MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 21, 2020
Too soft to be self-governing: Ruth Marcus' column in Sunday's Washington Post hit almost every basic point.
At first, the column seemed a bit soft in the head. Hard-copy headline included, Marcus started like this:
MARCUS (9/20/20): Ramming through a replacement would be a disaster
There must not be confirmation of a successor to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg before the election; indeed, before the inauguration of the next president. Ramming through a nomination at this late date would tear the country even further apart than it already is. It would destroy what is left of the Senate’s ability to operate in a bipartisan way. It would be terrible for the Supreme Court.
To our ear, that sounded almost inanely naive.
There must not be a quick confirmation? Donald J. Trump, our disabled commander, shouldn't try to ram one though?
That sounded inanely naive. Why would anyone think that Donald J. Trump, with votes from at least fifty of the 53 Republican senators, wouldn't try to ram a nomination through?
Why would anyone even imagine that this wasn't going to happen?
Will Trump end up getting those fifty votes? We can't necessarily tell you. However, we can tell you this:
Given the situation which now exists, three Republican senators could vote their consciences (or could be allowed to say they're doing so) and the commander's vice president would proudly cast the deciding vote in a 50-50 Senate.
In this way, a president who lost the 2016 popular vote by a substantial margin would decide the makeup of Supreme Court for the next many years.
Having lost the popular vote, he would ram this lifetime appointment though on the basis of a tie vote! A one-term president who lost the popular vote would have selected one-third of the Court, which has long since become a political branch of the government.
Is that what's going to happen? There's no way to know for sure. That said, an even worse disaster lurks as a result of this sudden, though actually not-so-sudden, turn of events:
With this less than sudden turn of events, the whole landscape of the presidential election has likely undergone a change.
Before this not-so-sudden turn of events, we would have spent the next six weeks discussing the commander's crazy behavior with respect to the coronavirus.
It's even possible that our major journalists—or even Candidate Biden himself!—would have stumbled upon gruesome data like those shown below. It's possible that the public would have had a chance to think about what these astounding statistics might possibly seem to suggest:
Deaths from Covid-19, September 10-16:
United States: 6,258
United Kingdom: 78
Shall we adjust for population? Germany is about one-fourth our size; Japan is more than one-third. In short, our floundering nation's ongoing death rate represents an astonishing failure to bring the virus to heel.
Before the recent (not so) sudden event, it's possible that American voters would have had an opportunity to learn about those numbers. They might have had a chance to think about the commander's performance in light of numbers like those.
That said, our vastly incompetent media stars hail from Harvard, Columbia, Yale. For that and various other reasons, the odds are good that they wouldn't have emerged from wardrobe, makeup and hair long enough to become aware of those astonishing data.
(Or from the "showmanship" lessons Chris Hayes described in 2013, soon after he was made a nightly cable news performer/entertainer.)
In all likelihood, the electorate would never have seen those numbers. For many years, with respect to quite a few major topics, this is the way our failing nation's reindeer games have been played.
Still, the commander's lunatic handling of the virus would have been center stage for the next six weeks. Now, the commander will get to fight a different battle—a battle he's likely to win!
The conversation will turn to that; there will be no astonishing data for the public to ponder. Not-so-suddenly, we're facing a very different election, one our disordered commander-in-chief may be more likely to win, at least in the Electoral College.
The election may not unfold that way, but it certainly could. And this remarkable shift will have emerged from a sudden turn of events which actually wasn't real sudden.
As yesterday's column continued, Marcus quickly stopped sounding soft in the head. She cited almost every basic point which exists at this stage of play.
(In our view, the one major point she failed to cite is the way the election's central topic has now suddenly changed.)
Marcus hit almost all major points. She even mentioned the point we highlight below—but not without apologizing for having said the thing we've all been told not to say:
MARCUS: “My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed,” Ginsburg told her granddaughter in a note dictated just before her death.
Here, with some hesitation, I must pause to observe that this catastrophe could have been averted by Ginsburg herself. The justice chose not to retire before the end of President Barack Obama’s second term and bristled at suggestions that she ought to do so, in case. As it turned out, Ginsburg’s bet that Hillary Clinton would be elected, and that her successor could be named by the first female president, was disastrously wrong.
"With some hesitation," Marcus said that Justice Ginsburg disastrously lost a bet.
Most likely, Marcus spoke "with hesitation" for several reasons. On the one hand, it isn't polite to seem to criticize a good and thoroughly decent person who has recently died.
On the other hand, the fact that "this catastrophe could have been averted" is a highly significant point. For better or worse, we've been told by our failing tribe's thought police that we mustn't discuss it.
We'll discuss that admonition tomorrow; it emerged from a usual source. For today, we'll only say this:
As everyone knows, this sudden turn of events wasn't real sudden at all. And Marcus's assessment is perfectly accurate:
Justice Ginsburg's gamble concerning her own mortality has quite possibly "turned out [to be] disastrously wrong."
Her gamble may re-elect Donald J. Trump. Even if the commander is defeated, her gamble may repeal Roe v. Wade. It may doom the Affordable Care Act.
Such results wouldn't make Justice Ginsburg a bad person or a villain. But our tribe's reaction to her potentially disastrous gamble says a great deal about us.
As a group, are we too soft to be self-governing? Is there any sign—any sign at all—that we're actually up to that task?
The children are writing their feel-good, personality pieces even as this potential disaster takes shape. They keep providing us with the warm, cozy feelings in which we love to wrap ourselves as we hide inside our caves and our tents.
Our failing tribe's journalistic sachems have been behaving like they're soft in the head for at least three decades now. We're supposed to be a self-governing people. Is there any sign, over here in our tents, that we're actually up to the task?
We'll examine that question all this week. Top experts say the answer may be a less-than-sudden no.
Tomorrow: Commissar instantly speaks