From today's editorial page of the Wall Street Journal.
As you may recall Miguel Estrada was nominated by President Bush to serve in the D. C. circuit court of appeals. The senate democrats, under the leadership of Tom Daschle, filibuster his nomination to not allow a vote to confirm to take place. Under Senate rules it takes 60 votes to break a filibuster and force a vote.
You can read more about that at in the 2003 articles posted at http://www.wrnha.org/Issues%20News%20Articles/Hispanic%20Appointments/index.htm
Pedro Celis, Ph.D.
Republican National Hispanic Assembly
Washington State Chairman
REVIEW & OUTLOOK
The Bush Mandate
Justice Miguel Estrada, and other second-term possibilities.
Thursday, November 4, 2004 12:01 a.m.
So the lawyers didn't decide this election after all. The voters did--including millions of conservative first-timers whom the exit polls and media missed--emerging from the pews and exurban driveways to give President Bush what by any measure is a decisive mandate for a second term.
Never mind the closeness of the electoral vote, this time Mr. Bush easily won the popular vote, the first President to win more than 50% since his father in 1988. The Republican gains in both Houses of Congress mean Mr. Bush also had coattails, unlike Nixon in 1972 and even Reagan in 1984.
While holding his margins among white men and married women from 2000, Mr. Bush expanded his vote among Jews (24% from 19%), and notably among the key swing blocs of Hispanics (42% from 35%) and Catholics (51% from 47%). He also rolled up larger margins in his Southern and Western base, while improving his vote in such "blue states" as Pennsylvania and Iowa. Just because an election is close doesn't mean it isn't decisive.
The huge voter turnout of some 120 million--the largest as a share of the electorate since 1968--adds to the mandate because it means the country was fully engaged in this national debate. No one can say he didn't know what was at stake. The President's opposition went all-in, as they say in poker, with the most relentlessly partisan performance by elite cultural institutions that we've ever witnessed. Hollywood, CBS, and the New York Times threw everything they had at Mr. Bush, and the country rejected their values and agenda, not his.
We trust that the President will not now let those same opponents interpret his mandate for him. The effort is already under way to diminish the victory by insisting that Mr. Bush "move to the center," which is code for giving up the agenda that voters just endorsed. The country remains "deeply divided," we are told, so Mr. Bush is obliged to make concessions to Nancy Pelosi and George Soros.
Yet it wasn't Mr. Bush but Senate Democrats whose obstructionism was repudiated on Tuesday. South Dakota voters rejected Tom Daschle expressly on the grounds that he had made the Senate a "dead zone," as we once put it, for the Bush agenda. Mr. Daschle responded by saying he could bring more pork back home, but by blocking so much legislation he undercut his own credibility as a politician who could deliver. The men who really defeated Tom Daschle were Ted Kennedy, Chuck Schumer and the Filibuster Democrats.
Mr. Bush now has an opportunity to achieve much of what his opponents blocked in the first term. No doubt he will, and should, seek out coalitions of the willing among Democrats--on Social Security private accounts, tort and tax reform, and creating a larger private health-care marketplace, among the other things he campaigned on. But we hope he and the GOP majorities on Capitol Hill don't flinch from large ambitions even if most Democrats rebuff their overtures. The center-right voters who just elected them are expecting progress on their priorities.
One of those is the federal courts, where voters sent a clear signal about the kind of judges they want. Referendums opposing gay marriage went 11 for 11 on Tuesday, winning even in Oregon where the 57% to 43% landslide was the smallest majority among the 11. This is not a message of intolerance toward gays; it is a rebuke to those liberals who insist that courts impose their values on venerable American institutions. Our guess is that the marriage referendums were partly responsible for driving pro-Bush turnout in Ohio, and for making the race as close as it was in Michigan.
Mr. Bush could send an early message here if Chief Justice William Rehnquist decides to retire soon due to illness. He could do worse than elevate Antonin Scalia to Chief Justice and nominate Miguel Estrada as an Associate Justice, even as a recess appointment if that becomes necessary. Mr. Estrada is a distinguished lawyer who had the support of enough Democrats to be confirmed for the federal bench but was filibustered by Mr. Daschle. Mr. Bush's voters do not want another David Souter.
Above all, we think Mr. Bush can claim a mandate on his handling of the war on terror. Mr. Kerry and the media both tried to make the election a referendum on Iraq, and the bad news from Baghdad was relentlessly amplified. Voters were also asked to choose on the question of U.S. action with or without the United Nations, and whether state sponsors are as culpable as the terrorists themselves and must be confronted. A majority of voters (54%) judged the U.S. to be safer now from terrorism and approved (50% to 46%) of the decision to topple Saddam Hussein.
This shows the fortitude of the public and its willingness to bear a short-term burden for the sake of long-term security. We hope Mr. Bush and his advisers also recognize it as a chance--a second chance--to finish the job in Iraq. Voters clearly had their doubts that Mr. Kerry could have done better than the President in Iraq. But they will not support Mr. Bush for long if they see U.S. soldiers under attack without going on offense against the enemy sanctuaries in Fallujah and elsewhere.
We won't know for years whether this really was "the most important election in our lifetime," as John Kerry so often said. We do already know, however, that Mr. Bush has been given the kind of mandate that few politicians are ever fortunate enough to receive. The voters expect him to use it.
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