GAG, Merrick Garland Edition. (And Krugman Is Just So, So Mystified That So Many Progressives Support Sanders.) –

Yves here. Beverly Mann is angry about Obama’s Supreme Court nomination so you don’t have to be (as much).

By Beverly Mann. Originally published at Angry Bear

Dan Crawford gave me the news this morning before I’d already learned of it. He emailed me with the subject title: “Merrick Garland…here we go!” He linked, without comment, to the NYT article on the announcement.

I responded:

UGH. I guess the idea is that there just aren’t enough super-establishment Supreme Court justices already. We definitely need one more.

And Krugman is just so, so mystified that so many progressives support Sanders.



I’ll post at more length later today; I don’t have time right now.  But at the risk of drawing attention to the attention of the Secret Service, in an unpleasant way, I will take the time right now to say to Obama: Drop dead.*

And I’ll take the time to note this: The title of the NYT article is “Obama Chooses Merrick Garland for the Supreme Court.”  Its subtitle? “Appeals Court Judge Is Respected by G.O.P.”  Well, the G.O.P. that the Washington in-crowd hasn’t noticed isn’t all that popular right now with, um, some of the G.O.P.


*Na-na-no; this is said facetiouslyThe  drop-dead part, that is. Please, Secret Service. Really.  I don’t like Joe Biden all that much, either.


UPDATE:  This blog post in Slate by someone named Michael Gerhardt, whom I’d never heard of before and who is not identified there by anything other than his name, makes me cringe.

This guy’s bottom line: Yup, can’t be a merit nominee to the Supreme Court unless you’ve been an intrinsic part of the Centrist Establishment in Washington for, say, several decades.

And interestingly narrow definition of merit, wouldn’t you say?

Okay, well, actually he is identified by more than his name.  He’s a Centrist Establishment person.  Just an educated guess, but still ….

Fittingly, the post title is, “Merrick Garland deserves to be on the Supreme Court.”  Because what matters is what Merrick Garland deserves, not what the multitude millions of people whom the Supreme Court pretends don’t exist.  Or just aren’t worth the time of such an august group.  Or even a moment’s thought.

Then again, there is this hopeful note, also from Slate.  It’s by Jim Newell, Slate’s main political analyst.

Added 3/16 at 6:32 p.m.


UPDATE TO UPDATE:  Calmer now.  Reread Jim Newell’s awesome article and agree with every word of it.  Including why Obama almost nominated Garland to fill John Paul Stevens’ seat for real. Which pretty much sums up why I can’t stand Obama and don’t want a third Obama term in the person of a chameleon.

Added 3/16 at 7:10 p.m.


PS: Greg Sargent writes:

I’ll bet that a big part of his selection was that Garland was willing to go through the process knowing he probably won’t get to actually serve on the court, while a younger judge who could have another chance later might not want to.

In thinking about it more, I’m betting that that was a very big part.  As in, none of the others would accept the nomination, and told Obama so.

Repubs apparently now think they can have the last laugh.  Senate Repubs reportedly now are considering whether to confirm during the lame duck session after the election if Clinton wins.  But of course, then Garland would be expected to withdraw if Obama does not withdraw his name saying that Clinton and the new (Democratic-controlled) Senate should handle it.

This post is starting to feel not like a blog post but like a blog.

Added 3/16 at 8:36 p.m.


PS TO PS:  Yup.  It’s been officially confirmed by go-to-Centrist Ruth Marcus: Garland resoundingly (her word) deserves to be confirmed, and what really matters is what Garland deserves.

Her piece is titled “A Supreme Court nominee too good for the GOP to ignore.”  I’m not kidding.  That’s its title.  You really have to read this thing.  The whole thing; you don’t want to miss the part about her running into him on the street after she became a well-known Washington Post journalist.  Her piece apparently is not intended as a parody of a Washington insider’s view, although it does double duty as that.

Yup. This post is a blog unto itself.

Added 3/16 at 9:02 p.m.

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    1. John

      No it’s not, unless you like grey skies and cold rain.
      Better to wait until hell/trump nominated to run away, weather will be better.
      I’m waiting for Fbi rescue.

      1. pretzelattack

        speaking of the fbi, there’s a story at the guardian (comments not enabled) about some allegations by member of the local sheriff’s dept. that the feebs removed bullet casing fired at the scene by their agents without telling anybody. i don’t have much sympathy for that crowd, but otoh it is the fbi.

      2. Desertmer

        Lol. Actually mid March is often lovely in Paris and at Versailles! Most years. And the mobs of tourists have not begun yet for the most part. School trips can be present but if you go early in the week and/or later in the day you are more likely to avoid them. Early Spring flowers are usually out as well though that varies from year to year. My daughter and family has lived in France for a decade so far so we visit often at many times of the year.

      3. Brooklin Bridge

        Versailles is a monstrosity, everything about it twisted – though remaining square and screaming symmetry like a kid having a tantrum – to an absurd scale – virtually every last brick and stone dedicated to insane ego. It’s ugly as sin. Walking, or more accurately slogging, thorough it is a nightmare where you keep thinking, “I could be doing this hike in the woods and fields; what the hell am I doing here?”

        So cold and grey is the soul of this edifice that raw early spring is a perfectly reasonable climate, as good as it gets, for a visit with our likely fate, the electronic version, in Washington.

        1. nippersdad

          I have to disagree re Versailles being a monstrosity. I thought it quite beautiful, a real architectural achievement and one of the few arguments for having the occasional plutocracy. Once they build it you can then chop their heads off and have an exemplar of both the power of the people and a lovely park to celebrate it in.

            1. JEHR

              BB, I had a similar feeling about Versailles: all that gaudy yellow (is it really gold?) looked fake and ugly. I did like the little buildings in the back meadow, though, where the queen used to spend much time apparently.

              1. inhibi

                Give me any Japanese temple or shrine over Versailles any day.

                I’ve always dislike gardens and architecture that try to defy nature than become one with it. French gardens are the extreme of the spectrum and garish.

                1. nippersdad

                  But that is exactly the point of the exercise! The rationalist style embodied by Versailles was meant to show the mastery of man over nature, whereas the Japanese aesthetic is meant to make one a part of nature; to celebrate it. In the case of Versailles, it was not merely meant to convey mans’ mastery over nature, but the French kings’ political mastery over man as well.

                  They are meant to be extremes, by design.

            2. nippersdad

              No real criticism intended; as you say, just a difference of opinion. As a kid I studied all of the styles of architecture and landscape design, so it is kind of difficult for me to express value judgments when it comes to the ultimate examples of various different styles, whether rationalist or romantic. We could just as easily have been talking about Tsarskoe Seloe, which truly is over the top.

              The one style I simply cannot abide is the minimalist Euro, pioneered by Corbusier. Glass boxes just do not seem like architecture to me.

        2. Gio Bruno

          The same symmetry in Versailles is quite evident in Washington, DC, no? This is part and parcel of the French eccentricity and infatuation with sight lines; better to show off statues and fountains. While the detail in the Versailles architecture is impressive, the overwhelming scale of it all is, well, overwhelming. (That was likely the intent of King Louis XIV.)

          The gardens of Versailles don’t fair much better, in my view. They consume too much water, and are extremely difficult to maintain. We should all be glad that Fredrick Law Olmsted, and not L’Enfant, designed the Greensward we all know as Central Park, NY.

          1. Som

            Sight lines? I was taught that for Paris, at least, the sight lines were added post-1789 for the benefit of using cannons to control unruly masses.

          2. nippersdad

            The Capability Brown/English naturalist school of landscape architecture upon which Olmstead built was a direct consequence, a reaction to, the more rationalist designs of the French and Italian schools/styles that L’Enfant practiced/implemented.

            It can be argued that without L’Enfant you would not have Olmstead.

  1. readerOfTeaLeaves

    Garland aside, it’s worth noting that that Trump’s signature phrase is,You’re fired!”.

    Maybe all those newly active Trump voters will support the GOP’s snarfing at the Government Gravy Train while failing to perform their jobs. Maybe all those new Trump voters actually want the GOP to continue collecting their pay, medical, and retirements for stalling and obfuscating. It’s possible.

    Nevertheless, the resonance of Trump’s “You’re Fired!” meme seems to build in rough proportion to the incompetence, arrogance, insolence, and sheer buffoonery exhibited by the Political Class in general.

  2. Jeff W

    Ah, Krugman on Sanders…

    In response, part of one comment from Tim Kane of Mesa, Arizona (with close to 1500 reader “recommends,” as of right now):

    Sanders? A demagogue? Surely you jest. How much are the Hillary people paying you? What have they offered you?

