Do it for RBG | On Politics | Chicago Reader

Do it for RBG 

It’s time for Democrats to finally fight back against Trump and McConnell.

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click to enlarge "My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed."

"My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed."

courtesy Supreme Court of the United States

I know I’m not alone when I say this—but those damn, dirty Republicans have made it almost impossible to properly mourn the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

For example . . .

As I write this, the Supreme Court just announced that RBG will lie in repose at the court Wednesday and Thursday, and at the U.S. Capitol on Friday. So, mourners can pay their respect.

Then she will be buried.

And almost immediately thereafter President Donnie will announce his nominee to fill her vacancy—undoubtedly some far-right, anti-choice, union-busting Federalist Society soldier of fortune, whose assignment will be to undo all the good that RBG managed to accomplish during her long and productive legal career.

So much for decorum. So much for dignity. So much for honoring RBG’s desire, as dictated to her granddaughter in her final days: "My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed."

Trump has already said he thinks that final request was fabricated—as though the granddaughter’s a liar.

No, it’s just shove the body into the ground and move on with their dirty deeds. “The funeral baked meats did coldly furnish forth the marriage tables,” as Shakespeare once wrote.

Never mind that this all contradicts the principles invoked by Senator Mitch McConnell and other Republicans back in 2016, when they blocked President Obama from filling Antonin Scalia’s vacancy—wouldn’t even give Judge Merrick Garland a hearing.

McConnell then: “Give the people a voice in the filling of this vacancy . . . ”

McConnell now: Go fuck yourselves!

That may not be his exact quote—but it’s the gist of things.

So, yes, it’s hard to properly mourn RBG in these shark-infested waters.

And, yet, I feel blue. Partly it’s personal—I think of my mother, who died two years ago, when I think about RBG’s death.

OK, so RBG was a supreme court justice. And my mother was a Chicago Public Schools teacher and teachers union activist.

But they’re from the same generation and similar humble backgrounds.

Ginsburg was a few years younger than my mom. She would have been one of the younger siblings trying to hang out with the older crew at the Jewish Community Center.

Point is, it’s the passing of a great generation.

From what I’ve read, Justice Ginsburg was reserved—almost demure—and cautious about making provocative political comments.

My mom, in contrast, was the life of the party. She swore like a sailor and got right in your face when it came to arguing politics.

A passionate New Deal Democrat, she had utter disdain for most Republicans. Don’t get her started on Senator Susan Collins, who has a long history of pretending to take strong stands only to fold under pressure.

Ah, yes, nothing like politics to get me past the mourning stage.

Trump has promised to nominate a woman—as if all women justices are the same.

You watch—before the Republican propaganda machine is done, you’ll think that whoever he nominates is a saint. And that any attack on her—whoever she is—will be an attack on all of sacred motherhood.

I’m getting sick to my stomach just anticipating it.

Here’s the raw math on senate confirmation—that most of you have probably already memorized.

The senate breakdown is 53 Republicans, 47 Democrats. All 47 Democrats will undoubtedly vote against whomever Trump nominates. That means they’ll need four Republicans to break ranks to defeat the nominee.

Two are on record as saying they will do so—Senators Lisa Murkowski and the aforementioned Collins. So, we need just two others—hello, Mitt Romney! After him, just one more.

Several Republican senators are up for reelection. For Republican senators like Cory Gardner of Colorado and Collins, it will be the kiss of political death if they’re forced to vote on the nominee before the election.

My guess is McConnell will go for a lame-duck session confirmation vote—delaying it until the few weeks between the election and the start of a new senate session.

Lord knows what sort of post-election madness will be erupting by then. For all I know, Trump, having lost, will declare martial law to hold onto his power. As his former advisor Roger Stone advocates. Anything’s possible with the evil William Barr at Trump’s side.

I can think of few things more cynical than McConnell calling for a lame-duck confirmation vote just before the Democrats take over the senate and the White House. Sneaky Mitch.

If there’s any good that comes from all of this, it’s that it should kill forevermore the fantasy—spun by centrist Dems—that modern-day Republicans are politicians of principle who think of the country first.

As opposed to back-alley brawlers who will do or say anything—no matter how contradictory—to win a fight.

Already there’s talk in Democratic circles of packing the supreme court, should Republicans replace Ginsburg in the face of Biden’s victory.

That is—adding more seats to the bench to undercut the Republican majority. As FDR tried to do back in 1937.

A year ago, the only guy I knew who talked about court packing was David Faris, the Roosevelt University political science professor, who wrote a book—Time to Fight Dirty: How Democrats Can Build a Lasting Majority in American Politics.

Faris has long argued that Democrats should stop playing the when-they-go-low-we-go-high strategy that has never and will never work.

So, it’s reassuring to hear even centrists like Senators Tim Kaine and Chuck Schumer talk about court packing. Though, if I know centrist Dems, you’ll have to stand right behind them to keep them from running away from that fight.

In the meantime, this may come down to—gulp—the vote of Susan Collins. Man, I wish my mom were alive to add her voice to the chorus calling on Collins for once, just once, to do the right thing.  v

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