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Jewish World Review March 10, 2003 / 6 Adar II, 5763

Dick Morris

Dick Morris
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The whole (Hispanic) world is watching


http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | The Democrats are talking themselves to death in their filibuster against the nomination of Miguel Estrada to the federal bench. The more they talk, the more it is clear that they have nothing to say and no reason to block the nomination of one of the few Hispanics to be nominated to the senior levels of our judiciary.

There is no ethical problem here. No rash statements. No imputed bias. Not even any clear indication of a strong right wing or left wing political philosophy. The burden of the Democratic argument seems to be that Estrada has not ruled, in advance, on all the cases that will come before him. What many would take as a refreshing lack of prejudice and the indication of an open mind, the Democrats assume is evidence of a great conspiracy of silence.

Liberals see the Estrada filibuster as providing a precedent for a new level of disclosure for all nominees to the federal bench. Rather than nominate and confirm good people and let them decide cases, the Democrats are now asking for clear commitments on each area of judicial decision-making that a new judge is likely to confront. The independence of the judiciary is at stake in this new assertion of legislative prerogative.

But the Democrats should realize that they have chosen a terrible target for their new level of scrutiny. By filibustering an Hispanic nominee and going to such lengths to block his confirmation, even when there is no clear reason to do so, they are asking the Hispanic voters to turn against them in droves.

For his part, Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) is skillfully calling the Democratic bluff by requiring them to talk out the filibuster. No gentleman filibuster this time. Lengthy sessions and constant talk animate this effort to block Estrada. Frist should keep the Senate in session around the clock and on weekends to make the Democrats carry their opposition to a Hispanic judge to absurd lengths.

If Frist continues his policy of making the Democrats act out their filibusters by actually talking on the floor endlessly, he may well succeed in breaking the filibuster as a weapon. He may accomplish the ultimate goal of a majority leader - empower the majority and end the 60-vote requirement to pass a bill in the Senate.

How long could the South have filibustered civil rights if the talk-a-thon were covered by cable TV as this filibuster is? Frist is making the Democrats look like anti-Hispanic bigots, all the more because they have no real basis for dissing Estrada.

Remember the stakes, folks. The Hispanic population grew by 4.7 percent last year, while blacks expanded by 1.5 percent and whites by a paltry 0.3 percent. Hispanics cast 6 percent of the vote in 1990 and 12 percent in 2000. If their numbers expand at the current pace, they will be up to 18 percent in 2010 and 24 percent in 2020. With one-third of Hispanics voting Republican, they are the jump ball in American politics. As this vote goes, so goes the future.

Republicans got off on the wrong foot by listening to the likes of Pat Buchanan and other Nativists. Their English-only and anti-immigration initiatives stopped them from appealing to newly arrived Hispanic voters. But President Bush has changed all that. Estrada symbolizes the transition. If Bush takes it the next step and embraces some of Mexican President Vicente Fox's ideas about earned amnesty for Mexican-Americans, he can truly bring Hispanics into the Republican fold for decades to come.

Estrada is no Clarence Thomas, so clearly out of step with his voters as to make his nomination suspect. And Hispanics are not blacks, so committed to the Democratic Party that it would take an act of genocide to breach their amity. Hispanics are up for grabs and each day of the filibuster drives them further toward the GOP.

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JWR contributor Dick Morris is the author of, among others, "Power Plays: Top 20 Winning and Losing Strategies of History's Great Political Leaders" Comment by clicking here.

