We’re learning a lot about Republicans and Conservatism watching them push through the Kavanaugh confirmation. The Federalist Society could give them the names of a hundred other judges with the necessary background to join the US Supreme Courtand vote to overturn Roe v. Wade, protect corporations from regulation, and permit expansive voter suppression laws. Most of these could at least maintain the appearance of impartiality and show more judicial temperament than Kavanaugh showed.
Yet they not only press forward, they feel a need do so in the most mean-spirited way possible. We’ve come to expect that from Donald Trump, and he hasn’t disappointed the last few days. But until now we could at least try to tell ourselves that senior GOP leaders like Chuck Grassley and Lindsey Graham would not sink to such a base level.
These people know that Christine Blasey Ford came forward out of a genuine desire to help them avoid selecting an Associate Justice of questionable moral character. They know this is no left-wing hit job or effort to delay until after the mid-term elections. Blasey-Ford spoke up before Trump nominated Kavanaugh, and had they listened to her at the time could have saved themselves a lot of trouble. Amy Coney Barrett, for example, would have pleased evangelicals and kept up a culture war discussion that would motivate Republican base voters. And having a woman cast the deciding vote to overturn Roe would have at least improved the optics of an obvious effort to control female sexuality.
Whether or not Diane Feinstein mishandled Blasey-Ford’s effort to bring this matter to the attention of her representatives in Congress, the underlying claim is credible. Whether or not others corroborate her story, the underlying claim is credible. She made the claim more than once, years ago, in other contexts. Senators have no reason to disbelieve her.
Indeed, Kavanaugh’s response itself lends credibility to Blasey-Ford’s account. To be sure, an innocent man falsely accused has a right to be angry. But if he knows for sure he had no part in what happened to Dr. Blasey-Ford he should have no trouble calmly responding to the charges and demanding a full investigation that no-kidding gets at the facts. To see what this looks like take a look at Hillary Clinton’s behavior during 11 hours of hearings before the US House Select Committee on Benghazi.
Susan Collins and Joe Manchin just announced yes votes, so at this point it appears that Trump will get his man. Republicans will have a victory to celebrate, and the fact that they apparently care more about getting a “win” and “owning the libs” than placing the best conservative justice they can on the SCOTUS says a lot.
I have some thoughts on the politics of this that I’ll try to write up tonight or tomorrow. But we haven’t heard the last accusation against Brett Kavanaugh. And if the Republican party wanted to piss off women of all kinds, they could hardly have schemed out a better way. They got the victory the base wanted so badly. I predict it turns out to be a Pyrrhic one.