Senator John McCain (R-AZ) said Wednesday that he feared Republicans would regret what they are about to do on the filibuster but he’s gonna do it anyway:
"I fear that someday we will regret what we are about to do," McCain on nixing filibuster — ahead of his vote to nix the filibuster
— Jennifer Bendery (@jbendery) April 5, 2017
For a very long time, the press has salivated over Senator John McCain, he of the “maverick” status that might be more attributable to his BBQs for the press than his actual actions. They love him even more than they love the alleged “wonk” Speaker Ryan, and that’s really saying something. You will be hard pressed to see Democrats described in such loving, well branded terms in mainstream press reports on daily events.
But nowhere is this more absurd than John McCain’s recent use of principled rhetoric followed by now predictable party caves than on the Republicans claiming they must resort to changing the filibuster rules to get Neil Gorsuch confirmed. Instead of actually finding someone who can get the votes, Republicans will be changing the rules to fit the far right extremist their under FBI investigation for collusion with Russia president has chosen.
For this failure to be grown ups, Republican blame Democrats.
Not for anything Democrats have actually done, of course, since Gorsuch hasn’t even had a delayed confirmation hearing by any standard, and I’m excluding the nearly 300 delay Republicans added to the average with their partisan, unprecedented obstruction of the very moderate, bipartisan and ethical Merrick Garland (Obama’s pick).
No, Republicans have no real reason for their decision to change the Senate rules to pull it to a political body like they’ve done to the House. It’s just that Trump badly needs a win and this is how Republicans operate now.
A hometown paper in McCain’s state, the Arizona Republic (part of the USA Today network) called the Republican Senator out on his “stupid idiot” stance.
“I’ve honestly tried my best. I’ve had numerous conversations. It’s just, we have such a polarized environment here,” Sen. McCain told the Hill.
So .. is stupid is as stupid does?
When a reporter suggested that some think the filibuster change would be good for the Senate, McCain answered, “Whoever said that is a stupid idiot.”
Adding, “This is a severe body blow to the Senate as an institution.”
Fine. Then … do … not … do … it.
But McCain is going to do it. McCain who said on CNN this would be a dark day in the US Senate:
“I think it’s a dark day in the history of the United States Senate. It’s going to happen. It’s interesting that Republicans were dead set against it when my former colleague Harry Reid invoked it with the judges. But now it seems to be ‘okay.’ What we should have done is what we did in 2005 and that was a group of us got together, 14 of us, and said look we won’t filibuster except in extraordinary conditions. And now, we are so polarized now, including between the two leaders Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer, that there’s no communications anymore. But, look, if you can do this with 51 votes, what do you think the next nominee is going to be like? And then what do you think is going to happen when eventually the Democrats are in the majority in the Senate, and that’s going to happen sooner or later. I hope later.”
And in Bloomberg, McCain warned that Republicans would regret this, “I guarantee you, just as the Democrats regretted what Harry Reid did, we will regret doing this… I have no choice. I have no choice. Because we need to confirm Gorsuch.”
Why? Why do they “need to confirm Gorsuch”? Why not find a nominee who can get the votes, as the Senate is supposed to operate and is even more essential when confirming a judge to the Supreme Court.
McCain’s cowardice isn’t lonely in the GOP-led Senate.
Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) was quoted in the AP as saying that the nuclear option would be “damaging to the Senate, damaging to them and damaging to the country.”
Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC) in the Hill speaking to colleagues, “If we have to, we will change the rules, and it looks like we’re going to have to. I hate that, I really, really do.”
Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC) on CNN, “I think it would be bad for the Senate” but will he do what he says is the right thing? “I don’t think so.”
Oh. So thanks for sharing?
Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) said she may have to vote to change the rules but she doesn’t want to, as if there were some pressing need to fill the seat Republicans told us was fine to leave open for a year, “If it’s necessary in order to get him confirmed, I may have to vote that way, but I certainly don’t want to… And I think that is truly tragic. It gets bad for the Senate as an institution, and I think it is bad for the court, as well.”
So tragic, but Republicans just “have” to do this. All of them have the same talking points, so this isn’t exactly coming from some deep personal conviction that this seat must suddenly be filled right now by an extremist.
Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) tried to blame Democrats for Republicans changing the Senate rules, based apparently on the idea that if they can’t get their far right nominee confirmed, instead of changing the candidate, they will change the rules and blame Democrats for their failure to be a deliberative body, “I hope it doesn’t come to that but if the Democrats force our hand, then we’ll be prepared to do what we need to do to confirm the judge.”
Republicans will do what they have to in order to get their way in filling the seat they stole from President Obama and the people.
This is what Republicans have become, and it’s high time people stop treating them like they are the grown-ups in the room. Look at their president and ask yourself if this is a one-off, why is the Republican-led Senate acting like petulant teenagers who if they don’t get their way, will blow up the house their parents pay for instead of simply sitting down with their parents to apologize for stealing things that didn’t belong to them and set about making it right.
I had such high hopes for Senator John McCain, that he might emerge from this assault on our country as a hero, the maverick he’s been branded. But it’s not to be. McCain is going along to get along, like the rest of his party – serving Trump any way they can, even if it means ruining the U.S. Senate.
Ms. Jones is the editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA.
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 has won two Telly Awards and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.