Supreme Court Justice Hillary Clinton. It’s a concept as appaling as it is laughable. Everyone, except maybe Sen. Orrin Hatch, knew this was just not possible. At best this was a way to give Secretary Clinton some face time with the press. At worse it is the all too common distraction. A way to set up all the opponents, get them to vent all their anger, and then provide someone that is far less objectionable.
Note that the words, far more qualified, were not used above. Because the game is not about who is best qualified, but who can best fill the agenda politically and still be approved. Such is the nomination of a Supreme Court Justice these days.
When Justice Sotomayor was selected, it wasn’t because she was the best candidate. She is a woman, and Hispanic. Those are 2 items that few politicians wanted to face-off against. Votes from women and Hispanics/Latinos could easily turn an election for any politician in the nation, no matter which Party is in control. It is a political reality that was centeral to her getting past Congress, a reality that the Obama Administration banked on.
But some tricks can’t be done twice. Since the White House got a Latina woman on the Supreme Court, another with the same qulifications – and dubious personal views stated publicly – won’t get through. This time another segment of voters is needed. Likely a Black woman if possible, a Liberal male if not.
Some might be saying that this is about race and politics. That the Supreme Court has nothing to do with that. Which is almost true.
A Justice on the Court is technically without political affiliation. But getting past Congress and onto the Court is a whole other process. It is that process that is completely political and, in these days more than the past, about race. Just do the numbers.
President Obama needs Latinos/Hispanics to shore up the Democrat chances in the mid-term elections. Part of that is the reason that immigration reform is in the forefront as opposed to the promised emphasis on the economy and jobs. But have no doubt that Dems in trouble will lean on the Latina Justice being selected by President Obama as a cause among higher density Hispanic/Latino populations. Where there aren’t large numbers of Hispanics, look for the lean to go to women voters.
Even with that I.O.U. being waved carefully, Democrats will not have enough to sway voters to their side in the mid-term elections (according to early indications). Thus something else will be needed. A left-leaning, pro-judicial activism, woman always looks good among Liberals and Democrats. IF that woman is African American as well it capitalizes on the popularity of President Obama, and shores up some of the growing rumblings among Black Democrat leaders (like the Black Caucus).
Such an appointee would be difficult for Republicans to argue against. It means potentially alienating women voters, or so the polispeak spin will make it look. If that woman is also an African America, then the issue of Republicans, and the Tea Party, being racist will come up. Again. And it will be used to feed into the false perception that Republicans and Conservatives are only White.
If we were honest, Justice Sotomayor should not have been confirmed because of he ‘Latina is better’ comment. A potential Justice of any other race and/or gender would never have been approved for making the same comment or one similar. But the bar was lowered. It was political.
Using Secretary Clinton is the same kind of positioning. It sets the ground for a woman, revving up pro-Democrat groups like N.O.W. and unions like SEIU. It places pressure on Republicans who want female votes, but need to be strongly against the former presidential candidate. It gives other Democrats something to rally toward, and distract the constituents from their anger over the Health Care debacle. And it gives Democrats something to rally together on as a show of unity, which again was lost in the bribes – as some describe the ‘deals’ – that Health Care Reform (and likely immigration reform and Cap & Trade will) showcased.
Chances are very good that President Obama will wait until May to announce his nominee. If earlier, the first choice will be bounced out early and a second ‘real’ choice will be revealed. June and July will be filled with all the polispeak spin for and against the choice. Then, both sides will look at the poll numbers for mid-term election. Depending on who needs whichever group more to gain/retain seats the choice will be approved or moved to the next alternate, which from that pointy forward gets weaker on abortion, activisim, and leans more centrist.
How good is the chance of all the above happening? Good enough that you could go to Vegas and make a bet on it. But as it unfolds you are more than welcome to comment.