Promoted from the diaries by streiff. Promotion does not imply endorsement.
Republicans were about to thread the needle.
They were on a glide path to get Kavanaugh confirmed while forcing red-state Democrats to vote against him. In doing so, they were energizing the Republican base to a level it hasn’t seen since November 2016. It was palpable. You could see it on social media. You could see it in the conservative commentariat around the internet. This was the moment of resilience and courage they’d all been waiting for.
That all got flushed down the toilet this morning. Jeff Flake decided he was going to be intimidated by a screaming protestor and a crying Sen. Coons (D). After four hours of extended debate in committee, Flake betrayed the Republicans who had stood behind him to instead side with Democrats who had previously used every dirty, unethical trick in the book to bring us to where we are.
He rewarded the vile, out of bounds nonsense we’ve seen on display the last two weeks. Why? Because that’s who Jeff Flake is. He’s the very embodiment of his last name. A total flake of a man who cares not about principle but about constantly trying to straddle the fence. Even as I read his original commitment to support Judge Kavanaugh, I noted that even when making a decision, he didn’t want to make a decision. Not even I expected him to backtrack to this degree though.
I understand it’s not just Flake. Collins, Murkowski, and Manchin were clearly part of coming up with this plan, hoping to let Flake take all the heat since he wasn’t up for re-election. That doesn’t absolve Flake of the fact that he went along with this.
Where does this leave us?
On Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination, it’s anyone’s guess. If everything remains stagnant, he’ll be confirmed. Would you like to bet your life savings on the idea that things will remain stagnant? Yeah, Didn’t think so. We’ve already got the creepy porn lawyer teasing multiple witnesses coming forward this weekend to support his client’s insane theory about gang rape rings. You can bet there will be more allegations from other corners as well. Will any of them be credible? No, but the point is just to muddy the waters.
In the end, we are just as likely to be headed for yet another delay as a final vote. That assumes the FBI does their job in a timely fashion and doesn’t cause a delay by itself
This goes further than the confirmation though. By playing this game, Jeff Flake and friends have stifled the ground swell of Republican enthusiasm we saw bubbling up yesterday. Perhaps worse, they’ve handed red-state Democrats cover that they had no business being given. All the good will and accolades built up by Kavanaugh’s hearing and Republicans coalescing around him has been wasted on yet another back-boneless display by a few “moderate” Republicans.
After the “FBI investigation” turns up nothing new, Democratic Senators such as Joe Manchin, Joe Donnelly, and Heidi Heitkamp will have the excuse they need to vote yes. They will claim that all they wanted was an investigation and then will be able to hide behind it. That will steal a golden campaign issue away from their Republican challengers, who were poised to be able to benefit greatly from their no votes.
The worst part about this is that an FBI update to the background check is not going to change one single Democratic mind. Those who will vote ultimately yes were always predisposed to do so if not for political considerations. What do Republicans do? Help them hide from those political considerations to the direct detriment of candidates such as Braun in Indiana or Morrisey in West Virginia.
What exactly is the point of all this? There isn’t one. It’s just a delay that serves no real purpose except to further harm Republican electoral chances in November. The FBI will simply interview people we’ve already heard from and submit their 302s to the file. That’s it.
Jeff Flake can not leave the Senate soon enough.
Again, I know that McConnell simply doesn’t have the votes now. We have to soldier forward and hope that things work out next week. There are no other choices. All we can do is pray no one else comes forward to make another “credible allegation” that further halts things.
This is the point, though. If some Republicans could actually think past what they are going to eat tonight, they could of benefited greatly here. None of these Senators were at risk. There’s is no reason for a Republican Senator not even running for re-election to be swayed from his original commitment on this. There’s no reason for someone like Susan Collins, who’s as safe in Maine as any office holder in the country, to put on this kind of show. The same goes for Lisa Murkowski, who could walk to re-election in Alaska irregardless.
They call the Republican party the “stupid party” for a reason.
We had a chance here to walk away, not only with Judge Kavanaugh confirmed to the Supreme Court, but with a ground swell of increased Republican turnout in November that could lead to half a dozen pickups in the Senate. Jeff Flake and his conspirators have put the first issue in doubt and thrown away the second for what is ultimately a meaningless gesture to Democrats that weren’t going to vote for Kavanaugh anyway.
If you are left thinking none of this makes any logical, ethical, or political sense, congratulations, you can think critically better than at least three US Senators.