Wishing for Democracy

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S1: If you follow me on Twitter at PEOC a.m., I will not follow the gist at Slate, just we will take it easy on the MEEMS.

S2: It’s Monday, September 21st, twenty twenty from Slate, it’s the gist. I’m Mike Pesca.

S1: Ruth Bader Ginsburg has died and the Republicans have vowed to bring Donald Trump’s nominee to a vote forthwith.

S3: In the rage and grief, loud voices on the left have decided that the best strategy is to declare that the Democrats will retaliate by attacking the court, expanding it to 11 or more justices.

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S1: Jill Filipovic, Washington Post Democrats have only one play here. Democrats should threaten to pack the court. And if McConnell pushes through a new justice and then Joe Biden wins, they should follow through. Jamelle Bouie. The only thing that could potentially keep that seat unfilled is a credible threat to expand the court. David Corn writing in Mother Jones, retweeted by MSNBC’s Joy Reid. The Senate needs to bring a bazooka to a gunfight by which he means, quote, Chuck Schumer, with the backing of Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi, needs to threaten massive retaliation should McConnell try to ram a Trump nominee through. Schumer ought to vow that the Democrats will move to add two or more seats to the Supreme Court. A couple elected officials agreed, notably Senator Markey, Representative Joe Kennedy. I say stop this talk. By that, I do not mean don’t think about it. Don’t consider the strategy. I don’t even mean don’t do it. I mean stop talking about it. Don’t vao don’t threaten, don’t warn. Joe Biden is great in playing on the grounds that the Republicans are unfair, the Republicans are radical, the Republicans violate norms, therefore are abnormal. But once he becomes the candidate of taking the nine person Supreme Court that we have all known for our entire lives and turning it into a football team or a minion with a spare Mörner, then who is the radical now? If elected? Joe Biden and the Senate Democrats very well may or even should pack the court if elected. Let us consider the if part taking an action and loudly pledging to take the action or two different considerations. John Dean put it this way on CNN.

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S4: This is a very legitimate thing to expand the court. It also is a very legitimate thing to smack Mitch McConnell back for taking this action, to invite this kind of activity.

S1: There’s a difference between legitimate and advisable. And I’m advising the Democrats not to make the vow. Such a vow creates an argument that is a lot worse than the one that Joe Biden is pursuing now. In other words, the winning argument, the currently winning and working argument. And by the way, Joe Biden should absolutely act in high dudgeon that the Republicans stole Merrick Garland seat. Go nuts on that. Just don’t go so nuts as to appear more nuts than the nutter butter in chief. I know. I know. Joe Biden would be well within his rights to have a good packing. Sure, he might be able to pull most Americans to his way of thinking. You know, it kind of is the fair thing. Yes, yes. Yes. I’ll concede the premise just to point out that I’m not saying if court packing is a good or bad argument. I don’t think it’s a good argument. I’ll explain a little more why. I just definitely think it’s a worse argument than the current winning argument that he is pursuing. Let’s look at history. No Democratic president was more popular than FDR and FDR was at the height of his popularity in early nineteen thirty seven, he just rolled up the greatest electoral victory since Madison ran unopposed in 1820. And among his first pieces of legislation introduced after this great win was the Judicial Procedures Reform Bill of nineteen thirty seven February of 1937. Now, Gallup had just invented polling and after this extremely popular president introduced a signature piece of legislation, Gallup found that fifty three percent of the public was against the initiative and it didn’t seem to ever get much more popular. This was a time dominated by a single party, the Democrats, a time when an extremely popular legislative agenda, the New Deal, was imperiled by a recalcitrant court. Right. None of those situations are true now. And still, Americans did not like the radical change of trying to expand the court. In fact, Donald Trump is a radical change to the presidency and Biden is a return to normalcy. And the public likes normal. McConnell’s ramming through a nominee paired with denying Merrick Garland his seat is a radical shattering of norms. The public does not like that. Why would the Democrats tie themselves to a radical departure from rule and tradition when the thing that is working so successfully is they’re quite credible? Promise that they will save us from radical departures, the radical departures we have been experiencing suffering through. Also, by the way, Biden himself has said that he’s against court packing. This would make him look like a hypocrite. America hates hypocrites. There are. Republicans are really going after the role of hypocrite, let them I do think the message massagers within the party actually agree with me. Other than Ed Markey, I’m not hearing a lot of senators saying out loud, we need to blow it all up.

