Monday, March 21, 2016

How seriously are we supposed to take the SCOTUS nomination?

If the Republicans have the capacity to block the Merrick Garland nomination then they should do so if they really believe it is in their interest to. It might not be. But maybe it is. Maybe they'll all be fortunate enough to approve President Trump's nominee next year. Surely they are rubbing their hands in anticipation of that prospect.

Or maybe their position is as pointless as it seems and they'll have to either cave or face the possibility of Hillary nominating someone less to their liking. Even in this more likely scenario, it's conceivable that individual Senators still stand to gain politically in the eyes of their home state constituents by defying Obama one last time. Not all of them, though. For example, Mark Kirk here is getting nervous.
In a further blow to Senate Majority Mitch McConnell's efforts to hold a hardline on not even considering the confirmation of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court, Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) has gone from breaking ranks with McConnell to calling him and other GOP senators out on it.

During an interview on Illinois radio show "The Big John Howell Show," the host told Kirk that the Senate should consider the nominee and hold a vote on Merrick Garland, President Obama's nominee to the Supreme Court.

"Right," Kirk replied. "Just man up and cast a vote."

"The tough thing about these Senatorial jobs is you get yes or no votes," Kirk continued. “Your whole job is to either say yes or no, and explain why."
Kirk's problems probably aren't the same as most of his colleagues, though.  He's up for reelection this year in what's expected to be a close race in Illinois. Running against Obama there isn't the golden strategy it might still be for Republicans elsewhere.

Either way they can do whatever they want limited only by what they have the votes to get away with. The pearl clutching over the "incivility" of it all is just stupid. The point of engaging in politics has nothing to do with achieving civility. It has everything  to do with winning stuff for your side.

Along those lines, I'm never clear on why Obama and the Democrats behave the way they do.  The Garland nomination itself is a Peak Obama move. It's conceived mostly as a play to catch some Republicans in a minor semantic bluff. They said they would not support Obama's nominee. Obama nominates a guy they actually like just to be a troll. In the best case, the Republicans, true to their word, do not support the nominee. In the worst case, they approve the guy they like anyway.  Seems like someone needs to rerun their cost/benefit analysis.

Most likely, the Republicans will end up being as bullheaded as they say they are so no harm, no foul. But in an election year when mainstream Democrats are preaching relentlessly their gospel of The Supreme Court Is The Only Issue Worth Caring About At All, it's strange that the President would this all important matter for the sake of petty gamesmanship.

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