The Glengarry leads are reserved for closers, but the Schumer leads are reserved for upper-echelon closers:
But a lot has happened since 2013. And if Michael Bennet has learned anything over the past six years, it’s that you should never doubt Mitch McConnell’s commitment to Senate norms or basic fairness. Therefore, Bennet now believes that if Democrats hadn’t abolished the judicial filibuster in 2013, McConnell would have never considered weakening it in the Trump era: Even if Democrats refused to confirm a far-right justice to the Supreme Court, McConnell would have just sighed and implored the president to find another, more moderate nominee (someone like Merrick Garland, perhaps). And if honoring procedural norms meant forfeiting an opportunity to secure conservative control over the federal bench for a generation, well, that’s a price McConnell would have gladly paid for rewarding the Democratic Party’s demonstration of good faith in 2013.
Notably, Bennet is not alone in this position. It actually might be the consensus view of Chuck Schumer’s caucus. The Minority Leader himself has said that he regrets going nuclear in 2013. “I argued against it at the time,” Schumer explained in 2017. “I said both for Supreme Court and in Cabinet should be 60 because on such important positions there should be some degree of bipartisanship. I won on Supreme Court, lost on Cabinet. But it’s what we have to live with now.”
Again, this contention is only coherent if we stipulate that Senate Republicans would have dutifully honored the Democrats’ right to filibuster judges — even if it meant sacrificing a once-in-a-generation opportunity to reshape the Judicial branch in the conservative movement’s image — so long as Harry Reid had held his fire six years ago. If we don’t make this assumption, then the only thing Democrats would have accomplished by preserving the judicial filibuster in 2013 would have been to help McConnell keep even more judgeships open for Donald Trump.
And that assumption is, of course, insane. McConnell’s contempt for fair play and commitment to consolidating his party’s power are not secrets. The man wears his bad faith on his sleeve. This is the guy who said publicly in 2010 that the congressional GOP had to prioritize undermining Barack Obama over all policy goals. He’s the man who raged about the irresponsibility of Obama’s fiscal stimulus — in the depths of historic recession — then championed Trump’s deficit-financed tax cuts in the middle of years-long expansion. The one who refused to grant Merrick Garland a single hearing, citing a Democratic precedent for nullifying Supreme Court appointments in a presidential election year that did not exist.
I mean, how gullible do you have to be to think that had Senate Dems not broken the blockade of the D.C. Circuit, McConnell would have gladly let the Democratic minority shut the nomination process even though getting as many judges confirmed as possible is his top political and substantive priority? We don’t even really have to speculate — Leahy and company tried to make the blue slip a thing again, and Republicans completely ignored it as soon as Trump was inaugurated while Grassley openly laughed at them. They’re marks who want to keep coming back for more. Bennet, Schumer and all would sink their life savings into Bernie Maddoff’s new fund if he could start one from prison.