Mitch McConnell is back at it, insisting there will be a floor vote on Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation this week, even though the FBI supposedly has the week to complete its supposedly newly expanded investigation. It will happen before the week's end, he insists, never mind that he was equally insistent that the vote would be today at the beginning of last week, even before Thursday's hearing into Christine Blasey Ford's allegations of sexual assault against Kavanaugh. McConnell's bluster about the inevitability of Kavanaugh's confirmation has been quite possibly the only thing keeping the nomination on life support, but it hasn't made it a done deal yet.
Before Ford testified, McConnell was insisting that it was inevitable in a bid to intimidate her and keep her from appearing. That failed, so now he's in attack mode accusing her of having "politically connected lawyers" in her defense. Which would be a lot more believable if Bill Burck—the lawyer for George W. Bush as well as Steve Bannon and Reince Priebus and Don McGahn (yeah, the guy in charge of Kavanaugh's nomination for the White House)—wasn't running the show as Kavanaugh's lawyer.
McConnell also charged the Democrats with a kind of McCarthyism, saying "that they just want to delay this matter past the election," which doesn't really have anything to do with McCarthyism, but hey! Merrick Garland alert!
Anyway, he dropped in that McCarthyism bit so he could lean on Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) a little. He used it to bring up McCarthy foe Margaret Chase Smith, Collins's hero. Maybe that's not just an apt comparison to draw, though, if Collins remember the end of Chase Smith's career. Her support for Nixon and his war in Vietnam and her political disconnect with the Maine electorate over the war ended her bid for a fifth term in office. Oops.
If Collins and her Republican counterparts Jeff Flake and Lisa Murkowski are paying attention, that's also McConnell giving them a big ol' FU. He's telling them now that they're going to have to vote no matter what, shutting down any political space they think they may have gained through engineering this delay. He's pulled this on his Republicans before, with the Affordable Care Act/Trumpcare vote last fall that ended so disastrously for him.
That ended badly for McConnell because he underestimated the power of the people to terrify Collins and Murkowski. We've got this week to repeat that. This is by no means over.
Do you live in Maine? Susan Collins needs to hear from you. Click here to give her a piece of your mind.
Live in Alaska? You have the power. Sign and send a petition to Sen. Lisa Murkowski: Oppose any Kavanaugh.