Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Your Move, Mitch

Okay, so Merrick Garland isn't Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Who is? One thing he isn't, though, is another Antonin Scalia. And that's good enough for me.

Barack Obama's decision to nominate Garland to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court came as something of a surprise; most believed he would pick Sri Srinivasan, who is fourteen years younger and somewhat more left of center. But this choice wasn't based on age or ideology, anymore than it was based on qualifications. For the record, Garland is more than qualified. It was a strategic move on the part of the President to ostensibly back Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans into a corner. By picking a moderate, Obama takes away any leverage they may have to paint him as an ideologue bent on taking advantage of the death of a conservative icon.

It's really a win, win for Obama. If Mitch McConnell follows through on his promise not to allow Garland an up or down vote, Democrats will have a wedge issue to run on in November. If he relents and allows the Senate to vote and Garland gets approved, he's finished as Majority Leader. Sort of like heads I win, tails you lose.

Of course, the decision may be out of his hands. Already there are rumblings within the rank and file from senators in swing states up for reelection who are under tremendous pressure to allow a vote. It'll be hard enough getting reelected with Donald Trump as the party's presidential nominee, the last thing they need is to be perceived as obstructionists, especially when two thirds of the country would be against them.

Normally, I would poo-poo this pick as a sellout, but frankly, I don't see any other play here. In fact, given the politics of it, it's a damn good move on Obama's part. He takes the high road while the Republican Party continues to implode. It's enough to bring a tear to your eye. Wink, wink.

It's your move, Mitch. We're waiting.

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