I came across this interesting reaction to today’s nuclear explosion:
All I can say is I expected this; it was the rational choice for the Democrats. In many ways, Republicans are victims of their own good fortunes. Now that it looks very likely the Dems could lose the Senate next year, the next 13 months are the last chance Obama will have to render a personnel legacy, that of the judges and various other bureaucrats that remain in power effectively exercising his will for decades to come. Someone else made the point that since he will essentially be limited to governing by fiat instead of signing laws, he could really use a stacked DC Circuit, which rules on most of these matters, that hitherto has been standing up to his abuse of power (i.e. the illegal recess appointments he made last year).
If Obamacare didn’t look like it was going to cause significant losses for Senate Dems, we wouldn’t be in this situation. Consider it a vote of no-confidence in their electability. This was their best move.
As for the immediate impact, Mel Watt is the most dangerous nomination, however, not the three Bundists he’s sending to the DC Circuit. Watt is a complete buffoon, to say nothing of his total lack of qualification for the housing post, and given his penchant for casual DC corruption, it could lead to serious problems relatively quickly.
Despite the fact I think this was the best strategic action for the Dems to take at this point, I can’t help but wonder if it may not be an incredibly foolish blunder in the “long game,” which Obama is the master of, we’re often told. Dems forget that they’ve essentially already won the “long game.” They got Obamacare, they achieved higher and more “progressive” taxes, they got Dodd-Frank…they did it all with about 60 senators in Obama’s first term. They have the entire Great Society and New Deal, with infrastructures that haven’t changed or been meaningfully reformed in decades. They have the EPA, Davis-Bacon, campaign finance limits, food stamps, net neutrality, unions for government workers. The last 100 years have been a steady march in one direction with the occasional detour or course adjustment (Coolidge, JFK’s tax reform, the Reagan Era)…but now the Dems have jeopardized all of that for a handful of presidential appointments (maybe a few dozen).
They will rue the day. Come January 2017, when there is a non-trivial chance of a Republican president, Republican House, and 50+ Republican Senators…I cannot wait to see the tears on faces that were so proud, so stoic today. Obamacare will be repealed 51-49 in the Senate, a flat tax passed by that same margin, Miguel Estrada and Janice Brown will sit where Breyer and Ginsburg sit now. Congrats, I say to the Dems, you just removed the only obstacle to truly conservative legislation and originalist constitutional interpretation.