Politics & Policy

If They Really Want to…

Let the Dems filibuster Estrada.

The Senate Democrats are threatening to filibuster a floor vote on Miguel Estrada, President Bush’s nominee to the D.C. Circuit Court.

Hundreds of articles detailing Estrada’s qualifications have already been written. Countless organizations, including the American Bar Association and the League of United Latin American Citizens, have expressed their unqualified support for the nominee. Just last week, the Washington Post advised Democrats to pick another front on which to fight Bush.

Still, it seems the Democrats are going to keep fighting.

I say let them.

I say let a filibuster of the first Hispanic nominated to this prestigious post be their first major legislative act of the year.

Let their presidential hopefuls hit the campaign trail forced to explain to Hispanic voters why they attacked a successful young immigrant called to serve his country.

Let them explain to the largest and fastest-growing minority in America why Miguel Estrada deserved to be the first-ever lower-court nominee to be filibustered on the floor of the U.S. Senate.

Let Chuck Schumer explain to New York’s Latino voters, who just helped reelect George Pataki, why the rules needed to be rewritten when one of their own came before his committee.

Let Barbara Boxer face California’s Hispanic voters, explaining why Beltway politics necessitated that she obstruct the progress of what has become a symbol of success for millions of Latinos.

Let the ‘04 Florida Senate race hinge on which candidate’s party did everything it could to destroy the reputation of a Latino immigrant who went to Harvard. And let the Bush brothers remind Florida’s immigrant voters of that fact…in Spanish.

Let the Democrats betray the increasingly powerful Latino organizations who have traditionally backed the party’s initiatives, but now largely support Estrada.

Let Terry McAuliffe beg for those all-important hard dollars from the same Latinos whose hopes for recognition and respect were systematically thwarted at every turn by his party.

Let the Democrats enter into the coming Supreme Court nomination battle already having opposed one Hispanic Bush nominee and ready to oppose the next.

Let the Democrats deny Latinos this symbolic victory, while the party continues to oppose not-so-symbolic school-choice and market-based healthcare reforms, both of which Hispanics overwhelmingly support.

Let the Democrats deny Latinos this symbolic victory, while the party continues to oppose not-so-symbolic school and healthcare reforms. After all, only 92 percent of Hispanics support teacher testing and only 85 percent favor market-based healthcare.

I say let the Democrats’ stalled efforts at Hispanic outreach crash into the wall of lies, condescension and sanctimony that they don’t bother to conceal.

I say if your opponent is in the process of committing political suicide, don’t get in his way.

Raul Damas is director of operations at Opiniones Latinas, a polling and strategy firm specializing in Hispanic voters.