Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Republicans Are On The Road To A Political Cool Aid Suicide!

The Republicans Are On The Road To A Political Cool Aid Suicide!


If the Republican Party has any chance of regaining its leading position, it must put to "death" George W. Bush's "compassionate conservatism," says top talker Glenn Beck.


Sotomayor Nomination Splits GOP


Conservative activists are outspoken in their opposition. But Republican senators who will actually vote on her nomination offer muted responses. Some think the party has a chance to reach Latino vote

By Peter Wallsten and Richard Simon

Reporting from Washington -- Rush Limbaugh called her a "reverse racist." The conservative Judicial Confirmation Network said she was an activist with a "personal political agenda" and should be blocked from the Supreme Court.

But underneath the predictable bombast from conservative groups that had been waiting to pounce on whomever President Obama picked to fill his first vacancy on the court, the nomination Tuesday of Sonia Sotomayor brought a surprising development: The Republican senators who will actually vote on her were not following the activists' script. 

Instead, GOP senators offered muted, sometimes admiring, responses, and seemed to be taking their cues from a quieter group of voices within the party cautioning that to oppose the country's first Latina Supreme Court nominee would amount to political suicide.

Moreover, some party strategists are telling GOP senators that to attack Sotomayor is to waste an opportunity for Republicans to appear welcoming and repair damage from recent policy debates in which conservative support for restricting immigration turned off many Latino voters.

"A lot of Republicans are worried that [fighting the Sotomayor nomination] could be the last straw when it comes to the party's ability to reach the Hispanic community," said Robert de Posada, a Latino GOP strategist who said he was advising Republican staffers on the Senate Judiciary Committee. "Republicans are in a very awkward position."

Lionel Sosa, a Texas-based Republican ad maker who designed Latino outreach for Presidents Reagan and George W. Bush, said that opposing Sotomayor "would be one more nail in the Republicans' image coffin in terms of Latino voters."

"When you're anti the first Latina on the Supreme Court, you're anti my family," Sosa added. "As a Republican, I would take it that these people are anti-Latino. The worst thing the Republicans can do is oppose her."

The GOP's dilemma on Sotomayor is the latest example of the party's internal struggle over how to reinvent itself at a time that its ranks and voter base are increasingly dominated by Southern, conservative white men.

Five years ago, Bush won reelection by performing unusually well among Latinos for a Republican -- winning more than 40% -- and some Democrats were fretting over how they would respond if Bush were to name his longtime friend, Alberto R. Gonzales, to be the Supreme Court's first Latino justice.

But conservatives blocked Bush's efforts to legalize millions of undocumented immigrants, and the harsh rhetoric of the debate sent Latino voters fleeing the party -- with fewer than 1 in 3 Latinos voting for the GOP presidential nominee last year, helping put crucial states such as Florida, Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico into the Democratic column.

Democrats, seeking additional gains in Florida, Texas and Arizona, did not hesitate to seize on the potential political benefits.

The national party distributed an announcement in Spanish. And Obama, in his formal White House announcement and in a similar taped message e-mailed to voters, pointed to Sotomayor's Puerto Rican roots and her Latina appearance when he said she had shown "it doesn't matter where you come from, what you look like, or what challenges life throws your way -- no dream is beyond reach in the United States of America."

The GOP dispute broke out almost instantly, and not everybody was willing to concede that the pick was a guaranteed net positive for the White House.

Conservative advocacy groups, citing Sotomayor's recent ruling on the U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals against a white firefighter claiming racial discrimination in hiring and promotions, thought her nomination could open an emotional battle over bigger questions of race and affirmative action -- issues that Obama has tried to avoid.

Limbaugh, the conservative radio commentator, sought to fan those flames Tuesday, citing a 2002 quote from Sotomayor in which she said that her experiences as a Latino woman might guide her to more thoughtful decisions. "If that's not a racist statement, I don't know what is. Reverse racist or whatever," Limbaugh said.

But the words coming from GOP senators struck a sharp contrast.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), who is a member of the Judiciary Committee and heads the GOP's Senate campaign panel, told reporters that Sotomayor offered a "compelling American success story and something that we can all admire and respect about our country."

In interviews and printed statements, Cornyn and other Republican senators tread carefully as they promised an aggressive -- but respectful -- confirmation process.

"Our job now is to find out the rest of the story when it comes to temperament and judicial philosophy," Cornyn said.

"While I celebrate Sonia Sotomayor's life story," said Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.), in a common refrain, "I am troubled by some of her statements. She deserves a fair and respectful hearing."

Sen. Mel Martinez, a Cuban American who has said that his party's rhetoric on immigration drove away Latino voters, said in an interview that he had so far been satisfied with the language being used by his colleagues, though he added: "I'll be trying to talk to my colleagues about my thoughts on how to approach it."

Some GOP strategists and officials said they believed a full-blown confirmation battle could prove damaging for a number of reasons beyond the further alienation of Latino voters -- particularly given that Republicans are unlikely to have enough votes to block her.

"We don't want to give more reasons to be perceived as the 'party of no,' " said one official, quoting a favorite line from Democratic attacks, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.

Terry Holt, a former Bush White House advisor, said the "real question" is whether taking on a losing fight is worth the political capital. But he added that the party should ensure that the debate over Sotomayor should be about her merits as a justice -- not her ethnicity.

"Special interests in the Republican Party should not be in the position of forcing us to do something that's politically stupid," Holt said.

Some Republicans said that the Sotomayor nomination could actually present an unusual opportunity. If they fall into line and vote for the first Latino justice, then Republicans might regain enough credibility with that voting bloc to neutralize any political benefit to be gained by Obama.

Specifically, said de Posada, if Obama does not act this year on his campaign promise to pass a legalization program for millions of undocumented immigrants, Republicans can make the case to Latinos that the Democratic president failed to deliver.

"They would have grounds to go to the Hispanic community and say, yes it's great to have a Hispanic justice, but on the most important and immediate issue that you care about, you're being ignored," de Posada said. "That's an opening for Republicans."

L.A. Latinos savor Supreme Court choice

Opinion: Sotomayor, a sound choice

Sonia Sotomayor is Obama's Supreme Court nominee


Sessions: Nominee will receive more scrutiny
The Hill - Washington,DC,USA
the senior Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, says President Obama's nominee to the Supreme Court will receive tougher scrutiny than past ...
See all stories on this topic

Senator Sessions Is Either Politically Suicidal Or Full Of Shit….Both Maybe!

Sen. Jeff Sessions (Ala.), the senior Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, says President Obama’s nominee to the Supreme Court will receive tougher scrutiny than past Democratic high-court picks.


Glenn Beck: Bush's Compassionate Conservatism Must 'Die Violent Death'


If the Republican Party has any chance of regaining its leading position, it must put to "death" George W. Bush's "compassionate conservatism," says top talker Glenn Beck.

Beck, a rising ratings star at Fox News and one the nation's leading talk hosts, has earned his popularity taking on some of the most cherished shibboleths of the Republican establishment.

During a Fox News interview with top radio talker Rush Limbaugh this past Thursday, Beck used the occasion to slam Bush's policies as inherently detrimental to core Republican principles.

Beck asked Limbaugh: "Rush, will you — help me out on this, because you always get thrown under the bus, that — well, you know, where were you when George Bush was spending, et cetera, et cetera. Address — because I — I have to tell you, the Republican Party doesn't get it. You just said, echoed again what I was saying about the progressive Republicans. George Bush, this compassionate conservative movement has got to die a violent death."

Limbaugh agreed with Beck's assessment that Bush had gone off the GOP reservation.

Limbaugh responded: "Yes, Glenn, let me tell you something. I don't — personally, I don't mind people asking me that question, 'Where were you with all the spending?' I remember — I don't want to mention any names — I was getting phone calls from people in the White House angry because I was opposed to every attempt they made to amnesty. I was opposed to the Medicare expansion. . . And they have found a way and called me mad as he can be. 'What do you mean this is good — good in the private sector?' I said, 'No, it's an entitlement and Republicans don't do that.' . . . but the elected Republicans — here's the problem with it — when you're a Republican and your president is a Republican, you have to go along with it. If you break from him, then you got party disunity and so forth."

President George W. Bush was the largest social spender in history, according to a recent report by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. In his first term Bush increased discretionary spending 19 percent. During Bush's second term federal spending increased 49 percent.

