“I have given some reasons ... why Sonia Sotomayor might be an especially controversial pick with conservatives and some centr ists — not to mention yours truly,” Stuart Taylor Jr. wr ites at www.nationaljournal.com.
“So what political calculation might underlie President Obama’s decision to nominate her anyway, despite his various suggestions that he would like to make a consensus pick?” Mr. Taylor asked.
“It’s possible that Obama was simply wowed by her up-frommodest-circumstances life story, her supposed ‘empathy’ for the poor and powerless, her summa cum laude performance at Princeton University, her judicial opinions on obscure subjects or her performance when Obama interviewed her.
“But the political payoff of naming the first Hispanic justice — and a woman to boot — seems to me the key. This is a shrewd nomination politically, if not necessarily a good one jurisprudentially, and not only because of the obvious payoff with Hispanic voters.
“The choice of Sotomayor also puts Republicans and moderate Democrats who may be deeply unhappy with her jurisprudence in a lose-lose position, and Obama in a win-win position.
“If Republicans attack Judge Sotomayor’s more controversial actions, they risk provoking a backlash among Hispanic voters, who have already been moving into the Democratic column in droves.
“On the other hand, if Republicans hold their fire to avoid offending Hispanic voters, the president gets the benefit of installing a justice who seems deep into Democratic identity politics without the cost of an especially contentious confirmation battle.” make entrenched lawmakers an offer: Either work with him on budget and government reform so everyone can have a nice bipartisan bill-signing, or expect a knockout fight at the polls over a set of ballot initiatives.
“Had he done so, he might have gotten some of the good ideas that the state needs — such as setting up a serious rainy-day fund and creating an honest spending cap — enacted into law. ...
“Instead of reform, the man who promised to ‘blow up the boxes’ of government nearly six years ago embarked on a crusade to save the planet in an attempt to win re-election in 2006. If Arnold’s political obituary were to be written today, its nar- rative would turn on environmental issues, such as solar roof panels, hydrogen cars and curbing emissions. Missing would be the issues that got him elected in the first place — tax cuts, fiscal discipline and restor ing dignity to Sacramento. The governor didn’t blow up the boxes. He just affixed ‘recycle’ labels to them.”
Where he went wrong: California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger