Sen. Chuck Grassley, the face of the Republicans’ blockage of President Obama's Supreme Court nominee, is not holding up well to the scrutiny he's getting for it. As chairman of the Judiciary Committee and the gatekeeper to the Supreme Court, Grassley is getting a lot of questions that he's not fielding gracefully—at all. Take a listen to this radio interview in which Grassley has a meltdown with local reporters.
The Des Moines Register's Kathie Obradovich sets Grassley off, quoting to him one of his own statements: "We ought to concentrate entirely upon the nominee's integrity, their qualifications and background," she points out the senator saying in 1992. Grassley comes back with some incoherent rambling until he settles on a point. Back then he was talking about a specific nominee—Clarence Thomas. That's totally not the issue, he says.
Grassley: "This has nothing to do about a person. This is having everything to do about having people to have a voice."
Obradovich: "The people had a voice in the last presidential election and they chose to reelection Barack Obama. And that term hasn't expired yet."
Grassley: "The…uh…then what you want to remember is the people spoke in 2014 that they didn't like things Biden was doing about nine or ten…
Grassley: "Democrat senators…"
Grassley never acknowledges that he got the president entirely wrong, but sticks with the idea that the 2014 election nullified the rest of Obama's term, somehow invalidating his authority under the Constitution to do his job. It carries on in Grassley's word salad for a bit more, then at about the 2:15 mark breaks into full tantrum mode that's almost impossible to transcribe. Pressed to explain how a "president stops being a president" if a midterm election brings in a Congress of the opposing party, Grassley becomes unglued, shouting crazy arguments about how Obama packed the D.C. Circuit Court (by filling three vacancies, which by definition is totally not packing a court) to protect the president when he makes EPA regulations and the Labor Department something something regulations executive orders and revulsion by the U.S. people! He gets louder and louder and more and more incoherent as he gets wound up, expressing his deep disdain for this president.
If that's Grassley with reporters last week, imagine how he's going to start responding now that he has “his most formidable Democratic opponent in decades.”
How's he going to withstand that pressure? Not well, one suspects. That would be even more true if Obama ends up nominating Iowan Jane Kelly, a federal judge that garnered Grassley's enthusiastic support just three years ago, and was confirmed to the Eighth Circuit quickly and unanimously. If Grassley can't hold up to questions about his tactics now, how's he going to hold up for the next eight months of a campaign?
To get the full effect of Grassley's meltdown, listen to the audio below.
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