Daily Kos
Political analysis and other daily rants on the state of the nation

Wednesday | February 26, 2003

The latest in the Estrada saga

Bush isn't giving up on Estrada, though he is still well short of the 60 votes needed to overcome the Democratic filibuster.

But while one may admire his tenaciousness, his whining is becoming more absurd by the minute:

"They're blocking the vote on this good man for purely political reasons," Bush told Hispanic supporters.
Yeah. It's called politics.
"Senators are applying a double standard on Miguel Estrada by requiring him to answer questions that other judicial nominees have not been forced to answer," he said, "and that is not right and that is not fair."
Egads! Those evil Dems want Estrada to "answer questions"?

Of course, given that Estrada doesn't have a body of work explaining his stances on any important legal issue, it would be criminal for the Senate not to ask Estrada questions.

Now can anyone explain this quote to me?

"Failing to allow an up or down vote a vote which will pass on Miguel Estrada's nomination is a travesty, an injustice being carried out by those responsible for helping to uphold justice in this country," bush said.
What? Congress is now responsible for "upholding justice" in this country? Um, last I checked, Congress wrote the laws. It didn't uphold them. The judiciary interprets those laws while the executive branch enforces them.

But best of all is Bush's craven use of racial politics:

Bush summoned nearly a dozen top Hispanic officials from his administration to stand with him, then sent them to Capitol Hill to carry the same message.
I'm sure we'll be hearing howls of protests from the Right! For what it's worth, I have no problem with this tactic. It's silly, especially since those Hispanic Republicans have no real constituency outside of Miami, but whatever. I just enjoy seeing hypocrisy on display.

All the while, Daschle wields the deft rhetoric that is helping Democrats easily avoid a political backlash:

"As this economy worsens, we spend our time on the floor totally consumed with one nomination having to do with a circuit court nominee for the District of Columbia," Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota said. "This is the third week we have been on it now. Now we can resolve this matter if Mr. Estrada will come forth with the information. But if he will not, let's move to something else until he does."


Incidentally, this AP story is an example of a well-written, well-balanced piece. Not only are both sides represented, but the writer exposes glaring omissions in the administration's platitudes, not taking them at face value.

For example, note this segment of the story:

Senators are applying a double standard on Miguel Estrada by requiring him to answer questions that other judicial nominees have not been forced to answer," he said, "and that is not right and that is not fair."

The president did not specify what questions he was referring to.

Most reporters wouldn't add that second paragraph, which reveals that Bush is making unsupported allegations.

Or there's this portion of the story:

In letters sent to Senate Democrats, White House lawyer Alberto Gonzales said Estrada was willing to come and talk to them one-on-one to answer "appropriate questions" about his record as he already has done with 10 Senate Democrats. It was unclear what would constitute an "appropriate question," or who would define that.
That last sentence is beautiful political reporting, once again refusing to take administration spin at face value and underscoring the fact that Estrada still refuses to answers all relevant questions.

Given that Ari was laughed off the podium yesterday, perhaps we'll see some more healthy skepticism in the press' political reporting.

Posted February 26, 2003 01:04 PM | Comments (35)


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