Thursday, February 25, 2016

Fear Is the Republican Watch Word, and It's Making Them Do Wacky Things. Here's Why.

One wacky thing is backing Donald Trump. Another is violating the Constitution by denying Obama his right to appoint a Supreme Court justice. Republicans do this at their peril.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor is classic Obama: one for the Latinos
and one for women. White men are not amused.

The presence of Sonia Sotomayor on the highest court in the land is but one example of changes wrought by having a minority-centric president. Yes, he's black, but Barack Obama found distinct avenues to chip away at white-man privilege. Republicans (read white men) have gone into spasms of many sorts ever since.

Mitch McConnell's M.O. has been one long spasm, which he's plainly publicized all along the way, and that's to deny, deny, deny, a strategy he appears to be all in with regarding the Supreme Court. Republicans cheer his refusal to do his constitutional duty while ignoring the possible costs:
As I said, partisans on both sides are immovable on this. And loosely affiliated or swing voters, by definition, aren't terribly knowledgeable or concerned about the differences over judicial philosophy which undergird this fight. But these voters are extremely focused on gridlock, doing your job or not doing your job, people who refuse to do their job or just do what makes sense for seemingly arbitrary reasons. What is more, there's no ideological commitment required in this case. The issue is readily understandable. This is your job. Do your job. Especially if you're asking to be hired again!
It comes down to simple math: Republicans are defending 23 senators this cycle, many in blue or purple states; Democrats are defending 10. The last time this happened to the Dems, they lost the Senate (actually it took two unfavorable cycles, but the cause and effect are the same.) This is why some Republican senatorial candidates may peel off and agree to meet with potential Supreme Court nominees. They'll do it to keep their jobs.

Nancy LeTourneau at Political Animal has much more:
As Josh Marshall says about the latest example of refusing to hold hearings on the President’s Supreme Court nominee, it is “a culmination of Republican efforts not simply to block Obama’s policies but to delegitimize, degrade and denigrate his presidency and the man himself.” That was essentially my reaction when I first heard of their plans. The evidence flies in the face of Republicans and pundits who attempt to turn this whole approach on its head and claim that it is the President who is being divisive.
Even for those who deny the inherent racism involved in attempting to delegitimize this country’s first African American president, it is obvious that - while there is nothing illegal in what Republicans are doing - it is dangerous to the very underpinnings of our democracy. When the people have spoken and elected someone to lead this country - but they are thwarted in carrying out their Constitutional duties to do so by attempts from the opposing Party to undermine them - it is not merely an affront to that leader. It is a challenge to all of us who participated in that electoral process. And it eats away at our confidence is doing so going forward. It is also a recipe for chaos.
To fully understand what's at stake here and why the Republicans would depart so completely from both civility and protocol -- other than the simple fact that a black man in the White House has racist white America literally up in arms -- read this Mark Joseph Stern piece in Slate about post-Scalia oral arguments involving a Supreme Court case that could determine the fate of the exclusionary rule, at which conservative justices have been chipping away for years. Their success at further chipping may have stopped with Scalia's death. 

The math of this case is white privilege minus Scalia on the bench divided by Ferguson times thousands of towns across the county like Feguson times Sotomayor and Kagan equals black live matter, and it appears there's nothing Alito and Roberts can do about it this time.

So the beat goes on in this silly season. And I didn't even get to Donald Trump. Next time.

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