Wednesday, March 30, 2016


A lot of Democrats and liberals think that the resistance to President Obama's Supreme Court pick is breaking down, and if we believe this Politico story, that includes the president:
With small cracks emerging in the Republican Supreme Court blockade -- and private indications from some GOP senators that they’d likely back Merrick Garland if he ever did come up for a vote -- the White House is preparing to press its perceived political advantage when senators return from their recess next week....

White House aides say they have been surprised that they’ve made as much progress as they have in the two weeks since President Barack Obama nominated Garland. And while they’re still skeptical Garland will get anywhere near being confirmed, the West Wing does at least see a path forward, if only for strengthening the case they'll make against Republican senators going into the fall elections.
But I think the Mitch McConnell/Chuck Grassley plan is working exactly the way it was supposed to:
Senator Mark S. Kirk of Illinois on Tuesday became the first Republican to meet with Judge Merrick B. Garland and said he hoped the meeting would influence other Republicans to at least sit down with President Obama’s choice to fill a Supreme Court vacancy despite pressure from party leaders not to consider his nomination.

“We need rational, adult, open-minded consideration of the constitutional process,” said Mr. Kirk, who is perhaps the most endangered Senate Republican up for re-election this fall. “He’s been duly nominated by the elected president of the United States to fill a vacancy which we know exists on the court.”

With Judge Garland by his side, Mr. Kirk praised Mr. Obama’s pick as “one of the most eminent judges in the country.”

“I think when you just say, ‘I’m not going to meet with him,’ that’s too close-minded,” Mr. Kirk said.
Yes, fourteen GOP senators -- approximately one third of the Republicans in the Senate -- have said they'd be willing to meet with Garland. (Politico's count is sixteen.) Yes, like Kirk, Susan Collins of Maine has said she thinks Garland should get a hearing.

But by moving the Overton window as far to the right as they did from the start, Mitch McConnell's Republicans turned just talking to the guy into the moderate position. Swing voters in Illinois will now associate Kirk not with intransigence but with reasonableness, even though he's still a duly pledged Republican who'll vote to keep McConnell in the Majority Leader position if he's reelected.

You say, "No vote, no hearings, no meetings with the nominee"; you settle for "No vote, no hearings," or, if the pressure mounts, just "No vote." And it looks as if you're moderating.

It's the Art of the Deal, GOP style. And it'll probably keep Garland off the Court and save the jobs of vulnerable Republican senators.


AllieG said...

That's not how it works. As the pressure object takes a step backward, pressure mounts, not declines. It would be far smarter just to vote Garland down, making it seem like the usual political argle-bargle to general election voters rather than the "why don't you bums do your jobs" line that resonates with such voters.

Pragmatic Idealist said...

I agree with AllieG. Every crack is a news story. Every news story hurts the GOP. I don't think it's at all clear that Kirk and other vulnerable GOP candidates can walk the tightrope to make themselves seem respectable while opposing a vote. And it's not clear that urging a vote won't hurt support from GOP voters. McConnell heard loud and clear from base groups that there would be no vote. Sure, he's trying to turn a sow's ear into a silk purse but I don't think he can do.

Unknown said...

you think Mark Kirk isn't gonna get kicked to the curb jsut because of this???

There's a reason I refer to him as this year's Mark Pryor. However else this might help some other vulnerable GOP Senators, Mark Kirk is running for re-election as a REPUBLICAN in ILLINOIS in a PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION YEAR.

That alone is what's gonna sink him.

Steve M. said...

you think Mark Kirk isn't gonna get kicked to the curb jsut because of this???

I don't. Most of the time, America is inclined to give incumbent Republicans the benefit of the doubt.

Feud Turgidson said...

Steve M luv your passion for this stuff, dude, but AllieG's got you on this.

There's other factors, too: Expectations, and Readiness. Nom'ing is what presidents do, what they're expected to do, and not just like wearing that g.d. flag pin, federal judicial appointments really matter. Opposing the process doesn't just piss off libruls, it ADVERSELY AFFECTS LARGE SOCIAL ORGANIZATIONS and actual individual people, and tellyawot Steve, on the ground wingers have real trouble with what MmConnell's doing it because INERTIA is a big contributing factor to conservatism/stickinthesloppism. On the second, readiness, what would happen if BO did NOT talk and walk like Yes We Can? Then the Rs could say Lookit that lazy shiftless no account stupid kneeCLANG no guts give-upper WE TOLD YOU THEY'S ALL LIKE THAT there's the proof right there can't trust them darkies they's animals. It's how apartheid work, Steve, you KNOW that.

Who's the icons guy? Not Freud, his buddy with the schtupping of the ladies for science ... JUNG! BO has to do with because a. expected b. Jung and icons c. he black d. what if the Rs DO fold and BO's not RIGHT THERE to pounce, what then, Steve, huh? Hell to pay is what.

If it's any comfort, Scott Lemieux makes the same error on this front. But he's from Canader and writes for snotty Brit papers so you got LESS excuse here. This Red Line, Thin Blue Line, Into the Valley of Death, if you wait too long to say I Luv U 2 back there'll be problems, some patterns of human life are there because they have to be.

retiredeng said...

You need to have some patience Steve. It's barely April 1st. You seem to be calling the plays in advance. This Supreme Court Kabuki is far from over.

Belvoir said...

Feud Turgidson, I dig your patois. :)

Never Ben Better said...

Kelly Ayotte's been running TV ads for a while now proclaiming how she's gonna protect America from Obama's attempt to rush another liberal justice through, among other good GOP things. There's also been an ad running against her putting a lot of emphasis on her refusal to do her job.

Then a day or two ago I saw she was now one of the GOP senators planning to meet with Garland.

Stay tuned to this channel....