What is wrong with Mitch McConnell? OK, let me be more specific. What was Mitch McConnell thinking when he declared that the Republican-controlled Senate would not so much as consider confirming anyone President Obama nominates to replace Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court? I understand partisan politics, and I get that McConnell wants to fire up the conservative base, particularly in an election year. But still, the man has been a politician for years: Does he not understand the basics of politics? Has he become so unhinged by eight years of Obama-hatred that he cannot remember them?
Look, all McConnell had to do was provide a simple disingenuous sound bite: "We are all shocked and saddened by the sudden death of Justice Scalia. Now is not the time to discuss the politics of selecting his replacement. In due time, after the President selects a nominee, the Senate will hold thorough hearings to determine this candidate's qualifications for this vital position." Anyone with a basic grasp of American politics circa 2016 would translate this as, "No way in hell will we confirm whatever Commie Pinko Muslim-sympathizer Comrade Obama has the nerve to send our way." And we could all get on with our lives, avoiding at least one political kabuki dance.
But no. McConnell decides that the way to handle the situation is effectively to say, "Mr. President, we advise you not to do your job." The paleoconservatives rejoice McConnell's sticking it to the man while everybody else erupts in outrage or, at best, shakes their heads and wonders what the heck is happening. I mean, does McConnell--or any Republican senator--think that telling Obama not to nominate someone will convince Obama to, y'know, not nominate someone? Sure, that person may face an uphill--or impossible--battle; sure, the Senate may reject even the most qualified nominee--as is, technically, their right; but to declare yourself opposed to acting in accordance with the most basic reading of the Constitution you claim to revere seems to be displaying hypocrisy for no good reason.
I suppose Obama could totally call their bluff by nominating, say, Jeb Bush!. Not like he's going to be president or anything. And since the Senators promised not to hold hearings, what harm would be done. I kinda think he should go ahead and nominate Trump. He's ultimately not much worse than Scalia, and arguably better on the social issues. I kid, of course. He should really just nominate himself. Let Biden take care of the country for the last few months until Hillary gets into office.