The Whigs - er, Democrats - clearly don't know when and how to pick a fight.
Despite getting support from Democratic senators Joe Manchin and Heidi Heitkamp of, respectively, West Virginia and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota - two states that admittedly would not have existed were it not for Republican administrations bending the rules - and also Democratic senator Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch faces an otherwise united front of the Senate Democrats ready to oppose him to the point of filibustering his nomination. Although he is a right-wing honky, he is highly qualified, he has impeccable credentials, and he is likely the best Supreme Court candidate that anyone is ever going to get from a Republican President - especially the current Republican President. Democrats are nonetheless ready to filibuster him for two primary reasons:
- He's right-wing.
- He's a honky.
But I understand he does have a good singing voice.
Look, this is a fight Democrats are bound to lose. They could pick fights they can win, like one on health care, but they'd obviously prefer to let ordinary citizens do the fighting. But Gorsuch is going to get on the Court. Not only does he have at least 55 votes, but if the Democrats try to stop him, Senate Republicans will likely change the rules to prevent a filibuster and steamroll the minority (something the Senate GOP is very good at!). I know that the Democrats are also trying to avenge Merrick Garland for never getting a hearing, but when they try to deny someone like Gorsuch an up-or-down vote for a petty reason like that, they further denigrate an already denigrated legislative chamber, and they further politicize an already politicized confirmation process. In other words, it means that the Democrats are no better than the Republicans are.
That's precisely why six percent of the American electorate voted in 2016 for third-party presidential candidates.
Senate Democratic leader Charles Schumer has suggested that no Supreme Court nomination from Trump should go ahead until the legitimacy questions regarding Trump that have been raised by alleged collusion with the Russians during the 2016 presidential campaign have been put to rest. Yeah . . . Chuck, you're going to have to do better than that.
The Democratic strategy against Gorsuch does not make sense when Gorsuch would be replacing the late Antonin Scalia on the Court, because it wouldn't change the court's ideological balance. They also insult the handful of Republican senators who wanted Merrick Garland to have hearings. It's best for Democrats to hold their fire until Trump tries to name a right-winger to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg or Stephen Breyer should either one of them die or retire. If Democrats waste their time stopping Gorsuch and cause the Republicans to change the filibuster rules irrevocably, there will be nothing - nothing! - to stop the GOP next time, when it counts! If Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell is bluffing on the proposed rule change, it's better to call his bluff later rather than now.
And by the way, I don't want to hear any complaints from Democrats about those of us who voted for Jill Stein and how we didn't care about what would happen with the Supreme Court. What, you were afraid of someone who only pays lip service to the middle class but looks out for corporate interests and is a complete narcissist getting into the White House and choosing Supreme Court justices? Well, that's why I didn't vote for Hillary. If you were afraid of losing the opportunity for a Democratic President to name a Supreme Court justice, why didn't you back someone other than Hillary for the Democratic presidential nomination? Why didn't you at least get elected a Democratic Senate that would have gotten Garland confirmed in President Obama's last seventeen days in office? Why didn't you lobby hard for Garland to get confirmation hearings before the election?
(Pointless aside I couldn't resist: Both Merrick Garland and Neil Gorsuch have seven-letter surnames starting with the letter "G." Ya think this is Trump's way of tweaking his opponents?)