Ka­vanaugh fight shows depths of Dems’ cru­elty

The Day - - OPINION - MARC A. THIESSEN

The in­creas­ingly brazen and un­sup­ported charges against Ka­vanaugh back­fired, strength­en­ing the GOP’s case that Ka­vanaugh was the vic­tim.

The Ka­vanaugh fight shows we have not yet plumbed the depths of Demo­cratic ruth­less­ness. Pres­i­dent Trump apol­o­gized to Jus­tice Brett Ka­vanaugh and his fam­ily for the “ter­ri­ble pain and suf­fer­ing” they en­dured dur­ing his con­fir­ma­tion process, declar­ing that “what hap­pened to the Ka­vanaugh fam­ily vi­o­lates ev­ery no­tion of fair­ness, de­cency and due process.” Democrats seem to be tak­ing the op­po­site les­son from the Ka­vanaugh fight. As Politico re­cently tweeted, “Af­ter fail­ing to stop Ka­vanaugh’s con­fir­ma­tion, Democrats won­der if it’s time to be more ruth­less.”

More ruth­less? There are a lot of rea­sons the ef­fort to stop Ka­vanaugh failed, but a lack of ruth­less­ness is not one of them. Ka­vanaugh’s op­po­nents just tried to de­stroy a man with­out a shred of cor­rob­o­rat­ing ev­i­dence. No tac­tic, no un­founded ac­cu­sa­tion, was too ex­treme. Democrats de­manded that the FBI in­ves­ti­gate not just Chris­tine Blasey Ford’s un­cor­rob­o­rated ac­cu­sa­tions, but also the charge in the New Yorker’s hit piece that Ka­vanaugh had ex­posed him­self to a col­lege class­mate, Deb­o­rah Ramirez, as well as the scur­rilous ac­cu­sa­tion by Michael Ave­natti client Julie Swet­nick that Ka­vanaugh par­tic­i­pated in gang rapes at high school par­ties. How can you get any more ruth­less than un­founded ac­cu­sa­tions of gang rape?

Democrats did not lose the Ka­vanaugh fight be­cause they were not ruth­less enough. They lost be­cause, as al­ways, the left over­reached. Their in­creas­ingly brazen and un­sup­ported charges against Ka­vanaugh back­fired, strength­en­ing the GOP’s case that Ka­vanaugh was the vic­tim of a po­lit­i­cal hit job, and ac­tu­ally help­ing to se­cure his con­fir­ma­tion.

They also lost be­cause of their dis­as­trous de­ci­sion last year to fil­i­buster the nom­i­na­tion of Neil Gor­such, a jus­tice of im­pec­ca­ble qual­i­fi­ca­tion and tem­per­a­ment. If Democrats had kept their pow­der dry then, they would still have had the fil­i­buster in place when Ka­vanaugh was nom­i­nated. As it stands, Repub­li­cans were barely able to con­firm Ka­vanaugh; they likely would never have been able muster the votes to in­voke the nu­clear op­tion to get him onto the court.

In the case of Gor­such, at least there was no at­tempt at char­ac­ter as­sas­si­na­tion. That was be­cause he was a con­ser­va­tive jus­tice re­plac­ing a con­ser­va­tive jus­tice, the late An­tonin Scalia. His con­fir­ma­tion sim­ply re­stored the sta­tus quo ante. Ka­vanaugh, by con­trast, was re­plac­ing Jus­tice An­thony M. Kennedy, the court’s key swing vote. His con­fir­ma­tion could swing the court’s ide­o­log­i­cal bal­ance for a gen­er­a­tion, so he had to be de­stroyed. If they did this to Kennedy’s re­place­ment, think of what Democrats will do if, at some point in his pres­i­dency, Trump ends up nom­i­nat­ing some­one to re­place a lib­eral Supreme Court jus­tice. It’s hard to imag­ine any­thing worse than charges of gang rape, but I doubt we have yet plumbed the depths of the ruth­less­ness of which Democrats are ca­pa­ble.

Democrats have no one but them­selves to blame for Ka­vanaugh’s con­fir­ma­tion. Their strate­gic mis­cal­cu­la­tions, and em­brace of what they once de­cried as the “pol­i­tics of per­sonal de­struc­tion,” back­fired. And the re­ver­ber­a­tions may not yet be over. Since Ka­vanaugh’s hear­ings, the num­ber of Repub­li­cans who say the Novem­ber elec­tions are “very im­por­tant” has grown by 12 points to 80 per­cent — clos­ing the en­thu­si­asm gap with Democrats. The at­tacks on Ka­vanaugh have awo­ken a sleep­ing gi­ant. It may not be enough to save the House, where Repub­li­cans are de­fend­ing 25 seats in dis­tricts Hil­lary Clin­ton won. But the Ka­vanaugh fi­asco may cost Democrats their chance to re­take the Se­nate — and with it the power to block fu­ture Trump ju­di­cial nom­i­na­tions. If so, it means their search-and-de­stroy mis­sion against Ka­vanaugh may end up hand­ing Trump the abil­ity to get even more Supreme Court jus­tices con­firmed.

Democrats have given Repub­li­cans rea­son to look past their frus­tra­tions with Trump’s er­ratic be­hav­ior in of­fice. Mil­lions of Repub­li­cans put aside their mis­giv­ings and voted for Trump in 2016 for one rea­son: the Supreme Court. Now he has de­liv­ered. It has not es­caped no­tice that he never once backed down in his sup­port for Ka­vanaugh. Even at the low­est mo­ments, there were no signs of wa­ver­ing, no leaks from the White House that the pres­i­dent was qui­etly look­ing at po­ten­tial re­place­ments just in case Ka­vanaugh’s nom­i­na­tion failed. At his cer­e­mo­nial swear­ing-in Mon­day, Ka­vanaugh thanked Trump for his “stead­fast, un­wa­ver­ing sup­port.” He’s right. The pres­i­dent stood firm un­til the end, and won. Now it’s time for Democrats to be hon­est with them­selves about why they lost.

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