Following the announcement by Pres. Obama that he is nominating Merrick Garland, chief judge of the federal court of appeals for the D.C. circuit, for the vacancy on the Supreme Court, Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican Majority Leader, met with reporters to clarify why Republicans refuse to perform their duty under the Constitution to hold hearings for a candidate nominated by a standing President. Sounding frustrated that his position had been misunderstood, Sen. McConnell began:

“Many ugly accusations have been made about the Republican majority in the Senate. Some allege that we are being obstructionist for partisan political reasons, and would never do this if the standing President were a fellow Republican. I assure you that this has nothing to do with our decision!

“Here is the simple truth: we are stalling the nomination process so that Hillary Clinton’s first act in office when she is elected President in November can be to nominate her own choice for the Supreme Court. Basically, this is our way of thanking Hillary Clinton for stopping Trump. I mean, my God! Can you imagine if that lunatic Trump were actually elected President?”

Sen. McConnell visibly shuddered before continuing:

“We Republicans have to admit that we kind of dropped the ball on this one by putting up such an unlikeable bunch of alternative nominees that Trump has become our presumptive candidate. But we know he’s nuts as much as everyone else does. So we will really owe Hillary a solid when she crushes him in the general election. What better way to say ‘Thank you!’ than having a Supreme Court vacancy waiting for her on her first day as President? We’re even gonna have a cake waiting for her in the Oval Office that Judge Garland will jump out of. Oh, but don’t tell her that. It’s gonna be a surprise. I will now take questions.”

REPORTER: “Senator McConnell, doesn’t this conflict with your earlier statements that the vacancy on the Supreme Court should not be filled until after the Presidential election because “the American people‎ should have a voice in the selection” and that Senate Republicans could not affirm a nominee opposed by the National Rifle Association?

McCONNELL: “You didn’t actually think I was serious about those things, did you? The American people already have a voice in the selection of the next Supreme Court justice because they elected Obama President twice. And surely no Senator with even an ounce of decency or self-respect would admit that a partisan non-governmental organization has veto power over the decisions of his party.

“Look, we all know that never before in the history of the US has the Senate refused to at least consider a nominee for the Supreme Court, regardless of when in the election process the nomination was made, or which parties controlled the White House and the Senate. Republican President Herbert Hoover nominated Benjamin Cardozo during an election year, and he was unanimously approved by the Senate. After Justice Anthony Kennedy was nominated by Reagan, the Senate vetted and confirmed him during an election year. Nixon nominated William Rehnquist and Lewis Powell for the Court within one year of a Presidential election, and both were confirmed. Heck, the Senate even approved John Paul Stevens for the Supreme Court when he was nominated within one year of a Presidential election by Gerald Ford, and Ford was never even elected President! We also are well aware that the majority of Americans oppose our refusal to consider any Obama nominee. Finally, we realize that it is silly to compare the contemporary situation, in which we are refusing to even consider a Presidential nomination, with Reagan’s nomination of Robert Bork, because the Senate did consider his nomination.”

REPORTER: “Sen. McConnell, are you concerned that, if Hillary Clinton is elected President – ”

SEN. McCONNELL: “You mean when Hillary Clinton is elected President. According to a recent poll, against Clinton, Trump would get about 14% of the Hispanic vote, about 11% of the Asian-American vote, and about 5% of the African-American vote. And a poll from December of 2015 showed that, among Republican voters, Trump has the strongest support from those with only a high school diploma or less, and the least support from those with a college or graduate degree. No wonder Trump has been endorsed by Hulk Hogan, the porn star who was in the Ted Cruz campaign ad, and that guy who played ‘Chachi’ on Happy Days. But this isn’t the 18th century. You can’t get elected President with just the votes of white illiterates.”

REPORTER: “Okay, Senator, are you concerned that when Hillary Clinton is elected President, she might nominate someone more liberal than Judge Garland? After all, Republicans have frequently praised Judge Garland in the past as a thoughtful and well qualified moderate. If I may quote Republican Senator Orrin Hatch: ‘I know him personally, I know of his integrity, I know of his legal ability, I know of his honesty, I know of his acumen, and he belongs on the court.’”

SEN. McCONNELL: Yes, we Republicans know that we are really giving it away to the Democrats this year, but we also feel pretty bad about the whole Benghazi thing and want to make up for that too. We grilled Hillary for 11 hours, and didn’t get even a single sound bite we could take out of context to use against her.”

REPORTER: “So, you’re suggesting that perhaps the Benghazi hearings might possibly have been motivated to a certain degree by partisan politics?”

SEN. McCONNELL: “Well, duh! We Republicans have admitted on numerous occasions that the whole Benghazi thing is purely political. Let’s see now [starts to count on fingers], first Representative Kevin McCarthy admitted on Fox News that the Benghazi panel was created to pull down Hillary’s poll numbers, then Representative Richard Hanna admitted that ‘there was a big part of this investigation that was designed to go after people and an individual, Hillary Clinton,’ and of course Major Bradley Podliska stated that he was dismissed as an investigator from the Benghazi panel because he objected to the committee’s obvious partisanship. However, as conservative commentator Erick Erickson lamented: Hillary was ‘far too bright to be trapped’ by the committee. (Hmm. Nominate a bright person for President? We’ll have to seriously consider that next time.) Okay, one final question.”

REPORTER: “Senator McConnell, what if Senator Sanders wins? Sanders is way ahead in the polls against Trump too, and I understand that the author of this parody is voting for him when the primaries come to his state.”

SEN. McCONNELL: “Listen, we’ve had this coming for a while, one way or the other. Après nous le déluge!”

Caricature of Mitch McConnell by DonkeyHotey, used under Creative Commons Attribution Generic 2.0 License, from Flickr.

About The Author

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Bryan W. Van Norden is a leading expert on Confucianism, Daoism, and Buddhism. He is the author, editor, or translator of nine books on Chinese and comparative philosophy, including Introduction to Classical Chinese Philosophy (2011), Readings in Later Chinese Philosophy: Han to the 20th Century (2014, with Justin Tiwald), Readings in Classical Chinese Philosophy (2nd ed., 2005, with P.J. Ivanhoe), and most recently Taking Back Philosophy: A Multicultural Manifesto (2017). Van Norden lives in Singapore, where he is currently Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple Professor at Yale-NUS College. He is also Chair Professor in Philosophy in the School of Philosophy at Wuhan University (PRC) and James Monroe Taylor Chair in Philosophy at Vassar College (USA). A recipient of Fulbright, National Endowment for the Humanities, and Mellon fellowships, Van Norden has been honored as one of The Best 300 Professors in the US by The Princeton Review. His hobbies are poker (he has played in the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas) and video games.