Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Turning The Judge Sotomayor Trap

As Obama introduces Judge Sonia Sotomayor today (Red Sonia to her friends), the Republicans are faced with an interesting dilemma. Obama has set a trap for the Republicans, and their natural instincts will be to jump right into that trap. Please don’t. Instead, follow my plan below and you can actually turn his trap against him.

In choosing a nominee who is both female and Hispanic, Obama seemly is attempting to endear himself with both groups. Even the media sees this, though they call it brilliant rather than racist/sexist pandering. But in any event, they miss the real Machiavellian aspect of this selection. Obama is less concerned with pandering than he is with baiting the Republicans.

Obama clearly is hoping that the Republicans will attempt to make race or gender an issue, or that they will make statements that can be characterized as making race or gender an issue. Indeed, the media is giddy with anticipation of such a response. And, as if on cue, John Kyl this weekend stated that the Republicans would oppose any nominee who based their decision on emotions. Nice work Senator, the chicks will dig that.

More interestingly, it is unlikely that Obama would shed too many tears if a handful of conservative democrats joined with the Republicans to blocked Sotomayor. Consider that Obama has now satisfied female and Hispanic pressure groups by making the pick. If she is blocked, he can pick any replacement nominee he wants without offending either group. Moreover, he can accuse the Republicans of being obstructionist, racist and sexist. AND if conservative democrats do join the Republicans, he will have given his left flank ammunition (if you’ll pardon the pun) to use in upcoming primaries against these same conservative democrats who are blocking him on guns and taxes and cap/trade.

So how do the Republicans avoid this trap? Two steps:

First, forget the idea of threatening a filibuster. Republicans will never get the necessary votes, so threatening a filibuster only makes the party look impotent. It will also antagonize the RINOs who like nothing more than standing up to their party. Let them sleep.

Instead, Republicans need to go directly to the people. Highlight the tyrannical nature of her judicial philosophy. Judicial activism is all about a judge willfully ignoring the limits placed on their powers by the Constitution so that they can impose their own will upon the people (more tomorrow). That’s tyranny. Point out her ideas about legislating from the bench. Explain why that is so wrong , and ask what other laws she would be willing to impose upon us in her infinite wisdom? Let the American people hear what this nominee believes?

If this is done right, the public should begin to flood the Senate with angry phone calls and letters. Soon enough, the democrats themselves will (embarrassingly) call for her withdrawal.

Secondly, turn Obama’s trap against him. Go into the Hispanic and female “communities” and let them know how cynical Obama’s pick was:

“Obama didn’t pick her because he wanted an Hispanic female. No, there are many more fine Hispanic/female candidates he could have chosen. He picked Judge Sotomayor because he knew she was unacceptable, because he wanted us to shoot her down. He is using her as bait to gin up anger in your community. That’s what he thinks of you. He is the great manipulator.”

Now go forth and do this thing right.


patti said...

nice...i like a well-thought out plan.

John Keats said...

Great post, Andrew.

Two brilliant observations here that I wish I'd discussed in my post. First is the fact that Obama may be planning to parlay opposition over this nominee into support for a more dangerous nominee. This is dishonest, of course, but it's also cowardly. As a President who was noticed, lauded, nominated, and finally elected due to his eloquence in spite of the color of his skin - underscoring the race-baiting of the left - I find it strange that he would use the colored-female trump card, as predicted by Scalia.

I also get the feeling that the Republican party would initially oppose any nominee. I think Obama expects his nominee to be arbitrarily and summarily executed by the right-wing in Washington and on Main Street, and judging by the initial reactions in the press, he may be right. So your advice in this post is particularly important - instead of getting our panties in a bunch over a nominee, we should calculate the risk involved and develop a plan.

Unknown said...

I agree, up to a point. I do not entirely agree that it is unfair or politically foolish to point out, non-rancorously, that Obama firmly declared both before and after his election that he would never choose a Supreme Court nominee based on race, ethnicity or gender. That elephant in the legal dining room is a little hard to ignore, let alone avoid commenting on. Moreover, her judicial activism is best explained by her own comments that as a "Latina woman" she would be better qualified to make decisions affecting minorities than a white male. She herself set at least part of the agenda, and I don't think it would be wise to entirely dismiss the potentially dangerous precedent her race-specific agenda might produce in the area of judicial activism.

