February 27, 2003


Strategists See Victory in Stalemate Over Nominee (CARL HULSE, February 27, 2003, NY Times)
President Bush and his fellow Republicans complain about Miguel Estrada's treatment at the hands of Senate Democrats, but some also see a political advantage for their party in the continuing fight over his nomination to an important appeals court.

Party strategists say they believe that determined Democratic resistance to a nominee of Hispanic heritage would help Republicans make inroads with a voting bloc crucial to their hold on power. And if the Honduran-born Mr. Estrada is confirmed, so much the better, these strategists say, putting Republicans in what a top Senate aide called a "win-win situation."

"I would say Republicans are on the high ground on Miguel Estrada," Senator George Allen of Virginia, chairman of National Republican Senatorial Committee, said this week as Democrats continued to oppose a vote on President Bush's nomination of Mr. Estrada to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. "I surely think it will help us with Hispanic voters." [...]

The national executive director of the League of United Latin American Citizens, a major Hispanic membership organization that has endorsed Mr. Estrada, said he believes Hispanic voters are paying attention.

"I would be surprised if those that are engaged with this debate are not disappointed with the Democratic Party for not giving this nominee a chance to be confirmed," the director, Brent Wilkes, said. He said similar "diversity" issues have drawn traditionally Democratic Hispanic voters to Republicans in recent elections in New York and Texas.

Sergio Bendixen, a veteran Hispanic pollster in Miami who was at first uncertain what impact the issue would have on Latino voters, said he had seen an escalation of the coverage in Spanish-language news media and that Republicans might be scoring points.

Reinforcing his impression about news coverage, Cuban-American House members from Florida who joined Republican senators at a press conference this week to criticize Democrats slipped into Spanish to conclude their remarks to get their message more easily onto the Spanish-language networks.

Did it really take the Times five months to figure out that this helps Republicans? Any day now they may notice that the Trent Lott thing helped too. Posted by Orrin Judd at February 27, 2003 4:52 PM

We would, of course, prefer a real victory over a strategic victory, and I hope our Stupid Party pushes this fight to the brink, instead of performing like it usually does.

Posted by: Kevin Whited at February 27, 2003 6:34 PM


If they lose they can reappoint him for a Supreme Court opening.

Posted by: oj at February 27, 2003 8:46 PM