May 31, 2009

Should the nomination play out like this, it would foreshadow a dramatic power shift within the Republicans party:

"Unless there's something that comes out that's very much out of the ordinary, this is likely to be a smooth confirmation if Republicans are smart politically," said John Ullyot, a Republican strategist who served seven years as a senior Senate staffer.


"Politically, it's better to conserve our powder and live to fight another day and not pick a fight that a) we know we can't win, because we don't have the votes and b) could really hurt us politically," Ullyot told AFP.

Unfortunately, Ullyot staffed Arlen Specter and John Warner, one a former Republican, the other a former Senator, both part of the G14. It's unlikely that he'll influence right wing legal activists, who have clear incentives: "By ginning up controversy where none exists, these activists get free press and free money and a micro-movement with which to corral fellow travelers into common cause."

And in turn, every victory for the GOP base is a black mark for the GOP brand. Robert Lovato summed up the predicament over at FDL:

So it will be the GOP and not Sotomayor that will be on trial in this high-stakes judicial confirmation of the post-Bush era of Republican dominance. Latinos will watch to see if GOP leaders will use the Sotomayor hearings to distance themselves from Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and others many Latinos consider to be anti-immigrant extremists.

And we should all be watching to see if Republicans are prepared to use the Sotomayor confirmation as a way to communicate a willingness to redeem themselves for the great injustices of our recent past.

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