As Walter Scott said long before the current Republican party set about proving him right, “Oh, what a tangled web we weave…when first we practice to deceive.”
And so we drop smack dab into the middle of one of the Republican party’s current troubles, in between their likely nomination of Donald Trump and the fact that they can’t get a budget together… again. This trouble is in the Senate and it stems from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) inability to change course when he first realized his obstruct Obama all of the time strategy was backfiring, and in fact leading to Donald Trump.
McConnell has dumped his Republican Senators in the middle of his big lie about how there is no need to even hold a hearing for this incorrectly and offensively implied “illegitimate” President’s Supreme Court nominee. Faced with angry voters who want them to do their jobs, the jobs the voters are paying them to do, which includes as a basic confirming Supreme Court nominees, Republicans are at a loss as to justify and sell McConnell’s big lie.
A rebellion is brewing in the Senate. A few tidbits from a round-up sent by Senator Harry Reid’s office:
Former NRSC Chairman Jerry Moran (R-KS): “That decision has already been made,” Moran told the NLJ on Monday. “If the president nominates somebody, I’ll consider them by my constitutional responsibilities, but it’s my understanding there will be no hearings, there will be no meetings.”
Senate Republican Conference Vice Chairman Roy Blunt (R-MO): “I certainly wouldn’t mind voting on the nominee that the President has.”
Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI): “I’m not in charge of the process.”
Republican Senator to the Hill: “What’s the Point of Falling On Our Swords”
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT)
SMERCONISH: It’s frustrating because I say, you know, there’s got to be more respect shown for the office than to say we don’t care who you send us.
HATCH: Well, you’re saying that we got to accept anybody this president sends up —
SMERCONISH: No, I’m not. No, I’m not. I’m saying have the dignity to welcome —
HATCH: Yes, you are, you’re saying —
SMERCONISH: — the person into your office and hear them out.
HATCH: I would if we haven’t made the decision that we shouldn’t play a game here and let them know where we are and we’re going to put it over until next year.
Former Republican Leader Trent Lott (R-MS): “I probably would’ve handled it differently,” Lott told CNN senior political commentator David Axelrod on “The Axe Files” podcast, produced by CNN and the University of Chicago Institute of Politics. “My attitude, particularly on the Supreme Court, was that elections do have consequences, sometimes bad, and I tried to lean towards being supportive of the President’s nominees, Democrat or Republican.” “If they were qualified by education, experience, and demeanor and had no other side problem, my predisposition was to be for them,” added the Mississippi Republican, who led the Senate from 1996 to 2001.
This will be even harder to defend when/if Donald Trump wins tonight in the Ides of March Super Super Tuesday, because then it will be obvious that Republicans will not be picking the next SCOTUS nominee. They will not even be in the majority in the Senate anymore and thus will have even less of a say… As I wrote on day one of this epic disaster of a “strategery”.
The problem is that Republicans are refusing to do their jobs and changing the rules for no reason. They are not being obstructed, they are obstructing the President in a naked power grab from the legislative brach. Republicans used to stand for law and order but now, not so much. Now they are about chaos and disrespect. They are about Donald Trump and they are proving this in the Senate. Donald Trump is not an anomaly. He is the GOP.
Republicans have been obstructing Obama because they thought they would get to pick the next SCOTUS. Whatever gave them that idea based on the cage match style debates they’ve been having or their polls is anyone’s guess. But now that Donald Trump is running away with the Republican nomination, it’s obvious to anyone with more than a single cell working that Republicans will not be making the next SCOTUS nomination. Now they are nervous because they fear Hillary Clinton’s choice, they would rather be stuck with Obama’s choice than Hillary’s.
Republicans will be lucky if they don’t lose the House that they thought they had gerrymandered into safety for the next decade. What can we say, except “You built that.”
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ 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.