Audio: Chuck Schumer has no idea how to spin what Biden said about blocking election-year SCOTUS nominees

I’ll give you the quote but you should really listen to the clip, as it’s short and oh so sweet. How often does this guy get caught by reporters with nothing coherent to say in his or his party’s defense? I thought he’d at least try arguing that Biden said what he said in June 1992 whereas Scalia’s vacancy opened up in February of this year and that makes all the difference somehow even though it actually makes no difference at all, but he doesn’t even fart out that excuse. All he can say to the fact that Obama, Biden, Harry Reid, and he himself have supported blocking SCOTUS nominees in the past is, essentially, that the Senate should do what Democrats want now whether or not it grossly contradicts what the entire Democratic leadership wanted in the past.

“Look, the simple answer to this, which everyone is saying everywhere is, ‘Do your job.’ It doesn’t matter what anybody said in the past. Do your job. It’s working,” Schumer said. He claims he had not seen Biden’s exact statement but when pressed about it, he repeated, “We should do our job.”

The Daily Caller asked Schumer about his past statement in regards to blocking George W. Bush nominees in Bush’s final year and Schumer only repeated, “We should do our job.” TheDC asked Schumer if his stance was hypocritical, and he fell silent and left on a Senate train.

Translation: “F*** you, that’s why.” The question is, is the Biden clip enough to placate voters who prefer to have Scalia’s replacement appointed this year rather than next? The GOP’s running a smart messaging strategy right now (for once) by trying to frame this argument as a battle over whether the people should decide who fills the vacancy with their votes this fall or a lame-duck president should. But that’s not an altogether easy sell. If you believe PPP, 58 percent in Ohio and 57 percent in Pennsylvania think Scalia’s seat should be filled this year. The numbers among independents are much higher, and 52 percent in both states say they’re less likely to vote for a senator this year — namely, Rob Portman and Pat Toomey — who refuses to confirm a new nominee sight unseen. If, on the other hand, you don’t believe PPP because they’re a left-leaning poll firm whose methodology has been challenged in the past, would you believe Pew?


Interesting, but how many voters who’d otherwise be inclined to vote Republican will vote Democratic this year to punish the GOP for obstructing the nominee knowing that that makes it more likely that their less favored party will get to appoint Scalia’s replacement? If you prefer a more conservative Supreme Court, it’d be the height of stupidity to vote for Hillary Clinton or a Democratic Senate in order to punish Pat Toomey or Rob Portman for refusing to let Obama make the appointment. The only risk is alienating truly centrist independents, and it’s hard for me to imagine Republican obstruction being a decisive factor for them in an election between two personalities as big as Hillary and Trump. You like Trump but Toomey pissed you off so you’re going to send the Clintons back to the White House instead? C’mon. Unless there’s an epidemic of ballot-splitting, blocking the nominee isn’t going to turn any states one color or the other.

Besides, Roll Call makes a good point. Obama’s certainly going to nominate someone for the seat and it’ll probably be someone who’s a bit more centrist, like Sri Srinivasan, in order to make the politics of this tougher for Republicans. If the GOP suffers a bloodbath in November, there’s an obvious move for them to make:

If it gets to be Nov. 9, and the White House or the Senate have been won by the Democrats, the Republicans could decide to confirm any reasonably mainstream center-left Obama pick as the bird-in-the-hand alternative to whomever the new president might choose or the next senatorial majority might accept.

They could confirm Srinivasan in the lame-duck session on the theory that whoever Hillary nominates, fresh off a Democratic victory and with more Democrats in the Senate next year, can only be worse. Obama could withdraw the nomination and deny them that opportunity, of course, but who knows if he would. I’m sure he’d like to make a third SCOTUS appointment rather than leave it to Hillary, and it’d feel like a betrayal of Srinivasan to yank him out of contention just as there’s a real possibility that he might be confirmed. Maybe Democrats would insist, claiming that the people had spoken and that it was now Hillary’s appointment to make (and, after all, she could always re-nominate Srinivasan herself). The prospect of a much more liberal Court would be enticing to them. But Obama wouldn’t need to play ball. In the end, if he stands by his man, the GOP Senate could confirm him at the end of the year. I’d say there’s a healthy chance that Obama lets them.

Mitch McConnell is still talking tough about rejecting Obama’s nominee without consideration. Will that last?

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David Strom 6:01 PM on February 01, 2023