They Can’t ‘Bork’ Kavanaugh, So Democrats Are Borking America
Yeah, yeah. You’ve all heard the story. How Teddy Kennedy, the late “Lion of the Senate,” roared in a floor speech in 1987 that confirming then-D. C. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Robert Bork to the U.S. Supreme Court would mark the imposition or restoration of a police state, Jim Crow, the Ku Klux Klan, Bible-teaching in every classroom and “The Handmaid’s Tale” — all on his first day on the bench.
Which let loose a barrage from every battle station across the liberal political-advocacy-media complex on one of the most eminent and qualified jurists ever nominated for the high court. And introduced the term “Borking” into the political lexicon.
Today’s Democrats know they can’t “Bork” President Trump’s nominee for the Supremes, Brett Kavanaugh. The longtime political pro and 12-year judge on the selfsame D.C. Circuit knows the playbook — including Justice Ruth “Notorious” Ginsburg’s “no hints, no forecasts, no previews” standard for responding to Judiciary Committee questions and staying out of trouble.
Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (full disclosure: my onetime boss) and Majority Leader Mitch Connell are too wily and experienced. And the Republicans hold a majority, no matter how razor thin, and appear to be holding fast.
So the Democrats are taking a different tack: They are Borking America itself. How else to explain the ruckus that broke out on the first day of the Kavanaugh hearings in the once-hallowed halls of the World’s Greatest Deliberative Body? Like the unprecedented interruption of Chairman Grassley’s opening statement by California’s Kamala Harris.
Or the irritating rundown by Sheldon Whitehouse of allegedly right-leaning and corporation-coddling “Roberts Court” 5-4 decisions. A recitation that somehow ignored the fact that the Rhode Island senator’s “Five” included longtime liberal darling Anthony Kennedy, the direct beneficiary of the Bork defeat. Who in turn was last seen waxing rhapsodically in tandem with the so-called “Four” about rights newly discovered under the 14th Amendment — namely, to “intimacy,” “not to be condemned to live in loneliness” and “equal dignity in the eyes of the law.”
Not long before that, of course, the “Five’s” namesake, Chief Justice John Roberts, was spotted hooking up with Supreme Court liberals to rescue the previous administration’s signature initiative — by unilaterally recasting ObamaCare’s most Constitution-offending provision from a penalty to a tax.
Or how about the puzzling-yet-telling moment when Richard Durbin of Illinois — with a surprisingly straight face — intoned condescendingly to the nominee that obnoxious outbursts by audience members, considered a shocking breaking of decorum by the rest of the civilized world, were in fact “the voice of democracy.”
Or the silliest, saddest and most cynical aspect of the whole spectacle: the Democrats’ continuing insistence on viewing an unending stream of additional documents before allowing hearings on the respected jurist to continue.
Never mind, as the Wall Street Journal points out, the 307 opinions Kavanaugh has written, his 17,000 pages of responses to the Judiciary Committee’s questionnaire, and the more than half a million pages of documentation on his career Democratic Senators have already received. They’re demanding more, specifically that the hearings be held up until the National Archives can hand over additional stacks of records from Kavanaugh’s time as staff secretary to President George W. Bush.
Even the rawest greenhorn in Washington can see through this facade. The Democrats already know everything they need and more to make an informed decision on Judge Kavanaugh (and most have already announced their opposition).
Dems Bork AmericaNo, the whole contretemps is about two things: First, casting a pall of faux illegitimacy over the entire confirmation proceedings and process to stoke up the base for the upcoming midterms. And second, the opportunity to paw through just a few million more pages in hopes of finding the “smoking gun” that will prove — despite Kavanaugh’s distinguished service as a jurist — that somewhere during his time in W’s administration he may have fingered a piece of paper that implicates him in dastardly deeds involving torture, enslaving women, tax cuts for the filthy rich or pushing Grandma off the cliff.
The problem is, as I’ve noted before, that the Democrats know that the constant generation of artificial outrage and contrived controversy works to achieve political goals, simply by unsettling the public. The latest IBD/TIPP poll shows President Trump’s approval ratings being washed away by a wave of negative coverage, and Fox News and ABC both report that a bare majority of the public opposes Kavanaugh’s nomination.
But this endless “Borking” of the public, designed to keep Americans continuously on edge and at odds with their government, will come with a price: further declines in, and decreasing faith in, political institutions like a Senate being turned into a reality show, and a Supreme Court being joined by yet another unfairly tarred justice. And even deeper divisions between a militant left that has seemingly seized the reins of the Democratic Party and an ever-angrier right that is lashing back at their scorched-earth tactics.
They’re mad as hell in Washington, in every sense of the term. How much longer are we going to take it?
- Maistros is a messaging and communications strategist, crisis specialist and former political speechwriter. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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