Dianne Feinstein strategically blew the whole confirmation process involving Judge Brett Kavanaugh by mistakenly believing polling showing Democrats could take the Senate in November. This, I argued, led her to hold the letter from Christine Ford until the last minute hoping to delay Judge K’s confirmation until after the midterms instead of, in the summer, launching a bid to defeat him outright.
Feinstein’s horrific blunder soon came down to one extremely unlikely scenario: getting two of three wobbly RINO Republicans—Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, or Jeff Flake—to vote against Judge K while Chuck Schumer held the Democrat caucus entirely in lock step. This included keeping endangered Democrat senators Joe Manchin, Joe Donnelly, and Heidi Heitkamp as “nos” even though the close nature of their races might mean they would lose their seats come November.
Before thinking this is an absurd expectation, remember Obamacare. There was not a single Democrat defection on Obamacare when it came to critical votes, and all of the so-called “pro-life” Democrats willingly sacrificed themselves that November to pass the abomination.
So back to our current situation: The Republicans now have the votes to confirm Judge K. Earlier today, Jeff Flake and Joe Manchin both said they would be yes votes. Now, even if Collins and Murkowski defected, it would be a tie, and Mike Pence would cast the deciding vote. Justice Brett Kavanaugh is a done deal. He has suffered immeasurably, but in the end his 4+ hours of testimony sealed the Senate’s vote.
Everyone has commented on what a remarkable job he did, so I will not belabor that point now. Instead, I want to point out that this was about far more than Kavanaugh’s confirmation and what is now a decisive 5-4 conservative majority. Indeed, ponder this: John Roberts is now the least conservative member of the court!
Kavanaugh’s confirmation process has led to two other significant, possibly titanic shifts.
First, it galvanized and united Republicans in a frenzy of enthusiasm that was the only missing ingredient from strong GOP gains in November. For two years, I have tracked GOP net gains in voter registrations in key battleground states. Richard Baris, of People’s Pundit Daily, has kept a similar scorecard, but always with the caution that up til now his polling has shown a lingering “enthusiasm gap” in which Republicans trailed Democrats.
That has vanished in the wake of the Kavanaugh hearings. Even before the hearings were over, Gallup reported the Republicans now had an astonishing one-point lead—being down in some surveys by as much as 19 points. That 20-point turnaround is staggering, and suggests that, to quote the great Clark Griswold in “Christmas Vacation” as he watched Cousin Eddie empty his mobile home’s septic tank into the sewer, “Sh*!!er’s full!” Apparently, this is now the view of the vast majority of Republicans and many independents. The “Sh*!!er” is indeed full.
Baris has found in state polling that Republicans are now jazzed, even before yesterday’s antics. A casual look at Twitter shows indies and Democrats seeing a full toilet as well. The #WalkAway movement appears to have exploded.
But the second, somewhat unexpected result of Kavanaugh’s hearing may well be the widespread demoralization of the Democrats. Not only will they be losing some members—people who think the Ford allegations were a bridge too far in terms of slime—but having thrown everything but Kavanaugh’s baptistry at him, and still had him survive, they truly are for the time being out of tricks. Now they have been beaten by Trump repeatedly, and failed an all-out campaign to stop a Supreme Court nominee.
As Bill Clinton told Juanita Broaddrick, according to Broaddrick, “You might want to put some ice on that.”
Then there is the totally unexpected emergence of Senate leadership. Mitch McConnell has for months steadfastly pushed Trump’s judges through at a record clip. Yertle moves much faster than his nickname when it comes to Trump-izing the judiciary. Charles Grassley not only has been good when it came to using the Judiciary Committee’s powers in the FBI’s abuse-of-powers investigations, but has handled the Kavanaugh hearings perfectly. I know many Republicans were outraged over the pace and the delays, but these were necessary to achieve the goal of obtaining Jeff Flake’s vote and that of the other two holdouts. Grassley played it masterfully, even allowing Flake to select Ford’s questioner, a female lawyer from Arizona who, to the consternation of many, appeared to be playing softball with Ford. In fact, she was operating on a set of directives from Flake, all designed to assuage his concerns about Ford’s allegations. But at no time was Rachel Mitchell, the questioner, to ever allow Ford to whip up massive sympathy by “bullying” her or seeming “intimidating.” Mitchell was 100% successful in her questioning, as Flake’s yes vote demonstrates.
Above all, though, the central Senate leader to emerge (God help me, I’m going to say this) was South Carolina’s Lindsey Graham. His fire-breathing expose of the near criminal tactics of the Democrats was a moment to behold. He has been so staunch in the Kavanaugh affair I have had to rename Grahamnesty Lindsey Granite.
This three-fer marks a massive, titanic shift in American politics. It may well be the Democrats’ ELE moment. The Wolf-Biederman Comet bears down on them, and they are bereft of a Robert Duvall.
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