One is forced to wonder how much sanity still prevails at editorial level in the New York Times. It's exhibiting classic butthurt over the nomination of Neil Gorsuch to fill the vacant seat (which the NYT calls a "stolen seat") on the US Supreme Court. I've quoted some of its comments in regular text below, with my response in italics.
It’s been almost a year since Senate Republicans took an empty Supreme Court seat hostage, discarding a constitutional duty that both parties have honored throughout American history and hobbling an entire branch of government for partisan gain.
- True, they discarded a constitutional duty. So did Senate (and House) Democrats when they were in the majority under the Obama administration, yet failed to submit or pass a budget, as required by law, for years in succession. Pot, meet kettle. Kettle, pot. Both sides are as guilty as each other.
In normal times, Judge Gorsuch — a widely respected and, at 49, relatively young judge with a reliably conservative voting record — would be an obvious choice for a Republican president.
These are not normal times.
- What makes them other than normal? Supreme Court appointments have been made in time of war and in time of peace, in economic times good and bad, with rancor or with unanimity. What makes this nomination different from any other?
Judge Garland, a former federal prosecutor and 20-year veteran of the nation’s most important federal appeals court, is both more moderate and more qualified than Judge Gorsuch.
- I don't know about "more moderate" - he's certainly left of center, compared to Judge Gorsuch's right of center. As for "more qualified", good luck with that. Judge Gorsuch's academic and legal records are about as impeccable as both can get, by any standards.
The destructive lesson Senate Republicans taught is that obstruction pays off. Yet they seem to have short memories. After Senate Democrats refused to attend votes on two of Mr. Trump’s cabinet picks on Tuesday, Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania said, “We did not inflict this kind of obstructionism on President Obama.”
- Agreed. Both sides are as hypocritical and partisan as each other. A plague on both their parties.
Supreme Court nominations are among the most important decisions a president makes, and certainly the most enduring: A nominee like Judge Gorsuch could sit on the court for more than three decades. At a rally last summer Mr. Trump said: “Even if you can’t stand Donald Trump, you think Donald Trump is the worst, you’re going to vote for me. You know why? Justices of the Supreme Court.” That may have played well on the campaign trail, but Mr. Trump’s failure to choose a more moderate candidate is the latest example of his refusal to acknowledge his historic unpopularity and his nearly three-million-vote loss to Hillary Clinton. A wiser president faced with such circumstances would govern with humility and a respect for the views of all Americans.
- Oh, shut up! A US President is not elected by popular vote: therefore, by definition, Mr. Trump did not "lose" to Hillary Clinton by any number of votes at all. He won in the only vote count that matters, constitutionally speaking: in the Electoral College (just as former President Obama won in the same venue, irrespective of whether or not he also won the popular vote). Any other vote count is constitutionally meaningless.
As for President Trump's "historic unpopularity", I wonder what Abraham Lincoln would say to that? And as for "a respect for the views of all Americans", I can't help but wonder when former President Obama demonstrated that? Yesterday I quoted his perspective on his first election victory. Is President Trump doing anything different?
I daresay Mr. Trump will govern as almost all previous Presidents have governed - on the basis of what he promised to the constituency that voted him into office.
You can read the rest for yourself.
I'm expecting Judge Gorsuch's confirmation hearings to be extraordinarily partisan, rancorous and bitter. I hope I'm wrong . . . but I doubt it. The progressive left has dominated US politics for eight years. It can't stand the thought that it's no longer in control - at least for a time, until the political pendulum swings again (as it undoubtedly will).
I can only hope that both sides can learn to work together once more, instead of trying to undo what the other has done every time they swap places in control of Congress and the Senate. If they stick to the politics of destruction, they'll probably take the entire country down with them. (Yes, that applies to Republicans as much as Democrats, and to the right wing as much as to the left wing of US politics.)