Obstruct Like A Republican

By Jonathan Riley, 2/4/2017

Thousands of protesters surround Chuck Schumer’s house day and night with signs that say “Chuck’s a chicken,” “Get a spine, Chuck,” and “Obstruct like a Republican.” These protesters demand the minority leader use the filibuster to block the nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. 

Why wouldn’t he block Trump’s nominee, you may ask? After all, Chuck Schumer opposes the judicial philosophy of Gorsuch, which is said to be a carbon copy of the late Antonin Scalia’s, as much as anyone.

The argument against using the filibuster goes like this: if Democrats filibuster Gorsuch, Republicans will use their power as the Senate majority to change the rules to eliminate the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees and then put Gorsuch on the Court anyway. It would be preferable, the argument goes, to preserve the filibuster for the next time Trump is given the opportunity to put someone on the bench. After all, Gorsuch would be a conservative replacing a conservative (Scalia), but next time we may be talking about Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s seat. Better to have all the tools of obstruction at the Democrats disposal at that point, when the balance of the court may actually shift rightward.

The obvious problem with this argument is that if Republicans would be willing to eliminate the filibuster now they would be just as willing to eliminate the filibuster later. This tool is not worth fighting to preserve if it will be thrown out the moment it is used.

The important thing is that Democrats take back the Senate, and to do that they must prove to their base — those protesters outside of Chuck Schumer’s house — that they are willing to go to the mat to fight for them. Preserving the filibuster for Supreme Court appointments is already a lost cause. Prove to those who are willing to turn out to protest that if they turn out to vote in the midterms it will make a difference if more Democrats are elected.

Get a spine, Chuck. Obstruct like a Republican.