There have been a ton of reasons to beat up on the House Democrats of late. But for whatever it’s worth, at least there’s a strong contingent in the House that isn’t suffering from a broken brain, which is more than you can say for most of the Senate Democrats.
Politico reports on the internal debate going on in the Senate Democratic caucus right now over Mitch McConnell turning the chamber into a judicial confirmation factory and how to respond to it. Predictably, there’s a bloc of Democrats who think that the Democrats should respond to McConnell ensuring that the right runs the federal courts for the next four decades by...hamstringing themselves, should they ever fall ass-backwards into regaining power. From Politico, emphasis mine:
“When you think about Merrick Garland and what McConnell has done to the Senate, there’s a lot of feelings of vengeance and revenge,” said Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), the No. 2 Senate Democrat. “We just hope the better angels of our nature will prevail.”
And if Democrats do decide to embrace the playbook deployed by their Republican counterparts, it will ensure the Senate’s unique traditions continue their long erosion.
“I wish we could also get back to 60 votes,” said Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.), who needs to appeal to Republicans to win reelection next year. “We need to aim higher. We need to get back to that.” Restoring the 60-vote threshold to confirm nominees would make it even harder to bend the judiciary leftward.
Dick Durbin appears to think that the point of the Senate is to have a good working relationship with all of your colleagues. That isn’t the point. The point is to advance a political agenda, something that Durbin doesn’t understand because his only ideological concern is civility.
As bewildering as that is, though, Doug Jones’ suggestion that the Senate bring back the judicial filibuster might take the cake. What, exactly, has the GOP done over the past 10 years to suggest that it’s prepared to do anything except uniformly obstruct any nomination or bit of legislation coming from a Democratic president or Congress? Was it the full year the McConnell-led Senate held a Supreme Court seat open in the hopes they’d win the presidential election? The two Supreme Court nominees they rammed through, including the one who was credibly accused of sexual assault? How about now-Senate Judiciary chairman Lindsey Graham warning, “You better watch out for your nominees?”
This is a level of naïveté that you usually only see in very, very small children. I’m talking, like, babies. Thankfully, there are a few Senate Democrats, including presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren, who understand all of this to be dumb bullshit.
“Democrats should not play by a different set of rules from Republicans,” Warren told Politico. “We can’t live in a world where the Republicans twist everything their way whether they’re in the majority or the minority and the Democrats just keep trotting along. That’s not working.” Added Senate Judiciary Committee member Sen. Mazie Hirono: “I don’t consider it vengeance. I consider it doing something about the reality of what’s happening to our courts.”
One of these days, Warren and Hirono’s colleagues in the Democratic caucus might understand that they were elected to the Senate to do something other than twiddle their thumbs and eat candy for 30 years. Unfortunately, it looks like we’ll be waiting for that day for a long time.