I’m old enough to remember when the Republicans were in the minority in Congress and the Democrats held the White House as well. At that time, the GOP was popularly referred to as the Party of No, and some outlets like the Huffington Post were not only applying that tag to them, but calling for the party to be abolished as a result of it. My, what a difference eight years can make, eh? The worm has turned and now the Democrats are on the less enviable side of the equation. But the key difference now is that being the Party of No is suddenly cool. And the leader of that movement is none other than Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.
The latest and best (or “worst” if you prefer) example of this comes in the debate over when to replace former FBI Director James Comey and who should fill that role. The “who” portion of the question is up to the President for now, but Schumer sounds like he’s made up his mind about when. During an interview with Jake Tapper yesterday, Senator Schumer sounded for all the world as if he’s ready to stonewall any nomination unless there is first a special prosecutor appointed in the Russia investigation. (CNN)
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Sunday that the Senate should refuse to confirm a new FBI director until the Department of Justice appoints a special counsel to lead a probe into allegations of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
“I think there are a lot of Democrats who feel that way,” Schumer said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “We’ll have to discuss it as a caucus, but I would support that move.”
Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate intelligence committee, proposed the idea after President Donald Trump fired FBI Director James Comey last week.
Here’s the video of the interview. If you want to skip ahead to the applicable question and answer it’s around the 6:15 mark.
In terms of whether or not there should be a special counsel to head up an investigation, an inquiry by the Judiciary Committee or if we should simply leave it in the hands of the FBI, that’s a valid question for debate. If we take off our partisan hats for a bit we can probably find at least some merit in all of those ideas. But there’s one point where I would hope no rational person could disagree: the FBI needs to have a Director in place. You may not be wild about the choice and some Senators may even want to shoot down the first nominee and ask for another selection. But the process needs to move forward under the regular rules of order.
If the Senate Minority Leader wants to take a stand and hold that position vacant unless he gets something else which is only tangentially related first, he’s going beyond simple obstruction. He’s holding the system hostage and it’s being done for partisan political purposes. But should we really be surprised? Schumer staked out this territory early on. He’s been attacking nearly all of President Trump’s agenda since the inauguration, with the only exceptions being when he thought he could get Trump to sign on to something the rest of the Republicans would hate. (Such as health care.) When Trump gave a widely applauded speech at the end of February laying out a dizzying array of proposals which crossed party lines, Schumer couldn’t think of a single thing he would agree with.
The Democrats are now 100% the Party of No. This would almost be amusing if it weren’t for the “about face” the media has done in suddenly determining that obstructionism is patriotic and in the nation’s best interest.