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Feb 25 2016

Punting the Pundits

“Punting the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”.

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New York Times Editorial Board: Senate Republicans Lose Their Minds on a Supreme Court Seat

Following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, Senate Republicans apparently believe they can profit by creating a political crisis that the nation has never seen before. On Tuesday, the leadership doubled down on its refusal to take any action on any nominee from President Obama to replace Justice Scalia.

Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader who seems to have lost touch with reality and the Constitution, accused Mr. Obama of plunging the nation into a “bitter and avoidable struggle” should he name anyone to the court.

Forget an up-or-down vote on the Senate floor. Top Republicans are pledging not to hold hearings or even to meet with a nominee. [..]

The truth is they are afraid — and they should be. They know Mr. Obama has a large pool of extremely smart and thoroughly mainstream candidates from which to choose a nominee. They know that if the American people were allowed to hear such a person answer questions in a Senate hearing, they would wonder what all the fuss was about.

So Mr. McConnell and his colleagues plan to shut their doors, plug their ears and hope the public doesn’t notice. The Republican spin machine is working overtime to rationalize this behavior. Don’t be fooled. It is panic masquerading as strength.

Jacob Weisberg: What Today’s Republicans Don’t Get About Reagan

HE supported the biggest amnesty bill in history for illegal immigrants, advocated gun control, used Keynesian stimulus to jump-start the economy, favored personal diplomacy even with the country’s sworn enemies and instituted tax increases in six of the eight years of his presidency.

He was Ronald Reagan.

The core beliefs that got Reagan elected and re-elected were conservative: lower taxes, smaller government and a stronger, more assertive military. But Reagan was also a pragmatist, willing to compromise, able to improvise in pursuit of his goals and, most of all, eager to expand his party’s appeal.

The current field of Republican presidential candidates invokes Reagan as a patron saint, but the characteristics that made him a successful politician seem lost on them. Instead, they’ve turned his party into a swamp of nativism, ideological extremism and pessimism about the country’s future, in direct opposition to Reagan’s example. And they’ve transformed primary season into a reality show of insults, betrayals and open feuds, defying the so-called 11th Commandment that Reagan espoused: Thou shall not speak ill of any fellow Republican.

Michael McAuliff:If Fourth-Year Presidents Shouldn’t Do Things, How About Sixth-Year Senators?

President Barack Obama is in the last year of his second term, Republican senators argue, so he should no longer have a say in something so important as who sits on the Supreme Court. Let’s wait for the voters to weigh in this fall, they say.

But Obama isn’t the only elected official in the last year of his term who has a key role in choosing the next justice, whose party may or may not hold onto his power post, and who generally makes consequential decisions.

The GOP logic seems to be that voters may have changed their minds about what sorts of leaders they want over the past three years, so rather than let Obama function for his full four-year term, the Senate should stall him. Beyond the Supreme Court vacancy, Republicans have also refused to hold hearings on Obama’s budget, and one senator had himself recorded throwing Obama’s final proposal to close the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, prison base into the trash.

If after a mere three years, however, Obama has lost his mandate, what about those other elected officials who haven’t gone before the voters in five years?

Ted Cruz’s campaign is flailing – and the Alamo could be his last stand

Ted Cruz usually exudes the self-righteous certitude of a man who knows he is heading towards both victory and heaven. He isn’t just running a campaign for president, but a faith-propelled Cruzade to restore Judeo-Christian values and Reaganomics to Washington.

But at a “victory” party in a mostly empty YMCA hall in Las Vegas – a city that was built on sin – you could sense the doubt and despair creeping in. After Donald Trump’s third resounding victory, the Cruzade against the New York infidel has less than a week to prove itself before Super Tuesday. [..]

This is the game of alternate reality that is currently playing out among all the non-Trump campaigns in the aftermath of the four early voting states. If everyone else drops out, maybe we can win. How or when their rivals might drop out is never explained.

Based on the current polling numbers, by the time the field narrows further, Trump will have amassed an insurmountable lead in delegates heading to the Republican convention.