Senator Mitch McConnell was right. Brett Kavanaugh will become a member of the Supreme Court. Senators Flake and Collins are already making reassuring noises about the new FBI report. But will his investiture help the GOP?
The investigation demanded by Flake and others has proven not to have investigated very much. Mark Judge and a few other of Kavanaugh’s high school cronies were interviewed. Kavanaugh himself was not. Nor was Christine Blasey Ford. Senator Charles Grassley says about the FBI report that ‘there’s nothing in it that we didn’t already know.’ That was by design. Federal gumshoes found what the White House wanted them to find.
The White House seems confident that Kavanaugh’s confirmation will have a salubrious effect upon the midterm elections for the GOP. Failure might have sapped a conservative turnout, particularly among evangelical voters. This morning Trump tweeted, ‘The harsh and unfair treatment of Judge Brett Kavanaugh is having an incredible upward impact on voters. The PEOPLE get it far better than the politicians. Most importantly, this great life cannot be ruined by mean & despicable Democrats and totally uncorroborated allegations!’
But the GOP has squeezed about as much as it can out of the Kavanaugh lemon. The price that it will pay in the midterms for ramming Kavanaugh through is the real question. Had Kavanaugh’s nomination lingered on until the end of October, it would have been a potent organising instrument for the GOP. Much as in 2016, when McConnell and his confederates stymied the Merrick Garland nomination, Trump and Republican candidates would have been able to point to the signal importance of standing up for embattled white men and for ensuring that the Supreme Court becomes a conservative bastion.
Now the tables are turned. Trump will engage in some chest-thumping over the next few days. West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin will buy himself some cover by voting for Kavanaugh. But the rage that is percolating in America will be exploited by the Democrats as they point to Kavanaugh’s presence on the court as a permanent blot on the judiciary. More witnesses will come forth to testify about Kavanaugh’s youth. More transgressions will be identified.
California Senator Kamala Harris tweeted, ‘The FBI report on Judge Kavanaugh is entirely incomplete and insufficient. There are dozens of witnesses who have not been interviewed. This is for a lifetime appointment. The American people deserve to have all the facts.’ Senator Jeff Merkley put it more bluntly: ‘I read the FBI report. This whole thing is a sham. This stunted, strangled investigation was designed to provide cover, not to provide the truth.’ And Sen. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, who voted to confirm Justice Gorsuch, said she would oppose Kavanaugh as she has doubts about his ‘current temperament, honesty and impartiality.’ Expect prolonged hearings about the matter if the Democrats win either or both the House and Senate in November. If, or to put it more precisely, when, Kavanaugh votes to shield Trump and his camarilla from the law, his nomination may well become an issue in the 2020 presidential campaign.
The only person who has escaped the tempest enveloping the capital of the free world is Melania, who quite sensibly hotfooted it to Africa. There she is handing out teddy bears and ‘Be Best’-themed blankets. If Trump gets another Supreme Court appointment, he may be tempted to put Melania on the court rather than run the risk of dealing with another problematic character like Kavanaugh.