Here's a number for you, Sen. Grassley: 816,429.
That's how many Iowans preferred President Barack Obama over Mitt Romney in 2012. That's how many "voices" your utter obstructionism is silencing from your home state in the name of false principle and partisanship.
Chuck Grassley continued to impale himself on his party-first sword last week, following Obama's nomination of centrist U.S. appellate Judge Merrick Garland to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Garland won't get the hearing before Grassley's Senate Judiciary Committee, as is outlined in the U.S. Constitution, Grassley said. Obama is a "lame duck," Grassley falsely asserted, as if November's General Election had come and gone. The "people" must have a "voice" at the polls, he sang in chorus with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Sorry, Senator. The people had a "voice." Obama -- the president congressional Republicans have tirelessly worked to undermine at every corner -- won by more than three million votes. Last time we checked, a president serves a four-year term.
Grassley's intransigence and dereliction of duty is par for the course.
Obama "acts like a king," shrieked many a Republican shill over the past seven years. His presidency is clearly "over," conservative talking heads squealed as early as 2013.
The hyperbole and disrespect for constitutional law boils down to one consistent message: Obama's presidency isn't legitimate. He's a Kenyan-born Muslim, spewed the radical right-wing that's on the verge of crushing the party. The establishment responded with a nod and a lawsuit over executive orders.
We already opined on the ridiculous notion that Grassley hopes to reserve a Supreme Court slot for freshly elected demagogue-in-chief Donald Trump. We've already noted that Grassley is playing with fire in an election cycle that looks set-up for Democrats hoping to seize the Senate and maintain the White House. Garland tilts ever-so-slightly leftward. Justice Elena Kagan might like look a centrist compared to a Hillary Clinton nominee destined for Democratic-controlled vetting.
But, honestly, Grassley's "voice of the people" dogma, while he stalls for late Justice Antonin Scalia's reincarnation, is tiresome and flatly dishonest.
Two-thirds of Americans -- Republican, Democrat and independent -- believe it's the Senate's duty to hold nomination hearings, says a recent ABC/Washington Post poll. Fifty-five percent of respondents disagreed with Grassley's obstruction in a NBC/Wall Street Journal poll. Those fair-minded Republicans being left behind by a party out of control, they too see through Grassley's charade. It's a political time bomb and November is coming fast.
Sen. Mark Kirk understands the political minefield his GOP colleagues are treading. The Illinois senator became the first Republican Friday to call for a hearing and vote on Garland's nomination.
Put plainly, this isn't a classic partisan issue. Senate Republicans -- and their K Street donors -- are in a stand off with the entire country. It's just another symptom of a party more concerned with placating its radicalized fringe than rank-and-file supporters. And Iowa's senior senator is leading the unconstitutional charge.
But then-Sen. Joe Biden, a Democrat, railed against a late-term appointment two decades ago, says the Senate GOP spin machine. Then-Sen. Obama supported a filibuster of Justice Samuel Alito's appointment in 2006, it protests.
Of course, like the ridiculous "voice of the people" straw man, Senate GOP's "two wrongs make a right" pitch doesn't hold up. Biden was wrong in 1992. Grassley is wrong now. But Biden's complaint was purely hypothetical, a substantial difference from Grassley's insistence that the Supreme Court operate shorthanded for 11 months. Obama's attempts to block Alito were, of course, through a parliamentary procedure because the Senate did its job and held the very hearings Grassley now refuses to convene.
Judge Garland was lauded by Republicans when appointed to his appellate post. He sided with the Bush administration when its treatment of detainees went to court, a ruling overturned by the Supreme Court. In almost any year, Garland would be a moderate consensus candidate.
But this isn't just any year. It's a year of Republican rage. It's a year of right-wing disdain for constitutional principles counter to its reactionary doctrine. It's a year of demonizing the 63 million Americans who voted for Barack Obama in 2012.
It's the year of acting as if the majority's voice doesn't count.