Within only a few nano-moments of Justice Antonin Scalia being pronounced dead, the august Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of the great state of Kentucky announced that he would not allow the President’s nomination to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court to come to the Senate floor for advise and consent. Putting aside his obvious-to-nearly-everyone-in-the-country political reason that the sitting President is a black Democrat whom he has battled from the gitgo, he asserted that President Obama was a Lame Duck President, and that it was therefore the President’s job to wait for his (Republican) successor to nominate the next (conservative Republican) Associate Justice, some eleven months and change from now.
But let’s spend a few words talking about his reason for delay: President Obama is a "lame duck" President. But he is not a lame duck President. He will become a lame duck when his successor is in place (look it up!), the morning after Election Day, Wednesday, November 9th, 2016, more than eight months from this writing. (Lame duck Presidents use this two and a half months’ time to help transition the President-Elect into office.) Allowing for definitions to change (because Mitch McConnell is a powerful man), we might choose to see the lame duck period as the time that a sitting President in his second term has to contend with a Senate and a House of the other party, that is since January of 2015 – more than a year ago – or, worse, since the day after Election Day in 2014. Is McConnell really saying that? That President Obama has been a lame duck for the entire last half of his second term, that he should sit on his hands for two years, or go on extended vacation in Hawaii, with full pay?