Little has shown the Republican-majority Congress to be so stubbornly determined not to lead as Senate leaders' pronouncement this week that they will not consider, not vote, not even meet with a President Barack Obama Supreme Court nominee.
"In short, there will not be action taken,"said Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, as he urged President Obama to not even submit a name to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia.
The pledge was about as clear as it gets that the Senate's GOP-majority will do everything it can to thumb its nose at President Obama and try to prevent any possible shift in the ideological balance of the nation's high court. Until Scalia's unexpected death, the court vote usually split along partisan lines with a 5-4 vote tilted to conservatives. The real message of Senate leaders was unmistakable: Forget the business of the country and by all means let's keep our ideological fiefdoms in place.
McConnell and other Republicans said the president should "let the people decide" with the November election.
Of course, the people already decided. Twice. They voted President Obama into office to lead this country until Jan. 20, 2017. And, by the way, since 1900, the Senate has voted on eight Supreme Court nominees during an election year. Six were confirmed.
Obama said Wednesday it would be "difficult" for McConnell to explain his decision not to consider a Supreme Court nominee without looking like he's motivated by politics. And that was especially true a short time later when Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid suggested a Republican, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, as a potential nominee.
Within hours, however, Senate GOP leaders again made it clear that compromise was not part of their game, even though the administration had made the first overture. They would block even one of their own.
"The Leader didn't say the Senate would act 'if' it was a certain type of nominee. He said the Senate wasn't going to act until the next president made the nomination," McConnell spokesman Don Stewart said in an email.
The refusal naturally helps Democrats in their efforts to paint Republicans as extreme. Likewise, Reid in advancing Sandoval's name, no doubt knew the heartburn it would cause for the GOP. As John Fund of the conservative National Review put it, "How better to apply pressure than to appoint a Hispanic Republican — and former federal judge — who might fracture the united front of GOP senators who have come out against an Obama nomination?"
On Thursday, Sandoval took his name out of the running. After all, who would want to be the pawn in this skunk fight for the next year?
The National Review had called Sandoval "the most liberal of the country's 29 Republican governors," noting that "his liberal leanings transcend abortion" and he is the only GOP governor who both expanded Medicaid in his state and set up a federal health-care exchange.
Ahhh — whither compromise? It's not enough to be a moderate Republican. One would have to be an evangelical Christian AND most importantly not nominated by President Obama.
Forget WWJD (What would Jesus do?). In this particular instance, even Jesus likely couldn't get GOP consideration for the high court post if it were President Obama who offered his name for a vote.
WWV4J. Who would vote for Jesus?