Rube Goldberg was an inventor and cartoonist who satirically depicted complicated machines to perform simple tasks used to show the absurdity of over-thinking. In March of 2016, with eight months to go in former President Obama’s first term, the then-Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell refused to consider the current Attorney General, Merrick Garland’s nomination to the Supreme Court. His excuse was the citation of a speech made by then-Senator, Joe Biden, in 1992 calling it the “Biden Rule.” I find it hard to believe that an institutionalist, such as Mr. Biden, would have subverted the Constitution using his own opinion or imposing it on the opposition party’s President, had he been the Senate Majority leader. The job of the Senate is to advise and consent, not avoid and constrain which was exactly the McConnell strategy used as he later bragged to Sean Hannity: “One of my proudest moments was when I told Obama, “You will not fill this Supreme Court vacancy,’” he said.
Now Mr. McConnell has repeated his promise six months into the Biden administration, but this time—without the so-called Biden Rule—he is relying on the spirit of Rube Goldberg. In one of the most convoluted and just plain silly explanations I have ever heard, to rewrite the Constitution, Mr. McConnell said:
“Well, I think in the middle of a presidential election, if you have a Senate of the opposite party of the president, you have to go back to the 1880s to find the last time a vacancy was filled. So I think it’s highly unlikely. In fact, no, I don’t think either party if it controlled, if it were different from the president, would confirm a Supreme Court nominee in the middle of an election. What was different in 2020 [Amy Coney Barrett] was we were of the same party as the president.”
Using Senator McConnell’s logic, the Supreme Court could be in limbo following the death of a Justice ad-infinitum at the whim of the majority if the President is a Democrat and Republicans are in charge or vice versa. Unfortunately, Senator McConnell is not alone in his distortions of reality. Twenty-one House Republicans yesterday refused to vote to give medals to the Capitol Police heroes, who saved their lives because the decree called the insurrection an insurrection.
The recent privacy violations of the press and fellow legislators demonstrated the single-minded focus of defending the GOP’s lust for power, over the country. When informed of the spying of American citizens, that Republicans previously railed against, they shifted the conversations to the strawman argument of leak investigations.
Today Joe Biden met with Russian President Vladimir Putin and the respected tradition of not criticizing a President when he is on foreign shores, I predict, the GOP will toss out before sundown. So a lifelong enemy of America who has murdered, poisoned, and jailed his enemies, interferes with elections around the world, violates the borders and sovereignty of his neighbors has become a hero to the right-wing. Not because of his altruism or honor but because it feeds their buffoonery for their critique of a Democratic President.
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