David Frum: Don’t assume McConnell has the votes to confirm

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Last night and this morning, I felt like crawling into a hole for the next 40 days or so. And not a deep hole. I didn’t have the energy or joie de vivre for a deep hole. It would have been a shallow hole. Barely a hole at all. Really, I would have just lay down in the dirt until my DNA fused to the worms’ and slugs’ and grasses’ much more upbeat genetic material.

But I’m a more resilient guy ever since I got into therapy and on antidepressants (I recommend both if you’re struggling). And this morning a friend sent me this Atlantic story from former George W. Bush speechwriter and confirmed NeverTrumper David Frum.

He makes some excellent points (one of them being, don’t swallow your tongue in abject, pants-shitting fear just yet):

What McConnell did in 2016 was an assertion of brute power, and what he proposes in 2020 is another assertion of brute power. And so the question arises: Does McConnell in fact have the power he asserts?

The answer may be no, for four reasons.

Do tell, David Frum:

The polls do not favor Susan Collins, Cory Gardner, or Thom Tillis—senators from Maine, Colorado, and North Carolina up for reelection this cycle. Yet these competitors may not be ready to attend their own funerals. They may regard voting against McConnell’s Court grab as a heaven-sent chance to prove their independence from an unpopular president—and to thereby save their own seats.

Lisa Murkowski of Alaska has also made skeptical noises, and even Lindsey Graham of South Carolina may flinch. He faces an unexpectedly tough race this year, and he is extra-emphatically on the record vowing not to support a Supreme Court confirmation vote in the later part of a presidential year.

Frum also asks if Trump can find a woman nominee (Trump almost needs to nominate a woman to replace the legendary RBG, lest his female support erode even further) at the 11th hour who will be viewed as moderate enough by the senators who could be thinking of defecting.

Any last-minute Trump nominee will face a gantlet of opposition in the Senate, a firestorm of opposition in the country, and probably a lifetime of suspicion from the majority of the country.

Can McConnell and Trump find an appointee willing to risk all that for the chance—but not the guarantee—of a Supreme Court seat? Specifically, can they find a woman willing to do it? The optics of replacing Ginsburg with a man may be too ugly even for the Trump administration. And if they can find a woman, can they find a woman sufficiently moderate-seeming to provide cover to anxious senators? The task may prove harder than immediately assumed.

In addition, Yertle the Asshole’s hypocrisy on this issue is so egregiously off the charts it might create a mutually assured destruction scenario in which Democrats (assuming Biden wins and Dems retake the Senate) feel justified in packing the court by, say, adding two more justices.

But a last-minute overreach by McConnell could seem so illegitimate to Democrats as to justify radical countermoves should they win in November: increasing the number of appellate judges and Supreme Court justices; conceivably even opening impeachment hearings against Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

McConnell may want the win badly enough to dismiss those risks. But many conservative-leaning lawyers in the country may be more cautious. And their voices will get a hearing in a contentious nomination fight—not only by the national media, but by some of the less Trump-y Republican senators. This could be enough to slow down a process that has no time to spare.

I think Frum makes some great points, and anything that will keep me from reaching for the shovel is welcome news right now.

So let’s breathe, and keep fighting on.

A Democratic Senate has never been more important. Make it so.

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7 Comments on "David Frum: Don’t assume McConnell has the votes to confirm"

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Peter Linsky
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Peter Linsky

Michelle needs to say “I was wrong. We tied to go ‘high’ and it didn’t work. Time to take the gloves off and fight for what we believe in.”

Peter Linsky
Guest
Peter Linsky

Oops – Should be “tried”…

Nicole
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Nicole

Needed to read this even if he isn’t right. I need a ray of hope.

Surya-Patricia Lane Hood
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Surya-Patricia Lane Hood

McConnell seems to forget that many of the votes he is counting on for RBG’s replacement are facing tough re-election bids, including himself. Ruth Bader Ginsburg was held in the highest esteem by people of all Partys and replacing her immediately after her passing and in opposition to most American’s present distaste of the Republican Party makes it a tough decision for those Senators.

Facts hurt
Guest
Facts hurt

I need anti-depressants

carol levy
Guest
carol levy

Trump said thinking of appointing a woman and forget ladys name (not that i want to recall it) who is in the running but she self ids as “Catholic” and believes” life begins at conception” This will be their their way to eviscerate Roe. If McConnell succeeds with this farce dems have to win and have to enlarge the ocurt. #nojusticenopeace

Chris Whitley
Member

I think that the vulnerable senators are going to tell Mcturtle to piss off. Just the opinion of another asshole.