Thursday, February 25, 2016

Secure his legacy

I shoveled two inches of snow off my driveway this afternoon. The bottom inch had been rained on, so it was heavy. My sister, 100 miles north, reported a foot of snow. Her backyard deck is now closed. But temperatures could get up to 55F in a couple days.

A couple days ago I wrote that there were four types of candidates that Obama could nominate for the Supremes. It appears Obama played a feint by beginning to vet an Olive Branch candidate – the Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval of Nevada. This idea had several progressive groups and many Senate Democrats expressing their horror and threatening to block the nomination. Still, Mitch McConnell and fellow GOP senators didn't budge from their pledge to ignore anyone Obama sent their way.

So no point in the Olive Branch candidate.

Joan McCarter of Daily Kos sums it up:
[GOP senators have] shown how much room there is for President Obama to name a candidate that's progressive, that will secure his legacy for a generation to come. Which is exactly what he should do. It's worth taking that stand. Doing so—giving Democratic Senate candidates the opportunity to run on cementing that legacy—makes it that much more likely that next January there will be a Democratic Senate to confirm his nominee.

On of those stubborn senators is Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire. She's caught in a bind. If she gives any hint of being willing to simply meet with a Supreme Court nominee conservative groups will find a primary challenger who will run to her right. They've been threatening that for months. But with a deadline of June 10 for challenger to file, she doesn't have time after that to be convincingly conciliatory by November.

Senate Democrats have begun a shaming campaign, highlighting the GOP obstruction. And outside fundraising groups are asking for money because they see all those seats occupied by people like Ayotte and see a strong chance to flip the Senate.

The same conservative groups behind the GOP's refusal to consider any Supreme Court nominee Obama might name have also issued an "aggressively conservative" budget they are telling GOP House members to pass. And there are enough members willing to listen to make Speaker Ryan's job impossible. Expect big budget battles, even if entirely in the House.

Aggressively conservative? Yeah, things like cutting funding of Planned Parenthood (expected), of clean air and water enforcement, of grants to shelters under the Violence Against Women Act, of small business disaster assistance, and of healthy food for school children. I'm sure the list isn't complete. In other words, finish off gutting the tattered social safety net so there is absolutely no assistance to anybody beyond the 1% (who will benefit greatly from favorable trade deals, gov't contracts, and tax cuts and loopholes).

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