Once again, America should pause to thank the good people of Nevada for inflicting Harry Reid upon the nation. Today the Senate Majority Leader is under fire for attacking Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and suggesting that he’s insufficiently Hispanic.
The occasion of Reid’s remarks was Rubio’s opposition to President Obama’s choice for ambassador to El Salvador, Maria Carmen Aponte. Aponte was a recess appointment, made back when our unitary Executive still felt obliged to actually wait for Congress to recess before making such appointments. She was up for a confirmation vote this year, but Rubio voted against her.
One of his reasons for doing so was a desire to make the Administration condemn the Sandinista regime in Nicaragua for vote fraud. (Yes, the Sandinistas are back.) For some reason, the Obama crew had been reluctant to make the blindingly obvious observation that the Sandinistas rigged the recent elections. They did it the old-fashioned way, by using thugs to clear out opposition poll watchers, then stuffing an extra 150,000 votes into the ballot boxes. Ballots are the only thing communists are good at manufacturing.
There are also some conservatives who criticized Aponte for writing an editorial in favor of gay rights for a newspaper in El Salvador, although that obviously wasn’t a deal-breaker for Rubio, since he did end up supporting her.
Rubio made a deal to get Aponte confirmed, in exchange for official State Department denunciation of the Sandinistas – who, it should be noted, wasted no time denouncing America after they got caught with their hands in the cookie jar, declaring that allegations of vote fraud were an attempt to de-legitimize their regime, orchestrated from the U.S. embassy.
Reid didn’t deliver on his end of the deal, claiming Rubio took too long to put together the Republican votes he promised, and furthermore sniffing that two of those votes – Lindsay Graham of South Carolina and Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire – were insufficiently eager to vote for Aponte. Reid actually pulled the nomination off the Senate floor before the vote could be called. The embassy to El Salvador stands without leadership, since absolutely no one else in the United States is qualified to be the ambassador.
So far, we’ve got a fairly typical story of Washington deal-making gone bad. Reid decided to take things up a notch, by injecting racial politics, during an interview with Politico:
“He’s struck out twice. I mean, he says he’s for her now, but he [voted] against her twice,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) told POLITICO.
“In Nevada, this woman [Aponte] is seen by the Puerto Rican community, the Hispanic community, as really somebody who is an up-and-rising star. … I just think it’s a mistake for someone who is supposedly representing Hispanic issues to do what [Rubio] has done,” added Reid, who said Rubio hasn’t delivered the votes on Aponte that he promised.
(Emphasis mine.) Ah, the old “racial loyalty” card. A person of Hispanic extraction must vote for all Hispanic nominees, at least when they’re appointed by a Democrat President. A smooth career trajectory for “rising stars” in the Democrat Party is an important Hispanic issue!
Before racial commissar Harry Reid laid it out for you, did you know that all Hispanics are homogenous? Puerto Ricans, Cubans, whatever… they’re all the same, and they have the same “issues.” Say, has Reid tried explaining that to the Sandinistas?
Incidentally, Aponte actually sent Rubio a nice thank-you letter for pitching in and trying to round up Republicans to get her confirmed – you know, the vote Democrat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid pulled off the floor.
“Thank you very much for all of your support during my confirmation process,” she wrote, according to a copy provided to POLITICO. “Although the outcome is not what all of us had hoped for — friendships were made and a lot of strength was gathered from the effort. I will forever be grateful for your hard work.”
It was signed, “Mari Carmen.”
Harry Reid, who once hailed Barack Obama for having “light skin” and “no Negro dialect,” might seem like an odd choice for Hispanic Loyalty Commissar. Alfonso Aguilar, executive director of the Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles, is not amused, as reported by Fox News:
“This blatant attempt at racial identity politics is offensive and condescending to all Latinos,” he said in a statement Thursday.
“It’s insulting for Reid and Obama’s minions to imply that all Latinos support a person’s nomination to federal office just because he or she is a fellow Latino. Many Latinos and Puerto Ricans opposed the nominations of Mari Carmen Aponte and (Supreme Court Justice) Sonia Sotomayor,” Aguilar said.
Aguilar, who is Puerto Rican, said he opposed Aponte for her advocacy of gay rights issues in El Salvador, “not because she is a fellow Puerto Rican.”
There’s nothing mysterious about Reid’s behavior. Obama could be in trouble with the Hispanic community after his assault on the Catholic Church, and Marco Rubio is another “rising star” whose career trajectory is a matter of great concern for Democrats. As Rubio said, in an email to Politico:
“I never had any objection to Mari Carmen,” Rubio wrote. “I was always about the administration’s lack of interest in defending democracy in Nicaragua. When we made progress on that, I kept my word and lined up the votes for her. But they didn’t keep their word. Everything is about politics with this White House. They decided to sacrifice her nomination in order to try to score political points.”
Team Obama really, really, really doesn’t want to see Rubio on stage debating Joe Biden – who once hailed the President for being “the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy” – during the upcoming presidential election.
Correction: I mistakenly put the Sandinistas in El Salvador when they’re really in Nicaragua. I have corrected the error.