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S5: This doesn’t take a good old fashioned court packing off the table. If Biden wins the presidency and the Democrats win the Senate, it does make that table more tangible and put Democrats in a position to actually make change. It is not fecklessness. It is a furtherance of the pursuit of power. It is not an abdication in the face of Republican relentlessness. To that end, on the show today, I should feel more about the politics around Ruth Bader Ginsburg. I will, in a way, cite a case addressed by Cinderella v fairy godmother, also a little bit of Geneva, Aladdin et al. But first, let’s take a breath. Let’s take a step back and let’s tend not to our bodily humors or partisan passions, but to our higher intellect, philosophy. Eric Weiner has been gleaning advice from the greats and pairing it with modes of travel that lend themselves to lives of the mind, taking the train or taking a walk.

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S3: The name of his book is The Socrates Express in Search of Life Lessons from Dead Philosophers, Serenity and Eric Weiner.

S1: Eric Weiner is an old friend and colleague of mine. And then he went and wrote a book, The Geography of Bliss. It was a bestseller. He followed it up with the geography of genius. And just when you thought you’ve got a trend or a an institution on your hands, he goes and breaks it, not inform, but just in title with the Socrates Express in search of life lessons from dead philosophers. Hello, Eric. Hi, Mike. This is a geography book, though. I don’t know why you didn’t decide to call it the geography of philosophers, i.e. via trains.

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S6: I don’t want to be too sticky. You know, I suppose someone would call it a brand, and that’s good. But I’m trying to mix it up. And it is similar to my other books, but it’s also different. It’s a little less focused on the travel, a little more on the philosophy, a lot more in the philosophy, actually. And it involves a train as a supporting actor role or several trains or the idea of trains, the idea of trains. Right. Because I love I love train travel. I love the experience of writing a train. I could care less about tonnage ratings or track gauges or anything like that. I just like taking trains slowly, thoughtfully and for long periods of time. There’s something just very cozy about it. And yet you’re moving through time and space.

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S5: I think that’s what I like about trains and even well, I’m not going to say planes because there’s so much screwing up the aeroplane experience. But the fact that you could be doing something even moderately productive if you’re doing that at 80 or 90 or 100 something miles an hour, if you’re actually doing that combined with forward momentum, I think it exponentially improves your productivity, like you’re being productive upon productive. And it’s a great feeling.

S6: Wow, you’re right. But airplanes, though, it doesn’t work. It falls apart at six hundred miles per hour. And I challenge anyone to think on an airplane. It is actually impossible. No good ideas are born at 30000 feet, but many are born on trains. Harry Potter was conceived on a train. British Rail. There’s all kinds of scientists who’ve done their best thinking on trains and for a while I’m not sure if they’re still doing it. Amtrak had a sort of writers in residence program where you could write on Amtrak and write the next great American novel while crossing the country.

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S7: So what’s the difference? You define the difference between wisdom and intelligence, and then I’ll lay on you what I always thought it was.

S6: Well, I would say between wisdom and knowledge, right. So knowledge is organized data and information that makes sense to us. But wisdom is what you do with it. And we live in an age where we we don’t know what to do with all this information. And yet we continue to think that if we just get more data, more information put in a broadband connection, every home in the country, that we will be happier, lead richer, more meaningful lives and be wiser in it. It doesn’t work that way. Knowledge and information can actually be an impediment to wisdom.

