Where does the new position taken by Senate Republicans, including Ohio's Portman, land among other modern reversals?
The most surprising thing about Sen. Rob Portman’s recent stand, in which he said that President Donald Trump’s nominee to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg should get a vote in the Senate, is that he took one at all.
In the last four years, Portman has proven himself an accomplished enabler, spending much of the Trump era keeping a low profile and ducking questions about the president’s worst tendencies (see: “I’m late for lunch”) while continuing to advance even the cruelest of his policies. It’s a notable regression from the time in 2013 when Portman had the fortitude to be the only Republican Senator to stand in support of gay marriage.
Portman’s pledge to vote on a Ginsburg replacement reverses the position he took in 2016, when he held that a Senate vote on Merrick Garland, whom President Barack Obama nominated to the Supreme Court, should be delayed until after the presidential election. In a 2016 op-ed for the Cincinnati Enquirer, Portman wrote, “It would be better to allow this confirmation to take place in a less partisan atmosphere once the people have spoken by factoring in this important issue as part of our presidential vote.”
Of course, Portman is now defending this bad-faith reversal, telling reporters in a conference call on Tuesday that 2020 is “an entirely different context” from 2016. Namely, he now has the power and the opportunity to advance a strict conservative justice rather than a moderate liberal.
Taking this opportunistic pivot into account, we thought we’d rank the most hypocritical reversals of recent years. Will Portman make the list? Read on to find out! (But also yes.)
6. Jay-Z retires from music
The rapper claimed The Black Album, from 2003, would be his last. He’s released five albums since, including 4:44 in 2017.
5. Pixar starts making sequels
Before being taken over by Disney, Pixar focused almost exclusively on original, creator-driven films. And while the animator hasn’t abandoned that principal, executive pressure has forced the studio to create sequels that seem to exist as little more than profit generators. Yes, there are exceptions to this rule (there hasn’t been a bad "Toy Story" film… yet) but the "Cars" franchise is a huge black check in the negative column.
4. Hulk Hogan’s heel turn
No, we’re not talking about the “evil” Hogan who ditched his yellow-and-gold outfit for all black, complete with a scuzzy heel’s goatee. We’re talking about the Hogan whose Peter Thiel-funded lawsuit against Gawker effectively ended the site and served as a massive blow in an ongoing war against press freedom. Real American hero, my tochus.
3. Mötley Crüe’s “Final Tour” in 2014
Sure, other bands have announced final tours, only to hit the road again years later (see: the Eagles, Judas Priest, LCD Soundsystem, etc.). But only the Crüe signed a “cessation of touring activity contract” at a press conference, which the members said would bar the band from touring again. At least until 2020, that is, when the '80s rockers announced a string of arena dates with Def Leppard and Poison.
2. The NRA’s selective defense of gun owners
The national gun rights organization is there to defend every “stand your ground” brute who exercises his (and it’s virtually always a “he”) second amendment rights by taking another human’s life, particularly when the victim is a person of color. Of course, the NRA never uttered so much as a peep when Philando Castile, a 32-year-old Black man, was shot and killed by police during a traffic stop after informing the officer he was legally carrying a firearm. I wonder why?
1. Rob Portman joins his Republican colleagues in a Supreme Court reversal
Sure, political flip-flops are nothing new. And they’re not even restricted to a particular party. (Just look at John Kerry’s “I voted for it before I voted against it” military funding talk). But the shameless hypocrisy displayed by Republican Senators across the board in this instance, while entirely unsurprising, deserves to be called out. At the moment, the only Republican principle is to gain, maintain and wield power, as evidenced by the party's continued, debased capitulation to every Trump whim.