February 25, 2003


Filibusted - Democratic Opposition to Estrada Will Backfire
(Marcelo Rodriguez, Feb 25, 2003, Pacific News Service)
Though Latinos have traditionally leaned toward the Democratic Party, PNS Associate Editor Marcelo Rodriguez says an attempt by Democrats to derail the nomination of a mildly conservative Latino appeals court appointee could begin to tip the scales the other way.

Success in politics is ultimately the aggregation of a lot of little things. And when it comes to Hispanics, President George W. Bush has two crafty little victories to his credit. Each makes it look as though he and the Republicans, more than the Democrats, have the interests of Hispanics at heart.

The first was in 2002, when Bush adopted provisions of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that allowed commercial Mexican trucks to operate within the United States. Democrats, in their die-by-the-sword actions on behalf of job-protecting unions, resorted to ethnically charged accusations about the safety records of Mexican trucks and their drivers.

The second is happening now. By filibustering Bush's appointment of Miguel Estrada to the federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., Senate Democrats -- along with several legal rights groups such as the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF) that support the filibuster -- are playing right into Bush's hands.

The Democrats lost Bill Nelson today. Significantly, the Senator from Florida has decided he's alienating his large population of Latino voters. Bob Graham, his FL colleague, will announce which way he's going when he decides whether he's running for president or not. If he is, he'll join the filibuster. If not, he'll back Estrada. The politics of that seem fairly obvious, but apparently they aren't to Tom Daschle and company.

Meanwhile, Judiciary Chairman Orrin Hatch said today that starting Friday the Democrats will have to go 24/7 to keep the filibuster going. How'd you like to be the Democrat picked to hold the floor at 3am on Saturday morning, making sure there's no vote on a Hispanic judge? Think that's why folks joined the party?

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 25, 2003 10:49 PM

Mr. Judd;

You're projecting. The Senators holding the floor at 3 am won't see it as something done to prevent a vote on a Hispanic judge, but as a desperate action to prevent the Repulicans from blocking the Democratic resumption of power. Don't you think that acquiring power is why folks joined the party?

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at February 25, 2003 11:49 PM

But isn't the question how Hispanic voters will see it? (Though Orrin, in presenting it in this way, aren't you playing with ethnic fire?)

Posted by: Barry Meislin at February 26, 2003 2:46 AM

Friday, eh? Another signal the war is imminent?

Posted by: Brian (Minnesota) at February 26, 2003 6:31 AM


Democrats too have consciences and they know well what they do.

Posted by: oj at February 26, 2003 7:58 AM


Either the GOP wins and has a Hispanic poised to become a Supreme Court Justice or they lose because Democrats stopped him. How does either hurt?

Posted by: oj at February 26, 2003 7:59 AM


Can't wait to see them filibuster while the war is going on.

Posted by: oj at February 26, 2003 8:00 AM

Can't wait to see them filibuster while the war is going on.

And neither can Sen Hatch--my point exactly.

Posted by: Brian (Minnesota) at February 26, 2003 8:47 AM

Linda Chavez over at townhall has a column saying the GOP is blowing it by not making it clear that the Dems are the obstructionist (by not forcing a Thurmond style filibuster) and that the GOP shouldn't assume hispanics will go to the GOP over this. I think Nelson's decison and Hatch making them go 24/7 refutes this but we'll see.

Posted by: AWW at February 26, 2003 10:59 AM

Who cares how Senators see it.

It's how Hispanics see it. And, they're going to see it as anti-Hispanic bigotry. Karl Rove knows this. And, he knows it because it IS anti-Hispanic bigotry.

Yes, there are plenty of Hispanic DIMocRATs. They're Kiwis (brown on the outside, green on the inside). The Hispanic culture, in which traditional family values are very important, is very easily going to be able to distinguish between a Kiwi and a decent man who happens to be both Hispanic and modestly conservative.

Anyone who touts that Hispanics have no right to be modestly conservative IS a bigot.

Posted by: paul A'Barge at February 26, 2003 11:40 AM


I was responding to the statement "How'd you like to be the Democrat picked to hold the floor at 3am on Saturday morning...?" which I assumed would be a Democratic Senator.

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at February 26, 2003 3:00 PM