November 1, 2005


Why Democrats won't want to oppose Samuel Alito (Michael Barone, 10/31/05, US News)

On this appointment the Democrats are caught between two constituencies. On one side is the feminist left. They have to oppose Alito if they want the people on their direct-mail lists ever to send in money again. [...]

But if they filibuster, they risk alienating another constituency, Italian-Americans. [...]

I wonder whether Tom Carper of Delaware (where 7 percent of the population in the 2000 census said they were of Italian ancestry), Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey (14 percent), Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York (11 percent), Christopher Dodd and Joe Lieberman of Connecticut (14 percent), and Jack Reed of Rhode Island (14 percent) really want to go to the length of supporting a filibuster against an Italian-American judge with sterling credentials and majority support in the Senate. I'm pretty sure that Lincoln Chafee, facing a conservative opponent in the Republican primary in Rhode Island, the state with the nation's highest percentage of Italian-Americans, doesn't want to oppose Alito. If I were giving him political advice, I would certainly advise him not to do so. As much as one quarter of Republican primary voters there will have Italian names or Italian ancestors. And what about Patrick Leahy of Vermont, who is of Italian descent (on his mother's side) as well? He's often been given a place of honor at NIAF dinners. I'm not sure he'd want to attend if he opposed Alito. The audience there is, to judge from responses at the dinners I've attended, about half Republican and half Democratic. But I'll bet they'll be close to 100 percent for Alito.

Note that George W. Bush was careful to point out that Alito's father was an Italian immigrant. I don't think the Democrats failed to notice that.

It's an especially deft way of keeping Chafee on the reservation.

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 1, 2005 11:51 PM

Although the Mafia memo was amusing, I guess I'll cop to being naive on this. My heritage, if I have one, is Catholic, but I don't really care much about Catholics in office or on the bench. I suppose because so often it truly doesn't have an impact on their views. But being Italian-American seems to have even less influence than that. As Barone mentions, they seem about equally Rep. and Dem. at that pasta convention. Why wouldn't this be another case of "if he agrees with me, give me the Italian, but if he doesn't, who cares?" I can see the desire to see African Americans and Latinos, and Asians in office regardless of politics, but Italians?

Posted by: RC at November 2, 2005 7:08 AM

I hate playing the ethnic card just as much as I hate playing the race card, gay card, female card ... We're playing into the hands of the multicultists by promoting Alito's first generation status as a reason why senators from states with large populations of similar ethnicity must vote to confirm. His background is an interesting, Only in America, sidebar, but no basis on which to vote yea or nay.

In fact, if Alito is confirmed on his merits without the RINO's help, this might be the right time for more reliably Republican candidates to challenge them and let them show their true colors by running as Democrats.

Posted by: tefta at November 2, 2005 7:51 AM


Every president has been a white male Christian--we always play the ethnic card...and win.

Posted by: oj at November 2, 2005 7:57 AM

White male Christian is the ethnic card? Don't you mean the un-ethnic card?

Racist card: By White of course you mean Anglo-Saxon. FYI -- Many non-anglo "ethnics" including those of Italian extraction think of themselves as being white.

Male = the Sexist card. Pretty straight forward to most people.

Christian? Don't you mean Protestant? BTW - Do you count Catholics as Christians. Most "Christian" denominations do not and Christian has become newspeak for Protestant which for some reason has disappeared from usage.

Posted by: tefta at November 2, 2005 10:48 AM


What WASP isn't an ethnicity but a nullity?

Posted by: oj at November 2, 2005 11:31 AM

I think WASP's are kinda cute.

Posted by: tefta at November 2, 2005 1:46 PM

OJ is too hairy to be a WASP.

Posted by: ratbert at November 2, 2005 2:01 PM

The White House is actually trying to discourage Stephen Laffey from running against Chaffee in the primary, they will be running anti-Laffey ads. Are they thinking Laffey would be too conservative to win RI, and would rather preserve the small foothold they have in RI with Chaffee?

BTW, Laffey is the mayor of my home town, Cranston R.I. My parents are friends of his parents, and I went to school with his brother John. From what I hear, Laffey comes across as a little too confrontational to many folks. He pulled a PATCO when he took office, firing members of a crossing guard union when he couldn't get them to give up their cushy contract with the city.

Posted by: Robert Duquette at November 2, 2005 4:40 PM

Incumbency is a powerful weapon, it's silly to toss it away.

Posted by: oj at November 2, 2005 5:33 PM

spoken like a true realist.

Posted by: anon at November 3, 2005 12:06 AM