The wall that Mitch McConnell put up to block any Supreme Court appointment, built before the late Antonin Scalia was even buried, is showing some cracks.
When President Obama first nominated Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court, Senate Republicans were united in their wall of opposition — no meetings, no hearing, no vote.
And while Garland’s path remains a very uphill battle, some Republicans are starting to shift their tone.
Two weeks into the nomination fight, 16 Republican senators now say they will meet with Garland — over 25 percent of the GOP caucus — according to a running count by NBC News.
That includes senators up for re-election in Blue States, such as New Hampshire’s Kelly Ayotte and Illinois’ Mark Kirk, who will be the first Republican to actually meet with Garland when they talk Tuesday.
According to Garland’s boosters and some GOP strategists, Republicans are abandoning opposition to meetings because it could make them appear obstructionist — or even rude.
“Mitch McConell’s knee-jerk response after Justice Scalia’s death is a public relations debacle for the Republican Party,” said former McCain strategist Steve Schmidt.
To defeat a presidential nomination, Schmidt suggested, it is usually better to “derail it slowly over time” — not announce blanket opposition up front.
Well, that last thing the Republicans want to be seen as is rude. Oh, my.
This doesn’t mean that Judge Garland’s nomination will go anywhere; they could politely meet with him and then go about their business as if President Blackguy’s term was already over and whatever he did doesn’t count. But at least they’re going to meet with him, which, in this environment, is better than getting the door slammed in his face.
I would never wish for any kind of natural disaster like a flood or a tornado to hit the state of Kentucky — it is springtime when things like that happen — and Sen. McConnell is in need of a federal disaster declaration from the president:
“Oh, gee, Mitch, I’d love to help, but according to you, I can’t do my job during an election year. Let’s wait until the next president is in office, okay?” [Click.]