I wrote this two days ago:
The best insult going these days against conservatives: “tribal.” What’s most enjoyable about the insult is that it’s being hurled at unequivocal Kavanaugh defenders by other conservatives. The TruCons™, vaingloriously standing athwart history inspiring the troops with cri de coeur “Wait and see,” seem to have no problem with stalling while a good man is run through by Democrat slanderers and activists in the media.
Things have changed by today, of course. The “credible” Ms. Ford (I’m not in her classroom, I don’t have to call her doctor) refuses to testify either privately or publicly about an event that no one remembers or can corroborate or she is amenable to testifying if her terms are agreed to. The story changes by the hour.
The grope may well have happened. There’s no way to prove that it did. More importantly, there’s no way for Brett Kavanaugh to prove that it didn’t. Dianne Feinstein knows this. She also knows that the GOP’s modus operandi has been to run and hide rather than stand and fight. And she’s been right.
So she or someone on her team released the confidential memo at just the last moment. Taint Kavanaugh, ruin him. Make it so a cloud hangs over every judicial outcome he touches. Give the GOP an impossible choice: put an ostensible victim on the stand and question her stoking even more #MeToo rage (something they’d never do or risk being blown out in midterms) or ask Brett Kavanaugh to step down, leaving no time for a replacement and no time for a vote before midterms. Demoralize Republicans and sweep in and win. Either way, Democrats win. Dianne Feinstein wins. Dianne Feinstein knew what she was doing.
She calculated correctly. The Weekly Standard-NRO-New York Time’s Smartypants Set™ types pompously intoned that the victim must be heard… but probably after the midterms. Normally, these folks set the conventional wisdom. Normally, fearful congressional Republicans facing losing the House and maybe even the Senate would cave and listen to the conventional pap. Kavanaugh and Congress wouldn’t want to face Democrats, angry women, and a DC Republican establishment anxious at being tarred as misogynists and Trumpian cretins.
Only Trump haters like Ben Sasse and Jeff Flake could possibly earn a righteous defense against such a claim because only they have completely denounced evil Trump. A GOP politician who has worked with, or been appointed by, Trump gets what he damn well deserves. Kavanaugh would be a Supreme Court Trump appointee. Trump touched him. Kavanaugh is inherently corrupted. Why defend a tainted nominee?
What’s the end game? Lose Congress in midterms, impeach Trump, Trump steps down. President Pence nominates Barrett? This would only happen after a brutalized Kavanaugh is put through the ringer and destroyed. Every Republican nominee after this would be subjected to these claims.
It’s disgustingly Machiavellian to calculate that if Kavanaugh wiles away the rest of his professional career on the Federal bench under a cloud of ignominy and a shamed name, oh well. That’s not the worst consequence if it serves the bigger picture of True Conservatism, which can only win if Trump loses.
And no, this doesn’t make sense.
Some Republicans, including George W. Bush himself, decided that ruining a man’s life for the greater conservative good was too great a cost in this political warfare. Tuesday, he reiterated his staunch support for Kavanaugh.
Senator Chuck Grassley, after putting up with the Democrats non-stop shenanigans, called DiFi’s bluff. Hearing is Monday. Private. Public. Phone. California. D.C. Anyway Ms. Ford likes it, but it’s happening Monday.
The weak-willed commentary crowd has been as shocked as Ms. Feinstein at this turn of events.
Here’s the thing: Democrats are predictable. Dangerous? Yes. Nasty, sneaky, and deadly? Absolutely. But their prowling and stalking and seeking is to be expected. Roaring in the gallery during the Kavanaugh committee hearings? Unfortunately, not the first time. Bleating from the dais, “I AM SPARTACUS!” Embarrassing, but typical. Last minute slimy insinuations leaked by geriatric soulless senators? Not a surprise. It’s a new low, surely, but mud holes are the lounging places of hungry lions and the Democrats in the Senate love the mud.
It’s the predators lurking just outside of view that are most unnerving. When the attacks came against Kavanaugh and finally, when he’s been accused of being a teenage molester (with some calling him a rapist on national TV), the first response by supposed TruCons™ wasn’t outrage at the source, insinuation, timing, and suspicious manner of the accusation. No, it was a languid rhetorical stretch and parsimonious defense of a man with solid character and long reputation.
The immediate response to an outrageous, uncorroborated, impossible-to-defend, and purposefully timed vague accusation against a man of heretofore unimpeachable character should be outraged defense. What’s the point of having friends if they don’t believe the best of you until given indisputable evidence otherwise? The man in question is not Bob Menendez, for heaven’s sake. It’s not like Brett Kavanaugh has spent time with underage prostitutes or porn stars. He deserves, at the least, the benefit of the doubt. And he deserves defense until the evidence becomes irrefutable. If a Kavanaugh-defender is wrong, he can rightly say that it was so unimaginable that he’s in shock and deeply grieved. In this case, though, there’s no evidence and the assertions are crumbling in the face of common sense.
But Brett Kavanaugh’s problem, same with any Republican whose name doesn’t end with Sasse, is that he’s being nominated by the hated President Trump. If Kavanaugh lands a seat on the Supreme Court, it’s another win for a reviled President and not a True Conservative™. Conservative outcomes be damned.
There’s more than one way to resist. There’s the active heel-digging of the Democrats. Then there’s the lay-on-the-ground toddler-throwing-a-fit dead weight that the GOP finds itself dragging around in the effort to get things accomplished — like a Brett Kavanaugh confirmation to the Supreme Court before midterms.
Mush-mouthed words and gnat-straining defenses are seen for what they are: a lack of principles. A good man is experiencing his good name, character, and life’s work being smeared. Standing aside while the lions attack is cowardly. Waiting for the picked over carcass and then claiming it’s not your fault that the man is destroyed, is pathetic. The pen is mightier than the sword. Write something worthwhile! There’s plenty of principle to stand on here: presumption of innocence, years of good character, no witnesses, no date, no time, no reporting, no nothing. There is a highly partisan accuser, evil timing, and nefarious behavior by a Democrat Senator.
Righteous anger at Senator Feinstein’s vile actions is not tribal, it’s honest. Righteous defense of a good man is not tribal, it’s the right thing to do. Stand up for what’s right. A fighting spirit energizes the troops.
Democrats could count on Republican weak acquiescence in the face of their calumny and many of the voices who claim to speak for conservatism did not disappoint. Thankfully, this time, they are not the final word.