McCain Rinos on Constitutional Option

April 18, 2005

If I were counting on John McCain to betray the GOP on the judiciary filibuster issue he didn’t disappoint. As is so often the case, McCain has taken the position that will please the New York Times editors more than grassroots conservatives. He is opposed to the constitutional option, which would change the Senate rules to ensure that the president’s judicial nominees can be confirmed on a majority — as opposed to a super-majority — vote.

McCain, according to the Washington Times, told Chris Matthews:

“Look, we won’t always be in the majority,” Mr. McCain told MSNBC’s “Hardball” host Chris Matthews Thursday night. “I say to my conservative friends, someday there will be a liberal Democrat president and a liberal Democrat Congress. Why? Because history shows it goes back and forth. I don’t know if it’s a hundred years from now, but it will happen. And do we want a bunch of liberal judges approved by the Senate of the United States with 51 votes if the Democrats are in the majority?”

The simple and straightforward answer, Senator McCain, is “Yes,” we want the Senate to be able to confirm or reject a judicial nominee on a majority vote, no matter who is in office — the way it’s always been. McCain always seems willing to debate the issue on the terms the Democrats choose. He is acting as though the constitutional option is some draconian measure designed to allow Republicans, while in the majority, to take advantage and slam their judicial preferences through in derogation of the minority party’s rights. Nothing could be further from the truth. The judges have always been confirmed by a majority vote. The Democrats are the ones who have invoked a “nuclear option” by deciding to change two hundred years of practice and force the nominees only to be accepted by a super-majority.

If McCain weren’t such a reliable sympathizer of the Left, he would understand that the issue should not be framed the way Democrats are brazenly framing it — to make Republicans look like the bad guys, like the aggressors. Republicans are merely planning to use their majority clout to effect a rules change that will restore the status quo, which has been extra-constitutionally robbed from us by Democrats.

I also ought to add that Democrats will take advantage of their majority in any way they can — NO MATTER WHAT REPUBLICANS DO OR DON’T DO NOW. They’ll shut down the government and say it was the GOP’s fault. They’ll confirm judges to remake the Constitution in their image. And they’ll invoke the constitutional option in a second if they would even need to. Republicans probably won’t ever filibuster their nominees so the issue may never come up. But for John McCain to worry that any action Republicans might take could result in retribution from Democrats is beyond ludicrous. They have been in full-blown retribution mode since the 2000 elections.