Bill Kristol Schools ABC’s Dowd on Democrats Delaying GOP Judicial Picks

During the panel segment Sunday morning on ABC’s This Week, Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol schooled ABC News political analyst and former Bush administration official Matthew Dowd on how Democrats have long politicized judicial nominees after Dowd lamented that “Republicans have made a mistake” in reacting to the death of conservative Justice Antonin Scalia and urged them to consider President Obama’s nominee. 

“Republicans have made a mistake in their reaction to this, the initial reaction to this. I think a better tack would have been, listen, the President has a constitutional duty to nominate somebody to the Supreme Court and the U.S. Senate has a constitutional duty to decide whether or not they approve that person,” Dowd complained. 

Dowd admitted that “the Senate may not approve that person” but suggested that “they shouldn't actually say the President shouldn't nominate” and “I think their tact should be the President has a duty, he should nominate, and the Republicans have a duty to decide in the Senate what they want to do.”

When Stephanopoulos asked Kristol if Dowd had “a point there,” Kristol vehemently disagreed and first expressed his on-air condolences for the “conservative hero” in Scalia before providing Dowd and viewers a history lesson:

No, the Democrats destroyed Bob Bork's chances of being — they defeated Bob Bork in a totally scurrilous campaign in 1987. When President Bush nominated Miguel Estrada for the DC Circuit Court early in his presidency, Democrats filibustered it and wouldn't let it come to a vote because they knew that he might be in line to be a Supreme Court nominee and he might be the first Hispanic put on the Supreme Court by President Bush. 

Ruling that “[m]aybe Mitch McConnell should have been more coy, but I give him credit for directness” and concluded that Republicans will have to publically make the case to convince the American people that the President’s nomination shouldn’t go through.

Tell the Truth 2016

Moments later, liberal political analyst Cokie Roberts lashed out at the Republicans for having a debate Saturday night in South Carolina that “was really remarkable in it's childishness”:

[W]hat you're seeing here in South Carolina is an awful lot of ads against him and that is something that has not been as prevalent before and whether that makes a difference — it's just next Saturday in that primary, we'll see, but he — last night's debate was really remarkable in it's childishness, really. I mean it was basically everybody calling — saying liar, liar, pants on fire and I'm not sure that after the entertainment value of that, that voters feel tremendously comfortable those candidates go after each other that way.

The relevant portions of the transcript from ABC’s This Week on February 14 can be found below.

ABC’s This Week
February 14, 2016
10:46 a.m. Eastern

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: And, Matt, let me begin with you. In a campaign of surprises, this may be one of the biggest ones yet.

MATTHEW DOWD: Absolutely and we've talked now for almost 24 hours. It throws a huge wrench into the entire system, only in the system in Washington, D.C., where they're going to have to decide what they're going to do, but the entire presidential campaign. I actually think the Republicans have made a mistake in their reaction to this, the initial reaction to this. I think a better tack would have been, listen, the President has a constitutional duty to nominate somebody to the Supreme Court and the U.S. Senate has a constitutional duty to decide whether or not they approve that person. Now the Senate may not approve that person; they'll probably won't approve that person, but they shouldn't actually say the President shouldn't nominate. I think their tact should be the President has a duty, he should nominate, and the Republicans have a duty to decide in the Senate what they want to do.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Bill Kristol, does Matt have a point there?

BILL KRISTOL: Not really. I mean, first of all, it's such terrible news about Nino Scalia, who was such a giant of the Supreme Court and a conservative hero and — and I knew him reasonably well. A wonderful man, really. No, the Democrats destroyed Bob Bork's chances of being — they defeated Bob Bork in a totally scurrilous campaign in 1987. When President Bush nominated Miguel Estrada for the DC Circuit Court early in his presidency, Democrats filibustered it and wouldn't let it come to a vote because they knew that he might be in line to be a Supreme Court nominee and he might be the first Hispanic put on the Supreme Court by President Bush. So honestly, turnabout is fair play. Maybe Mitch McConnell should have been more coy. But I give him credit for directness. President Obama is entitled to nominate whoever he wants. He's entitled to take his case to the public. Republicans in the Senate will have to be effective, I agree with that, on this. But they need to make the — they need to explain why we do not want the Supreme Court going in the direction President Obama wants it going in.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And Cokie, I mean the Senate debate is likely to be a bit of kabuki theater right now. Hard to imagine how the President —

COKIE ROBERTS: Right.

STEPHANOPOULOS: — it's not impossible, but hard to imagine he's going to get someone. So meantime, this is going to make the Supreme Court right at the center of the presidential campaign and it could be one of the first times ever.

(....)

10:52 a.m.

COKIE ROBERTS: [W]hat you're seeing here in South Carolina is an awful lot of ads against him and that is something that has not been as prevalent before and whether that makes a difference — it's just next Saturday in that primary, we'll see, but he — last night's debate was really remarkable in it's childishness, really. I mean it was basically everybody calling — saying liar, liar, pants on fire and I'm not sure that after the entertainment value of that, that voters feel tremendously comfortable those candidates go after each other that way.

NB Daily Tell the Truth 2016 Campaigns & Elections 2016 Presidential Debates Appointments Judiciary Media Bias Debate Conservatives & Republicans Liberals & Democrats ABC This Week Video U.S. Supreme Court President Obama President Barack Obama William Kristol Cokie Roberts Mitch McConnell Matthew Dowd Barack Obama
Curtis Houck's picture


Sponsored Links