The Morning Jolt

Politics & Policy

‘You Will Give Us Merrick Garland Or You May Go Die in a Fire.’

‘You Will Give Us Merrick Garland Or You May Go Die in a Fire.’

Professor David Faris, writing in The Week, seems to think the minority party in the Senate is in a position to dictate terms and in fact make threats:

Democrats must comprehend, at long last, what is being done to them by the Republican Party. The Democratic negotiating position on all issues put before them while they are in the House and Senate minority for at least the next two years should be very simple: You will give us Merrick Garland or you may go die in a fire.

Yeah, you go sell that strategy to Democratic senators in red states up for reelection in 2018 — I mean, the ones who haven’t already sent their resumes to Trump Tower.

Faris’s piece, already rocketing around Facebook, is entitled, “It’s time for Democrats to fight dirty.”

There is nothing more reassuring to a political party that just lost an election than telling themselves they lost because they were “too nice.” A close second is their message is too high-minded and sophisticated for those knuckle-dragging voters; the opposition speaks in bumper stickers, we speak in complicated and nuanced position papers. (This after “Hope and Change” and “Yes, We Can.”) I recall Republicans believing this after 2008 and 2012. I recall Democrats believing this after 2004, 2010 and 2014. Strangely, I don’t think polling, focus groups or other instruments of measuring voter decision-making or intent has ever found a person who said, “No, I voted for the other guys, because that party is too nice.”

It’s time for Democrats to “fight dirty”? Really? You think Hillary Clinton’s campaign against Trump was too nice? Not negative enough? You think the reason Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential election was because he wasn’t attacked enough times? Not enough scandals, accusations of bad behavior — personally, sexually, financially, claims of sinister connections to foreign governments? You think having half of Hollywood come out to make propaganda music videos touting the joys of your candidate isn’t “fighting dirty,” huh? You think transforming colleges and universities into giant bases of ideological warfare isn’t fighting dirty? You think using the dues of union members with all kinds of political views to fund a partisan political campaign isn’t fighting dirty?

Faris’s piece is a fantastic example of the sputtering rage of the Left at this moment, convinced that Obama’s presidency was a phenomenal success, that no Republican opposition to his agenda was ever legitimate, and that the electorate that was so wise and clear-headed in 2008 and 2012 has suddenly become easily-fooled sheep again.

He gives the game away here:

 . . . our political system as currently constituted has turned into a fiefdom for a permanent right-wing minority wielding power through the Constitution’s bizarre quirks, including the Electoral College. 

This is what really infuriates the raging Left right now: They aren’t get what they want because of the Constitution, and provisions of that founding document that never bothered them before, like the separation of powers, rules for confirmation of judges, and the electoral college, are now “bizarre quirks.” For the past year, every high-society progressive in Manhattan gushed about Alexander Hamilton as the greatest and most unsung Founding Father — clearly, the best rapper among them. Suddenly the architect of the Electoral College ranks as one of great monsters of American history.

Some Senate Democrats now say their plan is to hold up Trump’s nominees as long as possible.

Any individual senator can force Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to hold procedural votes on nominees. Senior Democrats said a series of such votes are likely for many of Trump’s picks.

Democrats could conceivably force up to 30 hours of debate for each Cabinet nominee, which would be highly disruptive for a GOP Senate that usually works limited hours but has big ambitions for next year. The minority could also stymie lower-level nominees and potentially keep the Senate focused on executive confirmations for weeks as Trump assumes the presidency and congressional Republicans try to capitalize on their political momentum.

Hold hearings? Absolutely. Tough questioning? Perfectly fair. Recorded votes? Please do.

But weren’t the Democrats just telling us that Trump is an unhinged, dangerous, demagogic narcissistic maniac who could wake up one morning and nuke Belgium because he’s in a bad mood? Wouldn’t you want as many experienced, reliable, level-headed voices around Trump as possible? Remember, Mike Flynn and Steven Bannon don’t require Senate confirmation. If I were a Democrat and believed my own rhetoric, I would want someone like James Mattis in the chain-of-command and officially advising Trump as soon as possible.

