Thursday, March 04, 2021


Republicans are just being Republicans:
... the $1.9 trillion [COVID relief] bill is awaiting a vote in the Senate. But that won’t happen for a while yet, not because there aren’t the votes to pass it but, instead, because Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) has decided to force the chamber to read the 628-page bill in its entirety. The effect isn’t to change the outcome. Instead, it’s to delay the inevitable.
This was after Senate Republicans voted as a bloc to not even begin debate on the extremely popular bill. Vice President Harris had to break the 50-50 tie in order to allow debate to proceed.

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) will slow down the confirmation of Merrick Garland, President Joe Biden’s pick to lead the Department of Justice....

The hold that Cotton has placed on Garland’s nomination means that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer will need to clear a procedural hurdle before a final confirmation vote. Democrats had hoped that Republicans would agree to skip that step, particularly given that several of them — including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell — plan to support the nominee.

But with Cotton blocking an agreement and the Senate’s focus on passing Biden’s coronavirus relief package, a final confirmation vote on Garland is expected to occur next week at the earliest.
This isn't like the time Cotton blocked the appointment of Cassandra Butts, who was chosen as ambassador to the Bahamas by President Obama. Cotton told Butts he was preventing her confirmation in order to inflict pain on the president; Butts never served, and died of leukemia at age 50. With solid Democratic support and the backing of McConnell and some other Republicans, Garland is assured of confirmation. What Cotton is doing now is just a cheap swipe at the Democrats that accomplishes nothing.

During the Trump presidency, Adam Serwer wrote an essay called "The Cruelty Is the Point." Serwer argued that cruelty to people they don't like -- immigrants, for instance -- was precisely what Trump's supporters wanted from him. They got what they wanted.

I think there's a lot of truth to that. But when they can't get genuine cruelty from the Republicans they support, they'll take this kind of cheap harassment. If the people they hate can't be hurt, they can at least be hassled.

The mean-spiritedness is the point, even if it doesn't accomplish anything.

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