Tuesday, June 02, 2009


One of the greatest challenges facing conservatives today is deciding where to make our stand. With limited resources and an opponent advancing on many fronts, never has the advice "choose your battles wisely" appeared more sage or more necessary to heed.

So while it is proper and necessary for conservatives to give voice to opposing the nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayer to the Supreme Court, to invest significant time and resources in the contest would be both foolish and futile. At the end of the day, she is almost certain to be confirmed by the Senate. And even in the unlikely event that something so damaging emerges that it derails her nomination, President Obama will simply nominate another liberal jurist, possibly one even more distasteful to conservatives.

By all means raise questions about her judicial philosophy. By all means feel free to vote against her nomination. But let's not waste a dime or expend precious political capital in a fight that we have no hope of winning. The only one who would really benefit from such a Quixotic crusade would be President Obama, whom I'm sure would be more than glad to see conservatives get bogged down in a campaign that his administration and a plaint media will be more than happy to portray as a racist effort to prevent the first Latina from assuming her rightful place on the Court. A potential PR and political nightmare in the making.

No, better to keep our powder dry, stake out the high ground, and dig in for the battle that matters most. And we had better be prepared because it's apparent that the other side is bringing up the heavy artillery:

Leaders of the country's largest and most influential liberal groups said yesterday they are poised to spend $82 million to help push through sweeping healthcare legislation this year.

Gathering at a conference to discuss how to promote President Obama's agenda, the leaders said Americans voted for major change last November, and that liberals would fight to help the Obama administration keep its promises on providing universal access to affordable healthcare, as well as immigration reform and education.

"Progressives are fired up and excited about the possibility of what could be the greatest era of progressive reform since 1960," said Richard Borosage, codirector of the Campaign for America's Future. "We do this with the wind at our back."

Joining the effort are two major labor organizations, the AFL-CIO and Change to Win; Health Care for America Now, a coalition of healthcare providers, consumer groups, and activists; MoveOn.org, the massive online activist organization; and other groups that claim a total of 30 million members.

Howard Dean, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee during Obama's campaign, the former Vermont governor, and author of a forthcoming book on healthcare, said liberal groups would insist that any health legislation include a Medicare-style public insurance option for people under 65.

Forcing insurers to compete with a government plan, Dean said, is the only way to lower premiums dramatically. Asked whether it was more important to have a public option than to have healthcare bill with bipartisan support, Dean said, without hesitating, "Yes."

Beating back President Obama's health care plan is a battle that conservatives can and must win. It is the center of gravity in his plans for a radical transformation of the country. Everything else is a distraction at this point.

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