LatinaLista — Only one GOP Senator on the Senate Judiciary Committee broke party ranks when siding with his Democratic peers today in voting to send a positive recommendation to the full Senate that Judge Sonia Sotomayor should be confirmed as the first Latina Supreme Court justice.
It was a partisan split that became really apparent after the confirmation hearings concluded, as one GOP senator after another started announcing their opposition to Sotomayor.
"The stakes are simply too high for me to confirm someone who could redefine 'the law of the land' from a liberal, activist perspective," Texas Senator John Cornyn said.
Seeing that Sotomayor showed time and time again to be a moderate justice in her rulings, which was independently verified, and the most qualified when it comes to any sitting judge on the bench, Cornyn's and his fellow GOPers' opposition to her is only the latest example of how the GOP doesn't care how their "act of contrariness" against Sotomayor resonates with Latinos.
For all the criticism Latinos are getting for supporting Sotomayor -- for example, being accused of supporting her only because she's Latina -- it would seem Republicans are doing the opposite -- opposing her because she is Latina.
Well, news coming from Chicago, the site of the national meeting of the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), seems to support that crazy idea.
Wrapping up their meeting, NCLR reports that they received declines from every Republican politician they sent an invitation to come speak to their members.
Odd, since in the past Arnold Schwarzenegger, John McCain and both George Bushes took time out of their busy schedules to attend. Those Republicans who were invited -- RNC Chairman Michael Steele, Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, and Puerto Rico Governor Luis Fortuno, all declined through the RNC.
In response to the criticism leveled their way, a RNC spokesperson released this statement:
"The RNC Summer Meeting begins this week in California, which is why the Chairman was unable to attend. The RNC remains fully committed to growing its Latino coalition."
It would seem that the RNC is assuming that they would not find any new coalition members at a NCLR conference. However, it's another classic example of the RNC not knowing Latinos.
Otherwise, they would know that while many Latinos vote Democrat, it's more for the person running than for the party, that holds the allegiance of Latino voters.
But there are some Republicans who sincerely want to shore up Latino numbers within the party. It's not a coincidence that the latest initiative is being spearheaded by a young Colombian-American GOPer named Javier Manjarres.
He's started a campaign to win more Latinos to the GOP. He's calling the campaign
Operation: Â¿QuÃ© Pasa USA?
Maybe the better title should be Â¿QuÃ© Pasa Republicans?
It's one thing to not agree over the qualifications of a presidential appointee but to decline an invitation to speak at an organization known to be one of the premier organizations in championing civil rights for Latinos?
A lot of unfounded, and absurd, criticisms have been levied against NCLR in the last few months, but the fact remains that the organization maintains a strong grassroots network across the country that fosters goodwill in Latino communities.
Javier and other Latino Republicans know this, or should know it.
From what I can see, Javier's campaign only consists, so far, of translating the core values of the Republican party into Spanish. And he is right when he says that many Latinos are conservative.
Which means that Republicans are really blowing their opportunities one step at a time with gaining any foothold among Latino voters.
For all practical purposes, the Republican party is handing Latino voters to Democrats on a silver platter.
Javier's next campaign may well have to be Operation Â¿QuÃ© Paso? (What happened?)