On Sunday, Meet The Press host Chuck Todd put his partisan affiliation on full display while interviewing Senators Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Corey Booker (D-NJ) about President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee. Todd accused Republicans of being “a bunch of hypocrites” for wanting to hold hearings for a SCOTUS nominee during an election year — something they’d opposed back in 2016 — but he failed to level the same charge at Democrats and instead took their side on their side on the issue, despite the fact that both parties had flip-flopped since the Obama years.
During his interview with Senator Blunt, Todd advocated against holding hearings for Trump’s nominee and claimed that according to “pretty overwhelming” polling evidence, “a large majority of the American public” disagreed with holding hearings before the election. “Do you regret the hypocritical argument you guys made for years ago?” he pressed, continuing: “Are you concerned that your party looks like a bunch of hypocrites, four weeks before the election, on this issue?”
Yet just minutes later Todd failed to take Democrat Senator Corey Booker to task for his party’s own flip-flopping on the issue of SCOTUS appointments during an election year. He referenced this quote by Booker from 2016: “The Senate has no excuse to ignore, blockade, or stonewall consideration of this nominee. … The Senate must do its job to provide advice and consent and swiftly schedule hearings, debate, and an up-or-down vote.”
But Todd used this set-up to make a partisan point barely disguised as a question: “Which should be the precedent? The ones that the Republicans invented in ’16, or the ones they’re inventing now?”
In other words, when his guest was a Republican, the question was, “Aren’t you being hypocritical?” Whereas when his guest was a member of the party that Chuck Todd himself routinely supports, the question became, “Aren’t your opponents being hypocritical?” Booker even remarked with a grin that Todd was making the same argument that he himself had made in the past week: “Well, I guess you asked the same question I asked to Lindsey Graham and the Republicans.”
When both parties switch sides on an issue, you can’t accuse only the party you dislike of flip-flopping. Or at least, you can’t if you want to look like anything resembling a journalist. To pro-Democrat activists like Chuck Todd, however, that sort of behavior is just part of the job.