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S7: But to some extent and by the way, my understanding of wisdom was always shaped when I played Dungeons and Dragons as a kid. And there was one category for intelligence and one category for wisdom. And everyone kind of knows what intelligence is. But they always said, you know, who’s wise? Edith Bunker is wise. I mean, I guess if you grew up in the 70s, you understand that she’s not necessarily intelligent, but she is wise. And in fact, she does have some sort of wisdom. She does have some sort of sense. I do wonder if the. AC4 is in your book, are striving towards wisdom or just striving towards something like settling themselves because the world is such a hairy and chaotic place, the fact that two very compelling and interesting and worthy philosophers can be at odds and sometimes argue with each other, well, how can it be wisdom if Trotzky and Samon, we all are 180 degrees apart on different philosophies? Or maybe I should take someone other than Trotsky, but, you know, real philosophers who debate. How could that be wisdom if they disagree philosophy is the vehicle, not a destination.

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S6: And you can have different vehicles moving in different directions and that doesn’t make one wrong and one right. And if we think about philosophy as sort of a poor substitute for for science in the search for the truth, then it’s going to fall short, even though science used to be part of philosophy. But that’s another story. But if we look at philosophy as less trying to figure out the world and more what one person calls life enhancing poetry, then it takes on a different meaning. It’s sort of like play off your question. It’s like saying you can read two different novels, you know, War and peace and give me another novel. Quick, quick Harry Potter and the Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone and say, well, these are two very different novels, you know, and they reach different conclusions and and yet they can both be good and useful and they can both, in a way, be true. And that’s how I approach philosophy.

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S7: Me too. But I think I don’t know if I’m doing it wrong, but I’ve never been so beholden or enraptured by a philosopher that I have bought or subscribed to his or her philosophy. So what I mean is I like the insights. I like the individual gleanings. It’s sort of like if to say you’re a fan of movies, but only like the composition of some shots, I really appreciate them. But then when you fold it into the whole, I find almost all to be wanting.

S6: Well, yeah, but you’re wanting to write like I mean. Yeah, I know, right. And that’s I mean, that’s the thing is like if we hold these philosophers up on a pedestal as these saintly figures and this is what we tend to do, then they’re just removed from us. They’re not accessible. And the 14 philosophers in my book were all fully human. They all were kind of odd in many ways. I mean, Rousseau would moon people in public and expose his backside. And Schopenhauer talked to his poodle and they were unhappy in varying degrees and they suffered in varying degrees. So they didn’t have it all figured out. They don’t. But they should have, I guess, more heroic in their persistence in looking for answers to life’s questions than the rest of us who just turn on Netflix and say, oh, fuck it, you know, I’m just going to watch I’m just going to binge watch something instead. They lived for the most part in a time long ago before Netflix, but I don’t think they would have binge watched. They as I said, they were heroic. They persisted with the questions much longer than most of us do.

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S7: But when you talk about the philosophers in the book and Epicurus is there and there are a couple of, I guess you would say, happy ones or ones who figured out how to live a non miserable life. But most of them are somewhere on the depressive scale, although, you know, if Rucho missed curfew, his employer would beat him. So this seems to be living at a time when circumstances conspired not to make you happy. But my question is about the correlation between depression as what we know of as a chemical imbalance, let’s say, and mindset.

S5: Do you think one fuels the other? Do you think that a depressed person is more prone to sit down and try to figure out what’s going on in the world, what’s going on there?

S6: It’s a good question. Probably the most depressive of the lot that I write about is Schopenhauer. And he was a real grump. And he he said, I’m paraphrasing here, life is a miserable affair and I’ve decided to devote my life to studying it. That kind of sums up the philosophical view. To some extent. You have to be a little bit dissatisfied in order to be a philosopher, in order to be creative, to for that matter, if you’re fully satisfied, you’re just going to sit up and you’re not going to ponder these questions. You’re not going to pursue them. You’re not going to probably host a daily podcast either if you’re fully satisfied because you’re too busy being satisfied. So there has to be something about your personality, whether it’s chemical or not, that is dissatisfied, is seeking answers, is asking questions. And I hesitate to say philosophy only about asking questions because you do seek answers, but it’s much more focused on the question part.

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S7: Then we are in our daily lives, and that’s that’s what I like about it now of the places that you go to because you try to meet these philosophers where they lived. So you go to Frankfurt, which I’ve been to, and I’ve been to the Van Gerta Museum there. So they celebrate their men of letters. But it was just funny to me how shunted away in the collective conscious of that city and perhaps by extension the world Schopenhauer is, you have to go to great lengths to even find what could be called a Schopenhauer museum.

