It has been reported that the senior senator from the state of Confusion, er, Illinois, and several other of his Democratic colleagues have decided that they will not support a Senate filibuster that will effectively block Neil Gorsuch's confirmation to the Supreme Court. If this is the case, it will again demonstrate the monumental stupidity that so accurately characterizes Senate Democrats.
On the surface, this kind of cooperation and conciliation seems entirely reasonable. If you carefully examine Judge Gorsuch's qualifications, you will see that he is at the very least adequately qualified to be a Supreme Court justice. The only reason a Democratic senator could give for standing in the way of his eventual confirmation is on the basis either of his politics or his judicial philosophy. In the past, partisan politics or ideological philosophy would not have represented an impediment for me. But NOW it is!! Why have I changed my mind? I can sum up the reason in two words, Merrick Garland!
I was personally offended at the cravenly cowardice with which Senate Republicans used to dispatch the Garland nomination. If they had had the courage to openly examine Judge Garland's record in hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee, if they had given him the opportunity to publicly articulate his judicial philosophy and THEN rejected him, well, I would have been angry but I would have at least given Republicans credit for their openness and honesty. But, of course, THAT would have been the just and fair thing to do, and justice and fairness don't count for much in Republican circles these days.
The important thing for Senator Durbin to understand, however, is that the contemptible way in which Senate Republicans treated Judge Garland said nothing about ME personally. But it did demonstrate their utter disdain for all Senate Democrats, including the senior senator from Illinois. The fact that Dick Durbin doesn't seem to understand this is a mystery to me. How could he possibly miss the message Senate Republicans were sending so loudly and clearly?
Cooperation. Conciliation. Concession. Compromise. In and of itself, these concepts are good things. One could argue forcefully that we need MORE of these qualities in Washington today. However, in an era of confrontation and contention, they have become totally obsolete. Yes, Washington has become infected with a viral hatred that makes compromise not only a dirty word but darned near impossible to achieve. But craven capitulation is no cure for this virus, and refusing to take whatever steps necessary to prevent Neil Gorsuch's confirmation is nothing but craven cowardice at its worst.
In the weeks ahead, we will hear Republicans speak warmly about Judge Gorsuch's "qualifications". Yes, qualifications ARE important, and at some point in our past history, citing qualifications as an argument would have been entirely germane. Not now! Mitch McConnell and his Republican cronies have demonstrated concretely that they care not a whit about qualifications, their treatment of Merrick Garland proves this conclusively. The American people were not even allowed to discover Judge Garland's qualifications OR his judicial philosophy. Mitch McConnell saw to THAT! He was treated shabbily because he was nominated by a Democratic President and because he was a moderate Democrat who would have succeeded a highly conservative Republican. PERIOD!!!!
Dick Durbin should have been PERSONALLY offended by Mitch McConnell's actions. Why? Because ultimately they were aimed at HIM. Republicans looked over to the other side of the Senate aisle and all they saw were weak and timid sheep, Dick Durbin chief among them! They were absolutely confident that the milquetoasts who call themselves Senate Democrats would simply roll over and play dead rather than put up a spirited fight.
Well, THAT particular battle is over and we lost it. But the Gorsuch nomination affords the Democrats the opportunity to demonstrate that they DO, in point of fact, have spines. Will they be inundated with angry tweets from the White House for so doing? You can count on it! Will SuperPacs funded by the billionaires who look forward to several decades of a Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court attack vulnerable Senate Democrats? Of course they will!! But, Senate Democrats, face facts. You will be attacked anyway, one way or another. So then, there really is only ONE question remaining for you to answer: "Retreat and Surrender OR Fight and Resist?". From all indications, the watchword for Senate Democrats is CAPITULATION!!!
Filed under: Politics