By Nominating Merrick Garland, President Obama Is Trolling Republicans The Way Parents Troll Kids

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

I forgot exactly what led to it. Maybe I was told to go to bed a bit earlier than I wanted to. Maybe I wasn't allowed to bring my Hasbro-made Millennium Falcon replica in the bathtub. And maybe I got in trouble (again) for peeing on the neighbor's dog (again). (Don't ask.) Either way, I was throwing a temper tantrum; pissed I had been banished to the bedroom and fuming over my parents' unjust treatment of me. I was so mad, in fact, that I wanted revenge. Retribution. I needed to find a way to hurt them for hurting me.


Finally, I figured something out:

"I'm going to run away."

Of course, I never actually intended to run away. The plan was to pack a sad-ass bookbag full of toys, socks, and fruit roll-ups, go downstairs and make the saddest and angriest face possible while telling my parents I was running away, and have them finally acknowledge the yawning and subterranean agony they put me through while they begged me to stay.

So I packed the bag, marched downstairs, made the face, and told my mom what was about to go down. Her reply?

"Well, Damon, it's getting chilly tonight. So if you run away, you should probably take a jacket."

And then she turned back to the TV and kept watching Designing Women.

I still went through with my plan. But after 90 seconds or so of standing on my porch, I got cold and went back inside.


I'm sharing this story because my mom unexpectedly and expertly calling my bluff is the best example I have of the fact that parents are the world's greatest and most effective trolls. And I'm sharing this story today because, with the nomination of Merrick Garland, this is exactly what President Obama is doing to the Republicans. He's effectively treating them like seven-year-olds threatening to run away. Because, as we all know, they've repeatedly stated they'll refuse to confirm anyone Obama nominates. But Garland is a choice so safe and so politically placid that Orrin Hatch has endorsed him. (Repeatedly!)

From The New Republic: 

But Hatch has also been a long-time advocate for Merrick Garland, who President Obama will nominate to the Supreme Court on Wednesday. In 2010, when he was considered for the slot that ultimately went to Sonia Sotomayor, Hatch said that he had known Garland for years. He added that, if nominated, he would be a “consensus nominee” and that there was “no question” he would be confirmed.

And just last week, he praised Garland and indicated he was a qualified candidate, saying, “The president told me several times he’s going to name a moderate [to fill the court vacancy], but I don’t believe him. [Obama] could easily name Merrick Garland, who is a fine man. He probably won’t do that because this appointment is about the election. So I’m pretty sure he’ll name someone the [liberal Democratic base] wants.”


Shit, even his actual name sounds like the name of a sheriff in a revenge-fantasy western produced by the Koch brothers. (Possible titles? The Man Who Had Enough. Or Consequences. Or maybe Sunday Brunch at Sequoia.) And if they refuse to confirm this guy, it'll show everyone that Republicans are basically being big-ass babies. The kid refusing to eat his chicken nuggets — which happen to be his favorite thing in the world — because he's still mad his dad told him to put on some fucking pants.

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB, a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times, and the author of What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker (Ecco/HarperCollins)



Was "I'm running away" a thing? I swear on everything I did the exact same thing. Got my bookbag and threw everything i could in it, then screamed "i'm running away!" over and over. I didn't make it as far as the porch, because my mom didn't even give me the jacket advice. She just said "bye" and I started crying lol