If There Was Sauce for the Goose…

By now, anyone not living in a cave knows that Republicans in the Senate are refusing to participate in the constitutionally-required exercise of advising and consenting on a proposed Supreme Court nominee. Not that they have objections to the (as yet unnamed) choice–no, they object to even allowing the President to fulfill his constitutionally-required duty.

Indiana Republicans seem to like the GOP’s new “Obama Rule;” to the extent that I can understand the basis upon which Mitch McConnell invented it, it goes something like this: We don’t like Obama, and we think the next President will be more to our taste. (Ignore the fact that Obama won election pretty overwhelmingly, and a lot of Americans–arguably still a pretty robust majority–still do like him.)

Here in Indiana, we also have a state supreme court vacancy. Indeed, interviews for the position are already underway. Governor Pence is in the last year of his term, and all signs suggest that he is far less popular than the President. (In my circles, he’s less popular than dandruff.)  So shouldn’t the voters get to decide who they want picking Indiana’s next state supreme court justice?

If America is now operating on the basis of what Bill Maher might call a “new rule”—if we’ve decided that it is improper for political executives to select judges during the last year of their term–shouldn’t we apply that rule to Governor Pence?

Actually, we might take the new rule even further; since one-third of the US Senate is up for election this year, maybe those senators shouldn’t vote or do much of anything until we see whether the electorate has returned them to office. (Okay–scratch that last suggestion: this Senate isn’t doing anything anyway.)

Besides, let’s be honest; it’s only a black President who’s limited to 3/5 of a term….


  1. I like your comparison between a President and a Governor making Supreme court nominations in their final year of office. Now I am wondering why our state legislators have not complained that the next Governor should have the right to nominate our next judge. Hmmm, this is very puzzling….said no one ever.

  2. I knew you’d like that 3/5 personhood that I used a few days ago when this topic was your subject. Thanks!

    And thank you for keeping Indiana sane with your blog. I doubt I’d ever return there is if wasn’t for smart progressives that still live in the state like you!

  3. The main issue in my opinion is–and always has been–the color of our President’s skin, and the fact that he had the audacity to seek public office and actually WIN. I said in an earlier post on my Facebook page that the current Republican Party is bonkers–and I believe it’s true.

  4. I believe that an awful lot of the myths that have been created about President Obama really stem from the failures of Bush that took away all Republican sales options that were positive and left only Obama bashing as a campaign strategy. Since the day that Bush/Cheney disappeared the GOP has had only negative things to say about the country, blaming everything that they could make up on President Obama.

    Of course many were more than willing to be led down that road because of racism.

    Their strategy has spectacularly failed both the country and their party as evidenced by their laughable Presidential campaign. They clearly demonstrated the Washington that they needed to blame on him.

    So now what? Now that they’ve actually created in Congress the incompetent government that their bogie man strategy envisioned for all of Federal government how will democracy in a mass media besotted culture respond?

    In a perfect world the electorate would throw the bums out every one. How far from perfect though is the American electorate in these times? Will democracy do its job and clean house? Will saner heads prevail?

  5. In this article Bill Moyer considers why American culture chooses to be led to civic ignorance.


    I believe that there is a short answer to his wondering. Mass media advertising has made us ignorant about many things; civics is a very important one but not at all alone. Climate change is the most important one in my mind given the impact of our ignorance on that topic on future civilization.

    Is there still hope for democracy given the effectiveness of brand marketing on creating and distributing ignorance?

    IMO what hope there is can be found in the demise of cable TV in favor of the Internet. Where that is going has been confounding prognosticators for decades now but some favorable trends are immerging.

    We’ll have to wait and see.

  6. In the case of our state superintendent, the Governor doesn’t want her to be able to do anything for 4 years if she’s an educator and/or a Democrat.

  7. We may not have to worry about what the Senate does or who the Republican presidential nominee is. The SCOTUS vacancy is going to further separate the parties and nothing will get done till after the election unless Republicans stand up for the Constitution.

    There seems to be a new faction of Democrats commenting on Bernie’s Facebook posts. They are seriously anti-Hillary and state adamantly they will not vote for her if she is the nominee; they will either write in Bernie’s name or not vote at all. So far trying to explain the law of averages and their brand of stupidity “helping” Bernie with their write-in or not voting will result in Trump or another clown in the White House falls on deaf ears. They are no smarter then the current Republicans who follow the clown car looking for salvation by any one of the clowns who periodically climbs out of the car to make another foolish statement or select another group to put in their crosshairs. We are doomed; the epidemic of stupidity has now infected the Democratic party and is spreading rapidly. I support Bernie; and I believe he is intelligent enough and American enough and humanitarian enough that he will throw his weight behind Hillary if she gets the nomination. Will the current growing bunch of Democratic fools listen to him? There is a good possibility that not enough of them will and they will throw the election to the Republicans.

  8. Prof Kennedy: Is the following final? Is there nothing we can do to thwart Mitch McConnell and his Republican co-conspirators? Why should one Kentuckian thwart the POTUS and the People of the U.S.? How about a class action lawsuit in federal court naming McConnell et al as conspirators? Another reason for electing Hillary or Bernie.

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Republican-led Senate on Tuesday ruled out taking action on any nominee put forth by President Barack Obama to the Supreme Court in a political power move intended to thwart his ability to change the court’s ideological balance.
    Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the Senate will not hold hearings or vote on any nominee to replace long-serving conservative Justice Antonin Scalia until after the next president takes office next January.

  9. It seems to me that for the vast majority of informed voters the distance between Bernie and Hillary is navigable. Most people that I talk to have a definite favorite between the two and will campaign formally or informally for their choice but when all is said and done there is no third choice for sensible people.

    I’m personally very content to let the Democratic primary process work its magic and pick between them as well as letting the Republican primary process pick who will lose the general election.

    The GOP is stuck in quicksand. The more they struggle the more imminent becomes their downfall.

    The real struggle is over Congress which the Republicans have clearly demonstrated is way above their pay grade. It’s even less productive and popular than is the mythical bogieman government that they’ve been scaring folks with since Reagan.

    We the people desperately need a Congress to represent us and address the monsterous problems the future comes fully equipped with like climate change.

    We need democracy on steroids. We need nobody on the sidelines.

  10. Professor Kennedy: You opine that the reason the Republicans oppose President Obama appointing a Supreme Court justice during the politically charged atmosphere of a presidential campaign is because he’s black. Am I to infer that the reason Senator (now Vice President) Biden opposed President George H.W. Bush doing the same thing at the same point in his presidency was because Mr. Bush is white?


  11. Curious – Actually the article says Biden said to wait until after the election, not to wait for the next President to take office.

    Sheila – On this rare occasion, I must disagree – partially. This would have been the response to any Democratic President. If it had been President Hillary Clinton instead of Obama, the hatred might not have been as intense, but it would have been there. There is a part of the Republican Party that believes that since his holiness, the Reagan (blessed be his name), ushered in the “Kingdom of the Conservative”, ANY Democrat elected is a usurper. Still, skin color does increase the level of outrage.

    I wonder is on inauguration day, the Republicans will declare that since it is the first day of the “lame duck” presidency of Hillary Clinton, all nominees must wait until the next election. Just a thought.

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