Most of the thoughts in this column have been flitting through my head, the author saved me the time of trying to write them. Not sure if I would have come up with the "War Games" reference, I love it!
He suggests that the key to "not playing" is for all the Republicans to utter the following:
“We believe it is the obligation of the next president of the United States to nominate a successor to Justice Scalia. Such a dramatic shift in the balance of the court, so close to an election, should carry with it the voice of the people.”Democrats are MUCH better than this, partially because the media helps them -- how often to do hear the exact same lines about "war on women", "income inequality" or "anti-science". At least in this battle we won't hear the old shibboleth about "balance on the court"!
Conservatives have a TERRIBLE tendency to be direct and truthful. These are of course VIRTUES in the real world, but they are awful disadvantages in politics. The idiotic Mitch McConnell statement about "not nominating" is a great example. True, helpful to the nation, and direct -- and politically disastrous!
Jonah Goldberg has an excellent column on how if BO ACTUALLY wanted to "reduce meanness", the Scalia death just gave him a great legacy opportunity:
In Springfield, Illinois, last week, President Obama commemorated the ninth anniversary of his bid for the White House. He admitted that one of his “few regrets” was his inability “to reduce the polarization and the meanness in our politics.”I do feel that God REGULARLY gives BO GIGANTIC object lessons in potential humility and repentance -- call ISIS the "JV team" and they immediately take over huge sections of the mideast, say "red line" and they cross it right away and you have to get help from the adult in the room, Putin! Utter "we have ISIL contained" in the AM and that very afternoon (here) ISIS attacks in Paris!
Now this ... lie that your "regret" is "polarization and meanness" when you are the main instigator of it, clearly relish it, and a couple days later God calls home one of the greatest jurists in history who is kind, loving, brilliant, and loved by even the hard left winger Ruth Ginsburg! If BO actually wanted to reduce "polarization and meanness", as Jonah points out, it would be EASY!
Obama could prevent all this strife. He could say he will leave this appointment up to his successor. Or he could appoint a conservative during the Senate recess (Sen. Ted Cruz, anyone?) who would serve only until the end of the following session. That would preserve the power balance on the court for the time being.Anyway, I think the Republicans need to go ahead and fake like they are going though the process -- hold hearings, say a lot of stuff about what kinds of issues this is going to be critical in -- presidential decrees on Climate Change, immigration, guns, and who knows what. Rulings on the forced funding of government unions, etc, etc.
Then of course have a big dramatic vote in "September" where the Republicans would have SOME fairly unusual level of control on the messaging, where the candidate is rejected -- with a lot of rememberance of of Bork.
But, it is unlikely that they can pull that off, and it is unlikely they can stick to message.
They don't play politics well, and they don't NOT play politics well. That is why the ONLY conservative approach is to REDUCE the size and intrusion of politics in all our lives, which is the principle the country was founded on.
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