February 05, 2005



Allow me to paraphrase a number of the Republicans who defended torture-maven Alberto Gonzales during the Senate debate last week:
"Hispanic, hispanic, hispanic, hispanic. Hispanic. Hispanic. Hispanic, hispanic, hispanic, hispanic, hispanic. Latino. Hispanic. Latino. Hispanic, hispanic, hispanic. Did I forget to mention that Mr. Gonzales is hispanic? Hispanic. Thank you."
Okay, you're thinking, "cheap shot." Here's what some of them really said:
"Every Hispanic-American in the country is watching," said Senator Orrin G. Hatch...

(Arlen) Specter said that when he was first elected Philadelphia's district attorney four decades ago, there were no Hispanics in his office, and that he had tried to broaden the ethnic mix of his staff. The senator said it was "not irrelevant" that Mr. Gonzales would be the first Hispanic attorney general, since his background would give him a broader perspective on civil rights, immigration and other issues.

Another Republican on the Judiciary Committee, Senator John Cornyn of Texas, said the Democrats' opposition had stooped to the kind of "partisan politics" they should have learned to avoid after their losses in the November elections.

The Republican National Committee's deputy communications director, Danny Diaz, made a similar assertion. To block the "eminently qualified" nominee would be "neither good policy nor good politics," he said in a statement.

"Obstructing his nomination would show that Democrats still don't understand the ramifications of an election where President Bush increased his share of the Hispanic vote by 9 percent over 2000," Mr. Diaz said.
But wait, there's more:
'The idea that the other side of the aisle is even considering filibustering this manifestation of the American dream that is Judge Gonzales is simply beyond me," said Senate majority leader Bill Frist, a Tennessee Republican, when the Democrats were still holding out the possibility of a filibuster.

Senator John Cornyn, Republican of Texas, said Democrats appeared to be trying to attack Bush through Gonzales, and to send a message that they would oppose Gonzales's elevation to the Supreme Court.

He said that Democrats are opposing a Hispanic appointee for attorney general just a week after many spoke out against Bush's nomination of a Condoleezza Rice -- a black woman -- to become secretary of state.

''From a strictly political standpoint, Democrats are hurting themselves by attacking American success stories like Condoleezza Rice and Alberto Gonzales," said Cornyn, who serves on the Judiciary Committee.

''There's an environment here that's very bitter and very partisan," (Arizona Senator John) McCain said. ''In the case of Condi Rice, in the case of Judge Gonzales, we should be celebrating these incredible American success stories."
And finally, the biggest Republican of all added that he had a:
“special sensitivity to people who break barriers,” noting the fact that Gonzales was Hispanic, and said the nominee had an “independence of spirit.”
Oh, wait, sorry...that was Joe Lieberman (D-CT). Like I said: Shameless.

FYI: The six Democrats who voted for Gonzales are Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut, Ken Salazar of Colorado, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Bill Nelson of Florida, Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Mark Pryor of Arkansas.

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