It would be fun watching Iowa senators tie themselves in verbal knots to justify their craven power grab if our very lives weren’t at stake.
On Monday, just days after Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died, Sen. Chuck Grassley issued a statement saying he would support the president in confirming her replacement.
Never mind that this directly contradicts his comments in July saying he would abide by what is known as the Merrick Garland standard, which holds that a president’s Supreme Court nominee isn’t confirmed in an election year. Never mind that it was Grassley himself who helped invent the Merrick Garland standard, by refusing to vote for Merrick Garland when President Barack Obama nominated him to fill the vacancy left by Justice Antonin Scalia. Forget the actual truth.
Grassley, who spent the weekend tweeting about a “pidgin” who died in his yard, tried to wash out his hypocrisy by saying this time it was different. And no, no not because it’s a white president instead of a Black one.It’s because this time, to use Grassley’s own words, “While there was ambiguity about the American people’s will for the direction of the Supreme Court in 2016 under a divided government, there is no such ambiguity in 2020.”
Which is a lot of words to just say, “I’m craven and power hungry.”
“ … there is no such ambiguity in 2020” is doing a lot of verbal work here, because every federal race in Iowa is in a dead heat. Sen. Joni Ernst, a Republican incumbent, could very well lose her seat. The current president lost the popular vote and is polling way behind his challenger. Even in the math of the Electoral College, Trump is struggling.
Honestly, Chuck, there is a lot of ambiguity.
Grassley spent the next day trying to deflect from his hypocrisy, attacking a story that he had not met with Garland. He had met with Garland, Grassley insisted in a tweet. “How many more falsehoods should we expect from Democrats,” he asked. But the real falsehoods are the one he’s perpetuating by pushing to fill the court’s vacancy before the election.
It’s not that I thought Sen. Grassley would do the right and honorable thing and not make a liar out of himself. He already did that earlier this year, by voting against conviction in the impeachment of President Donald Trump.
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During the impeachment, I wrote a column comparing Grassley’s comments during the Clinton impeachment to the impeachment of Trump. The senator’s spokesperson then reached out to me to let me know that things were clearly different, I had misunderstood. But the misunderstanding here is Grassley’s own. The only difference between 2016 and now is as stark as the difference between a white president and a Black president, and over 200,000 Americans dead.
The only difference is that the stakes are considerably higher.
In a way, there truly is no contradiction. The impulse to force through a justice who will inevitably try to vote to overturn Roe. V. Wade and force women to give birth, is the same impulse that sits idly by as hundreds of thousands of American’s die.
Grassley has worked hard to establish a legacy of rooting out corruption and protecting whistleblowers. But in the end, with his pidgin-hearted support of a president that is overseeing the deaths of Americans, that legacy doesn’t amount to much more than a pile of pidgin poop.