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“The Constitution Has Established A Process”: Obama Delivers Unmistakable Message To Republicans

President Obama hosted a press conference at the U.S.-Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit in California yesterday, which comes against a backdrop in which the future of the Supreme Court is dominating much of the domestic political conversation. The president is obviously aware of Senate Republicans’ plans for a total blockade against nominee, regardless of merit, so Obama took some time to remind GOP lawmakers about the constitutional process.

“The Constitution is pretty clear about what is supposed to happen now. When there is a vacancy on the Supreme Court, the President of the United States is to nominate someone. The Senate is to consider that nomination, and either they disapprove of that nominee or that nominee is elevated to the Supreme Court.

“Historically, this has not been viewed as a question. There’s no unwritten law that says that it can only be done on off years – that’s not in the constitutional text. I’m amused when I hear people who claim to be strict interpreters of the Constitution suddenly reading into it a whole series of provisions that are not there. There is more than enough time for the Senate to consider in a thoughtful way the record of a nominee that I present and to make a decision.”

Unfortunately for the right, all of this has the benefit of being true. The Constitution has established a process; Obama intends to follow the process; and there’s plenty of time for senators to do their jobs. It’s all surprisingly simple, and to date, Republicans haven’t come up with any coherent defense for rejecting any White House nominee, sight unseen.

Reflecting on the broader political circumstances surrounding judicial nominees, the president added, “The fact that it’s that hard, that we’re even discussing this, is I think a measure of how, unfortunately, the venom and rancor in Washington has prevented us from getting basic work done. This would be a good moment for us to rise above that.”

You can almost hear GOP senators laughing at a distance.

Looking ahead, the president reminding Republican lawmakers, “This is the Supreme Court. The highest court in the land. It’s the one court where we would expect elected officials to rise above day-to-day politics. And this will be the opportunity for senators to do their job. Your job doesn’t stop until you’re voted out or until your term expires. I intend to do my job between now and January 20th of 2017. I expect them to do their job as well.”

Of course, the high court vacancy isn’t the only subject on the political world’s mind. There’s also the matter of the election to choose President Obama’s successor.

As NBC News reported, Obama has taken note of the Republican frontrunner.

President Barack Obama on Tuesday reiterated that he doesn’t believe New York businessman Donald Trump will ever be president, saying the American people realize the highest office in the nation “is not a reality show.”

“I continue to believe Mr. Trump will not be president,” Obama said…. “And the reason is because I have a lot of faith in the American people. And I think they recognize that being president is a serious job.”

“It’s not hosting a talk show or a reality show. It’s not promotion, it’s not marketing. It’s hard. And a lot of people count on us getting it right.”

My suspicion is the leading Republican candidate and his team were delighted to hear this – with just a few days remaining before the South Carolina primary, Obama criticizing Trump is probably the best thing Trump can hope for.

 

By: Steve Benen, The Maddow Blog, February 17, 2016

February 18, 2016 Posted by | President Obama, Senate Republicans, U. S. Supreme Court | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“First Rule Of GOP Politics”: Never, Never, EVER Tell The Truth

Incoming House Speaker Kevin McCarthy just committed a “gaffe” in Michael Kinsley’s sense of the term: in an unguarded moment, he allowed himself to tell the truth. The truth is, as most of us have always known, that Benghazi!, like its predecessor Whitewater!, was an entirely bad-faith exercise in partisan character assassination from the get-go. But don’t listen to me, listen to what the Speaker-to-Be told Sean Hannity:

Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right? But we put together a Benghazi special committee, a select committee. What are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping. Why? Because she’s untrustable. But no one would’ve known any of that had happened had we not fought and made that happen.

Naturally, the rest of the House Republicans are outraged: not, of course, at Trey Gowdy for ghoulishly making a political meal out of the bodies of four dead Americans, but at McCarthy for blabbing.

The political press corps is caught in the middle. Lots of those reporters and editors, especially at the New York Times, have been more than willing to peddle Gowdy’s “partial-transcript” leaks as if they had news value, and to let Gowdy and his staff hide behind anonymity to defame a political rival. In other words, they’ve been playing according to the Clinton Rules, which hold that anything a Clinton does is guilty even after it’s been proven innocent.

So far, most of that crowd has reacted to McCarthy’s stunning admission, which makes them look like fools or scoundrels or both, by ignoring it. But I’m hoping that the second round of stories, with other Republicans commenting on McCarthy’s blunder, will start to crack that Wall of Silence. And I’m starting to look forward to Clinton’s appearance before Trey Gowdy’s inquisition. He might well come out of that experience as no more than a Deuce.

 

By: Mark Kleiman, Ten Miles Square, The Washington Monthly, October 1, 2015

October 3, 2015 Posted by | House Select Committee on Benghazi, Kevin McCarthy, Trey Gowdy | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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