    It is you on Hillary’s behalf that have mendaciously demagogued against Bernie, first with the Friedman study – something that a) he didn’t have anything to do with, b) was not unorthodox study; then in the last column you suggest Bernie was a scam artist; Now you call him demagogue.

    Sanders is essentially arguing a return to FDR’s New Deal AKA Keynesian economics. You know, the same things you believed in before you flipped out over Sanders advocating them for real in a real election contest. You dedicated an entire chapter to his views in your book “The Conscience of a Liberal” titled “The Great Compression.”

    All Sander’s is arguing for is that ordinary people’s interest be higher up in priority than billionaires.

    Your/Hillary’s response is tantamount to Mr. Potter’s [of It’s a Wonderful Life]: “What does that get us? A discontented, lazy rabble instead of a thrifty working class, all because a few starry-eyed dreamers like Peter Bailey [or Bernie Sanders], stir them up and fill their heads with a lot of impossible ideas!”

    [Link added – Lionel Barrymore’s performance is too good not to share.]

    1. Steve H.

      mmm.. Lionel. And Jimmy may have been a conservative, but he walked the walk, and that speech is a rallying cry against inequality.

      Hmm. ‘It’s A Wonderful Life” as a Christmas show in a church with seating for 1200. Doesn’t that sound Wonderful?

    2. TomD

      It’s pretty wild to see Krugman “evolve” this election from Sanders is right but asking for more than is feasible, to Sanders is a demagogue.

  3. jgordon

    I’ve already heard a couple of times in the past few weeks that we must get a Democrat elected because Supreme Court. Anyone else? Obama sure is making a compelling case for that argument now.

    1. pretzelattack

      it is important to confirm democrat nominated center right wingers cause lesser of 2 evils.

    2. Brooklin Bridge

      excellent point. P in P. (pudding) And get set to grit your teeth as progressive friends tell you just how brilliant and realistic the choice is.

    3. Tiercelet

      This is what happens when you have abortion the sole litmus test, as though the party actually had the guts to defend it in most of the Union.

      Instead it’s a useful rhetorical device–don’t look at any of the rest of a nominee’s record!–while the places where it would remain legal are fine, and the ones where Roe really matters, strangle it with clinic-only regulations.

  4. pretzelattack

    just skimmed the newell article, can’t really agree so much with obama’s first term naivete; i don’t think he was naive or playing 11th dimensional chess, he really likes center right wingers because he is one.

    1. Desertmer

      I agree. I think he deliberately feinted left as an up and comer in running for the offices he has held but in looking carefully in hindsight at his voting patterns, speeches and behavior, it is fairly clear not only was he a center right guy all along but that he was, as Yves said, a chameleon or as my son says, “a shape shifter worthy of his own Sy Fy channel show”.
      He and Hillary are indistinguishable in their goals – only the masks they display to the people they represent are different.

      1. Donald

        I can’t get very mad at Obama for doing this though, because he is a typical politician and what he does works for him in winning elections. He barely bothers to conceal his centrism and as with the Clintons, he still has a great many self- described progressives who eagerly defend everything he does. I understand lesser evilism in the voting booth, but if people refuse even to admit the evil, then there is no chance of anything ever changing.

        So for me the real problem are the passionate Clinton and Obama fans whose attitude is that there is no corrupt Democratic establishment in the same sense that there is on the Republican side. Krugman was claiming this the other day. You end up with people defending Clinton’s speeches because everyone cashes in– I’ve actually seen people argue this. Or they accept the claim that Libya was about humanitarianism, despite the lies and the utterly inconsistent way people react to Libya vs Gaza or. Yemen. Or they say the offer to cut Social Security was 11d chess or worse, justified. With supposed liberals making these kinds of arguments, there is every incentive for the Clintons of the world to act the way they do.

        1. jrs

          That’s part of the problem with lesser evilism at the voting booth, yea it might occasionally at times, (although was Romney really any more evil? doubtful.) though by no means always, make sense, if people were rational. I can even concede that. But people aren’t rational, and so cognitive dissonance, they vote and they develop a need to justify the vote and the campaigning and hoping by something other than just “lesser evilism” and then …. they can’t see evil.

