That’s my fear, anyway.
Friday’s temporary derailment of the Kavanaugh nomination freight train felt so good, didn’t it? Like, maybe something approaching decency and justice was still just barely possible.
Today, it’s like waking up with a hangover.
Look, it’s great that there’s going to be an FBI investigation, and it’s also great that the predictable (and predicted) cynical attempt to limit the scope of that investigation so it couldn’t actually uncover anything collapsed under political pressure this afternoon, but it still seems more than likely that the whole thing comes to nought. It’s a gamble. But the G-men could well come back with nothing but a bunch of conflicting stories, and nothing overwhelmingly persuasive. Most people wouldn’t even need to lie to tell the investigators that they don’t remember anything specific, and while they may get a lot of testimony that belies Kavanaugh’s self-portrait as a sober, sports-loving, church-going choirboy, one doubts that this is going to get him disqualified.
What’s the standard of proof here anyway? Suppose his old pals PJ, and Toby, and Dorky and Barfboy, or whoever the hell they all were, admit that yeah, they drank a bit, but so did everybody, and otherwise deny any of allegations that really matter – what then? Will it be enough that others maybe heard different? Jeff Flake has said that if it’s proved that Kavanaugh lied during his testimony that’s disqualifying, but what counts as proof of a lie, and a lie about what? Anything? Surely, if lying about being a blackout drunk during his salad days was enough, his yearbook would already have done him in.
If all we get is more murk, then the Republicans all pound their desks and yell “See? See?“, and all further opposition is cut off at the knees by the counter-charge that “nothing will ever be enough for you people”. Politically, that’s a lot worse for the Democrats, actually, than if they’d just rammed Kavanaugh’s nomination through on Friday. It’s going to defuse the outrage.
That’s what the Republicans are counting on, at any rate, and it’s a cagey move, the best play they could have made actually. It diverts the argument away from the main point, that corroborated or not, Ms. Blasey Ford’s testimony was credible enough to keep Kavanaugh’s off the court, and that anyway, the Judge’s conduct during his own testimony was itself disqualifying.
Maybe, aside from the results of the investigation, the week’s delay will provide the time needed for a groundswell to put the pressure needed on the Republicans to pick another guy. The Republicans, however, are counting on everyone to sit tight, wait for the FBI report, and then shrug and move on when it comes back inconclusive. It’s a good bet.
I really can’t bring myself to believe that these bastards are going to be thwarted; and if they win this one, they can get wiped out in the mid-terms (supposing they do, which, well, we’ll see), and still snuggle into bed the night after, all warm and happy, hugging their Trumpy Bears. Once you stack the Supreme Court for the next three or four decades, you can take an election setback in stride. If follows, then, that even if they have to dump Kavanaugh, it doesn’t much matter unless they also get wiped out, in the Senate, not just the House, in the mid-terms. Otherwise, they just appoint another designated ideologue off the Federalist Society’s list of 24, and while the next guy won’t (probably?) be a rapist, he’ll still be their kind of guy, and the court will still be stacked.
At this point, there really aren’t that many roads that lead anywhere but some form of Republican victory. They have to be stopped on Kavanaugh, then, come to think of it, prevented from rushing a generic equivalent substitute through the process before November – are we really sure there wouldn’t be time? – and then lose their majority in the Senate. Possible, I guess.
A lot less possible than Hillary winning in 2016, though. Do you feel lucky?