Judge Sonia Sotomayor represents a political problem for our two Republican U.S. Senators. She is a highly qualified, highly respected, historic pick to the U.S. Supreme Court. It's hard to find something to vote against, but Junior Senator John Cornyn and Senior Senator (soon to be leaving?) Kay Bailey Hutchison, both have to find a reason to vote against her.
Both have to vote against her for two very different reasons. Hutchison because she is likely running for Governor needs to appeal to the extreme right wing of the Texas Republican Party. Cornyn because he is the Senate leader of his failing party and has to appeal to diminishing Republican donor base.
One thing both of them can't do, is agree with sound judgment of a popular Democratic President.
“Cornyn's going to have to repair fences with Hispanics; they are going to be scrutinizing him a lot harder after the way he questioned Sotomayor,” said Lionel Sosa, a Texas-based marketing consulting who has created Latino outreach programs for GOP candidates, including George W. Bush.
“I would advise him to be more careful,” Sosa added. “He has a fine line to walk between satisfying the conservative base and not alienating Hispanic voters.”
Thanks to his opposition to Bush-era immigration reforms, Cornyn already has sub-40 percent approval ratings among Texas Hispanics, who make up about one-third of the voting-age population.
The Texas Democratic Party noticed Kay Bailey Hutchison's hypocrisy and her political problem today.
In an e-mail that went out, they note:
Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison said Monday that she still has questions about the qualifications of Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor. She said she wouldn't decide on whether to vote to confirm Sotomayor until her hearings are over. “I'm looking to the hearings to clarify some of the questions I have,” Hutchison said (Dallas Morning News, July 14,2009).
However, in 1993 Sen. Hutchison told the Dallas Morning News she would support any judge – even someone who was pro-choice – if the nominee was qualified:
Ms. Hutchison said she will not apply any “litmus test” to a nominee, and she indicated in an April debate that she would vote to confirm an abortion-rights supporter if the person is qualified overall. “I would only vote against a Supreme Court nominee if there was a question of character, if the person was unfit for office or unqualified for office,” Ms. Hutchison said (Dallas Morning News, May 20, 1993).
Democratic Party Chair Boyd Richie had this to say about KBH's cowardly political posturing.
“I'd like Sen. Kay Hutchison to clarify some questions I have,” said Texas Democratic Party Chairman Boyd Richie. “Why is Sen. Hutchison abandoning her commitment to feign concern over Judge Sotomayor, a nominee of unquestionable character with more federal judicial experience than any Supreme Court nominee in 100 years?”
“Unfortunately, the only reason Sen. Hutchison is not 100% behind the most supremely qualified nominee in recent history is that she is just another pandering Republican politician who will abandon any commitment to compete with Rick Perry for the extreme elements that control the Republican Party,” concluded Richie.
The Republican Party is showing how hard it is to be the party of no.