I would like to suggest that, for the next 11 months, President Obama veto every single bill that lands on his desk. He should make it clear that he wants the next president to make the decisions on these bills because it allows the American people to have a say in who gets to veto legislation. After all, an election is coming up, right?
I’ll wait a moment for the laughter, derision and finger pointing to die down.
Now then. If the above statement sounds as stupid to you as it does to me, you aren’t alone. That vast majority of Americans, regardless of political party affiliation, want their president to actually do his job. But that’s not what Senator Mitch McConnell thinks.
McConnell apparently believes that Obama should not have the right to do his job. According to Politico, before former Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, Antonin Scalia’s body was even cold—McConnell’s statement came less than one hour after Scalia’s death had been confirmed—McConnell said “‘the American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice. Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president.’”
McConnell is apparently forgetting that the American people did have a voice: they elected Obama to be president not once, but twice. Perhaps McConnell still believes in the 3/5 rule? Obama is doing his job; McConnell is not doing his. To declare that the Senate should not even consider an Obama nominee, regardless of the nominee, is childish and setting the country up for a constitutional crisis.
Republicans have defended McConnell’s statement by pointing out there is no provision in the constitution that specifically requires the Senate to approve or reject a Supreme Court nominee. In other words, it’s not forbidden, so it’s perfectly okay to do so. I’m not sure I agree with this, as the constitution clearly says the Senate shall “advise and consent.” McConnell is advocating that the Republicans do neither. He wants to skip the whole process and still get his way. However, as I’m not a constitutional scholar, that’s not an argument I’m prepared to fight.
But I will say this: by McConnell’s logic, it’s okay to spit on police officers or call a group of nuns dirty, disease-ridden prostitutes. In fact, if I am to believe McConnell, not only is it allowed but such behavior should be encouraged because hey, it’s not illegal. That’s his argument in a nutshell.
It’s legal to be offensive and rude to nuns and police officers, but that doesn’t mean that it’s warranted or acceptable. Just because something is not specifically forbidden does not mean that it is morally or socially acceptable to do.
It’s also not warranted or acceptable for McConnell and the rest of the Senate Republicans to ignore Obama’s Supreme Court Justice nominee simply because they despise the man who made the nomination.
It’s no secret that the Republican Party has declared a Holy War against Obama and Democrats. However, this may be Republicans’ “crossing the Rubicon” moment. At least, I hope it is: I hope the American people are fed up enough with this mindless obstructionism that, should the Senate block all attempts to fill Scalia’s seat and in doing so shirk one of the most important duties they have as Senators, the voters of this country punish them severely and replace them with people who actually represent this country’s interests and have a desire to do their jobs.
Our country needs a two-party system to operate with any degree of efficiency and fairness. The trouble is that the current Republican Party apparently has no desire to actually govern and thus should be replaced by one that does. Whether that’s a new party with the Republican name, an evolution of the current Republican Party into something that America can actually be proud of, or new party altogether is fairly irrelevant. The bottom line is it needs to happen, and soon.
A common complaint among Republicans is that Obama spends far too much time on the golf course and basketball court instead of at his desk working. While “too much time” is subjective, at least Obama, unlike the Republicans in the Senate, is willing to do his job. This is something they would be wise to consider, and a behavior the American people would be happy they emulate.
Should they fail to do so one can only hope that come Jan. 3, they will all be dusting off their resumes.