BevfromNYC said...

Good plan -
Having lived in NYC for 20 years, I had no idea that NYC had such a deep well of brilliance to be drawn from. You really can't tell from how the city and state are run. It just seems that everyone Obama is appointing these days is from NYC. I must be the water...

John Keats said...

That's why I don't drink Yankeewater.

Writer X said...

I agree with your assessment on Kyle, btw. He seems to come out (half) punching just when it's too little too late. Also agree completely with your second point--highlight some of the ridiculous statements and decisions she's made. Unfortunately the only ones who are doing it so far is talk radio. As usual, the Republicans in Congress have that deer-in-the-headlights look that always makes me nervous.

AndrewPrice said...

John, thanks. I think you and I are on the same page on this one.

Lawhawk, you're going to disagree? That's it. You and I are through professionally. Talk to the hand.

Seriously, I think it is valid (and important) to question her about statements she has made that appear racist or sexist, but I think that the Republicans need to be careful in how they delve into those issues. Kyl talking about not supporting anyone emotional is really starting off on the wrong foot.

Writer X, I know the exact look you are talking about, and I too get nervous when I see it. I fear that they are going to remain silent on her until it is too late. That they will then threaten a filibuster they can't win, which will incite the RINO contingent. While they slit each other's throats, Sotomayor will walz onto the court unchallenged. Ug.

Unknown said...

Andrew: It was a very minor disagreement. I was merely trying to point out that my opinions are always better than yours. No need to break up a professional relationship over that, is there? If so, then I apologize for anything that I might have said that may have been misunderstood by you in your misinterpretation of the thing I meant to say. Your friend, LawHawk

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, you silver-toungued devil! LOL! Well played sir, well played. :-)


Captain Soapbox said...

Well played indeed, that apology sounded like it came straight from the DNC there. LOL

Unknown said...

Well I do hope that the Republicans don't just let her walk through to the Supreme court. From what I have heard, I am not to impressed with her and I am disgusted with the gender/race remark she made to justify why she should be chosen. Qualifications should be what she is judged on, not her race or gender.

The scariest part is that many on the left believe they are justified in creating laws when it is not in their mandate.

AndrewPrice said...

Trish, see my next article -- it talks about the hows and whys of judicial activism.

I hope the Republicans use this process to discredit the entire concept of judicial activism. This appointment was stupid, it gives them that opening.

But that's going to take a careful strategy, which is something the party is not very good at right now.

Captain Soapbox said...

I don't just see her appointment being a trap, it's the latest in a series of traps showing the general trend of the liberals for a while now. If a conservatibe opposes a "historic first (whatever)" then the left can attack them for being racist or sexist, even when that never comes up. Look at Obama, we all know that if you consitently oppose his policies (because they're wrong) that doesn't matter, you're just a racist.

So they doing the same with Sotomayor, and you can bet your bippie that if another slot opens up they'll put up a gay nominee, or a black woman, or one of any other "first" group types because even if you can oppose them on the issues, they'll be able to play the racist/sexist/homophobe card and people will buy it. Even if your entire opposition is based on qualifications or policy differences.

In other words, we're screwed if we let them keep getting away with it, but we're also screwed because as soon as you have even a logical and factual reason for opposing them, well you're just a bad person doncha know...

AndrewPrice said...

Captain S, that's why I make the point that the Republicans need to get the public to shoot her down, rather than going out there and just taking the bait.

Make her views on judicial activism known, and let the public pressure the democrats to withdraw her. Do not just jump up and declare a filibuster (that they can't win) and hope that the public eventually comes around to your way of thinking.

Captain Soapbox said...

Yep I agree with you Andrew, but it's already been all of one day since she was announced and no matter what arguments are being brought up against her, the talking pinheads from the left are already on saying that any opposition to her is based on racist and sexist grounds. Which is the left's SOP, we get that. The problem is that there are some Republicans that are afraid to go after her on the merits because they know that is already in play. Which is weak and will lead to this happening over and over again.

