On Tuesday, Senate Republicans did what everybody knew they were going to do, and announced that there would be no hearings on an Obama nominee to the Supreme Court. That refusal to perform the body’s constitutional duties of “advise and consent” is so outrageous that even some of the crew at the propaganda arm of the GOP, aka Fox News, are calling it “unprecedented.”
On February 24, Fox legal analyst Peter J. Johnson, Jr. joined Fox & Friends host Steve Doocy to talk about the Republican move. Johnson ignores most of the talking points from the last week and cuts right to the chase. He tells Doocy,
This is unprecedented in American history. The Senate of the United States saying we’re not going to say hello, we’re not going to shake hands. Don’t invite him or her over here to the Senate chamber. We’re not going to have a hearing. We’re not going to vote on it, up or down. We’re doing nothing with the nominee that you send over, Mr. President. This has never been done before in American history…
But before you get too excited over that remark, you need to hear the rest of the conversation. Apparently not wanting to look like he has strayed too far off the funny farm, Johnson ends that accurate comment with this totally inaccurate phrase: “and they are taking the advice given by Joe Biden in 1992, hypothetically, that you shouldn’t take up someone in an election year.”
As Think Progress points out, Republicans who are making that claim are taking Biden’s speech on the Senate floor during the presidency of George H.W. Bush out of context.
To be fair, Johnson criticized Senate Republicans on February 16 after they first suggested that they wouldn’t consider an Obama nominee. But the admission by Johnson that this has “never been done before in American history” is the beginning and the end of the sane part of this conversation, which Doocy turns to the “why” behind McConnell’s action. Doocy and Johnson agree that announcing there would be no hearings on an Obama nominee is all about “the survival of the Republican party.”
In a nutshell, the way Doocy and Johnson see things is that Republican voters are angry at the GOP establishment for not being tough enough on Obama. (How you could possibly get any tougher than blocking almost every single piece of legislation the president supports is beyond me.) The idea they put forth is that all these angry people will refuse to support Republican candidates this November, especially the Senate candidates, unless they make this “last stand” against the president.
Republicans are playing a dangerous game. Polls are already showing that the Supreme Court battle could have an effect on which party gets to control the Senate. They could probably mollify GOP voters by grandstanding during hearings, making a big show out of the terrible, no good, very bad, “extreme” positions of an Obama nominee, then voting against him or her. But hey, this is the GOP. Who are we to tell them how to avoid self-destruction, when that appears to be exactly what they are intent on doing?
Here is the conversation between Johnson and Doocy:
Featured image via Media Matters/Fox News screen capture