Democrats tell themselves that they’re the noble victims of a one-sided partisan war. They’re completely oblivious to how they escalate these fights:

Eight years ago, when the roles were reversed, with Barack Obama taking office and an all-Democratic Congress, Republicans were mostly deferential to the incoming president. On Obama’s first day in office, the Senate confirmed seven of Obama’s Cabinet nominees. By the end of that week, it had cleared more than a dozen senior-level positions, all without dissent except for Hillary Clinton’s nomination to be secretary of state, for which the GOP demanded a roll call.

Far too many Democrats can only see the world in terms of what they politically need in this particular moment. They can’t see too far down the road, or how an issue will look when they’re in a different circumstances. Here’s Senator Chris Coons of Delaware, basically begging Senate Republicans to reinstate the filibuster for nominations:

BOLDUAN: But Senator, also a rules change the Democrats put in place could also come back to bite you. I mean, I don’t get into the weeds, but Democrats made it much easier than a simple majority can push through presidential nominees. Democrats did it for themselves and now Republicans can do it as well.

COONS: That’s exactly right. The filibuster no longer acts as emergency brake on the nomination –

BOLDUAN: So do you regret that?

COONS: I do regret that. I frankly think many of us will regret that in this Congress because it would have been a terrific speed bump, potential emergency brake, to have in our system to slow down the confirmation of extreme nominees. We’re instead going to have to depend on the American people, on thorough hearings and/or persuading a number of Republicans in those cases where President-elect Trump might nominate someone, who is just too extreme to the American people.

“Dear opponents who I have consistently demonized as the root of all evil for the past few years: please give up a power we gave you to save us from the consequences of our own decisions.”

Get Ready for a Week of ‘Fake News’ Hysteria

Brace yourselves. In the coming days, we’re going to hear a lot about how “fake news” is now a mortal threat to all Americans.

A North Carolina man who sent customers and employees scrambling when he fired a gun inside a northwest Washington pizzeria Sunday told police he went there to investigate a fictitious online conspiracy theory involving the restaurant and high-ranking Democrats.

After his arrest, Welch told police he was there to investigate a fake news conspiracy theory known as “pizza gate” involving the pizzeria in the 5000 block of Connecticut Avenue NW. Posts to Facebook and Reddit claim Comet was the home base of a child sex abuse ring run by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her presidential campaign chair, John Podesta.

“What happened today demonstrates that promoting false and reckless conspiracy theories does come with consequences,” Comet Ping Pong owner James Alefantis said.

No two ways about it, a guy who goes into a restaurant and starts firing his gun all willy-nilly is a bad dude, and he ought to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

But now there’s going to be an eager effort to shift responsibility from him to whoever wrote about this restaurant. This guy sounds like he graduated from the Yosemite Sam School of Forensic Investigation, and if he hadn’t shown up at the doorstep of this restaurant, he would have shown up at the gate of Edwards Air Force Base asking about the aliens at Area 51 or stomped around the Pacific Northwest hunting Bigfoot. Blaming “fake news” implies a warning to everyone, “don’t write or say something that could set off some nut-job.” That argument assumes that there’s a rationality to the nut-job, and it’s our responsibility to not offer anything that could cause an irrational mind to lash out.

Unless, of course, you think the Southern Poverty Law Center is responsible for the guy who tried to shoot up the Family Research Center in Washington D.C. in 2012. That would-be-gunman “had stopped by Chick-fil-A to pick up 15 sandwiches, which he planned to smear in the dying faces of staffers.” He said he chose the FRC as a target because the Southern Poverty Law Center called the organization “a hate group.”

Rumors and false news reports can lead to violence, huh? You mean like the “hands up, don’t shoot” narrative that came out of Ferguson, Missouri?

What DOJ found made me ill. [Officer Darren] Wilson knew about the theft of the cigarillos from the convenience store and had a description of the suspects. [The late Michael] Brown fought with the officer and tried to take his gun. And the popular hands-up storyline, which isn’t corroborated by ballistic and DNA evidence and multiple witness statements, was perpetuated by Witness 101. In fact, just about everything said to the media by Witness 101, whom we all know as Dorian Johnson, the friend with Brown that day, was not supported by the evidence and other witness statements.

ADDENDA: I’m up to New York City for an appearance on CNN today. I’ll be on CNN International’s “State of America” at 2:30 p.m. Eastern and possibly a late morning or late afternoon appearance, depending upon breaking news and whether the producers think I look lonely in the green room.