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The fool’s going to... I mean, Schumer’s going to do it!
Corrected to fix a typo in a date
“The fool’s going to ... I mean, the Sheriff’s going to do it!” – Blazing Saddles, when Bart agrees to take on Mongo.
Chris Coons has just joined the supremely stupid Democrat filibuster of the outstanding, decent and completely qualified Neil Gorsuch for Supreme Court. What will this accomplish? The nuclear option. Mitch McConnell has hinted at it; President Trump has openly endorsed its use; the Democrats are powerless to stop it.
This is not Blazing Saddles, the Senate Democrats are the opposite of good-guy Bart, and Senate Republicans and President Trump are certainly not Mongo. They won’t be defeated by an exploding Candygram.
Why are the Democrat senators willing to risk losing all that remains of their power over a nominee whose seating won’t change the balance of power across the street at the Supreme Court? What happens when Justices Ginsburg, Kennedy and Breyer retire? Justice Kennedy is the swing vote on the court. He is 80. Imagine William Pryor (55) taking his seat. Imagine left-center Breyer (78) replaced by Margaret Blackwell (53) And then hit the trifecta and replace the ultra-left Ginsburg (84 and not in good health) with Keith Blackwell (age 41)!!! President Trump is likely to wield the power to move the court to a 7-2 super-conservative majority, and to pull all appellate circuits to the right as well, since Harry Reid nuked lower court confirmations four years ago. So why give up the filibuster now?
Perhaps Chuck Schumer calculates that he will regain the Senate in 2018 and be able to kill off all Trump nominations. That is a pipe dream and he knows it. The media flails harder and harder to try to sink the Trump ship (the number of Democrat-fueled impeachment stories running now – 70 days into the Trump presidency – are absurd). However, the President continues to sail along. The Democrats have significant exposure in 2018, and are likely to lose seats. It is possible for the Senate GOP to advance to 60+ seats; there is no sign that President Trump’s support is waning in the states that put him into the White House, and those incidentally host an outsized number of Democrat Senators who are up for re-election.
Perhaps Chuck Schumer thinks that he should make a symbolic effort at a filibuster and then let vulnerable 2018 Democrats break the filibuster, to attempt to placate his unhinged and furious extreme-left base. Let’s face it: the Democrat base has lunged far to the left. Way beyond the “mainstream” (I recognize that this is a term used in SCOTUS confirmations as a leftist litmus test – “mainstream” nominees are those who will reliably set the law aside and do the fickle will of the left). I think that this is plausible. Schumer could not sit by and do nothing; he must follow the party-line that President Trump is a Russian agent, a Nazi (perhaps he should check out the history of the Nazis and Russia, as well as the Jewishness of President Trump’s son-in-law, daughter, daughter-in-law and grandchildren) who must be resisted and who can be right about nothing. If President Trump were to say on a sunny cloudless day that the sky is blue, some leftist kook would dispute him. Therefore it is plausible that Senator Schumer would employ this tactic to keep the filibuster but let the nomination go through without triggering the nuclear option.
Perhaps Chuck Schumer figures that it’s a lost cause and President Trump may be able to seat four nominees no matter what. Therefore he has nothing to lose. He fights, goads the GOP into the well-deserved nuke, and then uses it to whip his base into a bigger frenzy in the hope that the feckless cowards in the GOP caucus may lift from the Trump accelerator and not enact his agenda. Then, the leftists might have a shot at recapturing the House in 2018 and frustrating President Trump’s efforts to clean up the USA. This seems very likely. I don’t think that there is much decency in DC outside the White House. The GOP and the Dems are both terrified of losing their phony baloney jobs (see again, Blazing Saddles, Governor LePetomaine’s Office). President Trump has assembled a turnaround team for a cabinet. However, if he cannot get Congress to enact his agenda, the turnaround will fail. We the People are irrelevant to the Congress, except to the extent that they believe that we are brain-dead morons that they dupe into voting for X on any given election day.
Therefore, I think that it is likely that Senator Schumer will die on this (Capitol) hill. Is this the end of a good traditional Senate? Hell no! This just means that the 1975 Mike Mansfield rules change that allows a filibustered thing to be laid upon the table and other business pursued dies. If Senator Schumer wishes to don a catheter and take to the floor until he drops, that old-fashioned filibuster, of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington fame, is still alive and well. A Senator who keeps decorum (no “Trump sacrifices goats in the Oval Office” or “Senator X is an evil @$#*%^” – that can get you sat down – ask Elizabeth Warren) can hold the floor until death or exhaustion. Ted Cruz did this a while back as a protest. But I digress.
Senator Schumer will do this because: (1) It makes him look ferocious and uncompromising to an unhinged base that wants uncompromising ferociousness and nothing less; (2) He loses nothing that he would not have lost when President Trump nominates a second time; and (3) He may motivate just enough people to switch over the House and prevent Washington from being cleaned up by the Trump Turnaround Team.
What is the likely outcome of the Schumer maneuver? First, Justice Gorsuch will be sworn in on Friday April 7. Second, the GOP will have eliminated the set-and-forget filibuster. Advice to Senator McConnell: go all the way. Eliminate it for everything. Third, this is happening way too early in the term to sway the house to the left. If the filibuster is gone for everything, reconciliation rules are no longer needed to implement a revocation of the Obamacare boondoggle, tax reform or anything else. President Trump will have a chunk of political capital in the bank and will be ready to spend it wisely.
And, when the three oldest justices, Ginsburg, Kennedy and Breyer, retire, President Trump will buy the USA a conservative break from the evils of leftism that could last for 40 years.
Senator McConnell: The red button is in your hand. Please press it now.