Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Last Call For The Master Plays Again

Chuck Pierce on President Obama's SCOTUS pick, Merrick Garland:

So it's a masterpiece of trolling from a guy who's become very, very good at that. I understand the frustration of the president's progressive supporters at the idea of a 60-ish white guy replacing a 70-ish dead white guy on the Supreme Court. (I would've preferred Jane Kelly from the Eighth Circuit, who already had heads exploding.) I'm sure there were several dozen more diverse, and clearly no-more-fcks-to-give, choices he could've made. But Garland's work as a supervising DOJ attorney in the Oklahoma City bombing case intrigues me, and it is likely to light up the far distant precincts of wingnuttia as well. At the very least, he's aware of the wildness loose in the country. He seems moderate and judicious and very unlikely to stray too far out of bounds from what this president and his supporters think a Supreme Court justice should be. His opinions on the appellate rights of criminal defendants could use some work, but he's not likely to join with the likes of Samuel Alito to take an ax to things like the Miranda decision. He's not a law'n'order guy. Tom Goldstein of the invaluable SCOTUSBlog put together a solid compendium of Garland's record the last time his name arose to fill a vacancy on the Court, when Garland was passed over in favor of Justice Elena Kagan. 
All of which is, for the moment, anyway, moot. This is a purely tactical move, and it's an awfully good one. Right now, Republican senators are saying that they won't even take one-on-one meetings with the guy, let alone give him a committee vote, let alone give him a confirmation vote in the Senate. This was precisely the reaction the president was hoping for, although he didn't exactly have to be Nostradamus to make this play. But I want to know more about this comic book collection.

As I keep saying, if you know your opponent's reaction to your moves, or better yet, leave them only one real path to take in response, you've won the game.  President Obama has done just that here, like he has time and again.

I was very worried in the past that this wouldn't work, but the selection of Garland, a jurist with impeccable credentials, highly regarded, and very smart, is exactly the person President Obama needed to both cement his legacy and to show the world that the GOP is fully responsible for obstructing.  There's no both sides here, this is all the GOP, and the world knows it.

There's no cover for the 22 GOP Senators up for re-election in 2016.  None.  They are about to be hung out to dry by the party of Trump, and they know it.

And now the fun truly begins.

The Orange-American Vote

Orange Julius is back, folks!

Former Speaker John Boehner said Paul Ryan should be the Republican nominee for president if the party fails to choose a candidate on the first ballot. 
"If we don't have a nominee who can win on the first ballot, I'm for none of the above," Boehner said at the Futures Industry Association conference here. "They all had a chance to win. None of them won. So I'm for none of the above. I'm for Paul Ryan to be our nominee."

The Republican Garbage Fire keeps getting worse. Ryan tried to "Aww, shucks!" his way into "Well, if I'm forced to be the nominee..."

Ryan will chair the Republican convention, and would become a leading prospect if delegates decided to turn to someone outside the current field.

"I don't see that happening," he said in the interview. "I'm not thinking about it. I'm happy where I am, so no."

But at a moment of increasing urgency for the efforts by Romney and other prominent Republicans to block Trump, Ryan declined to categorically rule it out.

In which case Ryan got his orders from the guy who really runs Bartertown, Trump.

Speaker Paul Ryan said in an interview there is "no situation" in which he will accept the Republican Party's presidential nomination this year, his firmest rejection of the fanciful notion that he'd be drafted during a contested GOP convention. 
"I've been really clear about this," Ryan told POLITICO Wednesday. "If you want to be president, you should run for president. We should select our nominee from among the people who are running for president. Clear and simple. So no, I am not going to be the president. I am not going to be the nominee."

And so it goes, as the GOP clown car now barrels down the road towards obliteration.

