The Kavanaugh debacle cost the Democrats a chance to win the Senate
WASHINGTON – Brett Kavanaugh must have been smiling as the returns came in on Election Day, because it is now clear that the Democrats’ campaign to destroy him will go down as a massive blunder. It failed to keep Kavanaugh off the court. It cost Democrats their chance to regain control of the Senate. And it gave Republicans an expanded Senate majority that will allow them to confirm an even more conservative justice next time around.
Today, Kavanaugh sits on the Supreme Court hearing cases. Meanwhile, Democratic Sens. Heidi Heitkamp, N.D., Joe Donnelly, Ind., and Claire McCaskill, Mo., are packing up their Senate offices – thrown out by voters furious over their party’s brutal campaign of character assassination against Kavanaugh. Sen. Joe Manchin, W.Va., was the only Democrat who voted for Kavanaugh, and he survived – but just barely. Two weeks before Election Day, Manchin was leading by double digits, but on Tuesday night he won by just over three points. Had he voted against Kavanaugh’s confirmation, he would likely have been toast as well.
The Democrats’ smear campaign also cost them the chance to pick up GOP seats. In Tennessee, Rep. Marsha Blackburn was trailing former Democratic governor Phil Bredesen by five points in a CNN poll before the Kavanaugh hearings. She ended up winning by just under 11 points, as the Democrats’ mistreatment of Kavanaugh united Tennessee Republicans behind her. The Kavanaugh smear no doubt also played a role in energizing GOP voters in Arizona, where Republican Rep. Martha McSally appears to have squeezed out a narrow victory, and in Texas, where Sen. Ted Cruz defeated Rep. Beto O’Rourke by just 2.6 points in one of the reddest states in the union.
None of that might have been possible had it not been for the Democrats’ horrific treatment of Kavanaugh. As Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell put it, the failed effort to stop Kavanaugh was “like an adrenaline shot” for the GOP base. Republican voters were outraged to see a good man accused, without a shred of corroboration, of sexually assaulting a teenage girl, exposing himself to a college classmate and participating in gang rapes in high school. They were disgusted by Senate Democrats’ insistence that the burden was on Kavanaugh to prove he didn’t do it and by Democrats’ blatant disregard for the presumption of innocence. They were energized by Kavanaugh’s willingness to fight back and declare his treatment by Democrats a “national disgrace.” And they punished the perpetrators of that disgrace at the polls on Tuesday.
Now Republicans have not only an expanded Senate majority but also a pro-life majority. Reports indicated that Trump was close to nominating Judge Amy Coney Barrett, a devout Catholic and mother of seven, to replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy. Barrett became a folk hero among religious conservatives after Diane Feinstein, Calif., ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, grilled her over her Catholic faith during her confirmation hearings as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit last year. “The dogma lives loudly within you,” Feinstein told Barrett, suggesting that her faith disqualified her. That outraged conservatives, who rightly castigated Feinstein for applying an unconstitutional religious test on Trump’s nominee. As Harvard Law School professor Noah Feldman explained, Feinstein “insinuated an anti-Catholic stereotype that goes back at least 150 years in the U.S. – that Catholics are unable to separate church and state because they place their religious allegiances before their oath to the Constitution.”
Barrett was confirmed for the Circuit Court. But when it came to the Supreme Court, Trump calculated that with a razor thin-GOP majority he needed what was supposed to be a safer pick and went with Kavanaugh instead. Now, with an expanded, pro-life Senate majority, Trump no longer has to worry about losing a few GOP votes next time around.
At every stage of recent Supreme Court fights, Democrats have miscalculated. Their mindless decision to filibuster Neil Gorsuch paved the way for Senate Republicans to get rid of the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees -- which made it possible to confirm Kavanaugh by simple majority. And if Barrett ever makes it onto the Supreme Court, Democrats can thank their horrific, defamatory treatment Kavanaugh.
The lesson for Democrats should be clear: Character assassination does not pay. Quite the opposite, it backfired – big-time.
The Nov. 3 Another Voice by the Grand Island religious education instructor misses the mark badly. She blames the church crisis on capitulation (her word) to secular influences since the 1960s. The author posits that progressive liberalism and atheist-inspired influences are at fault.
She gives no thought that over generations good people within the faith might seek enlightenment, knowledge and greater insight and now feel empowered to think and reason for themselves.
