June 16, 2003

A Few Of My 15 Minutes?

For me, James Taranto is essential reading five days a week. His Best of the Web Today column, on opinionjournal.com from the Wall Street Journal, summarizes the day's news, complete with links to the full stories, and is peppered with Taranto's own sometimes serious, but often witty and/or sarcastic commentary. This "blog" of his, which really predates the onset of the larger "blogosphere", is read daily by ....well, by a few million more people than read mine. As of today, I'm an even bigger fan of his.

You see, Taranto had the good taste and the infinite wisdom to quote the text of my entire email to him in today's Best of the Web., complete with my name and his humble opinion that I had "put the matter nicely", no less. (Scroll down to the item headed "Checking the Polls -- II").

That Taranto thinks I put something "nicely" is, I suppose, the blogger's equivalent of having Lennon say he likes your song's lyrics, or Sandy Koufax saying you have a pretty good curveball. So I'm flattered. Does it show?

The issue at hand was a poll cited in Friday's BOTW, that purported to show nearly 90% of Hispanics supporting the confirmation of Miguel Estrada to the Washington, D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. Taranto, while agreeing with the majority of those polled on the issue, suggested that the poll seemed biased, as it presented favorable sounding facts and qualifications concerning Estrada, "leading" poll respondents to a positive response to the ultimate question of whether or not they favored confirmation.

I'm inclined to agree that the poll seemed less than impartial. But I felt that the point needed to be made that the public is still waiting to hear one bad thing about Estrada. And today in BOTW, (along with the quote from that astute, but sarcastic reader), the pollster responds, defending his methodology, and making the case that it is not his obligation in polling on this issue to air Democrat talking points.

Anyone who has followed the Estrada case is aware that there is really no legitimate objection to Estrada's confirmation that has been, or can be cited by the Democrats who have thus far refused to allow a vote in the Senate, essentially filibustering to force a 60 vote supermajority to invoke cloture on debate. Their blatant partisanship and obstructionism is as unprecedented in a case of a Circuit Court Judge, as is the nomination of an Hispanic to a judgeship at this level.

Two facts seem to stick in the craw of Democrats as regards Estrada. First, that they must acknowledge that there exists such a thing as an Hispanic conservative, (and a capable and brilliant one at that). And second, that George Bush will forever have the feather in his cap of having nominated the first Hispanic to a seat on the U.S. Circuit Court. At bottom, that is what their objection to Estrada is all about.

Byron York of NRO has covered the Estrada case from the get-go. Read more about it here, and here, and here, and here.

Posted by dan at June 16, 2003 09:15 PM

Okay, two things:

1. Nice going, Dad. Always nice to see the name in lights.

2. Okay, I'll admit to never even having heard of thie Miguel Estrada character, but I'm missing the controversy here. Someone asked a bunch Hispanic people if they were in favor of guy named "Miguel Estrada", and an overwhelming majority were all for it. How could the outcome be any different? Next, I'm going to poll a group of women and ask if they think a women could be President. I wonder how those results will turn out? If any candidate for anything isn't an old rich white guy, then the overwhelming majority of that candidate's particular minority are going to be wildly in favor of him or her. It's how the world works, I thought this was pretty well understood at this point.

Posted by: alw9 at June 17, 2003 01:22 AM

I'm not surprised at the poll results either. The question was about the "scientific" validity, or impartiality of the poll questions. Granted, many of the poll respondents were probably unaware in advance of any of the qualifications, views, or background of the nominee, and may have been saying they favored his confirmation because of his Hispanic surname alone. Sad, but understandable.

According to Democrats filibustering a vote in the Senate, the fact that he is a conservative is reason enough to deny him the seat that he has worked hard to achieve. As a conservative, he cannot, in their view, be an "authentic" Hispanic. They have in fact publicly said these exact words. Because as we know, some liberals think all Hispanics must think and act alike, (like them, of course), in order to be "authentic". The condescension implicit in this view is staggering. How dare an Hispanic leave the liberal plantation? He cannot be viewed as an accomplished legal professional who happens to be of Hispanic origin, and then judged on his qualifications for the job. Because they know that if they do that, there can be no principled opposition to his candidacy. So, they are trying to smear Estrada, and to deny Bush his Constitutional obligation to nominate judges by making it a de facto requirement to get 60 Senate votes (to invoke cloture on debate) instead of the simple 51 vote majority that the Constitution requires to confirm judges,(a vote they know Estrada would win, if they let it happen). So far, Republicans have made nice, and are trying to negotiate their way through the minefield.

What they should do, and eventually may do, is force the Dems to actually filibuster on the Senate floor, which would bring the public and media attention to their partisan (and otherwise baseless) opposition to this nomination. Only when Democrats feel that there will be a political price to pay among Hispanic voters will they drop their ideological objections to Estrada. So far there hasn't been enough media attention to the issue, but more surveys like this one could change that. Again, that's why it's important that any such surveys have validity and hence, credibility. Read a couple of the Byron York articles that I linked to, to get a better feel for the issue.

Posted by: dan at June 17, 2003 12:26 PM
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