Nan Aron/The Nation:
Kavanaugh Is Confirmed. Now What?
The catastrophic handling of this nomination and its contempt for Dr. Christine Blasey Ford is a defining moment for millions, for whom business as usual will no longer do.
Some of these lower-court nominees are not just conservative; they are inhumane in ways that we rarely see. One circuit-court nominee wrote ardently in favor of the death penalty for minors. He argued against providing immigrant detainees with sleeping mats, because too few people could then be packed into a room. These views should be anathema in 21st-century America—and every person should think about them when they step into the voting booth next month.
So yes, this is no time to pack up the tents. Kavanaugh has helped us to see all too clearly what the stakes are for women, for workers, for racial equity, LGBTQ Americans, and the environment when the right captures our courts—and those stakes are far too high. We have arrived at this clarity through a painful process, but we have arrived, and with a midterm election right around the corner. And that’s just the beginning.
Republicans don’t care what you think
Republicans lost the argument, but they ultimately had the votes
The American public believes Christine Blasey Ford more than they believe Brett Kavanaugh. An NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll found that 45 percent of Americans thought she was the one telling the truth at last week’s Senate hearing, while 33 percent thought Kavanaugh was. It was a notable shift from the Anita Hill-Clarence Thomas hearings, when 58 percent of Americans said they believed Thomas more and only 24 percent said Hill.
Thomas, in other words, was confirmed to the Supreme Court with overwhelming public support, compared to his accuser. Now Kavanaugh will also be confirmed — but in direct defiance of the public, which finds his accuser, Ford, more credible than him. (Kavanaugh repeatedly denied the allegations.)
Twenty nine days until the election.
Tom Nichols/The Atlantic:
Why I’m Leaving the Republican Party
The Kavanaugh confirmation fight revealed the GOP to be the party of situational ethics and moral relativism in the name of winning at all costs.
I believe in the importance of diversity and toleration. I would like a shorter tax code. I would also like people to exhibit some public decorum and keep their shoes on in public.
Does this make me a liberal? No. I do not believe that human nature is malleable clay to be reshaped by wise government policy. Many of my views, which flow from that basic conservative idea, are not welcome in a Democratic tribe in the grip of the madness of identity politics.
But whatever my concerns about liberals, the true authoritarian muscle is now being flexed by the GOP, in a kind of buzzy, steroidal McCarthyism that lacks even anti-communism as a central organizing principle. The Republican Party, which controls all three branches of government and yet is addicted to whining about its own victimhood, is now the party of situational ethics and moral relativism in the name of winning at all costs.
So, I’m out. The Trumpers and the hucksters and the consultants and the hangers-on, like a colony of bees who exist only to sting and die, have swarmed together in a dangerous but suicidal cloud, and when that mindless hive finally extinguishes itself in a blaze of venom, there will be nothing left.
There are Never Trumpers who opposed Kavanaugh and Never Trumpers who decided owning the libs was more important. But it was a clarifying moment. The Tom Nichols, Jen Rubins, Bill Kristols, Charlie Sykes, Max Boots et al are allies (for now.) Doesn’t make them non conservatives and there’s much that they will oppose in the future. But first things first.
Requiem for the Supreme Court
Opinion-writer politesse would require me to say or imply that the decay in the courts standing was the fault of “both sides,” or of both “right and left.”
But I cannot. It simply is not true.
One party made the Supreme Court a partisan issue. First Richard Nixon then Ronald Reagan made attacks the Court part of Republican Party dogma. Some will see the rejection of Judge Robert Bork by the Democratic controlled Senate in 1987 as a product of partisanship; others may see it as one of its causes. But I think no fair-minded person could deny that a major barrier was crossed in 1991, when a Republican president for political reasons appointed a justice who was manifestly unqualified for the office, and who faced numerous, credible claims of sexual misbehavior as a government official. It was hard to watch the nominee testify in October 1991 without concluding that Anita Hill had told the truth and that Thomas had lied. But the administration pushed ahead regardless. This was the first major step over a dangerous threshold.
The NY Times, which I defend sometimes, is the worst at this:
Christine Blasey Ford Didn’t Come Forward in Vain
Collins’s decision to confirm Kavanaugh suggests that Ford’s stated fears about coming forward in the first place—“Why suffer through the annihilation if it’s not going to matter?”—will in one way be proved true: Ford offered herself up, to be questioned in every sense. And the overall result of the confirmation vote, barring an extraordinary development—Justice Kavanaugh, the ninth occupant of the Supreme Court’s bench—will be the same as if she’d maintained her privacy and her national anonymity and the life she’d built for herself. But change moves side to side as well as back and forth—and in another way, the coming forward of Christine Blasey Ford changed everything. It convinced many who had been silent about their own experiences to share them out loud. It insisted that the sharing should not be a matter of shame.
