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Mitch McConnell, that salmonella-infected old turtle who's poisoned American politics ever since he vowed to block Barack Obama on everything forever in hopes of making him a one-term president, has gone nuclear and changed Senate rules to get quicker confirmations of Donald Trump's judicial and sub-cabinet nominees. We saw this coming just days ago when McConnell sobbed great big fake tears about the mean obstructionist Democrats who insisted on using the existing rules to slow confirmation of Trump's herd of idiot judges chosen by the Federalist Society and the Heritage Foundation.

The new rules voted in Wednesday cut the amount of time allowed for debate on district court nominees from 30 hours to just two hours, meaning that when the next total loser who's never actually overseen a trial of any sort comes up for approval, the moron will be approved without any troublesome opposition from Democrats. The same rules will apply to executive branch appointments for anyone below the level of the actual Cabinet, so count on a lot more faithful GOP donors and industry flunkies staffing all levels of government. Unlike legislation, which is subject to filibuster by the minority, rules changes only need a simple majority.

McConnell put on a great show of crying over how the Democrats MADE HIM DO IT:


"It is time for this sorry chapter to end. It's time to return this body to a more normal and reasonable process for fulfilling its constitutional responsibilities no matter which party controls the White House," McConnell said on Wednesday afternoon. Of Democrats' slowing Trump nominees, McConnell said: "This is new. And it needs to stop."

McConnell is, of course, lying through his shell hole. There's nothing new about this: When they were in the minority, Republicans slowed and filibustered Obama appointees so much that in 2013, Harry Reid ended the judicial filibuster. Then after Republicans won control of the Senate in 2014, McConnell and the Republicans put an immediate embargo on confirmations of Obama judicial nominees, not merely slowing the process, but blocking so many Obama nominees that when Donald Trump took office, there were over 100 federal judicial vacancies. (Trump charmingly suggested Obama must have just been too lazy to bother filling them -- "I don't know why Obama left that … Maybe he got complacent" -- because Trump lies about everything.) All that culminated in McConnell's yearlong refusal to confirm Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court, followed by another use of the nuclear option to win confirmation of Trump's two nominees by a simple majority.

Before the vote, Democratic leader Chuck Schumer accused McConnell of turning the Senate into a "conveyor belt" for unqualified Trump nominees, and said he was "so sorry that my Republican colleagues have gone along with Senator McConnell's debasement of the Senate."

McConnell wasn't particularly bothered by any of it, because history can actually be anything you want it to be, as long as you remember winning is all that matters, and also Democrats are the bad guys, always:

McConnell absorbed the criticism, cracking a smile at times as Schumer castigated him. Then he stood up and said Schumer was responsible for the quagmire, having launched filibusters of President George W. Bush's nominees.

"He started this whole thing," McConnell said, pointing at Schumer. "This is not a sad day. This is a glad day."

You see, back during George W. Bush's first term, Senate Dems, including Schumer, blocked one of Bush's nominees, Miguel Estrada, from a seat on the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, so really, it only makes sense that Republicans had to pay that back with eight years of slowdowns and outright obstruction, followed by a rush to flood the courts with rightwing judges now. IT'S ALL DEMOCRATS' FAULT. And of course if Estrada had been confirmed, it would still be all Democrats' fault for not being Republicans.

So now the Rs can really crank up that conveyor belt, confirm a judiciary that may be able to block progressive legislation for years, and cry even more sad tears about the horrible assault on tradition and judicial independence if Dems retake power in 2020 and try to re-balance the courts. Here's hoping nobody believes their bullshit ever again. (Narrator: David Brooks will write very sad columns decrying how partisan Democrats have gotten.)

[Politico / WaPo / Brookings Institution]

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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