A President during the waning days of an administration is referred to as a “lame duck”. It follows then that with Barack Obama as our current lame duck, a whole bunch of even lamer ducklings are waddling along behind him.
In mindset they truly are like as naïve and uninformed as the young. Just a few days ago one of their number proudly informed me that she was firmly behind Hillary – she called Hillary “HRC” as if that elevated the more vaginal of the two elder Clinton’s stature. I asked her, “what about Bernie?”. She didn’t know. She claimed she had no idea what Bernie Sanders was all about despite his stunning rise among Democrats.
When I asked her what else she was uninformed about, she had little to say aside from a remark that Obama was “one of the best Presidents”. Did she know that Obama described himself as “lazy” I asked. She admitted she didn’t know anything about that. She just knew he was “best”. He was “best”.
I guess it’s hard to know about things when you’re chugging the Kool-Aid.
She was tame compared to another Obama die-hard I encountered. Our conversation was preceded by the recent David Brooks piece in the New York Times which lamented the impending departure of Barack Obama from the Presidency. To summarize the Brooks piece for those that haven’t read it, David said he’d miss Obama – his article goes on to wash clean the Obama years in a historical revisionism the likes normally seen coming out of places like Pyongyang.
Did the Obamunist think Obama was a great President? Of course he did. Obama gave us healthcare and ended wars I was informed. But what about ISIS and the Middle East? Crickets. And, if Obama gave us healthcare why were Hillary and The Bern out there running on the issue of healthcare reform? In fact, listening to both Democratic Presidential contenders, didn’t it sound like Obama hadn’t accomplished much of anything at all?
Once the personal insults were dispensed with, the Obamunist readily admitted that he’d support a third term for Barack.
Just a third term, I asked, why only three?
Yes, he admitted he’d support a third, fourth, even a fifth term. Maybe more. The idea of a 20-plus year Presidency didn’t phase him at all. Hey, this was Barack Hussein Obama we were talking about.
In the wake of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s passing, the same types of people came out of the woodwork. Didn’t I understand that Obama was still the President? That meant Barack Obama would in no uncertain terms put someone in to replace Scalia.
Umm yeah, Obama would in fact nominate someone. That’s his Constitutional duty as the Chief Executive. Obama has no choice but to do this.
But didn’t I understand that no matter what Mitch McConnell said, Obama was going to name someone?
Umm yeah, and then that nominee would have to go through Senate confirmation. At present, the Senate is GOP-controlled with Mitch McConnell as the Majority Leader.
For many this was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. Not in the sense that they became unhinged. But that they couldn’t understand what I was getting at. While it’s impossible to discern the inner-workings of another’s mind and soul, it appeared that these lame ducklings expected Obama to simply decree a new Supreme Court Justice into being.
Why the rush, I pressed? Obama after all pushed Congress in 2009 to adopt a frenetic approach towards passing stimulus legislation. He then let It collect dust on his desk while he appropriated Air Force One for Valentine’s Date Night With Michelle in the Big Apple. If the Republicans in the Senate turned down or deferred to confirm Obama’s nominee, why worry? Did they fear Hillary or Bernie might not win the general election in November?
“Obama can nominate someone in an election year”, was the response. Of course, it avoided my question but then again isn’t that what liberals always do – dodge the question at hand.
Their next knee-jerk was to dig up the example of Justice Anthony Kennedy as a precedent for election year Supreme Court nominations. The more clever liberals simply said “1988”, as if repeating the digits representing the year in question said it all.
Except that Kennedy wasn’t nominated in 1988. Nope. Nor is the Kennedy example the precedent liberals say it is.
Anthony Kennedy filled a vacancy created when Justice Lewis F Powell Jr retired from the Supreme Court in June 1987. President Reagan nominated someone – Robert Bork – to fill that vacancy in early July 1987. Back then, Democrats controlled the Senate. They scuttled Bork’s nomination. Reagan next nominated Douglas Ginsberg. Senate Democrats – Joe Biden among them – were quite open regarding their willingness to delay Ginsberg’s confirmation. Biden suggested December 7, 1987 as the start date, if not later, for the confirmation process. Douglas Ginsberg eventually declined his nomination following revelations that he had used marijuana in the 1960s and 1970s. On November 30, 1987 Reagan nominated Anthony Kennedy. The Senate confirmed him on February 3, 1988.
“See, 1988!”, I was told.
Except that Senate Democrats could have confirmed Kennedy earlier. Reagan nominated Kennedy on November 30, 1987. Joe Biden chose to defer action until after the 1987 holiday season. Moreover, Kennedy was the third of three nominees. The Senate could have confirmed Bork or Ginsberg well before November 30, 1987.
“But umm, 1988!”, I was again told as though Democrats had nothing to do at all with Kennedy’s confirmation occurring when it did.
Thing is, Presidential elections in 1988 weren’t like what we’re seeing today in 2016. In 1988, satellite TV was a novelty and many didn’t have cable. ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, and one or two local stations were all there was to watch. Computers weren’t commonplace. Phones were most often corded – when they weren’t they had a ginormous antenna that was used to connect it to a base station that in turn connected to landline. In 1988 a “text message” was a hand-written note in block lettering – not cursive – on paper, often folded and passed by hand from sender to recipient. Back then, there was no 24/7 news cycle and there weren’t political campaigns that ran on and on and on like the bunny in a name brand battery commercial.
The 1988 Presidential primary process wasn’t the same as 2016’s either. The first primary in 1988 was a GOP contest in Michigan on January 14 of that year. Democrats didn’t run a contest until after February 3, 1988. Anthony Kennedy was confirmed in the earliest weeks of 1988 with only one GOP contest completed. It wasn’t as though a great deal of electoral water had passed under the bridge.
And it was a matter of Senate Democrats’ rejecting nominees then deferring Kennedy’s confirmation until early 1988. As always, Democrats created the mess but want credit for fixing it later on.
Maybe the math was too hard to comprehend. Or maybe for Obamunists used to imposing the standards of the current time period upon history, it was impossible to comprehend that 1988 and 2016 weren’t identical. In either case, dead silence was the response.
No matter what, I was to understand that Obama was a great President. “One of the best”. And there was still so much to do, which was why Obama was worthy of more than two terms. He’d done so much that somehow so much more was left incomplete. I was left wondering, were Obama allowed to retain the Presidency until January 2033, what else would be left for an aged Chelsea Clinton or a Sanders grandkid to fix?
So it goes when talking with the lamest of America’s lame ducklings.
Image: Courtesy of Pete Souza; https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Barack_