And willful perversion of the Senate's rules is what the Senate Republicans committed themselves to. It is idle to complain about Sen. McConnell as if he were holding up nominees and legislation by himself. Nearly every Republican Senator -- including people like Cochran, Grassley, Hatch, McCain and Alexander who have been Senators for many years -- has supported McConnell without cavil throughout this entire sordid business. If McConnell acted in bad faith by going back on a promise made last year not to obstruct routine nominations, so did they.
The problem is that Senate Republicans as a group have committed themselves to abuse. They have made it their policy. As Norm Ornstein has suggested, they leave Senate Democrats with the choice of changing the Senate's rules or submitting to paralysis on nominations to the executive and judiciary as well as legislation. That's no choice at all, and a commitment to abuse the rules is not one with which Senate Democrats could compromise.