Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Republicans in Disarray

I think we can dispense with the notion that Mitch McConnell has any control over the United States Senate:
A crack opened Tuesday in Republican opposition to an Obama appointee filling the Supreme Court vacancy left by recently departed Justice Antonin Scalia. "I would wait until the nominee is made before I would make any decision," Sen. Chuck Grassley, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, told Iowa reporters on Tuesday. While he agrees with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's insistence that the next president should appoint the Scalia replacement, Grassley admitted he prefers to take this "a step at a time." On whether such openness to an Obama nomination could hurt his own re-election chances, the senator said, "I think I have a responsibility to perform and I can't worry about the election. I've got to do my job as a senator, whatever it is."
Let's focus on one key admission here--Grassley knows he has to "do my job as a senator, whatever that is." If McConnell had control of the Senate, not only would Marco Rubio show up once in a while but Grassley wouldn't be saying anything right now. If McConnell had any command of his caucus, he would be able to delight himself this week while reading stories about his firm leadership and how senators x, y, and z all back him up.

Instead, we see the knife formed from an ear of corn in the shape of Grassley's tacit admission that nobody has a leg to stand on. It's an election year. The president has about 11 months left in office. Of course the party in control gets to name the next Supreme Court Justice. Antonin Scalia didn't have the decency to live until January 20th. How is that the fault of anyone who wants to see a liberal on the court?

Do you really think the Democrats would be allowed any such thing? No. And what Grassley realizes is that we live in a democracy. If we're going to start a new precedent, the one where we ignore the fact that there's a sitting president who was re-elected with a large majority and tell him he can't name justices to the Supreme Court isn't going to fly.

UPDATE: Senator McConnell can't even keep first term Senator Thom Tillis of North Carolina in line. How is anyone supposed to believe that he has control of the Senate when he can't even keep a junior senator like Tillis in line? And Tillis actually used the term "obstructionists." Unbelievable.

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