Okay, calm down everyone. Yes, the title of this one is totally a straw man argument, and I fully acknowledge it. I am quite sure that many, many Republicans — both politicians and voters alike — would tell you they love the Constitution if you asked them. I’m just saying that they might not realize they actually hate it.
At the very least they despise the fact that it can change in ways they don’t agree with. Conservatism at its core is about preserving the status quo, because if you change too fast, all hell will break loose and your society will fall apart. That’s the general gist of conservatism, which I can assure you is pretty accurate having been born and raised into it. This is why so many of them are “strict originalists” like the late, not great, Justice Antonin Scalia.
What’s a constitutional originalist you ask? Someone who literally does not want any government function or agency to exist unless it was in the original Constitution as it was first ratified.
Right off the bat we have to wonder if originalists understand this implies they’d throw out the 13th Amendment and the two subsequent Reconstruction Acts, numbers Fourteen and Fifteen respectively. That would mean no abolished slavery, and Jim Crow is totes cool with them. Ditto the 19th Amendment that gave women the right to vote. They’re gone in an originalist’s point of view. Now, some originalists will backpedal from their bullshit by saying those amendments were passed through regular constitutional process so they’re fine with them, it’s just when evil Democratic presidents use executive orders that they bristle, which is utter bullshit too.
Just look at how they’re behaving about replacing Justice Scalia.
There is a very clear and precise, Constitutionally-prescribed process for replacing a vacancy on the high court. You would think that the people who revere Scalia for his alleged love of the Constitution and his devotion to its machinations verbatim would get that. And can you imagine the mouth-foamy tantrums Mitch McConnell would be throwing if the roles were reversed and Harry Reid was vowing to block a Republican president’s nomination in the last year of his residency in the White House?
It’s nakedly political what Republicans are proposing, and the best hope we have as a country is that this is the one, last, final straw that convinces smart Americans to come out and vote them out in droves.
Maybe if Republicans didn’t want to be in the position to watch their Supreme Court advantage slip away they shouldn’t have put the Queen of Alaskan Derp on their ticket in 2008 and they shouldn’t have run two smarmy, rich, elitist misanthropes up against Obama the last time. Hell, maybe if they wanted to win a presidential election they’d stop calling all Muslims terrorists, they’d stop pretending as if gay people are spawns of Satan himself, and they’d actually try to convince us they have ideas that come from a century a little closer to our own. But they didn’t do all that, so they are reaping what thew sewed, and just aren’t happy about it.
Republicans are throwing a constitutional tantrum, and there’s no other way to describe it. They are, basically, screaming from the rafters, “But I don’t like how the Constitution works, Daddy,” and the sad part is their base is fine with it. Again, imagine if St. Ronnie Reagan hadn’t been able to get his final year Supreme Court nomination confirmed. Oh what, you didn’t know that Mitch McConnell himself voted to confirm a justice in Reagan’s final year of his presidency? Because he did. His name was Anthony Kennedy, and he’s still on the bench. Either Mitch doesn’t remember that, or to no one shock or surprise, he’s willfully ignoring that.
The bottom line, really, is that as has been pointed out by everyone from Sen. Liz Warren to yours truly has already pointed out is that McConnell already got what he wants. The American people have had a voice in who they want to pick Scalia’s replacement, and it’s Barack Obama. They made this choice twice, in 2008 and 2012, and try as he might, Mitch can’t wipe that fact from history, nor can he change the Constitution all on his own, which is especially delicious in its irony considering how much Republicans accuse Obama of ignoring the Constitution all the time.
So which is it, Republicans? Do you respect the Constitution or not? If you do, then it’s time to shut the hell up, let Obama nominate someone, and if you decide to block his nomination, then the voters of this country will have a choice to make whether they think petty, adolescent assholes are worth keeping in office anymore. This being America, I hold no hope for the right outcome, but at least they won’t have any excuse for not knowing about the bald-faced Republican hypocrisy that permeates everything they touch.
Follow James on Twitter @JamboSchlarmbo.