be all for it.

    HeavenSent (1e97ff)

  21. The Republicans need to make this a teaching moment about judicial philosophy, not an attack on reverse racism per se. That will come later…

    Remember, they will be “preaching” to people who read People Magazine for their political news.

    Patricia (2183bb)

  22. The only people who have any political sense anymore are those without a college education. I suspect that there will be some hard lessons in economics learned over the next several years. The last to know will be Ivy League grads.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  23. Andrew Why?

    highpockets (4d6731)


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