Poor Democrats. Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement announcement last week threw them into a tizzy, kind of like someone who’s hypersensitive to caffeine accidentally being slipped several doses of Adderall.
And just think, this was after Maxine Waters got herself so worked up that she threatened members of the Trump administration with physical confrontation.
The thing is, there’s no Democrat who has anyone to blame but themselves. There are roughly a million reasons you can pin this on them, from the fact that their party has lurched so far to the left they’re now celebrating an avowed socialist winning in a House primary to the fact they thought, as a group, that Hillary Clinton was a fine idea as a presidential candidate.
But mostly, they can do a blame collection and drop all of it off at the retirement home of former Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid.
Reid, astute readers will remember, was once Senate majority leader. In fact, he led a supermajority, until Obamacare wiped out a good number of the 60 votes he had to kill filibusters.
This meant, inter alia, that the Obama administration couldn’t submit judicial candidates that didn’t so much lean to the left as lay supine there, almost as if they were doing yoga.
Except the Obama administration still wanted judicial candidates for their lifetime appointments that were doing the left-side-lying Savasana. So Reid decided decided to force a vote to change the Senate rules to invoke the “nuclear option,” eliminating the filibuster on judicial appointments because any qualms the GOP might have had were petty obstructionism (as is any move that doesn’t conspicuously confirm that what the Democrats want for America is good for all of us, more or less).
“This isn’t obstruction on substance, on qualifications. It’s just to gum up the works,” Reid said when he invoked the nuclear option back in 2013, according a Politico report from the time.
“It’s time to change the Senate before this institution becomes obsolete.”
For temporary gain, Reid was forgetting the golden rule of politics: Do unto others as they do unto you. At the time, a certain billionaire with a thing for politics felt the need to remind him of just that:
Since the Democrats decided to kill the filibuster, they now own it.Republicans should keep the new rule when they're in the majority.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 22, 2013
You have seen the rest of this movie. Reid and the Democrats became unpopular enough that he became Senate minority leader, and the Democrats couldn’t get any judicial nominees past the Senate. The Obama administration still refused to work with the GOP, so the “pen and phone” president ruled mostly by presidential fiat.
Then Justice Antonin Scalia died back in 2016 and the Obama administration expected the Senate to work with the president to confirm Merrick Garland — and Democrats were shocked and appalled when the Republican caucus decided to take a pass on the nomination, arguing that in a presidential election year, the next president ought to have the choice of justice, as Joe Biden had argued from the floor of the Senate back in 1992.
Well, whatever, Obamaites said. They may have grumbled, but Hillary Clinton would surely win in the fall and the Democrats would retake the Senate. Then it will be time to really stick it to the GOP. Except she didn’t, and they didn’t. Whoops.
Now, a party that argued that it was “time to change the Senate before this institution becomes obsolete” is arguing that Trump ought to follow the “Biden rule,” the same rule they decried when Mitch McConnell used it to avoid a vote on Garland. Except it’s not a presidential election year, something Chuck Schumer hasn’t been apprised of because he apparently can’t count to four.
Sorry, Chuck. You broke it, you bought it. And, as the man who is now president predicted almost five years ago, you weren’t going to like it.