S6: There is no museum. There’s just a collection of archives. You have to make an appointment to go there. And it’s like they really do everything to deter you from going. And he, you know, he lived there for 30 years. He was a pretty famous philosopher, is considered one of the greats now, but no museum for him. So he was kind of a sad figure. But I have to say, he paints the world as a very dark place. There’s this thing called the will, which is sort of like gravity, except it’s evil and it’s everywhere. It is pervasive. There’s no escaping it except for two ways, either the way of the monk or the way of art and in particular music. And he loved music and he played the flute. He loved Rossini. And he thought that the arts and particularly music was one way we could escape this gravitational force of evil. And in a way, it’s kind of a Buddhist idea, too, that we forget ourselves, we lose the sense of self. And so even this gloomy philosopher of pessimism saw listening to music, listening to your own inner voice in a way as redeeming qualities.

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S7: A lot of the philosophers I mean, Gandhi’s in their quasi philosopher Confucius, you find a lot of meaning in I don’t know, we could call it things like calm or mindfulness or a meditative state over and over again, except, yes, is radical.

S6: Excess is is a theme, I would say, among many of the philosophers. You know, they arrive at it through different routes. You know, the nature has the theory of eternal recurrence. It’s essentially the notion that the universe in our lives repeat themselves endlessly over and over for all eternity. Except you can’t make changes. You can’t you don’t remember these repeat versions of our of your life, but you relive it forever and ever. It’s partly a scientific, quasi scientific theory. There’s some evidence it may be true, but nature never proved it definitively. He really saw it as a thought experiment. So if you think about your life, would you live it all again? Up to this point, the bad parts as well as the good parts, say you were recently divorced after a long marriage. Would you marry that person again, knowing what happens and how it ends? And and that’s that’s sort of the thought experiment of eternal recurrence in nature comes to the conclusion that. Yes, that you need to say yes to every part of your life, even the bad bits. And it was a way for him to get to this radical acceptance. And another philosopher who sort of came to this point of radical acceptance was Albert Camus in his philosophy was absurdism, which I like the way that sounds, you know. Yeah. And it’s a real philosophy, absurdism. You can study it. And he basically thought that life had no meaning and you can’t even create meaning. It’s just meaningless. It’s absurd. And then what do you do about it? And he uses the example, the myth of Sisyphus, that poor slob from Greek mythology condemned to roll a boulder up and down the hill again and have it come down or roll it back up. Sir KOMU says in his essay The Myth of Sisyphus. We have to imagine Sisyphus happy. It’s also our fate to of course, he’s talking about us, that we’re engaged in this futile, pointless task that goes on for all of eternity. But can we be happy and can we ultimately concludes? Yes, we can. By owning the boulder, making the rock. His thing is how he phrases it, throwing yourself into something despite the pointlessness of it, because the point of the pointlessness of it, that’s a theme that sort of merges Eastern and Western thinking. Actually, this sort of idea that you devote one hundred percent effort to what you’re doing and have precisely zero percent invested in the results.

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S7: Yeah. Do you think it’s helpful to know the biographies and life stories and maybe very many details of the existence of the philosopher? So, you know, with philosophers of the last hundred years, you get to know what Schopenhauer was like and how he screamed at his neighbors. Right. Or someone like Socrates or Epicurus or Confucius, where most of what we know is just in the writing and maybe some writing around him that was motivated by someone who wanted to raise his profile.

S6: I mean, I read an awful lot about these philosophers, so you don’t have to, but. I think it’s helpful to know their life story just in order to humanize them. In other words, they didn’t always walk the walk. You know, they they sometimes they were wiser on the page and sometimes they were wiser in their life. But they didn’t always line those two up, if you know what I mean. I found it helpful to humanize them, to get to know them and to see their flaws and to realize that they’re just like us. They wrestled with a lot of the same questions and they had ups and downs. They managed to screw up enough wisdom to to get it out onto the page while they made a mess of their life. Or occasionally the wisdom would seep into their life. But but not always.

