“Progressives think McConnell is bluffing on the nuclear option,” reads the headline at Hot Air. Gee, where would the political Left have gotten that idea?
If you said from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) himself, go to the head of the class. On Sunday, McConnell said, “Judge Gorsuch is going to be confirmed. The way in which that occurs is in the hands of the Democratic minority.”
Does that mean McConnell will exercise the nuclear option and eliminate the filibuster so that Neil Gorsuch doesn’t need 60 votes for confirmation to the Supreme Court?
Well, notice that McConnell didn’t say he’d use the nuclear option. Instead he uses the phrase “the way in which that occurs” which leaves him a lot of wiggle room. For example, McConnell could agree to lots of Democrat-favored spending increases to get to 60 votes.
In January I said this about McConnell’s mealy-mouthed statements regarding Gorsuch’s confirmation fight:
When Schumer vowed to filibuster Trump’s nominee, McConnell should have replied, “If Chuck tries that, I’ll not only nuke the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees, I’ll nuke it entirely.” He’d then go on to say how much easier that would make it to repeal Obamacare, cut taxes, eliminate a bunch of government agencies, take an axe to laws like the Davis Bacon Act, etc., etc.
McConnell should say something like that now.
It might give him what he really wants: confirmation of Gorsuch without nuking the filibuster. At present, he is between two and four votes short of the 60 needed to end a filibuster. If he threatened to nuke it entirely, he’d probably peel off enough Democrats.
Unfortunately, he has neither the fortitude nor the strategic acumen needed to make such a statement.
And that does not portend well for Gorsuch.