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Old 12 July 2018, 09:41 PM
thorny locust's Avatar
thorny locust thorny locust is offline
Join Date: 27 April 2007
Location: Upstate NY
Posts: 9,802

Originally Posted by erwins View Post
It was a move to presumably provide better political/rhetorical cover than voting the nominee down outright. .
For the party as a whole, it provided far worse cover. It looked much worse than voting him down would have.

For individual Republican senators, it may indeed have provided better cover. But, if they had not been so covered, some of them may well have voted for Garland.

Standing up against McConnell's refusal to schedule a vote would have required a whole lot of them making a loud fuss, at least to have any effect at all. One, or a few, making a large complaint wouldn't have moved McConnell; nor a lot of them grumbling in the corners. That would only have been sticking their necks out for no result whatsoever. Meeting individually with Garland would also have accomplished nothing -- it's the Senate as a whole which holds the hearings that are supposed to matter, and McConnell would have had to schedule those. Voting for Garland would have been a one-at-a-time decision that McConnell wouldn't have been able to block, had there been a vote; and for which they might have been pressured by their constituents -- including, very likely, some Republican constituents expecting Clinton to win the next round, and afraid that Clinton would nominate someone they'd like much less. And, since it would have required a number of them -- 60 votes were still needed at the time -- quiet agreements among a small number of Republican senators among themselves could have given them all a certain amount of cover in the primaries -- look, I wasn't the deciding vote, there were all these other people!

I don't know whether enough of them would have defected. But I strongly suspect that McConnell didn't know whether enough of them would, either.
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