With Mitch McConnell, You Can Never Be Cynical Enough

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We haven’t had much to say about the grinding inevitability of Neil Gorsuch, other than to argue that the doomed filibuster was the right thing to do. We should never forget that Mitch&co (especially the sanctimonious Orrin Hatch), nullified the 2012 election while speaking self-righteously about preserving voter rights to determine a Supreme Court justice. It was nauseating, and could be seen as a death-blow to democracy.

The Gorsuch hearings have been an exercise in craven cynicism, with Republicans outraged that Dems even dare question Neil Gorsuch, as if he floated down from Judicial Heaven, untouched be petty partisan politics, and not been someone involved in the far-right since he was born. And they were even more cynically outraged that the Democrats might dare try to question Presidential prerogative. It was as if they all knew that they had no case, but if they shouted loudly enough with enough constitutional offense warbling their vocal cords we would forget how laughable it was.

This wasn’t hard to predict. In fact, right after the election, the Times ran a ludicrous story titled “Hard Choice For Mitch McConnell: End the Filibuster or Preserve Tradition”.

We said then:

Let me answer that for you: he’s going to end the filibuster.

The Times describes him as someone who believes strongly in traditions, somehow managing to reconcile that with his immediately blocking the President’s right to choose a Supreme Court justice, and also the completely unprecedented obstruction of Barack Obama’s entire Presidency. It also talks about how he was dismayed at Reid dismantling the judicial filibuster after their (again) unprecedented obstructions, as if it was a matter of principle, and not, say, petulance at not being able to continue their (again) unprecedented obstruction of the President’s rights.

So yeah, I think there is going to be one filibuster of bill or maybe when Trump nominates Michele Bachmann for the Supreme Court, and Mitch will appear on TV, and say that it with sadness that he has to do this, but the Democrats have no respect for Presidential prerogative, and are ignoring “President Trump’s overwhelming victory, and the will of the American people” (never mind that Trump lost that metric). And then the filibuster will be gone, and the media will say “well, the Democrats should have reached across the aisle!”

And again: all this was easy to predict, which is what makes it even more depressing. Still, I was wrong about one thing. I thought Mitch would do fake sadness, and not fake anger. I wasn’t cynical enough. Here’s what he actually said.

“This is the latest escalation in the left’s never-ending judicial war, the most audacious yet,” Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, said after describing Democratic opposition in the past to Judge Robert H. Bork and Justice Clarence Thomas. “And it cannot and it will not stand. There cannot be two sets of standards: one for the nominees of the Democratic president and another for the nominee of a Republican president.”

What are you supposed to do? How do you respond to that? It’s impossible. You’re left sputtering, and somehow you look like you’re on an equal level of childishness. It’s insane, and it is what is running the country.

Although I admit I may have misspoke when I said that he was faking anger. I think their cognitive dissonance is so fine-tuned that they actually believe that a foredoomed filibuster is somehow an escalation over not even meeting with the nominee, much less giving him a hearing. Like the kid on The Simpson’s who doesn’t know if he is being sarcastic anymore, they don’t know if they are legitmately angry or just a mobious strip o cynicism.

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