Senate Republicans Quite Conflicted About Whether To Do Their Job

Governing is for suckers. And Democrats.

Oh, what an awkward spot of bother the Grand Old Party has found itself in. Again. Approximately one half second after the world learned of the sudden vacancy on the Supreme Court (and oh yeah, P.S., thoughts and prayers to Antonin Scalia's family, of course), Republicans were tripping over each other to tell Obama he needn't waste his breath naming a replacement because NOT. GONNA. HAPPEN.

But ... well ... some Republicans are wondering whether that's a good look for them. You know, the "being obstructionist dickweasels to Obama just on principle on" look. (It's not.)

[contextly_sidebar id="YSKEziADTfKWpHFfViwmKrofDOdXQogH"]After insisting it's "standard practice" for the Senate to sit around with its thumb up its ass during a president's final year, Judiciary Committee chairman Chuck Grassley sort of had a change of heart and said he'd at least wait for the president to name someone before declaring To Be Determined unacceptable and unworthy of the committee's precious time.

Sen. Orrin Hatch is encouraging Grassley to stay strong, brother, against Obama's tyranny by keeping his hearing calendar firmly shut until after the election. But:

"I don't think we should filibuster the Supreme Court nominee or any judgeship nominees. We wouldn't have to filibuster," Hatch said on "Wolf." "All it would take is for Sen. Grassley to just say, 'Look, we're not going to confirm anybody this year.'"

So Hatch wants Grassley to cockblock the president, but Hatch isn't about to promise that he will personally do the same, by filibustering a nominee, should it come to that. If Grassley would only stand firm against the White House, that sure would make things a lot easier for Hatch!

Meanwhile, Nevada Sen. Dean Heller said the president should offer up a name, preferably of a Nevadan, HAR HAR HAR groan, even though "the chances of approving a new nominee are slim," because come ON, let's be realistic. Heller's staff subsequently clarified by completely reversing Heller's position and saying never mind, everyone should wait until after the election. Guess he got a stern talking-to about toeing the party line.

We expect Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson might be getting a talking-to too. Over the weekend, he issued a bold statement that the American people, not the president, should decide America's Next Top Justice. And that justice should "share Justice Scalia's commitment to applying the Constitution as written and to the freedom it secures."

Tough talk! Followed up later in the week by his not-so-tough gobbledygook that he's not saying the Senate should obstruct the process, just that he's a simple caveman senator, it's not up to him anyway, he has no idea how it's all supposed to work, so why are you asking him all these questions, huh?

I have no idea how the process plays out, I’m not in control of it. I’m not the majority leader, I’m not chairman of the Judiciary. By the time I would actually take the vote, if it comes to that, I’ll take a vote.

Illinois Sen. Mark Kirk would also prefer you not ask him any tough questions, like whether the president has the authority to nominate Supreme Court justices:

"Let us take the time to honor [Scalia's] life before the inevitable debate erupts," he said. "The political debate erupting about prospective nominees to fill the vacancy is unseemly."

Yes, quite unseemly, isn't it? Too bad Republicans couldn't wait for even half a second before announcing that To Be Determined was already dead on arrival.

Maine Sen. Susan Collins also finds the whole thing unseemly, saying "it's appropriate for this period of mourning to pass before we get into this debate," but at least she didn't outright refuse to do her job, as a United States senator, and even said she'd give T.B. Determined her "full attention." She's not up for re-election for another five years, but we figure wingnuts will soon be looking for a primary candidate to unseat the RINO Obama lackey.

Then there's North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis, apparently the only Republican who is either brave enough or foolish enough to say out loud what his colleagues are starting to realize quietly, to themselves:

An ideological replacement for Scalia is "unlikely to happen," Tillis conceded, "but I think we fall into the trap if we just simply say sight unseen—we fall into the trap of being obstructionist."


[contextly_sidebar id="JACJGQmgSYO4Lxsh7QWqit0U2alNW4h4"]It's a little late now, though. Republicans already made their intentions perfectly clear, even before they had time to start just askin' if Obama had personally murdered Scalia with a pillow. (Worry not, citizens, for President Trump will look into that.)

So what's a belligerent party that's spent nearly eight years in hysterical denial that Obama is actually the president to do? They can cave to the mighty O'Tyrant and at least go through the motions of holding confirmation hearings. Their foaming-at-the-mouth base is incapable of understanding basic political theater, and such kabuki would earn bad reviews from the public anyway.

Or they can remain stubborn as ever, spiting Obama to his very last day, and refuse to do their goddamned jobs, even if Obama nominates the Ghost Nino Scalia.

Gosh, they better hope they choose wisely. Because if they've counted on their fingers wrong, and they don't win the White House and they do lose the Senate, well, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer might just nuke the filibuster, and President Hillz might just stick Anita Hill on the Court, and there won't be a damned thing they can do about it.

[POLITICO / TPM / Chicago Business / Portland Press Herald / POLITICO]


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