BREAKING: Coming To A-Merrick-A

President Obama's choice for SCOTUS to replace Justice Scalia? DC Circuit Court Judge Merrick Garland, widely seen as a moderate choice. MoJo's Stephanie Mencimer:

Garland has been a Supreme Court short-lister for many years, but he has never made the cut during the Obama years. His qualifications for the post have never been questioned. First appointed to the DC Circuit in 1997 by President Bill Clinton, Garland has served as the chief judge since 2013. (The Senate confirmed Garland originally on a 76-to-23 vote, with 32 Republicans supporting him.) He's a double Harvard grad—Harvard College and Harvard Law—and clerked for Supreme Court's famous liberal lion, Justice William Brennan. He spent many years in the Justice Department as a prosecutor and oversaw the prosecutions of Unabomber Ted Kaczynsky and Oklahoma City bombers Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols. He spent some time as a litigator in the private sector as a partner at the white-shoe firm of Arnold & Porter. 
Garland has been married to Lynn Garland for 29 years. She worked for a defense contractor at the time she married Garland, but has a long legal background. Her grandfather was a justice on the New York State Supreme Court. 
Garland is a fairly conservative choice for Obama, but opponents are already pointing to his rulings in a major gun control case in 2007 as a sign that he's a left-wing radical. In that case, Garland voted to reconsider the Hellercase, in which a three-judge panel struck down the District of Columbia's strict ban on handgun possession. Garland didn't succeed, and the case went to the US Supreme Court. The highest court then upheld the ruling in a controversial 5-4 decision in 2008, finding that the Constitution guarantees an individual right to bear arms. 

If the game is to show that not even a widely-praised moderate can be confirmed by this GOP, then Garland is the perfect pick, and that's the point.

If that's the worst critics can find, Garland would typically still be confirmed. But this isn't an ordinary confirmation process. Senate Republicans, including the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), have vowed to deny Obama's Supreme Court nominee a hearing—and forget about a vote. (Severino's outfit is spending heavily on ads to put pressure on the committee not to waver from that position.) That may be one reason why Obama chose Garland, who doesn't meet any of the demands of liberal and civil rights groups for an Obama nominee who would add diversity to the court. Garland is a political sacrificial lamb for the White House
At 63, Garland is more than a decade older than Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. was when he was nominated to the court in 2005. In a normal year, Garland would never have been picked because of his age and demographic profile. But he seems like a logical choice at a time when whomever Obama nominates isn't likely to get confirmed. Fortunately for Garland, he will probably come away from this brutal nomination process largely unscathed, and he will get to keep his lifetime appointment on the DC Circuit. So he is taking one for the team. That will leave other potential candidates, such as DC Circuit Judge Sri Srinvasan, unblemished and ready for a real nomination if the presidency remains in Democratic hands, when the political climate isn't so toxic and Republicans are not hell-bent on obstruction.

And that only happens after a Clinton win, and the damage from blocking Garland for 8 months flips the Senate back to the Democrats.  Then we get someone like Srinivasan on the court as one of her appointees.

I'm cool with this plan.

Please proceed, GOP Senate.

Primary Motivations, Con't

So now what?

Clinton has taken 4 of 5 primaries last night, with Missouri still counting votes this morning. She now has a more than 750 delegate lead over Sanders, a larger lead than Barack Obama ever had over her in 2008.

CNN's exit poll in Ohio found Clinton winning the white vote by 6 points and the black vote by 42. She won union households by 8 points.  More importantly, she won Democrats who believe free trade hurts US jobs by 10 points. Overall, Clinton won by 16 points, 57-43%.

It was a similar situation in Florida, Clinton won the white vote 52-44%, the black vote 79-20%, and the Latino vote 72-28%. She had an even larger win in Florida overall, winning 65-33%.

Illinois was much closer, where Clinton edged out Sanders 51-49%.  There, Sanders won the white vote by 16 points and split the Latino vote evenly, but black voters overwhelmingly voted for Clinton 70-29% and that was the difference.  Clinton also won people making less than $50,000 by 12 points.

NC just wasn't close at all.  Sanders won the white vote by 8 points, but lost the black vote by a staggering 65 points, and black voters made up 31% of the primary votes.  Overall, Sanders lost the non-white vote by 52 points. Clinton won the state 55-41%.

Missouri is very very close, with Clinton having about a 1,500 vote edge, but again while Sanders won the white vote by 9 points, Clinton won the black vote by 35 points, and it looks like it will be just enough to give her the win. Also, Sanders won white men by 23 points, but Clinton edged him out with white women by 3.  If her lead holds, she won because of women, black voters, and especially black women, whom she won by 40 points and made up 12% of primary voters alone.

We need to put the rest the notion that Clinton can't win outside the South, and we really need to put to rest Bernie Sanders' campaign.

Unless you think Sanders will win 99% of California and New York voters, this ballgame is over.


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