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Late Night: Fission for Compliments


Harry Reid’s belated decision to eliminate (sorta) the filibuster today has rendered the lefty blogosphere and progressive talk radio all aflutter about how his move was so brave and wonderful, which is undoubtedly true as far as it goes.  But as Jon Walker aptly pointed out here earlier today, the swiftness and ease with which this supposedly “historic” move was made can only remind us that it was four years too late.

Of course, I’ll be the first to admit that the resulting Republican temper tantrum was an unmitigated delight to behold.  So bereft of any persuasive arguments for his petulant obstructionism, Mitch McConnell was left sputtering delusional and empty threats about (set down your drink) that when Republicans reclaimed the Senate and White House, they’d appoint some real right wingers, and Democrats would be sorry.  Ooh, aren’t you scared?

Having lost the popular vote in five of the last six presidential elections, the likelihood of  a Republican darkening the doorway of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. any time soon is, well, vanishingly slight.  And no matter how many votes they’re able to suppress even statewide elections are increasingly impossible for them to win, given their predilection to nominate the cuckoo.  Ironically, their “success” in 2010 at grabbing so many statehouses has given even conservative-leaning states a look at their almost comical approach to misgoverning; their coattails are now banana peels.

But most importantly, when have Republicans ever not appointed wingnuts to the courts?   Since Nixon, Republicans have used judicial appointments not simply to advance their ideology, but to punish their enemies and basically dare Democrats to attack them, so they can whine about it for political gain. Really, Mitch, where are you even going to find judges to the right of those before?  At a Prepper compound in Montana?  The risible emptiness of that threat ought to have made Reid kick himself; it made me want to kick him, anyway.

So, despite my relief that Republicans got a richly deserved slap in the face, color me unimpressed, because any victory will quickly prove to be illusory, mainly because Obama is Obama and Senate Democrats are Senate Democrats.   To balance a federal judiciary stacked with cryptofascist wingnuts for decades, Obama would have to appoint, and the Senate would have to confirm, judges far to the left of anyone put forward so far, and there’s nothing to indicate such a thing will happen.

Worse, there are plenty of reasons to believe the opposite.  On the issues that really matter, economics and what’s laughably called “national security,” Obama is indistinguishable from Republicans, if not worse on the latter.  And that goes double for Senate Democrats.  Yes, LGBT Americans, women, immigrants, and the nonreligious are likely to fare better, as long as they aren’t poor, elderly, or skeptical of government, but that’s pretty thin gruel.

So yes, Reid’s “nuclear option” is better than nothing, and if not a cause for celebration, at least an excuse to drink earlier than usual, which can never be bad.  But calling it that, given its likely result, seems just a tad hyperbolic.

Photo by Talk Radio News Service, under Creative Commons license

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