The Republican leadership has forgotten that you have to take the high ground in any fight. And I'm not just meaning the moral high ground, I mean the literal position of advantage in the debate. They seem to be too willing to react than to attack, because often it really does come down to who gets there the firstest with the mostest.

I also agree that a filibuster won't work, they don't have the votes for it and it'll look like that's the only ammo they have. The woman herself has made, primed and belted the ammo for them, they just need to stand up and use it. Will they take some hits? Probably. But here's the secret of gunfighting, and politics is really nothing more than a gunfight with words instead of bullets: The guy that wins isn't necessarily the one who's the best shot, it's not always who has the best aim, it's not always the guy that is the fastest, a lot of times it simply comes down to having the guts (or stupidity) to stand your ground and return fire while taking it. If the Republicans are so afraid of taking a little fire that they don't use their weapons to good effect, well then they can't win.

Unknown said...

Well it is a pretty sad state of affairs that she is nominated BECAUSE she is a woman and a Latino. This is just going to make it harder for the next person - who could be very qualified - being looked at for getting their job strictly because of their race/gender, etc., instead of being qualified for the position.

Captain Soapbox said...

Honestly Trish the only reason I could see for her to be nominated was that she was a minority woman and it was "time." I'm no lawyer, don't even play one on TV, so no expert, but many of her opinions that I have read are mindbogglingly silly to me.

I honestly don't care what the race or gender is of anyone nominated as long as they're qualified and understand the role of the courts. In my not exceedingly well informed opinion, she's neither.

AndrewPrice said...

Trish, you've hit upon one of the tragedies of affirmative action. While it may only ever apply to a few, it casts a dispersion on everyone in the affected category.

I've seen this in practice in many different fields. I can't count the number of times a (liberal) attorney has wondered off the cuff whether a minority applicant got to where they are on their own ability or if they had help and a lower bar to cross.

Do I think Sotomayor was picked solely for her ethnicity and gender? No, she's got the view Obama likes. BUT I am not naive enough to think that her race and gender weren't requirements in her being selected.

Even now, you see leftwingers running around spouting off about the no-win situation in which Obama has put them.

Captain Soapbox said...

I think the deeper reasoning here Andrew is that the liberals assume anyone of that race and gender must also be liberal as well. To them everything is about identity politics, which is why you saw them viciously attack people like Clarance Thomas, Condi Rice and even Colin Powell before he "came home." To their minds people that fit into certain ethnic and gender categories, especially when combined, are by default people that would agree with the liberal agenda. When people come along who don't, why that's when the knives come out. It'd be almost funny if it weren't so terribly tragic.

Unknown said...

Captain: One of those for whom the knives came out was one of my favorite California Supreme Court Justices. Janice Rogers Brown, an African-American woman, was appointed to the California high court when we had a moderate conservative Republican and a split legislature. She was fairly easily confirmed by the state senate. When Bush attempted to appoint her after a distinguished career in California, the left went into full attack mode. She was, according to them, a class and race traitor. One hysterical law school professor actually called her the most dangerous nominee to the appellate bench in all of history. He even accused her of wanting to return to "pre-Civil War days," an interesting thing to say about the descendant of slaves and daughter of an Alabama sharecropper. She was finally, and after much wheeling and dealing, confirmed to the DC Circuit Court of Appeals.

Captain Soapbox said...

Lawhawk, I vaguely remember that whole brouhaha too. It's despicable behavior that has been not only allowed to go on for too long, but has actively been pushed forth as a valid character assassination method by the left.

The sooner that Identity Politics are stood up to as the racist and misogynistic tools of the character assassin that they are, the better in my opinion.

The problem is that if a conservative has even a valid argument against a policy, well they're a racist. But if a liberal says hateful things, they're just telling you how the world should be and why you're just messing it up for everyone else by daring to not be "one of us." I've been on the receiving end of that personally and it's annoying as hell.

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