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July 17, 2009

The Rats Begin Jumping Ship. Dick Lugar (A Nominal Republican) Says He's A Yes On Sotomayor (Update Snowe And Martinez A Yes Too) And What The Republicans Accomplished

Inevitable.

My wild ass guess is she'll get at least 14 Republicans (Merkowski, McCain, Martinez, Lugar, Brownback, Bunning, Snowe, Collins, Bond, Gregg, Ensign, Voinivich, Alexander, Hutchinson) and maybe some more depending on how Graham comes out and a wild card or two.

Add that to her solid 60 (well 58, unless Byrd and Kennedy manage to make it in) which will put her in the neighborhood of the Roberts' total but well ahead of Alito's.

(Added: Snowe's a yes and Martinez too. No points for predicting those, they were too easy.)

McConnell is a no.

Having watched most of the hearings to one degree or another, I think the Republicans did about as good of a job as they could. They were faced with a nominee who basically lied when confronted with her past statements. Short of jumping up and down and calling her just what she is, what could they do?

Now while you may say they should have done just that, don't ignore the price to be paid for doing it.

The narrative would have immediately become "Republicans hate Hispanics and women" not that Sotomayor is a liar and or incompetent. I'd be willing to pay that price if it meant her nomination was going to be stopped by it but it wasn't. There are 40 Republicans in the Senate and you aren't going to get all of them to vote against her let alone pick up any Democrats no matter what you say.

If Republicans became the issue (and you know the Dems and MSM were itching to do it), it sucks all the air out of the debate and puts the focus on Republicans proving their aren't racists and no one would pay attention to what a lousy nominee and liar Sotoamayor is. Keeping the focus on her was the right tactics and strategy.

The Democrats were able to Bork Bork not just because they had the press on their side, that's nice, but what really counted is they had the votes. They used their smear tactics to energize a Senate majority. Reeving up a minority only to run them off a cliff isn't smart politics or long term strategy.

The Republicans accomplished a number of things through the hearings.

First, they got Obama's own nominee to disagree with his 'empathy' standard. No, she doesn't mean it but it will make for some nice issue adds in the future.

Second, the nominee of the most liberal President ever, in a Senate with 60 Democrats still felt compelled to parrot the conservative view of judicial philosophy. That shows the power of the issue and how deeply unpopular the liberals know they are in this area. Yeah, that's dangerously close to a useless moral victory but it shows the impact 20+ years of harping on this issue has had. It's a long game and we are winning with the voters.

Control of the language is important and dispiriting the liberal legal community is simply delicious.

Third, as polls show, the Republicans managed to turn the public against her (um maybe not based on today's poll). Yes, she'll get on the Court but the Democrats will be doing it, as Ace pointed out, against the will of the voters. Politicians only get to go to that well so many times and the Republicans on the Judiciary Committee made the Democrats use on of those chits. It's one less availible for some other craptastic idea of Obama's.

When you are the minority party, the road back to power is long and filled with seemingly inconclusive 'victories' that none the less add up over time. Defeating Sotomayor wasn't going to make Obama name a Roberts or Alito, let alone a Scalia to the Court, bloodying his nose was the best we could hope for.

Politics is the art of the possible, Republicans did just about as much as was possible during these hearings.

Addendum...I do think there were some areas where they could have done better like PRLDEF and her until nominated membership in an all women's club.


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posted by DrewM. at 11:55 AM

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