          Honestly though in the Romney/Obama contest, it was pretty clear from early on that most of “lesser evilist” were arguing in very bad faith indeed, and actually supported Obama and were not just voting for him as the “lesser evil”.

      2. Tiercelet

        No, there’s a very important difference–Barack Obama’s career has been about the personal glorification, ambition, and enrichment of Barack Obama, while Hillary Clinton’s career has been about the personal glorification, ambition, and enrichment of Hillary Clinton. Not the same at all!

    2. steelhead23

      I see Garland’s nomination as Obama’s crass play to outmaneuver McConnel – period. It isn’t about nominating the best juror, or someone best suited for the job, or even to leave a lasting Obama legacy on the court. He nominated someone the majority of the Senate would support (sadly) – a situation that puts McConnel in the position of either eating crow and bringing the nomination to the floor – or holding to nyet and hoping the GOP wins the presidency. As a lefty, I am hoping McConnel stands strong.

  5. roadrider

    So the Slate guy’s idea of a “liberal” selection is the guy who defended Jeff Skilling?

    1. Vatch

      At first I was confused, because I didn’t understand how Garland was involved with Skilling. But you are referring to Srinivasan, who was Skilling’s appellate attorney in 2010.

  6. DJG

    So this is another too-clever-by-half maneuver? Quelle surprise, to quote Yves. But our entire era is too clever by half, which is why it feels so empty and so close to failure.

  7. flora

    so, uh, a supreme is going to be appointed because he “deserves” it? is this ‘getting a medal for effort’ self esteem movement stuff?
    and he’s old enough he probably won’t serve long?
    why am I thinking of all the old Soviet premiers in the late 70s who were appointed after faithful party service, then died after a couple of years. (The premier is suffering from a cold, just a cold.) sheesh.

  8. nippersdad

    From the Krugman column:

    “…the underlying assumption behind the establishment strategy was that the voters could be fooled again and again: persuaded to vote Republican out of rage against Those People, and then ignored after the election while the Party pursued its’ true, plutocratic-friendly priorities, Now comes Mr. Trump…and the establishment is being destroyed by the monster it created.”

    And then he goes on to beat down the hippies. Has anyone ever seen a purer example of projection than this? He really needs some kind of award in recognition of so unalloyed an achievement.

    1. Jim Haygood

      “he goes on to beat down the hippies”

      Be glad he didn’t eat them. After all, the feral economist Krugthulhu is notorious for devouring sheep and other small mammals, and leaving their entrails strewn across hillsides pour décourager les autres.

      1. nippersdad

        He is prolly saving that for when the Sandernistas decamp prior to the November elections. Something to look forward to?

    2. BradK

      He really needs some kind of award in recognition of so unalloyed an achievement.

      What, another one?

  9. blurtman

    What about concerns that Obama is proposing a Supreme Court that in no way represents the demographics of the USA? Isn’t the president a champion of diversity?

    1. SpringTexan

      That does not mean that EVERY appointment must be an ethnic minority member or woman. I think this is not a warranted criticism.

      And I’m a lot happier with Garland than I would have been with Srinivasan and his history representing the oil companies on civil rights.

    2. Massinissa

      I have to agree with Texan. You cant choose someone for anything JUST because of their race. It can be a factor, but it shouldn’t be the only one. Its like saying Ben Carson should be the president instead of Sanders because Sanders is white and Carson is black.

  10. Tertium Squid

    Hey, remember when most of the internet celebrated Scalia’s abrupt demise?

    Fun times.

  11. Dan Lynch

    Garland is anti-gun and that’s a red line in the sand for the Republican base.

    Liberal vs. conservative characterization of Garland is not helpful. It’s more of a libertarian vs. authoritarian thing. Garland seems consistently authoritarian. That may be fine with Obama and fine with beltway bubble Republicans, but not fine with the Republican base.

    1. SomeCallMeTim

      So we’ve already had advice and consent of the Senate (power broker)? Then McConnell’s Calvinball episode hasn’t further diminished the dignity and standing of our leadership?

  12. EverythingsJake

    Ruth Marcus is one of the most odious members of the Washington set. She is committed to cutting social security, so much so, I have wondered if some catfood industry like lobby is kicking money her way in the hopes they’ll increase their market share with the senior set. There are few I would be happier to see subject to the guillotine, if that day should come.

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