Yesterday during a 12 hour car ride I heard plenty of progressive radio voices roiling in speculation that the President had cut a deal with Republican Senators to have Chief Judge Garland confirmed to the Supreme Court during the lame duck session. Today (http://www.politico.com/story/2016/03/mcconnell-no-lame-duck-vote-on-garland-221006) Senator McConnell made clear no such confirmation would happen and so gave the President yet another important political victory. The President played a brilliant card: Judge Garland is not the choice of most progressives but his chances of even getting a hearing are now zero, as is his confirmation. It is officially a case of the sacrificial lamb and Judge Garland’s dignity and decency will remain in tact, perhaps even elevated given the way his dismissal reveals further the insipidity of the Republican’s judgment. Judge Garland is obviously the best any conservative Senator could hope for. And he will not be on the Court. Senator McConnell today said no to any confirmation under this President, furthering only their stated policy that everything President Obama does or says must be rejected outright. But alas this may yet come home to roost more than a few of their chickens.
The new President-elect will withdraw Judge Garland’s nomination. Bet on that. So why has Senator McConnell taken to this particular hypocrisy? He has said the people’s voice needs to be heard —has it?— while Republican leadership means to thwart their own people’s voices who have given the majority of delegates to Donald Trump. The sound of treacle you hear here is more than simple hypocrisy. It has wrapped itself in an alternative universe governed by casuistry and delusion. Does Senator McConnell really think that the current debacle of Presidential nominees stands the ghost of a chance come November? Of course he does. Living in the phantasmical bubble is the norm. Do remember Karl Rove’s panicked disbelief on Fox News when it was announced last time that Romney had lost Ohio and the election —and went on to lose the popular vote by 5.5 million. There is no limit to the way a human narrative of conviction can overwrite reality. One might say that politics is, like religion, the triumph of ideology over reality.