I’ve been a lifelong supporter of Senator Charles Grassley not because he is a Republican, but because I know him to be, above all, an honest man. Champion of the whistle blower, he has been steadfast in encouraging others to come forward with the truth even against the most severe forms of intimidation from employers or peers. As Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman, Senator Grassley knows that above all, he must be fair and I trust that for the most part he has shown us that this “simple Iowa farmer” can chair this prestigious committee with dignity.
And I have no doubt that Mr. Grassley is loyal to the Republican Party, perhaps to a fault. From all appearances, Mr. Grassley has agreed to take the heat for a controversial and politically charged decision so his fellow Republicans won’t have to. Senator Grassley says he will not hold hearings on whomever President Obama nominates to replace Justice Scalia. It does make sense; Chuck Grassley is the closest thing to a “sure thing” in American politics so he’s not risking his Republican seat in the Senate, while many of his colleagues can’t afford to be seen as blatantly partisan in this election year. This is in fact a really strange election year where even within their own parties candidates call each other liars and where we might be just gullible enough to believe them all when they say it. The stakes seem higher than ever and apparently lying is a small price to pay.
But the one constant is “Chuck Grassley will not lie” and I predict he will in the end allow hearings for the Merrick Garland nomination. I’m not even going to ask him to reverse his decision; I’m just asking him to answer one simple straight forward question.
Would you block these hearings, if any nominee was being put forward by a Republican President, almost a year before the end of his term?
I don’t think he will answer this question, “Yes.” Known for his straight forward language, I don’t expect him to evade the question. Certainly he doesn’t want to let his fellow Republicans down, but he will. You see, I don’t think it’s about his senate seat or his influence in the party and after all, his fellow Republican knew they might have to take the heat from their own decisions when they chose to run.
More than anything else Senator Grassley wants his legacy to be that he was both honest and fair and that he showed the same character as the whistle blowers he championed to come forward with the truth even in the face of intimidation.
I’d like to add one final thought. I was wondering if the Democrats really want him to allow the hearings; after all this gives them plenty of political fodder to chew on. And wouldn’t it be ironic if the best way to negotiate and actually get things done was to call your opponents honest, fair and loyal instead of the nasty rhetoric we’ve grown accustomed to.