Chuck Schumer and Jon Tester have recruited some really dreadful hacks to run for the Senate this cycle. In fact, their interference could cost the Democrats dearly. They worked to sabotage solid candidates like Alan Grayson (FL), Joe Sestak and John Fetterman (PA), Rob Hogg (IA) and PG Sittenfeld (OH) so they could please Wall Street with bankster-friendly candidates Patrick Murphy, Katie McGinty, Patty Judge and Ted Strickland. It appears that Murphy, Judge and Strickland are going down to disastrous defeat and that McGinty can only win by dint of strong enough Clinton coattails. Perhaps Schumer's worst recruit though was Ann Kirkpatrick, a worthless Arizona New Dem who is the exact example of the kind of reactionary and cowardly political careerist that Americans just HATE. Despite running against an even worse Republican, John McCain, she has virtually no chance win at all, offering nothing to working families beyond “I'm not quite as odious as McCain.”
A new poll of Arizona likely voters, released yesterday, shows Hillary beating Trump 38.5% to 36.5% in this solidly red state. But Hillary's coattails are doing nothing for the fatally-flawed Ann Kirkpatrick from the Republican wing of the Democratic Party. I mean if you want a Republican, why not vote for a real one, instead of a confused one who doesn't know what the hell she is. Her putrid voting record– which cost her her House seat in 2010, when Democratic voters just refused to show up at the polls for her– is why McCain is beating her 45.3% to 35.3%.
She probably won't even be able to capitalize on the stupidest comment made by a Senate candidate this cycle, McCain's shocking admission that he's part of a Republican Party conspiracy to obstruct the Senate if they keep control of Congress and Hillary wins the presidency. Jonathan Chait explained it succinctly– context and all– for New York Magazine readers:
Senate Republicans have formed a united front around the principle Barack Obama should not be able to appoint a replacement for Antonin Scalia, and that the seat should instead be selected by the winner of the 2016 election. This “principle” rests on a wildly selective reading of senatorial history, according to which it is somehow improper for a president to fill a Supreme Court seat in his final year. In reality, this principle has never existed before and was concocted on the fly in order to justify the simple exertion of power.
The implication of this claim, though, is that if Hillary Clinton wins the election, Republicans will give her latitude to appoint a reasonably well-qualified, non-extreme jurist to the vacant spot. I have long been skeptical that Republicans would actually go along with this if it comes to pass. And now John McCain confirms it. In an interview touting fellow Republican Senator Pat Toomey, McCain pledges that he and his party will continue the Supreme Court blockade throughout Clinton’s term. “I promise you that we will be united against any Supreme Court nominee that Hillary Clinton, if she were president, would put up,” McCain said. “I promise you. This is where we need the majority and Pat Toomey is probably as articulate and effective on the floor of the Senate as anyone I have encountered.”
If Clinton wins and Democrats pull enough Senate seats, Republicans will oppose her nominee, and then, eventually, Democrats will change the rules to abolish filibusters of Supreme Court nominees. (Republicans will decry this foul measure and justify any subsequent actions of their own as justified revenge.) If Clinton wins and Republicans hold on to 51 seats, they will simply refuse to let any nominee through. The fact that it is McCain, a personal friend of Clinton and as strong an institutionalist as can be found in the Senate, who is proposing to extend the blockade indefinitely shows just how deep the commitment runs through the party.
The old norms held that presidents were given some deference in filling Supreme Court vacancies. Senators might object to a particular nominee on the basis of ideological extremism or lack of qualifications, but the president’s general right to appoint a member of his judicial team was considered sacrosanct. Like all the other norms holding back the exercise of power, this one has now collapsed. The new rule is that a president needs 50 senators to fill a Supreme Court vacancy.
After this, McCain's got to go– and Toomey with him. Soon after McCain let the cat out of the bag, I spoke with Mark Pocan, the congressman who represents Madison, Wisconsin. “Apparently, John McCain has learned nothing from the last six years or from the debacle of the presidential candidacy of Donald Trump,” he told me. “Refusing to work in a bipartisan way, as has always been the foundation of our system of government, is the Tea Party way. That thinking is exactly what created Donald Trump. Either the GOP changes its ways or we need to change more of the faces of who goes to Congress. The current obstruction hurts everyone.”
Carol Shea-Porter, who has served in Congress and is likely to win her race again in 3 weeks by defeating obstructionist teabagger Frank Guinta, shook her head sadly when she heard what McCain had said since she has a long history of being one of those congressmembers who always goes the extra mile to work across the aisle for the sake of ordinary families who count on Congress to actually accomplish stuff that makes their lives better. “It's so hard to understand,” said Carol, “why Republican leaders would brag about grinding down this nation's government. Americans are very frustrated and worried about the dysfunction in Congress, but some Republican leaders actually promise more of the same. They need to put country before party. Trying to keep the government from fully functioning is an extremely shameful and destructive tactic that tears at the American fabric.” Alan Grayson couldn't agree more. Busy raising campaign funds for Shea-Porter, he told us today that “Senator McCain seems to think that the whole country is suffering from Stockholm Syndrome. Or at least that he can try to make it that way.”
After the news firestorm last night, McCain tried to wriggle out of what he had accidentally admitted. Congressman Ted Lieu (D-CA) pointed to an underlying problem with the tactics and strategy of hyper-partisan Republicans like McCain: “In fairness, Senator McCain walked back his disappointing comments regarding obstructing President Hillary Clinton's nominees to the Supreme Court shortly after making them. However, the Senator's verbal mulligan only underscores a deep, disturbing truth about the Grand Old Party's Majority in both the Senate and the House. The truth has been that Republican leaders aren't so concerned with their obligation to serve on behalf of the American people, to work hard to move our great nation forward and to ensure a fully staffed and functional Supreme Court. Instead, Republican Congressional leaders are consumed by serving the most cynical and radical voices in their party who would rather derail the key components of our nation's government, rather than allow a legally and rightfully elected President– who just happens to be a Democrat come January 2017– do her job on behalf of every hardworking American family.”
“When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross.” — Sinclair Lewis