The jig is up, Chuck.
Chuck Schumer (D-NY), noted proponent of consensus, togetherness, and the other magnanimous buzzwords lately filling the mouths of Senate Democrats, let his partisan underbelly show aboard an Amtrak train, unaware that the Drudge Report was in earshot.
In the wake of Justice O’Connor’s announced retirement, Schumer had earlier advised the President to “replace Justice O’Connor with a consensus candidate, not an ideologue.” He was one among a broad chorus of Senate Democrats lofting pleas for peace, love, and harmony in the Supreme Court nomination process.
Ted Kennedy hopes “the president will select someone who meets the high standards that [O'Connor] set and that can bring the nation together, as she did.” And Senate minority leader Harry Reid reminds us, “It is vital that she be replaced by someone like her, someone who embodies the fundamental American values of freedom, equality and fairness.” Reid added, “With this nomination the President should choose to unite the country, not divide it.” On behalf of the minority party on the whole, Howard Dean put it, "Democrats hope this process can be one of consensus, rather than confrontation, but that will be up to President Bush."
Yet, quizzically, per Drudge’s source aboard Schumer’s train, the Senator’s careless gabbery included the following less-than-amicable sentiments (emphasis mine):
We are contemplating how we are going to go to war over this.
Even William Rehnquist is more moderate than they expected. The only ones that resulted how they predicted were [Antonin] Scalia and [Ruth Bader] Ginsburg. So most of the time they’ve gotten their picks wrong, and that’s what we want to do to them again.
A Priscilla Owen or Janice Rogers Brown style appointment may not have been extraordinary to the appellate court but may be extraordinary to the Supreme Court.
Drudge characterized these final remarks as a mockery by Schumer of the deal struck by the "Gang of 14," which set an ostensible good-faith benchmark by which dealing Democrats would measure future nominees. In that light, if we’re to assume Schumer’s "war" plans are in line with his party at large, we seem to be in store for a bait and switch.
Color me flabbergasted.
Senator, for your next trip, may I make a recommendation?
Cross-posted at Suitably Flip.