John Sides, Michael Tesler and Lynn Vavreck/WaPo:
Five myths about the 2016 election
Trump can say or do anything without losing support
The effects of specific controversies were often short-lived, but polling data shows that they did hurt Trump. During the primary campaign, Trump’s net favorability among Republicans dropped sharply — from +27 points to +11, according to YouGov/Economist polls — after he criticized John McCain’s record as a POW in Vietnam. It fell again after he made offensively critical comments about Megyn Kelly following the Aug. 6, 2015, primary debate (+27 points to +13) and after he skipped a January 2016 debate (+38 points to +22).
During the general-election campaign, Trump’s standing in the polls suffered at multiple points, especially after the release of the infamous “Access Hollywood” video. It turns out that boasting about sexual assault on tape can drive at least some voters away….
Hillary Clinton's inept campaign cost her the election
We also find little evidence for the arguments that Clinton should have spent more on digital ads, visited Michigan more often or had her field organizers focus on persuading voters rather than mobilizing the Democratic base. Again, research shows that such tactics have small, if any, effects — too small even to shift the outcome in a close election.
Trump's victory was due to economic anxiety. Nope. This is culture war and racism. Let’s make sure we are fighting the correct battle. Democratic voters are ideologically divided. Nope, another myth. (These last two covered in the piece).
And then there’s this point.
DEAR SENATORS: THE OPPOSITION TO BRETT KAVANAUGH INCLUDES CHURCHES, LAW PROFESSORS, AND CONSERVATIVES — EVEN HIS OWN FRIENDS
The National Council of Churches, which represents 100,000 congregations and 45 million church-goers, issued a blunt demand for Kavanaugh to step aside after his testimony. “Judge Kavanaugh exhibited extreme partisan bias and disrespect towards certain members of the committee and thereby demonstrated that he possesses neither the temperament nor the character essential for a member of the highest court in our nation,” the NCC statement said. It continued, “We are deeply disturbed by the multiple allegations of sexual assault and call for a full and unhindered investigation of these accusations.”
This has not gone away just because Collins and Flake voted yes.
Oh, and don’t forget Bob Mueller:
GOP Operative Secretly Raised at Least $100,000 in Search for Clinton Emails
Opposition researcher’s efforts are of intense interest to investigators probing Russian election interference
According to an email in the “Robert Tyler” account reviewed by the Journal, Mr. Smith obtained $100,000 from at least four financiers as well as a $50,000 contribution from Mr. Smith himself. People familiar with Mr. Smith’s financial transactions confirm there were donations.
The email, dated Oct. 11, 2016, in the “Robert Tyler” account, included the subject line “Wire Instructions—Clinton Email Reconnaissance Initiative” and was addressed to Mr. Smith. The writer, who identified himself as “ROB, ” said: “This $100k total with the $50k received from you will allow us to fund the Washington Scholarship Fund for the Russian students for the promised $150K.” The Journal couldn’t determine if such a fund actually exists.
The truth about all of this (Mueller probe, Kavanaugh if there is more, right wing malfeasance in service of the nutters) will all come out eventually.
Christine Ford’s story isn’t over
The cost of coming forward with her allegations against Brett Kavanaugh was enormous. But it won’t be in vain.
In the last week, Ford and many others have added their voices to a growing chorus of Americans calling those in power to account for the sexual harassment and assault of those less powerful than they are. That chorus is growing louder, not softer. It will not be reduced to nothing.
Meanwhile, Josh Kraushaar/National Journal:
Panic Time for Embattled House Republicans
Trailing in the polls, GOP Rep. Kevin Yoder is making an aggressive last stand to save his suburban Kansas City district. His Democratic challenger is keeping a lower profile, hoping to run out the clock until November
That anti-Trump sentiment is coursing far beyond the suburbs of Kansas City, putting the neighboring reliably-Republican Second District in play. The state’s frustration with eight years of deeply-conservative rule is apparent across the state, where Kelly is running competitively with Kobach in the governor’s race. For a state that was once famously rebuked by a progressive author for voting against its interests, this is shaping up to be the strongest Democratic year in Kansas since 2006.
“Lots of Republicans are telling me that they’re voting Democratic for the first time in their lives,” said state Sen. Lynn Rogers, a former Republican who is Kelly’s running mate. “Both Sharice and Laura know we’re in a mess and we need two strong women to clean things up.”
NJ, AZ blue. TX, TN red, according to this poll. We might see no net change. if it comes with a D House, not a bad night. But we have a month to go, and these are not the only polls. Don’t stop working for your candidate. Get mad and get out there.