Thursday, May 28, 2009

Letter From The DSCC Asking For Help Defeating Those Who Oppose Sonia Sotomayor-- Let's Start With Ben Nelson & Blanche Lincoln


GOP can't do squat without the help of these 2 ugly galoots

It's easy enough to dismiss par-for-the-course, totally predictable racism from sordid, partisan characters like Limbaugh, Inhofe, Tancredo and Gingrich. I'm sure President Obama warned Sonia Sotomayor exactly the kind of vicious buzzsaw she'd be walking into if she accepted his nomination.

Yesterday, I got a fundraising beg from Senator Bob Menendez, chair of the NRSC. Pretty boilerplate and the emphasis is his.
Dear Howard,

Tuesday was a historic day: President Obama nominated Judge Sonia Sotomayor for the United States Supreme Court. I am thrilled the president has chosen such a qualified nominee and, at the same time, moved toward a Supreme Court that looks more like America. Judge Sotomayor would be the first Latina, and only the third woman, to serve on the nation's highest court.

Judge Sotomayor's vast knowledge of the law, excellent temperament and lifetime of experiences make her a great choice. She's authored about 400 legal opinions, and she understands how laws affect people, businesses and government. Judge Sotomayor has more federal judicial experience than any Supreme Court nominee in the past century and has garnered bipartisan support: She was appointed to the District Court for the Southern District of New York by President George H.W. Bush and the Second Circuit by President Bill Clinton.

Despite all of her qualifications, Republicans stand ready to obstruct. On Tuesday, de facto party spokesman Rush Limbaugh went so far as to accuse President Obama, and Judge Sotomayor, of racism. "Obama is the greatest living example of a reverse racist and now he's appointed one ... Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court," he said.

With statements like that from Limbaugh, we can expect to have a fight on our hands. You can be assured, however, that the DSCC, the branch of the Democratic Party solely dedicated to electing more Democrats to the Senate, is working hard every day to elect senators who will give President Obama's nominees a fair hearing. It's what America expects of us.

Robert Menendez

Menendez is correct, Limbaugh will rile up a whole pack of craven reactionaries in the Senate, from Richard Burr (R-NC), Jim Bunning (R-KY), Jim DeMint (R-SC), Tom Coburn (R-OK), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Robert Bennett (R-UT), Sam Brownback (R-KS) to David Diapers Vitter (R-LA), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) and Ben Nelson (D-NE). Blanche Lincoln? Ben Nelson? Sure. There are a handful of Democratic senators (and candidates) who have to face the voters in 2010 and whose every move is predicated not on principle but on electoral calculus. There's no Democrat worse in that regard than WalMart's representative in the U.S. Senate Blanche Lincoln.

Lincoln and Nelson sound about as supportive of the president's nomination as do half the Republicans! "Concerning Judge Sotomayor’s nomination, I look forward to examining her entire record and commitment to upholding the law and Constitution of the United States in the coming weeks." That could be John Cornyn or Lamar Alexander. But it's ole Ben Nelson.
There's really no clear definition as to what exactly is an activist judge according to Nelson, but apparently none of President George W. Bush's nominees were. Nelson was the only Democrat to vote for Janice Rogers Brown, one of Bush's most conservative and controversial judicial picks, and was one of only a couple of Democrats who supported Samuel Alito and John Roberts for the Supreme Court and John Bolton for UN ambassador. Nelson also backed both John Ashcroft and Alberto Gonzales for Attorney General.

Nelson explained in an op-ed for the Omaha World Herald that his only criteria for a "good judge" is one that is not an activist. How did he know Alito was not an "activist judge?" Well, because Alito told him so, of course.
In my meeting with Judge Alito on Nov. 2, he assured me that he was carrying no political agenda to the bench. I asked him if he envisioned himself carrying a hammer and chisel and looking to forge new law. He assured me that he would consider each case on its merits and would bring no agenda to the bench.

The open secret about the politicization of the judiciary in this country is that right-wing judges are just as "activist"-- if not more so-- than left-wingers. The myth about the Supreme Court being a group of impartial umpires is especially strong, but categorically false. Supreme Court Scholar Jeffrey Toobin recently called out Chief Justice Roberts for faithfully serving the interests and values of the GOP. Jeffrey Rosen, the writer who began the whisper campaign against Sotomayor before she was nominated, called Alito a "conservative activist... [willing to] overstep judicial boundaries to further right-wing ideology," and threw Justices Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia in that category as well.

