Wise Latina wise enough for three GOP yes votes so far

McConnell, Bunning, Inhofe, and Roberts say no but Snowe, Lugar, and Martinez say yes oh yes. I predicted 75 yays; how’s that shaping up so far? Kennedy and Byrd are out sick, so with every other Democrat plus the three committed Republicans voting yes, we’re at 61. Graham is almost certainly a yes, so that’s 62. Maverick and Kay Bailey Hutchison are both running in states with huge Latino populations next year and Cornyn, as head of the NRSC, is now a party spokesman and can’t risk being seen as, ahem, “intolerant,” so there’s 65. Grassley, Collins, and Voinovich are reliable RINOs, which makes 68. Ensign might be eager to extend an olive branch to the Democrats given his troubles of late, so he’s, er, 69. Gregg, Hatch, and Kyl will probably hold true to their “statesmen” personas and give the new president the benefit of the doubt, which gets us to 72. Toss in a few wild cards — Murkowski, maybe, and possibly even Jeff Sessions to position himself as a “reasonable” minority leader on the Judiciary Committee ahead of The One’s next nomination — and we’re right there. In fact, when I made this prediction, I’d forgotten that Teddy and the Kleagle aren’t voting these days and assumed Sotomayor already had 60 votes banked. If that were true, we’d already be past 75.

Elsewhere, Byron York calls the GOP’s efforts during the hearing a failure. Eh. I think it was a victory strategically, for reasons DrewM explains:

First, they got Obama’s own nominee to disagree with his ’empathy’ standard. No, she doesn’t mean it but it will make for some nice issue adds in the future.

Second, the nominee of the most liberal President ever, in a Senate with 60 Democrats still felt compelled to parrot the conservative view of judicial philosophy. That shows the power of the issue and how deeply unpopular the liberals know they are in this area. Yeah, that’s dangerously close to a useless moral victory but it shows the impact 20+ years of harping on this issue has had. It’s a long game and we are winning with the voters.

Control of the language is important and dispiriting the liberal legal community is simply delicious.

It’s more than a moral victory. Throwing a tantrum over Sotomayor would have been pointless, not only because she’s a lock given the current make-up of the Senate but because she’s never been known as a liberal firebrand from the bench. The smart way to play it was they played it: Not crying wolf over someone who’s never been a bombthrower but getting her to pay lip service over and over again to a Roberts-esque form of judicial conservatism, which they can use as a bludgeon if the next nominee is, in fact, a firebrand. It’s none too persuasive to tell a Democratic nominee that they’re out of the mainstream vis-a-vis Scalia, but if they’re out of the mainstream compared to The One’s own first pick for the Court? Rhetorical gold.