Those 2014 Midterms Look Consequential Now, Don’t They?

by Jim Geraghty

Just one point to add to Charlie’s “what has conservatism done?” argument, and the related complaint, “what did all that effort to elect a GOP Senate in the midterms do for us?”… If the GOP hadn’t won the Senate in 2014, we would be looking at near-automatic confirmation for Supreme Court Justice Eric Holder, or whichever progressive Obama deems most desirable.

Yes, a GOP Senate minority could attempt to filibuster Obama’s nomination… and Senate Democrats could exercise the nuclear option and eliminate the filibuster for Supreme Court nominations. Harry Reid already nuked the filibuster for non-Supreme Court judicial nominations in 2013.

We don’t know how this confirmation fight is going to shake out, but the worst-case scenario, replacing Antonin Scalia with a reliable progressive “living Constitution” jurist, looks pretty unlikely right now. You would have to get five Republican senators to vote for a Ginsburg or Sotomayor-type. Susan Collins of Maine, Jeff Flake of Arizona, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Mark Kirk of Illinois and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska are probably the five members of the GOP Senate caucus most likely to feel pressure to vote “yes.” But if any of them voted to confirm an Obama appointee, they would trigger a furious primary challenge.

Clinton Suffers another Crippling Coughing Fit during Speech

by Brendan Bordelon

Hillary Clinton suffered a savage bout of coughs lasting over two minutes during a speech Tuesday evening, the second such attack in less than a month on the campaign trail.

In the midst of a speech on “systemic racism” before a Harlem audience following her meeting with Al Sharpton and members of the National Urban League, Clinton was suddenly beset by a nasty coughing fit. “Too much to say,” she explained, her voice strained as she reached for a glass of water.

But the coughing continued unabated, even after she’d popped a lozenge, and the crowd twice broke into chants of “Hillary! Hillary!” as she struggled to continue. “You’re a great ‘Amen’ chorus, thank you,” she finally told her audience, more than two and half minutes after she first began coughing.

It’s not Clinton’s first debilitating coughing fit. During a speech before a Jewish group in Des Moines one week before the Iowa caucus, she was forced to halt for nearly a minute while she coughed uncontrollably.

It also happened during last October’s Benghazi Committee hearing. Clinton’s two-minute bout of coughing was so severe during questioning that both chairman Trey Gowdy and ranking member Elijah Cummings asked if she needed a break.

The problem goes back even further. During a 2012 visit to Hanoi while she was secretary of state, Clinton was beset by a minute-long coughing fit. And in 2008, she was forced to cut short a television interview on her presidential campaign due to an uncontrollable cough.

Why So Squeamish, Planned Parenthood?

by Ramesh Ponnuru

The Planned Parenthood Action Fund is up with three new ads in Nevada encouraging people to caucus for Hillary Clinton. Not one of them includes the word “abortion.”

New York Times, 1987: Party That Won the Senate Has ‘Every Right to Resist’

by Jim Geraghty

The New York Times editorial board, October 5, 1987, urging the Senate to reject the Supreme Court nomination of Robert Bork:

The President’s supporters insist vehemently that, having won the 1984 election, he has every right to try to change the Court’s direction. Yes, but the Democrats won the 1986 election, regaining control of the Senate, and they have every right to resist. This is not the same Senate that confirmed William Rehnquist as Chief Justice and Antonin Scalia as an associate justice last year.

Gee, I guess that means that the Republicans who won control of the Senate in 2014 have every right to resist, right? After all, this is not the same Senate that confirmed Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan…

Wednesday Links

by debbywitt

Geronimo died on this day in 1909 — history, quotes, and why we yell his name when we jump out of planes.

Emergency Room numbers: These are the top 250 products that people injure themselves on or with in a year.

Great Fire: the grid system for London that never happened.

The c. 1275 miraculous transplantation of a leg.

The economics of pawn shops

U.S. Army develops pizza that can last for three years.

ICYMI, Tuesday’s links are here, and include a set of extremely awkward glamor photos, what to do if both your pilots die on a 737, an almost vertical bridge in Japan, anatomical diagrams made from candy, and advice from 1849: start a fight with your wife using these 3 simple tricks.

Trump Condemned Scalia as Recently as December

by Mona Charen

He’s all for Scalia now, Trump is. Swore to appoint justices just like him. Take this vow as you would any other Trump claim. Since we’re on the topic though, here is a story from December. Scalia had made some comments during an oral argument that liberals were able to wrench out of context. Scalia had referenced the “mismatch” theory propounded by Stuart Taylor and Richard Sander. Displaying their ignorance, the usual suspects howled their outrage. They strutted their moral superiority and pronounced anathemas on the Justice.  

Trump was asked about it on CNN and naturally, because his instincts and lifelong habits are liberal, and because he cannot be bothered to check facts, he joined in the condemnation of Justice Scalia. For the record.

Jeb Bush Talks Trump, Family on the Stump in South Carolina

by Eliana Johnson

Aiken, S.C. – Jeb Bush didn’t envision his campaign unfolding this way, but his stump speeches increasingly, and perhaps unconsciously, reflect the fact that he is responding either to the environment created by GOP frontrunner Donald Trump, to attacks on his family, or to both. 

At Tuesday evening’s candidate forum at the University of South Carolina’s Aiken campus, Bush didn’t mention Trump explicitly, but explained to the crowd of approximately 1,500 “why we need to have somebody who has a steady hand.” He promised he would lead with “no grandiosity.” 

If that was a shot at Trump, the subsequent portion of his remarks also seemed a tacit response to the gauntlet he has laid down. “Washington needs a disrupter,” Bush said. What proceeded was an attempt to cast himself as that. And regardless of how true to fact the portrayal is, Jeb Bush just doesn’t come across as somebody who is going to wreak havoc on the political establishment. He tried to convince the crowd otherwise. “In Florida, I turned the whole place upside down,” he said. “I challenged every aspect of spending. He went on to call for Congress to adopt a balanced budget amendment. 

And, more strongly than I’ve heard him do so before, he extolled his family. He said that if he had one wish — “If a fairy godmother landed on my shoulder” — it would be that every child in America is born to parents with the wisdom and judgment of his own. As a kid, he recalled, he realized he’d have to content himself with finding satisfaction in becoming half the man his father is, and he thinks he’s accomplished that. 

However unusual the political environment may be, Bush’s remarks, including the kind words he lavished on his family, went over well with this crowd, which gave him a pair of standing ovations. 

Freedom Caucus Leader Raul Labrador Goes Cruz

by Elaina Plott

Raul Labrador, Idaho representative and a leader of the House Freedom Caucus, is endorsing Ted Cruz for president, sources close to the campaign confirm. 

Labrador had previously thrown his weight behind Kentucky senator Rand Paul, serving as his Western States Chairman. Candidates began vying for Labrador’s endorsement as soon as Paul left the race following a less-than-stellar showing in the Iowa caucuses. 

Labrador is the latest in a string of Freedom Caucus members to back Cruz: Kansas representative Tim Huelskamp announced his support of the Texas senator earlier today, closing the curtain on the minor political drama that played out between Huelskamp and Cruz campaign manager Jeff Roe. Mark Meadows, the Freedom Caucus leader who attempted to oust John Boehner from the speakership last summer, unveiled his endorsement last month.