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Underlying Interests in the GOP’s Latest Obstructionism: An Opinion Piece

February 15, 2016

Sometimes in mediation, I witness what others might perceive as outrageousness, and I have to wonder what is the goal, the motivation, or the underlying interest, in such behavior.

Such thoughts have occurred to me in the wake of Justice Scalia’s sudden death this past weekend – may he rest in peace – and the GOP’s immediate reaction publicly to threaten election year obstruction of the Constitutional imperatives of the sitting President and Congress, the former to nominate a replacement and the latter to “advise and consent” vis-a-vis the appointment.

Certainly, many see these Republican behaviors as obstructionist, outrageous, and counterproductive by worsening the political divide.

Personally, I am outraged, but that is not the point.

Also, I think Justice Scalia would be outraged as well given his preference for strict construction of the Constitution.

But maybe there is method to the GOP’s madness if one looks at the election landscape.

With there being such disparity, even dysfunction, among the Republican candidates, and their base’s lack of unity, perhaps the GOP’s goals here are (a) to unite the Republican base by whipping them into a collective frenzy over the perceived “danger” from the Supreme Court nominating process this year, and thus (b) to strengthen Republican chances to win in the General Election.

I perceived Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s reaction, moments after Justice Scalia’s demise was announced, as “knee-jerk” and in poor taste but it’s not up to me to label it.

Maybe there was more to it than that.

Perhaps in the calculus, the cost of public outcry from the Left was determined to be less than the benefit to the Right.

In mediation, there are always risks and benefits to what people say and do in their negotiation.

This may be no different.

David I. Karp is a full time independent mediator of real estate and business disputes in Southern California who is also fascinated by the politics of the day. His professional website is at .


From → Bubbe Meises

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