I talked about this in the comments earlier, but this NY Times piece gets to the nut of the matter:
President Obama’s nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court has put the Republican Party in a bind, as it weighs the cost of aggressively opposing Mr. Obama’s attempt to put the first Hispanic on the high court at a time when the party has struggled with sharp setbacks in its effort to appeal to Hispanic voters.
The Republican Party has been embroiled in a public argument over whether to tend to the ideological interests of its conservative base or to expand its appeal to a wider variety of voters in order to regain its strength following the defeats of 2008. Many conservatives came out fiercely against Ms. Sotomayor as soon her name was announced, denouncing her as liberal and promising Mr. Obama a tough nomination fight.
The only decision the Republicans have right now is whether or not they filibuster Sotomayor. That is it. They are operating from a point of real weakness right now, and the only choice they have to make is whether or not to go all in. If they decide not to filibuster, all that remains is a balancing act for them- how to not do a bunch of damage to themselves by way of hyperbolic statements that will be played on infinite loop in heavy Hispanic areas in the 2010 midterms, but at the same time still making it look like they are throwing some red meat to the base to keep the fundraising money coming in to the coffers.
I’d argue that having Tom Tancredo and crazy Uncle Pat Buchanan on television screaming “reverse racism” and “affirmative action pick” is a particularly striking example of failing to find the appropriate balance. The real question here is how much damage the Republicans will manage to do to themselves, at least right now.
*** Update ***
Here is an example of the Republicans just phoning it in:
Judge Sotomayor is a liberal judicial activist of the first order who thinks her own personal political agenda is more important that the law as written. She thinks that judges should dictate policy, and that one’s sex, race, and ethnicity ought to affect the decisions one renders from the bench.
She reads racial preferences and quotas into the Constitution, even to the point of dishonoring those who preserve our public safety. On September 11, America saw firsthand the vital role of America’s firefighters in protecting our citizens. They put their lives on the line for her and the other citizens of New York and the nation. But Judge Sotomayor would sacrifice their claims to fair treatment in employment promotions to racial preferences and quotas. The Supreme Court is now reviewing that decision.
She has an extremely high rate of her decisions being reversed, indicating that she is far more of a liberal activist than even the current liberal activist Supreme Court.
Putting aside the 9/11 weak tea, Wendy Long was a law clerk for Judge Ralph Winter of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York.
I wonder if we just heard from one of Jeffrey Rosen’s sources?
And is racial resentment all they have? Really?