Ted Barlow and Matt Yglesias both make similar comments about this Instapundit posting on the Estrada nomination. Here is what the Instapundit said:
DEMOCRATS THREATEN RACIST FILIBUSTER! That’s the message of this commercial on the Estrada nomination, anyway. Hmm. And just as the controversy over Russell Long heats up.
I sense a disturbance in the Force, one that I have not felt since, well, the last time Karl Rove pulled one of these sucker-punch operations.
When I read that this morning, I thought he was actually making fun of the people who were airing the commerical, because this is so clearly not about race. This is about ideology, this is about the Democrats asserting some power to appease their base, this is about Democrats making a stand- to prove to themselves that they can. Even if this nomination passes, they will consider it a success, because they have become somewhat more united.
At any rate, I thought the Instapundit was making fun of the commerical because this is so clearly not about race- that it was the kind of race-baiting the other side normally engages in when you say something bad about any black Democrat. Make fun of Sharpton- you are a racist. It has nothing to do with the fact that he is a flaming idiot (albeit a charismatic one). That is what I thought the Instapundit meant- particularly when you throw in the ‘disturbance in the Force’ comment- meaning, something is not right- the Republicans are squealing racism.
Here is what Matt had to say:
So why is it that when Republicans absurdly accuse the Democrats of racism for not confirming Miguel Estrada that Glenn Reynolds links approvingly to the charge? Aren’t conservatives (er … libertarians, I mean) supposed to be opposed to “playing the race card” no matter who’s doing the playing?
The conservative grasp for victim status in the Estrada nomination is really galling. I’d like to say that it will come back to haunt them. But who’s going to call them on it? Christ, even Glenn has swallowed the Kool-Aid.
I don’t think Glenn has swallowed any kool-aid, but maybe I am wrong. Regardless, if you want to know who is to blame for all this, you should look in the mirror. When you endorse candidates, political operatives, and cheer people like Atrios, who manage to find a racist behind every tree, you devalue the discussion on race. Essentially, calling someone a racist anymore is an empty charge- it is like calling them white.
*** Update ***
John Cole says I’m misconstruing InstaPundit’s comments about the GOP ad accusing the Democrats of racism for failing to confirm Miguel Estrada. Maybe I am, but I really don’t think so. The larger points stands, however. If the Democrats were running an ad making a clearly false accusation of racism against the Senate GOP, conservatives would be all over it. I’m not hearing anything this time around. Note that even John can’t really bring himself to say he doesn’t approve of this ad, instead to him it’s just another example of how liberals have poisoned the political discourse.
To be fair, I can see how he could interpret that, but I thought my position was clear. I think this ad is stupid, wrong, and indicative of everything that is evil and divisive about today’s racial politics. This filibuster has NOTHING to do about race (well- it does now- but only because of these wrongheaded claims by some in the GOP), and I don’t approve of people playing games like this, regardless of their political affiliation.
*** Update #2 ***
I sure am not being very clear today. I am not in favor of the filibuster, either. I think it is cynical and stupid, but I expect that from Leahy and CO. Check out this letter from all the living former Solicitors General (spelling?) stating that Leahy’s request for info is out of line.
I repsectfully dissent: The Estrada filibuster is all about race – well, ethnicity, anyway. The Democrats are not opposed to Estrada because he is Hispanic, but they are opposed to him because he is an Hispanic conservative. Swap in an Anglo with similar views and this was over last week (if not long before). His ethnicity is central to the entire business.
“Swap in an Anglo with similar views and this was over last week”
I guess that explains why judges like Pickering, Owens, and Sutton have been so speedily confirmed, then, Dodd–I was wondering about that.
This is about Democrats showing unity, setting the stage for Supreme Court nominations, and being more combative for their base, and ideology. I don’t think race has anything to do with it- if Pickering had come before Estrada, they would be filibustering him.
Dems are particularly afraid of a conservative on this court, as well.
“Being Hispanic for us means much more than having a surname. It means having some relationship with the reality of what it is to live in this country as a Hispanic American…. Mr. Estrada told us that him being Hispanic he sees having absolutely nothing to do with his experience or his role as a federal court judge. That’s what he said to us.” – Rep. Bob Menendez, NJ, troubled by Estrada’s statement
I don’t doubt for a minute that they’d be filibustering Pickering if it were him. But with Pickering, the left-wing fringe groups were actually able to find a few things to use to smear his character. Since we have heard no such dirt on Estrada, we can assume he’s too clean. Yet they’re filibustering anyway. As Henry noted (above), the lefties *are* making noise about his inauthentic ethnicity. I stand by my statement, rea’s sneers notwithstanding.
Well, as not infrequently occurs, Henry is too hung up on a label, in this instance, “hispanic”. Let’s put it this way–a rich kid from Honduras like Estrada has very little in common with most Americans of Mexican, Puerto Rican, or Cuban descent.
“But with Pickering, the left-wing fringe groups were actually able to find a few things to use to smear his character. Since we have heard no such dirt on Estrada, we can assume he’s too clean.”
More accurately, Dodd, it’s because he refused to answer questions about his views, or in some instances, claimed absurdly that he had no views at all. Imagine a federal judge who claims never even to have thought about whether Roe v Wade was rightly decided!
Well, Josh Marshall transcribes Estrada’s answer to the Roe v Wade question, and it is a bit more nuanced than rea suggests.
Here we are:
EN. FEINSTEIN: Do you believe that Roe was correctly decided?
MR. ESTRADA: I have — my view of the judicial function, Senator Feinstein, does not allow me to answer that question. I have a personal view on the subject of — of abortion, as I think you know. And — but I have not done what I think the judicial function would require me to do in order to ascertain whether the court got it right as an original matter. I haven’t listened to parties. I haven’t come to an actual case of controversy with an open mind. I haven’t gone back and run down everything that they have cited. And the reason I haven’t done any of those things is that I view our system of law as one in which both me as an advocate, and possibly if I am confirmed as a judge, have a job of building on the wall that is already there and not to call it into question. I have had no particular reason to go back and look at whether it was right or wrong as a matter of law, as I would if I were a judge that was hearing the case for the first time. It is there. It is the law as it has subsequently refined by the Casey case, and I will follow it (italics added).
OK, link to Josh, who explains why someone else might think this is a lie (he can’t quite bring himself to say it himself, however).
What you would have him do then is violate the canon of judicial ethics and state an opinion about a hypothetical case? Perhaps you don’t pay attention, but judicial nominees always refuse to speculate about how they would decide a case not actually before them.
The rapidity with which you devolved into class warfare goes a long way toward proving my point. Saying “a rich kid from Honduras like Estrada has very little in common with most Americans of Mexican, Puerto Rican, or Cuban descent” seems to assume that none of those groups are capable of wealth or of matching his accomplishments (like graduating with high honours from two Ivy League institutions in which he had to use his second language or clerking for a SupCt Justice). At best, that is incredibly condescending. At worst, it suggests some poorly disguised racism on your part.
Anyway, you’ve proven my point: He’s objectionable to the Left because he’s not a “real” Hispanic. No matter that he was born and raised to age 17 in Honduras. How that makes him less Hispanic than a third-generation American in East L.A. is lost on me. But that isn’t the problem. It is his suspected right-leaning views that are the problem. God forbid we allow a minority with conservative views to achieve any kind of prominence. All of this nothing more than smoke-and-mirrors to hide the true goal: Keeping minorities on the Democrat plantation. It’s despicable. You know perfectly well that not one iota of his resume would bother you in the slightest if Bubba had nominated him – none of you people ever complained about the rich lawyers with which he filled his Cabinet.
I would say it is Rep. Menendez who is hung up on the label.