Lincoln, as usual, sounds just like your garden variety Republican shill. “I believe the people of Arkansas and our nation deserve a Supreme Court Justice who is able to interpret and apply the law fairly without political favor or bias. Ensuring that a nominee meets this standard is an obligation I have sworn to uphold as a United States Senator, and moreover, is the standard that Americans expect for a lifetime appointment to our nation’s highest court."

Oh, wait! I hope I didn't insult Maine Senator Olympia Snowe (R) by inadvertantly comparing Blanche Lincoln to Republicans. Snowe was far less afraidf to show her enthusiasm for Obama's choice than the craven, hackish and cowardly Lincoln. Snowe: "Indisputably, this is an historic selection, as Sonia Sotomayor is just the third woman to be nominated to The Court and the first Hispanic American. I commend President Obama for nominating a well-qualified woman, as I urged him to do during a one-on-one meeting on a variety of issues in the Oval Office earlier this month.

So the DSCC is worried about "a fight on our hands?" It isn't the rump of a Republican Party that is watering down all of President Obama's bills and killing chances for real change. The Republicans alone don't have the power to do all the damage the Senate has been doing. They can only do it with the help of treacherous bought-off handmaidens of the corporate elites that normally lavish all their bribes on Republicans but who have found a handful of conservative Democrats to champion their causes. The DSCC wants help keeping Blanche Lincoln in her seat? That's where a portion of every single cent you donate to them goes-- to the woman who single-handedly is killing Employee Free Choice at the behest of the Walton family (WalMart). Support Lincoln? How about working to defeat her instead? I'm hearing that the unions are going to try-- even if it means electing a Republican.

UPDATE: Another Kind Of Letter-- This One From Ed Rollins

Ed Rollins has been a GOP operative for a long time. He's probably best known because he directed Reagan's 1984 presidential campaign but he has always been a target of great enmity from George H.W. Bush and his last big brush with fame was in 2007 when, as campaign manager for Mike Huckabee, he was overheard saying that he wanted to "knock out" Mitt Romney's teeth. He and Huckabee certainly aren't on the same page regarding the Sotomayor nomination.
Almost everybody cheers for the underdog-- maybe not those born to upper-class standing with great advantages, but those of us who weren't always want the little guy to be victorious.

We want hard work and extra effort to be rewarded. Standing at the front of the East Room of the White House Tuesday morning were two Americans who clearly had started life as underdogs.

One is now our president, son of a Kenyan. The other is the daughter of Puerto Rican parents who is about to sit on the highest court in the land. Both were born without privilege. Both were raised in households with little cash, but much love. Both were raised by strong, devoted mothers who worked hard to support them.

Both were encouraged that through hard work and education they could go beyond the boundaries of their environment and their class. Somehow the flame of ambition was lit and both became outstanding students who didn't need affirmative action programs to get to the top of their class.

Both are extraordinary role models for the next generation of Americans and both will be historic figures. And the important thing is that both President Obama and Judge Sonia Sotomayor never forgot where they came from or the people who helped them move forward to such heights.

It was a day to make all Americans proud.

Now we begin a process that might not make Americans proud. The Senate confirmation hearings for Sotomayor will begin in the coming weeks and already the long knives are out. The historic role of the Senate to advise and consent to a president's judicial nominations has become in the last few years a process of "attack and condemn."

Unfortunately, the battle for the heart and soul of the Republican Party that has raged for the last several weeks is now spilling over into the debate over Sotomayor's ideology and judicial temperament. The challenge has been laid down by conservative commentators that "if not now, when!" The terms " radical liberal" and "reverse racist" are being bantered about, with more to come.

Those who have not been able to lay a glove on President Obama, with his 60 percent-plus approval ratings, now think they can define him by smearing Sotomayor.

For a political party that lost an election just six months ago by 9? million votes, the second largest vote margin of defeat ever for a Republican presidential candidate, you would think we would shut our mouths and figure out how to get more votes in the future.

But instead we have gotten into a raging debate over the purity of the party and who's a better Republican. Dick Cheney, Colin Powell, Tom Ridge, Karl Rove, Rush Limbaugh and even Meghan McCain have had their say along with the new party chairman, Michael Steele.

But a political party is not a religion. We don't get up every weekend and go to our church or synagogue or mosque or wherever else we might practice our beliefs and pay homage to the great tenets of the Republican Party, or the Democratic Party for that matter.

