Editor’s Note: Say What? is the segment of Liberty Nation Radio where we unveil some of the most wacky, astonishing, and damnable things uttered by politicians and the chattering class.
Tim Donner: The real drama surrounding the sudden vacancy on the Supreme Court was not so much about who President Trump would nominate to replace the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg, because Amy Coney Barrett or any of the other women who made the shortlist would satisfy the Republican majority and would almost certainly be confirmed if Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) could hold 94% of his GOP colleagues, 50 out of 53.
No, the true drama was about no less than a seismic shift in the high court that is now on the near horizon — the simultaneous replacement of the most progressive member of a closely divided Court with a constitutional conservative who will assure a constitutionalist majority for as far as the eye can see. This is huge — much bigger than getting Neil Gorsuch or Brett Kavanaugh on the Court — because those appointments simply tipped an already center-right Court somewhat further to the right. This is a game-changer.
For those on the left, it’s apocalypse now. As they see it, their most precious issues, primarily abortion, will now be endangered to a degree that they haven’t been in decades, probably since Earl Warren headed the Court as Chief Justice in the 1950s and ’60s and led the Court heavily to the left. And, worse than that, the left has no power to stop it. They tried to beg the few vulnerable or moderate or Trump-hating senators in the GOP but failed to land enough of them.
And then they were reduced to doing what they’ve done from beginning to end in the Trump era. They threatened, said they’ll exact revenge when they regained sufficient power one of these days by packing the Court with additional justices sympathetic to the progressive cause, turning territories like Puerto Rico and D.C. into states so they can add more leftist senators, and eliminating the Senate filibuster entirely. And through it all implying that they can just snap their fingers when they regain power in the White House and Senate and make the long-term consequences of their own political misfortunes disappear.
In short, because they lost, they will change the rules this country has followed for almost 240 years, so it doesn’t happen again.
But while there was certainly worldwide attention focused on the Supreme Court, the height of drama was on Capitol Hill, where a headcount of senators on when to bring forward a new justice commenced while Ginsburg’s body was still warm. After two of the four senators needed to stop a nomination, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, publicly opposed going forward before the election, arguably the most significant moment of the week came from a third Republican senator who’s feuded with Trump for years, Mitt Romney of Utah, who put Republicans over the top and carefully explained his reasoning.
Mitt Romney: I’ve indicated that what I intend to do is to proceed with the consideration process, and if a nominee actually reaches the floor, then I will vote based upon the qualifications of that nominee … You know, I think at this stage, it’s appropriate to look at the Constitution and to look at the precedent which has existed over, well, since the beginning of our country’s history. And in a circumstance where a nominee of a president is from a different party than the Senate, then, more often than not, the Senate does not confirm. So the Garland decision was consistent with that.
On the other hand, when there’s a nominee of a party that is in the same party as the Senate, then typically they do confirm. So the Garland decision was consistent with that, and the decision to proceed now with President Trump’s nominee is also consistent with history.
Tim: Think of the irony of Mitt Romney, the most outspoken anti-Trump Republican in the Senate, actually clinching Trump the votes he needs to move this game-changing process forward. This twilight struggle over the Supreme Court has caused a tectonic shift, like an earthquake, in the presidential race where Joe Biden clings to a lead in the polls but has now seen the biggest issue he’s been pressing, the Coronavirus, replaced in the headlines by the battle over the Court. He came under immediate questioning about whether he would release his own list of potential nominees.
Joe Biden: It’s a legitimate question, but let me tell you, I’m not going to answer that question, because it will shift all the focus. That’s what he wants. He never wants to talk about the issue at hand. He always tries to change the subject. But let’s say I answer that question. Then the whole debate is going to be, “Well, Biden said, or didn’t say. Biden said he would or wouldn’t.”
Tim: Let me translate that for you. He won’t release his own list of potential nominees because most of them are liberals or progressives and that can only hurt him politically, as he tries to continue his high-wire balancing act between being the relatively moderate politician he’s been for the better part of 47 years or simply a cipher, a repository, for progressives who are actually calling the shots.
Now, that last comment from Biden came in another one of those hollow, echoey, isolated settings with Biden wearing a mask, so removed from any actual contact with ordinary Americans — I suspect fearful of COVID as well. But that isolation continues to be reflected in head-shaking gaffes that make you wonder about his apparent decline. Like earlier, when he, um, misstated how many have died from COVID, while reading from a teleprompter.
Joe Biden: … most cruelly of all, if Donald Trump has his way, the complications from COVID-19, which are well beyond what they should be. It’s estimated that 200 million people have died, probably by the time I finish this talk.
Tim: Of course, that’s more than 200 thousand who’ve died with COVID, and, by the way, that’s an important distinction — people dying with COVID, as opposed to from COVID — because the great majority of those who’ve died were either aging and/or had underlying conditions.
But with the future of the Court now added to the threat of four more years of Trump, the left is at Defcon One, out on the ledge, threatening to pull out all the stops. On MSNBC, Trump-deranged commentator Donny Deutsch looked over the crowd at a huge Trump rally and even resurrected the most vile progressive theme of all.
Donny Deutsch: This, to me, looked like a rally from the early ’30s, comparing to Hitler. And you know, that’s something you cautiously do because we can use the word fascist, but then when you go Hitler, you can’t, oh, everybody’s supposed to … Basically you had a destruction of the belief in the free press. You have created an other, whether it’s Muslims, whether it’s Mexicans. And then you have the destruction of free elections. What is the difference between Adolf Hitler and Donald Trump? I’m not saying there’s a Holocaust, but.
Tim: No Holocaust, but Trump would probably like one. Right. And over on CNN, listen to what Don Lemon called for in his conversation with colleague Chris Cuomo.
Don Lemon: We’re going to have to blow up the entire system. You’re going to have to get rid of the Electoral College, because the people …
Chris Cuomo: I don’t see it.
Don Lemon: Because the minority in this country decides who the judges are and they decide who the president is. Is that fair?
Chris Cuomo: Well, you need a constitutional amendment to do that.
Don Lemon: And if Democrats, if Joe Biden wins, Democrats can stack the courts.
Tim: We didn’t get our way. Ruth Bader Ginsburg died at the wrong time. The country voted the wrong way in 2016. So let’s just blow up the system.
Read more from Tim Donner.