GOP Makes No Gains From Sotomayor Obstruction (UPDATED)

Turning back to domestic politics for a bit, the GOP is failing to reap political benefits from opposing Judge Sotomayor’s nomination to the Supreme Court:

Nearly a month after President Barack Obama picked her for the Supreme Court, Republican senators say Sonia Sotomayor isn’t serving as the political lightning rod some in their party had hoped she would be.

“She doesn’t have the punch out there in terms of fundraising and recruiting, I think — at least so far,” said Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), who most likely will be elected as the No. 4 Republican in Senate leadership this week.


“Right now, you don’t have the fever pitch you did over the filibuster,” said [Sen. Lindsey]Graham, a member of the Judiciary Committee. “It depends on how she does [at the hearings]. If she performs well, no. If she performs poorly, potentially, yes.”

“I don’t think she’s the kind of person that invites that kind of reaction,” said Sen. Mel Martinez (R-Fla.) of the possibility of making major political gains over Sotomayor’s nomination. “I don’t think her judicial record warrants the ability to do that with her.”

Who could have imagined that an experienced, talented, highly-accomplished judge with a history of moderate, sensible decisions would turn out to be completely uncontroversial?

The GOP bungled this from the start. They only had two options–filibuster or let Sotomayor slide.  It would have been extremely hard for them to filibuster; in fact, it’s likely Sotomayor will be confirmed by a wide margin.

Therefore, conservatives would have been smart just to let Obama have his nominee and avoid a political battle.  Plus, going along with him on this one would have helped dispel the perception that the GOP is made up of kneejerk obstructionists; sometimes, a little bipartisanship can go a long way.

Instead, conservatives attacked Judge Sotomayor from the start, desperately grasping at one ineffective attack after the next, clearly lacking any semblance of a strategy. Now conservatives are being forced to eat their words as the likelihood of Judge Sotomayor’s confirmation looms.

It looks like Republicans have become completely politically tone-deaf. They obstruct for the sake of obstructing without giving a single thought to whether or not they can succeed; they waste political capital on battles they can never hope to win, and then pat themselves on the back for their self-defeating and ultimately pointless opposition.  Once again, the GOP has failed to deliver; no wonder people are abandoning their party in droves.

UPDATE: Hispanics, especially, are abandoning the GOP in droves:

The latest numbers from the nonpartisan Research 2000 for Daily Kos find that only eight percent of Latinos view the [GOP] favorably, while an astonishing 86 percent view it unfavorably.

That’s a real shift from what were already pretty bad numbers from before the Sotomayor nominatino, when 11% of Latinos viewed the GOP favorably, and 79% viewed it unfavorably.

One of the big stories today is that Republicans are realizing that there’s no political percentage in fighting the Sotomayor nomination. It’s striking that Latino opinion about the GOP is dropping so fast, even at a moment when GOP opposition to Sotomayor appears to be flagging, as opposed to intensifying.

This continuing drop among Latinos, coming at a time when many party strategists recognize the party’s desperate need to broaden its appeal, only reminds us that not only are there few apparent upsides in opposing Sotomayor, there are potentially serious costs, too.

[Emphasis mine]