Of all the things that are important to me, I don't get up every morning and say first and foremost I've got to go out and be a good Republican today and spread the gospel and beat up on President Obama and the wretched Democrats.

Like most Americans, I wake up every day and think about my wife, my daughter, my friends, my neighbors, my job and go to work. I worry about my favorite sports teams and whether they won or lost. I do think of myself as an American and thank the almighty that I have that privilege. And as an American, I do worry about the direction of my country and the decisions made by our elected leaders. That is where political parties matter.

Political parties are vehicles to help elect people to office. Elected officials are the name of the game. And what people do when they are elected is what matters to most Americans.

Here is where the conduct of the Republican Senators will have a big impact on the future of this party in this crucial rebuilding period.

Sotomayor will have a lifetime appointment on the Supreme Court. Senators, both Democrats and Republicans, have a right and an obligation to question her and get to know her views. But they must treat her with the respect she deserves and has earned.

Let me state that I am sure Sotomayor and I don't agree on very much. And I am sure some of her liberal rulings will drive me nuts. But President Obama won, is a liberal and gets to put liberals on the court. That's the way it works. Ideology aside, is she qualified?

There can be no debate over her qualifications. Her lifetime achievements in the academic world, in the legal world and the judicial world are unchallengeable. If that was the only measure, she would be confirmed unanimously.

That isn't going to happen! We are into full-bore political battle within the Republican Party, with conservatives and pragmatists arguing over what are the best tactics to stop the direction that this young president and his congressional allies are taking us.

But I just offer a word of caution. The confirmation of Sonia Sotomayor is not the battle to be waged and it won't be won. No one should be brutalized like Judge Robert Bork was in the 1980s. And no one should be rubber-stamped either.

Sotomayor is not deserving to be on the Supreme Court because she is Puerto Rican or a woman. She has been appointed by the president because she is extremely well-qualified. Judge those qualifications fairly and without malice. To do less will antagonize Hispanic and female voters, two voter groups Republicans must do better with to have any chance of electoral success.

In 1981 when Sandra Day O'Connor was nominated by President Reagan to be the first woman on the court, she was confirmed unanimously. When Antonin Scalia was nominated, also by President Reagan, he was confirmed 98-0. He was the first American of Italian descent appointed to the court.

Sotomayor, if confirmed, will be the 111th judge to sit on the court. One-hundred-six white men, two African-American men and two white women have gone before her. The appointment of a Hispanic-American is long overdue. Appointing another woman is critical also. But she's there because of her own accomplishments, not her gender or her heritage.

Republicans are in a position where we are the underdogs. Unfortunately, no one is cheering for us to win. These nationally televised hearings may be an opportunity for Republican senators to take a step in the right direction. Don't treat her like a lady. Treat her like an extremely qualified American who the president chose to elevate to the nation's highest court.

He should be allowed to knock Romney's teeth down his throat, especially now that the two-faced Mormon bigot has decided to play a little demagoguery game with the nomination.

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At 6:46 AM, Anonymous Joe Armendariz said...

I think a wise Latino male will often come to a better conclusion than a Latina female based on his life experience.

At 3:34 PM, Anonymous Reaganite Republican Resistance said...

Unless you are delusional, Sotomayer is a racist, as are all members of the treasonous La Raza -by definition- who’s motto is “For our race everything- for others, nothing”. Her record is nothing to shout about either, and frankly -if you've heard her speak- she's not what you'd call a towering intellectual.

And clearly Eric Holder has some racial hangups and agenda too… as does Obama IMO, since his behavior betrays a wierd pro-Kenyan grudge against the British… and he’s the one who nominated all these kooks.

Whatever happened to the idea of a colorblind society? Team Obama define their world in racial terms all the time- and unlike any white people I know. I wouldn’t want to be judged by any of them after what I’ve heard come out of their own mouths- they sound like Jesse Jackson.

If Obama is going to go on with his “justice” agenda largely based upon race- the double standards need to stop, and NOW.

At 2:26 PM, Blogger ordinaryperson said...

Thanks, Howie, for leaving the comment from the guy above me. Hilarious?

La Raza is the new ACORN/Weather Underground/Black Church/Nation of Islam, etc.

Rachel Maddow put this silliness about La Raza, propogated by self-loathing grandson-of-immigrants Tom Tancredo, to rest the other day. And by gosh, it's on Crooks & Liars:

Rachel Maddow Responds to Tancredo's Racist Screed


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