Politics is a brutal game
There’s a way for President Trump to all but ensure that the GOP maintains its control of the Senate this November. As it stands though, if Republicans succeed in confirming Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, then they seem sure that they’d pay dearly for it with center and swing voters on election day. Indeed, it’s not hard to imagine the political attack ads various Democrats have probably already written targeting GOP incumbents over “Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.”
So, what if President Trump defused this ticking timebomb by replacing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh with a conservative woman from his short list of potential justices? Wouldn’t the Democrats in the Senate be hard-pressed to vote against her, whether that vote takes place before or after November 6th?
After all, a large part of the criticism that has been consistently leveled against President Trump has been in relation to women’s’ issues. And the controversy now surrounding Kavanaugh relates largely to those same issues, not just in terms of the sexual abuse allegations against him, but also in regards to Roe v. Wade, equal protection, sexual harassment, etc. Furthermore, while politics rules the day for now, in more ways than one it makes sense to have a strong conservative female voice on the Supreme Court in 21st century America.
Additionally, the situation with Kavanaugh doesn’t seem likely to get any better before election day – politically or otherwise – and it might actually get far worse. Indeed, the one thing that it seems that can be said with any certainty about Kavanaugh’s past is that there’s a whole lot of uncertainty about his relationship with alcohol and far from assuaging such concerns, Kavanaugh’s calendars from the 1980’s instead beg the question as to what other relevant and documentation of his past might still be lurking around, waiting to be rediscovered. Are there perhaps home movies waiting to surface to be used for a more sinister purpose?
Is it acceptable to have a Supreme Court Justice who is an obvious target for blackmail by anyone who might have evidence of embarrassing alcohol-fueled youthful indiscretions from his past, whether they be criminal or not? Can this nation take such a chance? On a larger related note, is it worth the political cost to the GOP on election day to force Kavanaugh’s confirmation vote in the Senate? Did the Bush family, with its patriarch, the former CIA director, appoint Kavanaugh directly to the DC federal Court of Appeals from the White House despite the possible existence of such evidence, or, perhaps, was he appointed because of the existence of such evidence and the leverage it provides to control him?
Regardless, once again, even if they aren’t criminal, such specters are surely disqualifying of any potential Supreme Court nominee so long as he is unwilling to face them. Ironically, by failing to own his past in the land of second chances, the way that his friend Mark Judge did by coming clean about his former alcohol problem, Kavanaugh makes it impossible to invest in his future with any confidence. It is simply untenable to have a person on the Supreme Court who must always keep one eye looking over his shoulder, worried about what might surface from decades ago.
Perhaps unsurprisingly though, politicians on both sides of the aisle seem to be too busy playing politics to notice. But if the GOP is going to play the Democrats’ game of politicizing this Supreme Court nomination, then they should play to win on election day.
The party can’t do that with Brett Kavanaugh, but they could with a strong woman in his place.