Politically Speaking – October 2, 2018
The circus is back in town! Or did it ever really leave? Washington, D.C. was center stage and ablaze with the Senate Judiciary Committee “hearings” last week. I think Congress’ 13% approval rating by the American people must have slipped down to 5% or less. “The trial” of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh was held, and regardless of the outcome, the Democrats win again. Even if confirmed, Judge Brett Kavanaugh will be a flawed Supreme Court Justice and a Democrat rallying cry for the midterm elections. And if he does win confirmation, it won’t be because the bumbling Republican majority made it happen. It will be because of his words and those of Senator Lindsey Graham, who finally woke up, realizing they again had been played by the cunning and calculating Democrats.
I used the phrase earlier “the Democrats win again,” because of the stupid errors and procedures of the Republican majority on (1) The Benghazi investigation, (2) Obamacare repeal, and (3) This Supreme Court confirmation, just to name a few.
So wake up, Republican Senators and Congressmen. Put on your “big boy and girl” pants and try to win this election. After all, that’s what this confirmation is really about!
This just in: Republican Senator Tom Cotton is calling for an investigation of Senator Dianne Feinstein’s office and staff to see if they “leaked” the secret letter from Christine Blasey Ford. Also, Cotton noted that lawyers recommended to Ford by Feinstein and / or others will face a Bar Investigation in Washington for telling Ford a lie that Senate Judiciary Committee staffers were unwilling to travel to California to interview her about her allegations.
Maybe somebody besides Lindsey Graham is waking up?
And now to the opinion of “the trial” and Trump by Rich Lowry.
Kavanaugh Assault Validates Trump
The attempted political assassination of Brett Kavanaugh is bad for the country, but good for a Trumpian attitude toward American politics.
The last-minute ambush validates key assumptions of Donald Trump’s supporters that fueled his rise and buttress him in office, no matter how rocky the ride has been or will become. At least three premises have been underlined by tawdry events of the past weeks.
First, that good character is no defense. If you are John McCain, who genuinely tried to do the right thing and carefully cultivated a relationship with the media over decades, they will still call you a racist when you run against Barack Obama.
If you are Mitt Romney, an exceptionally earnest and decent man, they will make you into a heartless and despicable vulture capitalist, also for the offense of campaigning against Obama.
If you are Brett Kavanaugh, a respected member of the legal establishment who doesn’t have a flyspeck on his record across decades of public service in Washington, they will come up with dubious accusations of wrongdoing from decades ago when you were a teenager.
Second, that the media is an unremitting political and cultural adversary. In the Kavanaugh controversy, the press has been wholly on the other side, presuming his guilt and valorizing his accusers and their supporters, including Hawaii Sen. Mazie Hirono, whose most famous contribution to the debate was telling men to “shut up.”
Third, that politics isn’t just rough-and-tumble; it’s red in tooth and claw. Process and norms are nice, but they go out the window as soon as something important is at stake, like a potential fifth vote on the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Senate Democrats may delicately talk about the importance of norms and civility on Sunday shows, but watch how they act. They sat on an accusation throughout an extensive process of vetting and questioning a nominee, then declared it dispositive evidence against his confirmation when it leaked at the 11th hour. They delayed a hearing with Christine Blasey Ford long enough to allow time for the second accuser to be persuaded to come forward.
All of this plays into Trump’s support. Surely, a reason that the president appealed to many Republicans in the first place, despite his extravagant personal failings, was that they had decided that virtuous men would get smeared and chewed up by the opposition’s meat grinder, so why be a stickler for standards?
If Trump’s attacks against the media are over-the-top and sometimes disgraceful, at least he understands the score.
He may not be a constitutionalist, but he will be faithful to his own side, and fiercely battle it out with his political opponents.
The logic of this dynamic is risky. It can be self-defeating, and lead down the road of supporting, say, a Roy Moore, a kooky candidate doomed even in red Alabama. It can be corrupting, if character and standards are no longer considered important. But the dark view of our politics that has driven the Trump phenomenon for three years now is impossible to gainsay. Who can watch the frenzied assault on Brett Kavanaugh and say that it’s wrong?
Rich Lowry is editor of the National Review. © 2018 King Features Synd., Inc.