S7: You know what’s odd that I am not aware of any actual fide belongs in the College Department of Philosophy, major breakthrough philosophy of the last, say, 50 years. I have some theories why, but you’re more tuned in to philosophy than I am. Am I just missing it? Is there the Rousseau out there is going to become profound after his life is over?

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S6: The reason you can’t think of any sort of groundbreaking world renowned philosophers of the last 50 years is probably the same reason you can’t think of any classical composers on the same level as Mozart or Beethoven, and that’s because we don’t really honor it. Plato said what’s honored in a country is cultivated there. Back in the 18th century, they certainly honored classical music and through the ages they’ve honored philosophy. And so they cultivated it. They elevated and celebrated it. And we don’t. Today, there are people like Martha Nussbaum and Peter Singer, who are great philosophers, I think doing great work. But they don’t have the following. They’re not elevated and they’re not given the space really to impact public discourse. It’s a little different, significantly different, actually. In France. They can use the term like public intellectual without someone mocking you, like Bernard, Henri Levy and others. And philosophy in France is a required course for high school students in order to graduate. And I don’t I don’t know why it’s not here. I think it should be.

S1: Yeah. OK, so here is my theory. I’d like to bounce it off of you and then I’ll let you go because you probably have a train to catch, I think. And I know you were trying to make different points and glean different insights, but is the meta point, I’m now discerning that Joe Biden might be smarter than Donald Trump just because of all his Amtrak experience. That what you’re saying?

S6: I haven’t thought of it. I thought it was an apolitical book. But now now that I think about it, boy, trains are making a statement there. No, that’s not the point, Mike. The point is that we we are confused that we think we want information and knowledge and we don’t. We really want wisdom and we don’t know where to find it. But it turns out there’s this thing called philosophy that’s been doing wisdom for the last twenty five hundred years at least.

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S3: Eric Weiner is the author of The Socrates Express in Search of Life Lessons from Dead Philosophers. Thank you, Eric. Thanks, Mike. I got to go catch a train.

S1: And now the spiel I grieve for the family of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and I fear for her country, which is to say our country, I resent the Republican hypocrisy.

S5: And as a subset of that resentment, I chafe at the Republicans cowardly little attempts to frame their hypocrisy as principle. But there is one area of mourning and memorializing and honoring that I cannot abide. That does not move me as a logical or legal argument. It is the dying wish.

S4: Justice Ginsburg, my most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.

S5: Not only was the dying wish evoked by senators like Amy Klobuchar as a reason for Republicans not to vote on a successor, it was asked by serious news people to other senators or White House aides.

S8: According to NPR, Justice Ginsburg dictated a message to her granddaughter in her final six days. It said, quote, My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed, unquote. Did the president ever consider honoring Justice Ginsburg’s dying wish?

S9: Within hours, we heard her dying wish, as relayed to her granddaughter, was that it be held up her replacement until there is a new president. Why is that being ignored?

