The announcement by Senator Mitch McConnell that the Senate would not take up any nominee for the vacant Supreme Court position advanced by President Obama was startling to the Media, but is completely understandable to me. Consider the current situation within the Republican Party. The Party is in chaos. This strategy is the act of desperate leadership, which understands its limitations. Leadership simply can not risk a hearing or a vote on any candidate advanced by the Democrats because Republican leadership can’t trust its members to remain cohesive in the face of the upcoming elections.
It is truly a sad commentary that with so much at stake, there is no group understanding of the peril faced by the nation with a liberal appointment to the Court. There has been so much damage done to the concept of separation of powers by this administration already.
Unfortunately, the Republican Party has been complicit in the creation and advancement of the federal juggernaut. Many of the party’s members have established careers by accommodating the big government advances of recent decades.
There can be no appointment considered by the Senate because the leadership can’t and shouldn’t trust its members to stay together and reject any Whitehouse Candidate. This Congressional group is comparable to a clowder of cats. They won’t stay together and can’t be herded.
This Congress fails to comprehend basic civics and concedes its power of the purse at the first mention of “Government Shutdown”. It allows the narrative to be advanced that the executive must have all programs funded at levels acceptable to the administration. A presidential veto equals shutdown, which means Republican electoral losses, which means immediate and unconditional surrender.
History is important shows how we reached this point. Congresses past had the power to fund programs only for their terms. The concept of multi year projections is a farce perpetrated upon the public to rationalize fiscal irresponsibility. Instead of creating self sustaining programs to fund its many social promises and preserving the excess taxes collected for future entitlements, legislators of both parties built careers by thoughtlessly pillaged the so called trust funds (leaving worthless paper in its wake, which can’t even be sold) and made more unsustainable entitlement promises. These promises now are said to be social contracts, which the electorate has adopted and which can’t easily be abrogated.
So the cycle continues each session. The President proposes massive program increases. Congress counters with proposals for less and the President dictates minimal levels by threatening a veto. Congress surrenders because of fear of electoral losses.
This is the recent history of the Republican majority. Just as in the past, some Republican members have built their careers by conceding on key party line votes. Leadership can not trust its own members, and the party is impotent, when it comes time to have crucial showdowns with the executive branch.
I say no vote is better than a bad appointment. There is just too much at stake to begin trusting now. I would rather put my faith in the wisdom of the electorate and defer considering any appointment then trust this crowd with such a crucial vote. So Republicans, you must hang tough on a deferral strategy because history teaches you haven’t the resolve to reject a bad appointment.
Fortunately Republicans can look to the past words of Democratic Senators, who proposed the same strategy, when in the minority in an election year. These past statements may soften the pain and convince the media not to crucify the Party, but it is going to get thorny, so hang together Republicans on a strategy of inaction because the alternative is much more threatening to the long term health of our now fragile Republic.