Browsing the blog archivesfor the day Saturday, September 29th, 2018.


What a Bleeping Bleep

Trump Maladministration

I don’t know that the “limited investigation” will be anything but a paper shuffle, but my sense of things is that the more time it takes to confirm Brett Kavanaugh, the less likely it is he will be confirmed. David Atkins wrote,

Senator Jeff Flake’s decision to to stall the confirmation vote of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh by a week while the FBI conducts a limited inquiry to the assault allegations may turn out to be a mere speed bump on the road to Kavanaugh’s confirmation. Given the nominee’s brazen lies under oath on matters small and large, it is also possible that a week will be more than enough time for a combination of journalistic and law enforcement inquiries to expose Kavanaugh as too patently unfit for even this hyperpartisan Republican Senate to force through.

Either way, in the current political environment a week is an ocean of time, giving Republican Senators like Flake, Murkowski, Collins and others ample opportunity to consider just how history will view them, and just how low the Republican Party will sink under their guidance.

My suspicions are that the biggest reason McConnell et al. agreed to the investigation is that he didn’t have the votes. But if that’s so, will another week make any difference? Or will a perfunctory investigation provide a fig leaf of an excuse to do the wrong thing for the likes of Susan Collins?

At Axios, Jim VandeHei writes that the whole mess reveals a massive miscalculation on the Republicans’ part:

The big picture: He and Republicans had an epic failure of imagination. They were forced reluctantly and publicly into what should have been a fairly easy-to-anticipate moderate compromise: agree to a vote after a quick FBI probe. Instead of looking hungry for truth, Kavanaugh heads into the week looking fearful of findings.

There’s a reason for this miscalculation:

Republicans, from the earliest days of the allegations, were overly confident they could just jam this through, several people involved the process tell us.

They thought he would be better defending himself — and that Dr. Ford would seem less credible.

Republicans treated this like a bare-knuckles political fight. They calculated a Fox News appearance, a Trump endorsement, a headstrong Mitch McConnell, a fired-up base, a fast vote would hold the party together.

According to Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns at the New York Times, the Republicans are still approaching the nomination as a bare-knuckles political fight.

By agreeing to delay Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh’s nomination in the short term, President Trump and Senate Republicans are making two long-term bets: that a drawn-out confirmation battle will secure a conservative majority on the Supreme Court, and that the fight will give them a better chance of keeping control of the Senate in the midterm elections.

With that Senate majority squarely in mind, Republicans are also making a concession to stark political realities. Party leaders have concluded that supporting Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination, in the face of sexual assault accusations against him, will all but ensure that Republicans lose control of the House in November even as their fortunes may improve in some tough Senate races. …

… Republicans, particularly the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, appear to be gambling that their majority in the House is already in tatters, and that it is worth trading for a legacy-making appointment to the Supreme Court and the chance to retain their 51-to-49 Senate majority.

Among other challenged Democrats they’re probably thinking of Claire McCaskill, who has said she will vote no on the nomination. But I’m not sure this mess is hurting McCaskill here. The people who are knee-jerk anti-McCaskill voters are knee-jerk anti-McCaskill voters with or without Kavanaugh. But there are a lot of suburban women in this state who may be ambivalent about McCaskill but are probably furious about Kavanaugh, and there are a lot of rural women who have been mistreated by men in them thar hills.

Meanwhile, even the bleeping Jesuits have withdrawn support for Kavanaugh.

See also Charles Pierce, In Plain Terms, Judge Brett Kavanaugh Lies About Everything and Jamelle Bouie, A Justice Kavanaugh Will Be a Pyrrhic Victory for the GOP.

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