Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) stumbled his way through ridiculous Republican talking points today after being confronted by a reporter for refusing to do his job.
Grassley made no sense as he leap-frogged from nonsensical Republican talking point to another just one day after meeting with President Obama, pitifully trying to make a case that doesn’t hold up under even the most gentle of scrutiny, much like a kid claiming the dog ate their homework.
It was a big dose of secondhand embarrassment for the Republican Senator.
First Des Moines Register columnist Kathie Obradovich confronted Grassley with his own words from 1992 during the Thomas hearings saying the Senate should concentrate entirely on the nominee’s fitness for the Supreme Court. Unable to combat himself, Grassley tried to lecture the reporter that this was not about a person. It took a lot of “um, ah, well…” for Grassley to get to his pivot that this “has nothing to do about a person.”
In fact, eight years ago, Grassley argued that there should be no delay in President Bush’s judicial nominees – even during the last few months of the President’s term.
Grassley flailed about grasping for the Republican talking point, finally just blurting it out irrespective of nothing, “It’s about people having a voice.”
Obradovich came back with the obvious, saying the people had a voice in 2012 and they re-elected President Barack Obama and that term has not expired yet.
A confused and startled Grassley, perhaps not used to having his talking points so easily shot down, “Um, the uh, then what you want to remember is, the people spoke in 2014 that they didn’t things Biden was doing and threw out nine or ten incumbent Democrat Senators –”
“Biden?” Obradovich asked, confused as Grassley mixed up the Vice President with the President. He didn’t catch wind of the problem, driving his talking points forward right past his own bizarre confusion.
“So you, so you have–”
“Or maybe they didn’t like what the Democratic Senators were doing,” Obradovich suggested, keeping her feet firmly placed on terra firma.
“So here’s what it boils down to, you have the President ….” Grassley nattered on. “But consent means consent or not to consent or in this particular case to withhold consent.”
“I don’t understand if the President isn’t the President if the party changes in Congress.”
Grassley tried to say that the change in the Senate in 2014 was a reflection on President Obama, but in reality it was a reflection of the map and math, with vulnerable Democrats up for re-election and a bad Democratic party message that ran away from Obama. So in fact it could be argued that the Senate change was a rebuke on Democrats for running away from Obama. But we won’t go there.
Grassley really got wound up as he launched into a tirade about President Obama “Packing the DC courts”, in the only moment that sounded remotely genuine, albeit unrelated to why Grassley refuses to do his job. Grassley was genuinely resentful of Obama for having the power of the Presidency, that much was clear.
The problem for Chuck Grassley and other Senate Republicans is that there is no excuse for refusing to do their job. They can’t make a legitimate case. All they have are their petty grievances that their party is not in power in the White House, which is sort of like spitting on the Constitution’s ideas of checks and balances.
This took place as “a liberal group funded by MoveOn.org and other groups were delivering copies of a petition they say contains 1.5 million signatures telling Grassley to “do his job” and take up the Supreme Court nomination.
Democrats are already looking to make Grassley for obstructing the President from the power vested in him by the people, because as Senate Judiciary Committee chair, it is his job to hold a hearing for a Supreme Court nominee. So now the untouchable Republican Senator is not so untouchable.
To make matters worse for Grassley, the New York Times reports, “President Obama is vetting Jane L. Kelly, a federal appellate judge in Iowa, as a potential nominee for the Supreme Court, weighing a selection that could pose an awkward dilemma for her home-state senator Charles E. Grassley, who has vowed to block the president from filling the vacancy.”
Up for a game of chess, Senator?
Ms. Jones is the editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.