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Feb 24 2016

No Meetings, No Hearings, No Vote. May Not Be A Bad Strategy For The Left

The Senate Republicans appear to be once again on the road to self destruction.

GOPers Commit to the ‘Three Nos’, Josh Marshal, Talking Points Memo

There’s nothing really different today than what Mitch McConnell committed Republicans to only hours after Justice Scalia’s death. But we now have a formal embrace of the ‘Three Nos’: No meetings, no hearings, no vote.

Indeed, from what I’m hearing McConnell won’t even commit to an up or down vote on a nominee from the next President. So he may want to keep this going into a next Democratic term if there is one. Indeed, all Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee committing to McConnell that they will hold no hearings on any Obama nominees. And this comes after top Republicans insisted they will not even meet with any Obama nominee, let alone hold a hearing.

I must say that I am struck not so much by the inflexibility as the brittleness of GOP resolve on this. Does every member of the Judiciary Committee really need to commit in writing to McConnell that they won’t break ranks and support a hearing?

The wiser strategy would be to meet with the nominee, hold hearings and vote. Charles Pierce at Esquire Politics saw the GOP obstruction as a golden opportunity for President Obama:

The president’s next move is obvious.

He finds the most ridiculously qualified candidate he can find among whatever demographic or social group is most disadvantageous to the Republicans, and he puts that candidate up as quickly as possible. He does event after event, with the candidate by his side. He campaigns for Senate candidates in New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Illinois, all places with vulnerable Republican incumbents, and he brings the nominee along with him.

To elect a Democratic president in the fall is to elect this wonderfully qualified person, a credit to the American dream and to our greatness as a people, to the Supreme Court as well. Could it be that the Republican Party’s capacity to walk in lockstep off a cliff–known to medical science as The Schiavo Syndrome–has now surpassed the Democratic Party’s capacity to step on its own dick when presented with a political opportunity? If the president has brought about that turn of events, his whole two terms have been worth electing him in the first place.

I’m so sorry, Charlie, but Barack has other ideas:

The Washington Post reported Wednesday that the White House was vetting Nevada Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval for the open seat on the Supreme Court.

It is not uncommon for names to be floated as trial balloons ahead of an actual nomination.

The White House’s thinking could be that floating Sandoval, a moderate pro-choice Hispanic Republican, could turn up the political heat on Senate Republicans, who have pledged not to even hold a hearing on any Obama nominee to the Supreme Court. Shunning a member of their own party may be harder for Republicans to navigate than turning their backs on a liberal nominee to the court. [..]

As the Washington Post report notes, the Senate did “unanimously” approve Sandoval to a federal district judgeship in 2005. On social issues, Sandoval is more moderate than many Republicans on social issues like abortion and gay marriage, but he is still far more of a conservative than many Democrats would expect for a nominee to the court by a Democratic president.

After seven years, Democrats have not woken up to the fact that this president is neither a liberal or progressive, or for that matter a Democrat. They are living with the delusion that in his last year he would change. His even considering Gov. Sandoval for the Supreme Court is just the icing on the cake.