Diary

The heart of the "Thurmond Rule" controversy

There’s a reason why, historically, governors have been able to campaign for the Presidency more effectively than senators.  The problem with being a senator is that a lot of your job isn’t about principles, it’s about procedure.  And if you stick around long enough, you’re going to be on both sides of most procedural issues.  So it was with filibuster reform, so it is with election-year judicial nominations.  Thus the trend toward senators running for the Presidency before even completing their first term: they just have fewer awkward votes to explain.

I digress.  Back to the present argument over when to fill Scalia’s vacancy, and the validity of the so-called “Thurmond Rule,” calling for no election-year nominations/confirmations.

Both sides are going to try and claim the moral high ground, and portray their adversaries as hypocrites.  And they’ll be right — all of them.  There’s ample evidence that Democrats have opposed nominations when the tables have been turned — and there’s also ample evidence of Republicans tearing Democrats a new one for opposing nominations and delaying confirmations during election years.  Just yesterday, Left-wing hero John Oliver unveiled CSPAN footage of Mitch McConnell publicly scoffing at the notion that the “Thurmond rule” is real.

My suggestion: ignore the deluge of back-and-forth arguments.  It’s just noise . . . all of it.  There’s no need to pay any particular attention to whatever the latest argument is, on either side.  All of it is meaningless.  All of it.

The only thing anyone has to know about this procedural controversy is that it’s absolutely *not* a question of right or wrong.  It’s simply a matter of power, and the *only* thing anyone needs to understand is the Constitution.

Ironically, Hillary Clinton(!) has come close to getting this right.  When Hillary reminded us over the weekend that “elections have consequences,” she hit the nail on the head.  If the rest of her anti-GOP screed went off the rails — and it did — it’s because she doesn’t take her own advice seriously enough.  ALL elections have consequences, not just Presidential elections.  The President has every right to make a nomination.  If he thinks it’s a good idea, either on politics or policy, he should go ahead and make that nomination.

And the *exact* same thing holds true for the senate.  Based on their reading of politics and policy, GOP senators have every right to make their own decision regarding what to do with an Obama nominee.

At least, that’s how I see it.

It’s the job of activists and political junkies (people like us) to make sure their senators understand, in no uncertain terms, where the people they represent stand on those questions.  So if you haven’t done it already . . . go ahead and make your voice heard*!

 

*unless your voice is to let Obama replace Scalia with another Sotomayor.  Please feel free to keep that one to yourself