FILE – In this Dec. 11, 2018, file photo, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)
I watched with mild fascination yesterday as the whole “Chuck Schumer threatens SCOTUS Justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh” story played out, and how the video went viral. Along with that was how Schumer’s office issued a statement in which they chastised Chief Justice Roberts’ response to the threats and laughably claimed all the backlash was over a “misinterpretation” of Schumer’s remarks before launching into whatboutism.
I’m not ashamed to admit that wave of schadenfreude washed over me.
The chickens were coming home to roost for the Senate Minority Leader and his fellow Democrats, who have long warned of consequences for Gorsuch and Kavanaugh should they rule “the wrong way” on abortion cases that appeared before the court. All this as they pretended to be staunch defenders of an “independent judiciary.”
Let’s hop in the wayback machine for a minute just to see how phony their arguments have been. Failed Democratic presidential candidate and Schumer’s Senate colleague Kirsten Gillibrand said last year that “action” should be taken against the two SCOTUS Justices if they “go back on” their pledge to “uphold precedent” on Roe v. Wade. Gillibrand did not specify the type of “action” she believed should be taken, but presumably she was talking about impeachment.
Other failed Demcoratic presidential candidates including Sen. Kamala Harris, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Beto O’Rourke and Julian Castro directly called for Kavanuagh’s impeachment last September under the guise that he was a sexual predator. But we all know that was just a flimsy pretext to try and get him off the bench ahead of upcoming abortion cases.
What is perhaps most satisfying of all in the aftermath of Schumer’s despicable tirade and his pathetic attempts to walk it back is that he was hoisted by the Democratic party’s own petard.
In the immediate aftermath of the attempted assassination of Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-AZ) in January 2011, Republican rhetoric was blamed. Sarah Palin, specifically. Media outlets and Democrats alike (but I repeat myself) called for a “new tone” in politics, for so-called “violent rhetoric” and words like “crosshairs” to be condemned whenever used. As it turns out, Giffords’ shooter was not motivated by right-wing rhetoric of any kind, but the narrative held.
Ever since then, even benign words Republicans have used were turned around against them so as to sound like threats that should be condemned. Republicans are always told they shouldn’t say the things they do because it will incite violence. In reality this is a way for Democrats to try and shut Republicans up. In fact, anytime a Democrat calls for “civility” in Washington, DC, what they’re really asking is for Republicans to stay quiet while Democrats make all the decisions and pass all the laws.
But here we have Schumer issuing an actual threat, and all of a sudden we’re not supposed to take what he said literally because he’s a Democrat?
Nope, not happening. Whether he meant the threat literally or as a warning that he would take up impeachment efforts against the Justices, it deserved condemnation from all sides. Also, consider that just a few weeks ago Schumer took to the Senate floor to “specifically defend the independence of the federal judiciary” and demand Roberts scold Trump for his criticisms about the judge in the Roger Stone case.
Thanks to their media allies, Democrats have long been in the driver’s seat when it comes to setting the ground rules for how political rhetoric should be judged. One set of rules for Republicans and no set of rules for their own side.
Not anymore, buddy. Not anymore.