Update and edited
Slate has more on the Devil’s deal. Evidently Biden will be ‘allowed’ to appoint two people to US Attorney positions in Kentucky, and McConnell will not block him.
That’s it. That’s the ‘big’ deal. Two positions tied solely to the President’s tenure for a judgeship that’s for life.
It’s a fool’s deal.
Yesterday, a story quickly spread on social media that President Biden was going to appoint a McConnell-backed anti-abortion Federalist lawyer to a permanent position on the bench in Kentucky. This, even after SCOTUS completely killed Roe v Wade the week before, and people in the country were still reeling from the impact.
Those of us alarmed at the news were told—in less than polite terms—that we were traitors to Biden, harmful to the Democratic party, and our concerns were unfounded because there were no judicial openings in Kentucky, anyway.
Well, that was true yesterday, but not today.
Today, Judge Karen Caldwell announced her intent to retire and take senior status, leaving an opening for Biden to make a nomination.
The McConnell Setup
The possibility that Biden would appoint someone like Chad Meredith in a supposed ‘deal’ with McConnell positively reeks of the latter’s connivance.
McConnell gets a judge that even Trump couldn’t stomach. In exchange, McConnell doesn’t use the ‘blue slip’ to hold up two US Attorney positions in Kentucky.
What’s a blue slip? It’s a courtesy extended to the Senators of the state where the appointment is made. The senator can either approve or disapprove of the appointment. It has no real power, and Trump and the Republicans routinely ignored them during his tenure.
That’s it. That’s the deal.
It’s a win/win for McConnell. By making this deal, he undercuts Democratic efforts not only for the 2024 Presidential bid, but also for the mid-term election this fall. Why? Because it confuses the message about Biden’s, and hence, Democratic commitment for abortion rights.
Biden’s appointment says to the world (likely parroted by gleeful Republicans) that the Democratic party ‘talks’ about abortion rights…but that’s all it is. Talk. When it comes to politics, well, people’s basic right to control our own bodies has to take a back seat.
All of the candidates that have pro-choice strongly embedded in their campaigns for the fall now have to fight an unconscionable, undermining, ill-conceived ‘deal with the devil’.
We’re put on the defensive. Again.
Having faith in our candidates
If Biden follows through on this deal, he also sends a message that he has no faith in our candidates this fall, or the Democratic voters.
It says to all of us that he assumes we’ll lose the Senate and the House, and that if he wants to pull any kind of legacy out of the last two years in office, he’ll have to have all sorts of deals with McConnell in order to do so.
This is a pretty horrid message to send to the party and the people, especially when we’re freshly galvanized by an awful, terrible, no-good SCOTUS.
As party leader, he should have faith in the candidates. They’re a great group of people. And he should have faith in us.
Telling us we don’t matter
Worst of all, if Biden follows through on this appointment, he’s telling women and members of the LGBTQ+ community that we just don’t matter.
We just lost a fundamental right. We just got forced into a second-class citizenship. Where Biden was Presidential by encouraging the Senate to carve out a filibuster exemption to pass abortion support in the Senate, he would be anything but by making this extraordinarily bad appointment.
One and Done
I’m older and I’ve been through so many must-win political campaigns. I consider myself a ‘centrist’ and also pragmatic about how politics works.
But there are lines I won’t cross. Support for abortion is one of those lines. If President Biden crosses this line with this appointment, then he’s One and Done to me.