The Mercatus Center said Bush's spending made President Bill Clinton's administration look conservative.

The Center noted: "Adjusted for inflation, in eight years, President Clinton increased the federal budget by 11 percent. In eight years, President Bush increased it by a whopping 104 percent."

Beck suggested the stakes are high unless the GOP gets back to its roots.

He told Limbaugh: "And I'll tell you, they keep making the argument that if you vote for a conservative — oh, well, we're going to round up, you know, all of the unwed mothers and throw them in furnaces or whatever it is. That's not what this movement is about, at all. You're right on the social aspect. What this movement is about is they are destroying our children's future. Look, I don't care what you do in your own bedroom. You — we won't have a bedroom left anymore. We're all going to be living in Hooverville or Obamaville if we don't stop the spending."-


You won't believe Rush Limbaugh. He just accused President Obama of trying to intentionally wreck the economy, saying that Obama wants to put more people on welfare and food stamps, and implying that he wants to redistribute the country's wealth to Black people.1

This is not just an ugly attack on President Obama from Rush Limbaugh -- these are words from the man who is being held up as the face of the Republican Party. Virtually no Republican leaders have been willing to denounce his divisive rhetoric, or even disagree with him.2 Instead, they say he's an important part of their party, and a friend.

When Republican leaders refuse to denounce this kind of race-baiting from someone they call a leader, the message they send is that they embrace it. It's time to force Republican officials to say where they stand. Please take a moment to help us publicly confront them:


Here's what Rush said about President Obama's economic policies:

"The objective is unemployment. The objective is more food stamp benefits. The objective is more unemployment benefits. The objective is an expanding welfare state. And the objective is to take the nation's wealth and return to it to the nation's quote, "rightful owners." Think reparations. Think forced reparations here if you want to understand what actually is going on."3

It's a direct appeal to racial fear and paranoia, and it's deeply insulting to the President, to Black people, and to anyone who cares about the future of this country. We've seen this kind of thing from Rush before.4,5 But now, Republican politicians are refusing to denounce what he says, or even disagree with him. When they do, they usually take it back the next day, begging Rush to forgive them.6

Colin Powell is perhaps the only prominent Republican who has consistently stood up to Limbaugh and urged other Republicans to turn away from his divisive rhetoric. Powell recently said this: "I think what Rush does as an entertainer diminishes the party and intrudes or inserts into our public life a kind of nastiness that we would be better to do without."7

The response from Limbaugh and other Republicans? Rush repeated an old attack on Powell, accusing him of supporting Obama during the election solely based on race.8 Meanwhile, Dick Cheney took to the airwaves to attack Powell and make it clear that he stands with Rush Limbaugh when it comes to the future of the Republican Party.9

Rush speaks. Republicans in government do the work.

You might think Rush and Cheney merely represent the party's extremes, but that misses the larger context. The Republican Party has made it clear that they don't want Obama to succeed--even if it means further damage to the economy and to the lives of everyday Americans. It's evident in the 'no' votes Republican members of Congress cast against Obama's budget, the refusal of Republican governors to allow stimulus dollars to flow into their states, and their leadership's refusal to denounce the rhetoric coming from Rush and others. Rush has said clearly that he wants Obama to fail, and Republican elected officials have been clear in their actions.

Please join us in demanding that Republican leaders say publicly where they stand. Do they reject Rush Limbaugh's divisive fear-mongering, or do they stand with him? If they refuse to denounce what Rush said, they'll be making it perfectly clear what the Republican Party stands for. And we'll do our best to make sure the media tells the story.


-- James, Gabriel, William, Dani and the rest of the ColorOfChange.org team 
   May 26th, 2009

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1. "Rush Limbaugh: 'The Niggers Are Coming for Their Reparations!'" Jack and Jill Politics, 05-13-09 

2. "The Man Who Ate the G.O.P." Vanity Fair, May 2009 

3. See reference 1.

4. "Limbaugh on Obama: 'Halfrican American'," Media Matters, 01-24-07 

5. The Today Show, NBC News, 05-21-07 

6. "Forgive Me Rush, For I have Sinned," Talking Points Memo, 

7. "Cheney backs Limbaugh over Powell on GOP future," Associated Press, 05-10-09 

8. See reference 7.

9. See reference 7. 



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