As the fight over Judge Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court nomination continues to take shape, the ongoing dispute is over something seemingly mundane: reviewing documents from his professional background as part of the Senate's vetting process.
Democrats want access to Kavanaugh's work as the White House staff secretary in George W. Bush's West Wing, while Republicans, for reasons they haven't fully explained, have said those materials should be off-limits.
Today, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) decided not only to whine about Senate Dems' appeals, he also took partisan hypocrisy to levels rarely seen, even by contemporary standards.
"We can't keep going down this partisan, picky, stupid, dumbass road that has happened around here for so long. I am sick and tired of it to be honest with you and I'm tired of the partisanship." [...]"Frankly, we didn't treat their candidates for these positions, the way they are treating ours. I would like to see us hopefully break through and change that," Hatch said.
The retiring Utah Republican was, as best as I can tell, not kidding. Hatch acted as if his complaints had real merit.
For now, let's put aside the oddity of the longtime GOP senator, who has complained about the decline of "decorum" in the chamber, using the word "dumbass" a bit too often.
Instead, let's take a quick stroll down memory land to a time Orrin Hatch has conveniently forgot. It's an era popularly known as "two years ago."
It was in March 2016, after Justice Antonin Scalia's passing, that Hatch publicly recommended that President Obama nominate Judge Merrick Garland for the Supreme Court. The Democratic president, Hatch said, "could easily" nominate Garland, though the Utah Republican doubted that Obama would take his advice, predicting instead that the White House would choose a more liberal jurist.
That didn't happen. Rather, Obama did exactly what Hatch suggested: he nominated Merrick Garland.
It was at that point that Orrin Hatch helped lead the opposition to kill Garland's nomination. His efforts included writing an op-ed about a meeting the senator had with the judge that never actually occurred in reality.
Hatch soon after said it was imperative "to maintain the integrity of the Supreme Court," which meant keeping the court's vacancy open until "after the political season" ended.
No, really, that's what he said.
Let's not play games: Hatch urged Obama to offer a compromise nominee; Obama agreed; and Hatch helped kill the nomination anyway -- not because of merit, but because of pure, raw partisanship.
Garland was subjected to an unprecedented, months-long blockade -- which, again, the senior senator from Utah helped lead -- in which he was denied a hearing, any kind of committee consideration, and an up-or-down vote.
"We can't keep going down this dumbass road"? Hatch is "tired of the partisanship"? He genuinely believes that Democrats treat Republican nominee worse than Republicans treated Democratic nominees?
Here's a radical idea: perhaps Orrin Hatch can save the high-minded lectures for someone who has some shred of credibility on the subject. His disappeared two years ago.