S5: Well, it’s being ignored because this is a constitutional republic, not a Grimm brothers fairy tale. Senator Roy Blunt, not having the magic apples to answer that when asked by Face the Nation’s Margaret Brennan. Nor did Mark Short to Jake Tapper. Dying wish. Why am I not honoring a dying wish? What am I, a government official or a birthday cake? But really wish dying wish it is actually my wish, too, I wish Trump didn’t get the pick. I wish McConnell didn’t screw with the Merrick Garland nomination. I, of course, wish RBG were resting in peace as we speak, but is a question put to a political leader designed to put him on the spot about what’s fair or just or right or lawful dying wish you’re appointed to the Supreme Court for life, not the afterlife as well. The problem with lifetime appointments aren’t that they’re too short dying. Wish I will now cite the case of Jack V. Beanstalk Inc dying wish. But of course, of course, of course, I understand that Ruth Bader Ginsburg was doing what she could in death, what she tried to do in life, fight for that which is right. And it is not right for the Republicans to have our big seat after they took away Merrick Garland chance to serve on the court, which was his rightful chance. And I also say that if they had handled the death of Antonin Scalia correctly in an above board and not norm shattering matter, and if Garland were on the court, I would say, you know, it’s not great, but I understand why the Republicans are doing it. I would begrudge them the outcome, but I wouldn’t really fault the tactics. I really wouldn’t. What can you do? I would say that is the game. But now it is clear that the game is crooked and one that the Republicans in the Senate have given away in their pettifogging. Oh, you thought we were saying that the Senate shouldn’t act on a Supreme Court nominee in an election year? Oh, no, no, no. We only meant when the Senate was of a different party than the executive branch. Also, after a year in which the Kansas City Chiefs won the Super Bowl and a pop singer named Megan, the stallion went to number one. But only if the V in the stallion is spelled with two E’s, it is. That’s the case. OK, I guess our conditions are met. To recap, in 2016, there was no vote on the nomination of Merrick Garland because the people must decide in an election year on 2020. That doesn’t apply because we only meant when the party of the Senate in the party of the White House are different, which was never actually cited as an essential part of their argument at the time. Now, here from Sunday, John Barrasso on Meet the Press saying, but this is what Joe Biden himself once said.

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S10: We were following the Joe Biden rule. Joe Biden was clearly less clear when he was chairman of the Judiciary Committee. And he said when there is a Senate of one party and a White House over the other, and he said this to George Herbert Walker Bush, he said, if there’s a vacancy in that final year, we will not confirm.

S5: Actually, Biden never said that. He never said we will not confirm, he said, of then President George W. Bush.

S11: President Bush should consider following the practice of a majority of his predecessors and not and not name a nominee until after the November election is completed.

S5: He didn’t say we will not confirm. He said the Senate should, quote, seriously consider not scheduling confirmation hearings on a potential nominee. OK, sure. Consider consider a way. That’s what deliberative bodies do. They deliberate. It was a hypothetical. This wasn’t the case at the time. And that was just Joe Biden hypothesizing for these quotes to be used against the nomination of Merrick Garland put forward on March 16th is crazy because the topic of Biden’s speech wasn’t we will deny a vote in a presidential election year. It was the president shouldn’t put forward a nomination and we would consider not having hearings in a specific part of a presidential election year. I went back, looked at the full speech, Biden very specific in advising what he was against.

S11: While a few justices have been confirmed in the summer or fall of the presidential election season, such confirmations are rare. Only five times in our history, Mr. President, have summer or fall confirmation has been granted with the latest, the latest being August of eighteen forty six.

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S5: Scalia died in February. Ted Cruz appeared on ABC’s This Week this week, yesterday, in fact, and he also cited history.

S12: If you look at history, if you actually look at what the precedent is, this has happened twenty nine times. Twenty nine times. There has been a vacancy in a presidential election year. Now, presidents have made nominations all twenty nine times. That’s what presidents do. If there’s a vacancy, they make a nomination. What is the Senate done? And there’s a big difference in the Senate with whether the Senate is of the same party of the president or a different part of the president when the Senate has been of the same party of the president. A vacancy occurs in an election year. Of the twenty nine times those are 19 of them. Of those 19, the Senate has confirmed those nominees 17 times. So if the parties are the same, the Senate confirms the nominee when the parties are different. That’s happened 10 times. Merrick Garland was one of them. Of those 10, the Senate has confirmed the nominees only twice.

S5: Yes, it’s precedent, but the precedent goes against his point. It happened two times. That was the establishing of the precedent. Cruz then went on to talk about the reasons why it’s important to pay attention to the partisan makeup of the Senate because that stands for something greater.

S12: And there’s a reason for that. It’s not just simply your party. My party. The reason is it’s a question of checks and balances. In order for a Supreme Court nomination to go forward, you have to have the president and the Senate. In this instance, the American people voted. They elected Donald Trump. A big part of the reason they elected Donald Trump is because of the Scalia vacancy. And they wanted principled constitutionalist on the court. And a big part of the reason why we have a Republican majority elected in 2014, re-elected in 2016, grown even larger in twenty eighteen. A major issue in each of those elections is the American people voted and said, we want constitutionalist judges and the American people voted.

