Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Embarrassed to be a "Republican"

I have been registered as a Republican for my entire voting life. And most of the time my outlook on life has more closely aligned with Republicans than with Democrats. Yet, as a limited government, fiscal conservative, social moderate--whatever those terms mean in 2016--I feel very misaligned with where I see the Republican party heading. Those who know my visceral support and pursuit of decency and civility may think that this "rant" will be about Donald Trump. And while that course of action would be justified, this post has little to do with Mr. Trump. Instead, this is related to the current Supreme Court vacancy.

The Senate leadership--specifically Senators McConnell and Grassley--are making a mockery of the Constitution and their Constitutional responsibilities. The President's job is to put forward a nominee and the Senate's job is to either confirm or not confirm--period. This nonsense of "giving the American people a say" is nothing more than empty pandering. The Constitution does NOT give the American people a say. This is an enumerated responsibility that is set at the feet of the President and the Senate. Beyond that, if it had been Justice Ginsberg who had passed away or retired, I cannot conceive of a universe where the Senate Republican leadership would be refusing to even consider a nominee.

The Senate has a job here and if they are unwilling to do their job, then--if they were public servants of conscience--they would resign. Or at the very least, not be returned to office by the voters in their states. For me, this November I will not cast a vote in favor of any Senator who refuses to consider a Supreme Court nominee or any Senator or House member who supports not even considering President Obama's nominee.

If I went to my boss and told him, "No matter what you ask me to do that is listed in my job description I will not do it" I might be given a moment to reconsider such a rash statement. And if I persisted I would be fired--and would deserve no sympathy or support. I would clearly be on the moral low ground. If the President told Congress, "I will veto every bill you pass, no matter what it is" there would be resounding calls for his impeachment. How is the Senate's obstinacy any different?

The current Senate Republican leaders are setting themselves up to fail in their core Constitutional responsibilities. If they continue down this obstructionist path, they should not be allowed to continue to serve. They all took an oath. An oath to defend the Constitution. Perhaps they need to take a close look in the mirror and answer the question--How will you defend the Constitution from yourself?