On Monday night, vulnerable Republican Senator Cory Gardner and increasingly senile Republican Senator Chuck Grassley both announced their support for moving forward with the nominating process to fill Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Supreme Court seat. So if there is a fourth GOP Senator who’s going to stand alongside Murkowski, Collins, and (potentially) Romney, it’s not clear who that person might be.
Here’s the thing, though. Having enough votes to move forward with the nomination process is not the same thing as having enough votes to actually confirm a nominee. Mitch McConnell will spend the next week trying to convince us it’s the same thing, because he wants us to think we’ve lost this battle, so we’ll stop fighting him on it, which in turn will give him a better chance of winning it.
That means our job is to not get psyched out by McConnell’s head games. He lies all the time, so why would we suddenly believe him now? The reality is that Cory Gardner is agreeing to move forward with the nomination process as a trial balloon, to see if it causes conservatives in Colorado to rally behind his failing reelection bid. If it has the opposite impact on his numbers, he could start leaning against confirming the nominee. After all, like any Republican, he only cares about keeping his seat – and he’ll do what he has to do, whether McConnell likes it or not.
Mitch McConnell doesn’t have this. He may end up succeeding in confirming a nominee and he may not. But as of right now, he doesn’t have this. It’s all still up in the air. He’ll tell us he has this, because the best thing he has going for him is if we conclude he’s going to win no matter what, and give up. But there’s plenty of work to be done in this battle, which is still just getting started.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report