If you read nothing else about the Gorsuch confirmation battle, read this.
Democrats single-handedly and unilaterally introduced the concept of judicial filibusters against majority-supported nominees, then proceeded to unilaterally end it, all over the course of about a decade. They started the practice when they were in the minority, then blew it up when they were in the majority.
Republicans are not entirely blameless in these wars, as the GOP has inflamed tensions at various stages along the way, often through various forms of retaliation. But the broad-strokes record is clear:
- The Democratic Party has been exclusively and repeatedly responsible for the biggest provocations, over the span of decades.
- They have insisted upon an ever-changing set of standards under which they get their way, whether they are in or out of power.
- They have sought to impose special restrictions on Republicans, shamelessly changing the rules of the game when the roles are reversed.
Modeling better behavior has not succeeded in shaming them. Targeted retaliation has not chastened them. They have increasingly approached these battles as zero-sum blood feuds, whereas Republicans have naively believed that honoring Senate traditions, with some turnabout sprinkled in, would dissuade their opponents from future provocations.
The Garland episode was an important turning point, when the GOP finally force-fed Democrats a taste of their own medicine; and boy, did they hate it. And thus, a zero-sum fight, waged lopsidedly by one party for years, was at last fully engaged.
With their enraged base seething with blind fury, Democrats are now on the precipice of one final escalation. Democrats began and endlessly advanced this partisan war, but the time has come for Republicans to end it.
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