Up

03/07/03: Anti-war errors
03/05/03: Domino theory II: Toppling Mideast despots
03/03/03: Europe's triangulators: Chirac and Blair
02/27/03: Invasion? More like a coup
02/21/03: The first casualty of Iraq war: Liberal credibility
02/19/03: Old Europe's last hurrah
02/14/03: Corzine throws down gauntlet on Wall St. fraud
02/12/03: An exile deal for Saddam
02/07/03: The Dems give up the House
02/05/03: France: Saddam's ally
02/03/03: War critics will suffer
02/30/03: Even by Clinton standards, it's sheer chutzpah
01/24/03: Rebirth of the balanced budget Republican
01/22/03: Next to Bubba, Dubya's got it good
01/16/03: End racism in affirmative action
01/13/03: The new swing voter
01/10/03: Political e-mailing comes of age
01/07/03: In Dem race: Home field no advantage
12/31/02: Hey, Hillary: Want to appear like a stateswomyn? Stay silent
12/19/02: Kerry in the lead
12/19/02: Lieberman the frontrunner
12/17/02: In defense of Lott
12/02/02: An issue for Bush: Drugs
11/27/02: Women gone wobbly?
11/25/02: The U.N. over a barrel
11/15/02: Gore's suicide
11/15/02 One-party control is an illusion
11/13/02 The House of Extremes
11/08/02 I have egg on my face
11/01/02 Is Bush losing control over events?
10/25/02What is causing Bush's free fall?
10/25/02: Anybody sense a trend?
10/23/02: A deadline for Iraq
10/18/02: Only sure bet of 2002 elections is voter angst
10/16/02: Endangered incumbents
10/11/02: Why multilateralism doesn't work
10/09/02: Hey, Dems: Believe NYTimes polling at your own risk
10/03/02: Dem suicide: Let's count the ways
09/30/02: The Dems just can't stop themselves
09/26/02: The perils of polling
09/19/02: W. boxed in the U.N.
09/19/02: Welfare reform: Keep on keeping on
09/12/02: Are Dems insane on Iraq?
09/09/02: Twin shadows of Election '02
09/05/02: GOP should triangulate
08/28/02: Trust the military
08/22/02: It's not the economy, stupid
08/09/02: As America unites, Gore goes divisive
08/01/02: Bush must focus on big picture
07/23/02: Election 2002: Advantage Dems
07/19/02: Rudy for SEC tough cop
07/17/02: The investor strike
07/15/02: Door open for drug testing students --- go for it, GOP!
07/12/02: Dubya looking out for No. 1?
07/03/02: The DNA war for Bush's soul
06/21/02: Why are conservatives winning?
06/19/02: Learning to love the feds
06/14/02: Hey, journalists and Dems: Dubya is doing just fine
06/12/02: It's terrorism, stupid!
06/10/02: Sanctions are a potent weapon
06/04/02: Al Qaeda's more dangerous new front
05/31/02: Why '04 looks tough for liberal Dems
05/24/02: Democratic self-destruction
05/22/02: The Clinton failures
05/15/02: Pataki positioned to win
05/08/02: A wakeup-call for American Jewry
05/03/02: Give Bush back his focus
05/01/02: Immigration fault li(n)es
04/25/02: It's the war, stupid
04/17/02: Bush goes small bore
04/12/02: Bush must be a gentle partisan
04/10/02: In defense of polling
04/08/02: Focus on Iraq, not the Palestinians
04/01/02: Only Internet will bring real campaign finance reform
03/27/02: Where W's drawn a line in the sand
03/22/02: Enron scandal will not trigger a wave of economic populism
03/20/02: Term-limited --- by war
03/15/02: Europe doesn't have a clue
03/11/02: Bush popularity = GOP win?
03/01/02: Will America be forced to chase its tail in its war on terrorism?
02/27/02: The Arafat/Saddam equilibrium must be destroyed
02/21/02: Campaign finance reform won't hurt GOPers
02/13/02: Dodd scurries for cover
02/11/02: U.S. 'unilateralism'? The Europeans don't have a case
02/06/02: WAR: What women want
02/01/02: They all talk in the end
01/30/01: The odd couple: Chris Dodd and Arthur Andersen
01/22/01: His father's son? Bush better get an 'Act II' fast!
01/18/01: Dubya & the 'vision thing'
01/14/01: The Rumsfeld Doctrine 01/03/01: A President Gore would have been a disaster
01/03/02: Clinton's priority: Political correctness over fighting terror
12/27/01: Terror network grew out of Clinton's inaction, despite warnings
12/24/01: Call 'em back, George
12/18/01: What Bush did right
12/13/01: Libs worry too much
12/11/01: "Open Sesame": Feinstein's proposed bill allows 100,000 non-immigrant students from anti-American countries to our shores
12/07/01: The non-partisan president
12/05/01: Both parties are phony on stimulus debate
11/29/01: When terrorists can enter legally, it's time to change the laws
11/21/01: Go for the jugular!
11/16/01: You are all incumbents
11/14/01: Clinton's failure to mobilize America to confront foreign terror after the 1993 attack led directly to 9-11 disaster
11/12/01: To the generals: Don't worry about losing support
11/08/01: The death of the white liberal
11/07/01: Our leaders are being transformed in a way unprecedented in post-World War II history

© 2002, Dick Morris