Monday, October 08, 2018

All's well that ends well

The political genius speaks (he also thinks his approval rating is over 50%)

This is simply not going to end well:

“People are going to look at state law and circuit law and they’re now going to look at issues like late term abortion,” the president’s counselor continued. “They are going to look at sex-selection abortion. They are certainly going to look at abortion after non-partisan scientists and doctors say a fetus can feel pain.”

Conway added: “This whole matter on the left of abortion anytime, anyone, anywhere, on demand, with absolutely no common sense applied to it whatsoever.”

She also charged that Planned Parenthood “gets a half a billion dollars a year in taxpayer funding, and then turns around and uses it to support Democrats.”

Nor is the damage limited to what may happen to Roe; and it's not just me saying so:

With calculation and skill, Kavanaugh stoked the fires of partisan rage and male entitlement. He had apparently concluded that the only way he could rally Republican support was by painting himself as the victim of a political hit job. He therefore offered a witches’ brew of vicious unfounded charges, alleging that Democratic members of the Senate Judicial Committee were pursuing a vendetta on behalf of the Clintons. If we expect judges to reach conclusions based solely on reliable evidence, Kavanaugh’s savage and bitter attack demonstrated exactly the opposite sensibility.

I was shell-shocked. This was not the Brett Kavanaugh I thought I knew. Having come so close to confirmation, Kavanaugh apparently cared more about his promotion than about preserving the dignity of the Supreme Court he aspired to join. Even if he sought to defend his honor as a husband and father, his unbalanced rantings about political persecution were so utterly inconsistent with the dispassionate temperament we expect from judges that one had to conclude that he had chosen ambition over professionalism.

His performance is indelibly etched in the public mind. For as long as Kavanaugh sits on the court, he will remain a symbol of partisan anger, a haunting reminder that behind the smiling face of judicial benevolence lies the force of an urgent will to power. No one who felt the force of that anger could possibly believe that Kavanaugh might actually be a detached and impartial judge. Each and every Republican who votes for Kavanaugh, therefore, effectively announces that they care more about controlling the Supreme Court than they do about the legitimacy of the court itself. There will be hell to pay.

Judge Kavanaugh cannot have it both ways. He cannot gain confirmation by unleashing partisan fury while simultaneously claiming that he possesses a judicial and impartial temperament. If Kavanaugh really cared about the integrity and independence of the Supreme Court, he would even now withdraw from consideration.

But I see no evidence that he is about to withdraw. Kavanaugh will thus join the court as the black-robed embodiment of raw partisan power inconsistent with any ideal of an impartial judiciary. As the court moves to the right to accommodate Trump’s appointments, Kavanaugh will inevitably become the focus of distrust and mobilization. His very presence will undermine the court’s claim to legitimacy; it will damage the nation’s commitment to the rule of law. It will be an American tragedy.

Let's face it, the former dean of Yale Law School carries more weight than I do, and his argument is analytical, not emotional or political.  I also read that Kavanaugh won by going "full Trump."  No, he won by following the playbook established by Clarence Thomas and his handlers.  The only words Kavanaugh left out were "high-tech lynching."  Otherwise, nothing has changed in almost 30 years.  No surprise there.

One vote. One vote was all Kavanaugh and Trump could muster to win this fight, and yet it's called a major victory. The only chance Democrats had was to defeat Kavanaugh and take the Senate in November.  And then they'd have to prevent Trump from placing a Justice on the Court for two years.  Would they go so severely Mitch McConnell for that?  And what would that cost us all?

Short of that, Trump was always going to get his vote to overturn Roe on the Court when Kennedy retired. If Manchin had stood with the Dems, Pence would have broken the tie.  The only chance to avoid that was to get Collins and Murkowski and keep Manchin, and all of that was never going to happen.  Of course, in a rational world with a real President rather than a toddler with a shotgun in the oval Office, the candidacy would have been withdrawn and replaced with a similar ideologue with less baggage and after better vetting.  But this is burn down the mission time, and an idiot is in charge. So now the validity of our most basic institutions are at risk; very, very serious risk. Because the Idiot in Chief doesn't know what his job is or how to do it.  On the other hand, maybe that's to the benefit of the country, as it's better the issues be clear, than that they be clouded.  Mitch McConnell wants the same goal Donald Trump does, but McConnell is better at hiding his agenda.

Now McConnell and the GOP thinks the momentum is on their side because of this fight, even though no one thinks that enthusiasm shift extends to the House. Apparently the reasoning is that people will vote the top of the ticket and then stop voting. And if Democrats are prone to relying on demographics or enthusiasm rather than the work of GOTV, why can't the GOP make similar errors? Mitch McConnell thinks Kavanaugh has won the Senate for him. Why isn't that a confidence he can't afford?  (And why will the enthusiasm for Kavanaugh last another month, now that Kavanaugh's won?  If the Democrats were in charge, we'd be hearing already that they had "peaked" too soon, and it was all over but the crying.)  The words "pyrrhic victory" come to mind:

Virtually every poll I saw showed healthy pluralities and sometimes outright majorities opposing Kavanaugh’s confirmation. An NPR-PBS-Marist poll had it 52-40 against.

News reports didn’t often provide this context I’m about to give you, but this was astonishing. Historically, most people don’t pay close attention to Supreme Court nominations, and they just assume that if the president chooses someone, there must be a good reason. Strong pluralities continued to back Clarence Thomas in 1991 even after Anita Hill testified. It’s extremely unusual, and possibly unprecedented, for most Americans to oppose a Supreme Court nominee. But it’s the case here.

It is also a fact that more Americans believed Christine Blasey Ford than believed Kavanaugh. That same NPR-PBS poll had it at 45 percent believing Ford, and 32 percent Kavanaugh.

Republicans, not Democrats, are in the minority.

I think the country understands who's in charge. I don't think they like it any better than they did before Kennedy resigned. I don't think Trump yet realizes he's our man on their side. I still think he's going to find out.

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