Like so many in Western New York I had nuns and priests in the ’50s and ’60s. There was no room for critical thinking or questioning. It was all memorization and fear of mortal and venial sin (remember those?).
From early centuries the Catholic Church mandated the dogma of The Trinity, Original Sin, rituals and paternalism dating back to the Council of Nicaea 325 AD. The church hierarchy radiated arrogance and a self-appointed authority. They got away with their fiction by frightening followers such that illiterate, simple people in the Dark Ages believed that heaven was an actual place, up in the sky, and hell was a place, down below in the earth. Maybe you could still postulate such nonsense now with second-graders but that’s about all.
It was the corrupt, powerful Roman Church that executed Giordano Bruno and imprisoned Galileo in response to their amazing scientific achievements about the solar system that helped move humanity out of the Dark Ages. These were men of faith who sought knowledge. And the religious education instructor cites papal encyclicals and a return to “Church authoritative teaching.” This reflects the thinking of people who desperately desire to be subservient and want to be told how to behave.
On Sept. 12 the Food and Drug Administration declared teen vaping an epidemic shortly after the start of a new school year. The use of the Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) was intended to target adults who are trying to quit using combustible cigarettes. Instead, these devices are now in the hands of 2 million middle school, high school and college students.
Regulations alone will not stop teens from vaping. A teen’s pediatrician should be on the front line asking, advising and assisting teens with a plan to quit before this nicotine use turns into a lifelong addiction.
Doctors, nurses and health educators have a unique opportunity to screen patients, discuss misconceptions, counsel and follow up regarding e-cigarettes. Teens should avoid any form of tobacco, including ENDS, and providers talking to youth about e-cigarette usage can significantly increase the success of cessation.
However, in order for providers to counsel on e-cigarettes, they too must be well informed about the dangers of these products.
Referring to a tobacco treatment specialist or an addiction counselor is an added intervention pediatricians can take to address this epidemic. Alexandria Trimble Health education specialist Niagara Falls bankrupt after losing money from the casinos? Why doesn’t the state help with the renovation of the city to make it a tourist attraction as demonstrated by the Canadian side of the falls? Most tourists prefer the Ontario attractions and accommodations because their government has invested in the infrastructure of the city.
On the other side of the state, New York City is debating over who should pay for the antiquated MTA system. Why is a city that has tourism as a significant annual income and a population of 8.6 million unable to fund this necessary upgrade? Why is the state not taking on these issues to increase the desirability and quality of life for the citizens of this state?
Why are we the highest taxed state in the nation and yet have so many deficiencies? Where’s the money?
Supply-side economics led to our stark national divide
Four decades ago the idea of a government policy which advocates shifting our wealth, manufacturing and technology to countries with philosophically opposite dispositions would have been the subject for the House Un-American Activities. The inauguration of these institutionalized supply-side, subversive policies during the Reagan years has led to a stark national divide between billionaires and the overwhelming majority of working poor.
The winners who own and control almost all the media and most of both major political parties are doing everything in their power to maintain this program that offers unregulated advantages to foreign manufacturers against our national interests.
During this time of extreme polarity blame is invariably trussed upon the opposite political number. The inequity is systematic and not the express property of any recent major political players. However there has been a failure on the part of all subsequent administrations to recognize these problems and take corrective action.
Recent natural disasters highlight our mutual dependence on each other. Those victims who would depend exclusively on “global” interests for salvation, would die in place, as would be in the case in international military conflict. What better method for universal instruction, shared responsibility and equanimity than reinstituting the draft?
Being inspired by bonafide and tested patriots like Truman, Eisenhower and Kennedy is one thing, but the days of deciding elections exclusively on the basis of media acumen and affability should be gone forever. Such is the arsenal of actors and charlatans, who have the proven ability to fool us.
Louis L. Boehm
Idling of our car engines is costly to us and the planet
It’s good to see more people pulling their cars over to the curb while using their devices, instead of driving while texting or while talking on their cellphone.
Even better would be to shut off the engine, too. Idling causes wear on the engine, and increases fuel consumption and pollution, which is bad for human and planetary health. Idling for only 10 seconds uses more fuel than shutting off the engine and restarting the car.
Remote car starters pose the same problems, plus the car will warm up faster from driving than idling. There’s nothing good about idling a car, and avoiding it is a simple way to help your car, your budget, your health, and the environment.
This may seem a small thing, but enough of us doing it will make a difference.