Here are a few random observations on the bizarre happenings of the last couple of weeks:
— On March 11, Sen. Orrin Hatch told a reporter from the right-wing “news” site Newsmax that he doubted that President Obama would nominate a nice moderate judge to fill the seat of the late Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court.
For example, Hatch noted, “he could easily name Merrick Garland (Chief Judge of the D.C. Court of Appeals), who is a fine man.”
Hatch quickly went on to say, “But he probably won’t do that, because this appointment is about the election. So I’m pretty sure he’ll name someone the (liberal Democratic base) wants.”
So whom did the president nominate on March 16? None other than that “fine man” himself, Judge Merrick Garland. It’ll be fun to watch all of the people like Hatch who have praised Garland and voted for him to be chief suddenly acting like the guy’s some raging liberal who’s unfit to wear a judge’s robe.
Let’s face it, Republicans: The president of the United States is messing with you. And he’s doing it brilliantly.
— Meanwhile, Sen. Pat Toomey revealed more than he probably thought he had when he took to Twitter to say, “Should Merrick Garland be nominated again by the next president, I would be happy to carefully consider his nomination.”
Another senator, the aptly named Jeff Flake of Arizona, said he’d vote for Garland in the lame duck session after the election if Hillary Clinton won to keep her from nominating someone farther left. So much for the principle that they’re just “waiting for the people to speak.”
News flash, ladies and gentlemen: They did speak. Twice, when they elected Obama by large margins, knowing that part of his job for the entirety of both four-year terms would be to appoint Supreme Court Justices whenever vacancies come due.
He’s done his job, senators. Now do yours.
— On this past week’s sort-of-Super Tuesday, Donald Trump gathered a large number of the delegates he’ll need to win the Republican nomination outright.
His rivals Ted Cruz and John Kasich, however, also won enough delegates to get closer to their dream of denying Trump that knockout victory and possibly throwing the nomination wide-open at a so-called “open” or “brokered” convention in Cleveland.
I wouldn’t do that if I were you, warned Trump. If he doesn’t get the nomination “automatically,” he told CNN, “I think you’d have riots. I think you’d have riots. I’m representing a tremendous, many, many millions of people. … I wouldn’t lead it, but I think bad things would happen.”
Got that? The man who aspires to be the leader of the Free World is threatening his own party like a bit player on “The Sopranos.” It’s a heck of a thing when the GOP’s best hope is a brokered convention that’s only a figurative bloodbath and not a literal one. I don't envy them.
— Speaking of Trump and violent thuggery, it seems that he’s backpedaling on his statement that he’d “pay the legal fees” of people who beat up protesters at his rallies, such as the old geezer who walked up and cold-cocked a black protester being led out of the arena in Fayetteville.
By “backpedaling,” I mean “lying and claiming that he ever said it, even though he’s on video as saying exactly that.”
There have been some classic liars in the American political scene, but the Republican frontrunner is in a class by himself. This is a man who can deny something happened, even as he’s looking at a video of it happening.
That’s either a rare gift of sheer nerve or a complete disconnection from reality. But somehow, his supporters say they love Donald for “telling it like it is.”
— Trump’s supporters also say they love him for the fact that “he doesn’t care about political correctness.”
When you actually look at what they call “political correctness,” however, it becomes clear that all “PC” really means is having some degree of sensitivity about how your words might affect, offend, even wound people.
Well, if that kind of sensitivity is what you despise and resent, then allow me to be politically incorrect: If you’re voting for this con artist, you’re a bloody moron. A rube. A sucker for this cheap carnival barker who preys on your anger, fear and ignorance to make you feel like you’re an oppressed minority when you’re anything but that. Grow the heck up.
There. I told it like it is with no concern for political correctness. Love me now?
Dusty Rhoades lives, writes and practices law in Carthage. His new novel, “Ice Chest,” is available now.