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S5: But while President Trump won the election, the American people voted against President Trump. You cannot I mean, if you’re illogical and inconsistent, you can. But you shouldn’t be able to read a popular mandate into some position if you don’t actually have the popular vote to back it up. And, you know, it’s really quite a stretch to regard the results of the twenty eighteen Senate election as being something other than the 35 different elections for Senate seats that happened to come up that cycle. But if you want to do that, if you really need to do that and to cite a will of the people argument, I would say then in that case, you should be in the position to say, look at how many more votes we got or even look how close we got with the vote as a reflection of the will of the people, because the Republicans, while they got thirty four point seven million votes, were dwarfed by the Democrats who got fifty two point two million votes. The Republicans also got trounced in the House. There was no statement of the will of the people. Well, how about 2016? The Democrats got fifty one million votes nationally. The Republicans 40 million. I understand. I’m not saying the Senate seats weren’t won fairly. I’m not saying anything about the Senate seats. I’m saying something about the Ted Cruz idea that this wasn’t just a vote for Senate seats. This was a referendum on the direction of the Supreme Court. If it was, you lost that referendum, just like you lost that principle, just like you have nothing to stand on except for the fact that you want to do it and you probably can. I was actually open because I’m interested in good arguments and sometimes Ted Cruz backs into one are no good, but logically sound that I reject. This is a terrible argument. This is this doesn’t have the whiff of a strong argument. There’s not one piece of this declaration of principle that holds together. Furthermore, to cite a partisan rationale at all for naming a Supreme Court justice to say, well, our reason has to do with the party of the Senate and the party of the presidency. It’s crazy. The president has the constitutional duty to name a Supreme Court nominee. The Senate has the constitutional duty to advise and consent on the nominee. And the nominee once named to the Supreme Court has the constitutional duty to uphold the Constitution. But the Constitution did not mention parties. The framers of the Constitution hope to put the nastiness of parties or factions, as they call them, behind them to find a constitutional justification for parties is an unconstitutional. It’s a constitutional.

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S7: Now I know what you’re thinking as I laid out this case and really demonstrably prove that the Republicans are hypocrites on one hundred percent of their arguments. Great. My high bar. Thanks. I was really well, I was on tenterhooks. They’re wondering how great the Republican argument was. No, you weren’t thinking that. You were thinking. I do not need convincing on this point. And I know it’s true. They are not. And here’s a phrase that Bill Clinton used a lot yesterday. They are not on the level. We know that what can we do?

S5: The answer is probably nothing, win elections, reform the system afterward. I don’t know if that means packing the court, but it might. I don’t know if this means setting term limits on SCOTUS, but it might. But first, you have to get the majority of the American people on board. I predict this is quite possible, though. It will be tough, but not nearly as hard as Senator Cruz, citing history would have us believe.

S3: And that’s it for Today Show, The Gist is produced by Margaret Kelly. She imagines the president, our president dancing around in moonlight, chanting She could not guess my name. My name is Trumper Stiltskin. She does not get her wish. And I get to give her Tiffany. Isn’t that how the original fairy tale went? Trumper Sealskin Daniel Shrader produces the gist. He lives by the principle. The principle cited principle that the Emmy should not go to a Canadian sitcom during a year of a pandemic. If the country where the sitcom is produced has not had more than 10 deaths in a single day from said pandemic for over a month because it just makes our country feel like not laughing. Alicia Montgomery is the executive producer of Slate podcasts. She found a tape of Joe Biden from 1993 saying that if a Democratic vice president shoots a guy in the face and the guy is shot in the face is of a different party than the vice president, then he would be in right to blame the sitting vice president for the fatal shooting. Should this hypothetical ever occur? The gist, somewhere in heaven. Ruth Bader Ginsburg is saying this about her old friend, Antonin Scalia. Yeah, I figured he wouldn’t be here, but, you know, on the off chance thought I’d ask. We’ve heard that principle. And thanks for listening.