By Earle I. Mack
As a lifelong Republican, who has always been realistic on social issues and conservative on fiscal and governmental issues, I would be deeply dismayed if we lost control of Congress because Republican hardliners in the Senate, blinded by politics, have lost their common sense. They fail to acknowledge the danger facing our country by holding hostage the confirmation of centrist Chief Judge Merrick Garland of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.
Let’s put aside the Presidential race and its hashtag campaigns. Republicans in this country need to grasp the broader implications of not filling Justice Scalia’s Supreme Court seat. I have impartially looked at the credentials and record of Chief Judge Garland, and I think he would make a fine Justice given the high stakes facing the Republican Party today. He has been fair in his rulings, and has shown none of the ultra-liberal judicial activism that would endanger the Supreme Court’s balance. By continuing to use the Garland nomination as a political tool, Republicans in the Senate are not only risking their credibility, but risking the loss of the Senate, the ability to confirm or reject future Presidential nominations, and possibly decades of an activist bench.
There is no reason to drag this nomination out any longer. It is far better to confirm a known variable than to risk everything on the hopes that a long-shot Republican victory in November — despite polls — will offer a better nominee.
According to popular online odds makers — where people actually put their own money at risk — Hillary Clinton has a 4-11 shot of winning the Presidential election. The Donald is 9-4. As a conservative investor, I don’t like those odds. By confirming Judge Garland now, before we are faced with a far worse alternative, we can show that the Senate, with Republican leadership, is smart enough to make tough choices, and also send a signal to independents, millennials, women, minorities, and gay Americans that Republicans in Congress are ready to work, and not just perceived to be the party of no.
We must hold on to six endangered Republican Senate seats this year: Florida, Illinois, Wisconsin, Ohio, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania; five of which are considered either “swing” or “battleground” states for the presidential election and all are states that Governor Mitt Romney lost in 2012. By continuing to block this confirmation, we are not only giving Democrats an issue to use against these vulnerable Republican Senators, but worse, are potentially risking decades of a possible liberal, activist Supreme Court. If we act judiciously, proceed intelligently, and use good political rationalization before the election – not after, Republicans can avert disaster, not just in the short-term but potentially for years to come.
George Bernard Shaw, the Irish playwright and Nobel Laureate once said, “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world. The unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” Republicans, it is time to stop being the unreasonable party, by being immovably on the right. It’s time to show the country that, despite policy disagreements, we are fit to lead and can make responsible choices.
Let this serve as a wakeup call to Senator McConnell and GOP leaders to take a bold leadership stand and confirm Judge Garland immediately; thus averting a devastating decision that could cost the Republican Party not only the Senate, but their own credibility and good standing. Remember, it is not only conservatives who vote in general elections. The Senate and the Supreme Court are in your hands.
Don’t let your legacy, the future of the Republican Party, and our country, suffer.
Don’t let the tail wag the elephant. There could be more at stake here than the Presidency.