Noted insurrectionist and treason-curious Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) has decided to bring some QAnon seasoning to the disgustingly and blatantly racist appeals for opposition to Judge Ketanji Brown Jackon’s Supreme Court nomination. In a long and slimy Twitter screed that does not merit linking to, Hawley suggests that Jackson isn’t just “soft on crime”—the dog whistle Republican narrative—but has coddled sex offenders and in particular pedophiles.
Hawley went so far as to say that “her record endangers children,” a charge that has probably already been picked up on by the worst of the worst QAnon conspiracy theorists who feed the right-wing media. Expect it to show up on Fox News any minute now.
That makes Sen. Dick Durbin’s attitude a little too dismissive. The Judiciary Committee chair told Politico: “I don’t believe in it being taken seriously … I’m troubled by it because it’s so outrageous. It really tests the committee as to whether we’re going to be respectful in the way we treat this nominee.”
Yes, yes it does. Particularly when Minority Leader Mitch McConnell—after that screed from Hawley was posted—lied through his teeth, telling conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt that “I think Judge Jackson will be treated respectfully. I think the questions will be appropriate.” No. The questions will not be appropriate. Hawley just proved that, and McConnell needs to be pressured into holding him to account for that.
White House Deputy Press Secretary Andrew Bates responded appropriately. “This is toxic and weakly-presented misinformation that relies on taking cherry-picked elements of her record out of context—and it buckles under the lightest scrutiny.” The full statement:
Judge Jackson’s is a proud mother of two whose nomination has been endorsed by leading law enforcement organizations, conservative judges, and survivors of crime. This is toxic and weakly-presented misinformation that relies on taking cherry-picked elements of her record out of context—and it buckles under the lightest scrutiny. It’s based on a report unanimously agreed to by all of the Republicans on the US Sentencing Commission, on selectively presenting a short transcript excerpt in which Judge Jackson was quoting a witness’s testimony back to them to ask a question, and on omitting that her rulings are in line with sentencing practices across the entire federal judiciary regarding these crimes. In the overwhelming majority of her cases involving child sex crimes, the sentences Judge Jackson imposed were consistent with or above what the government or U.S. Probation recommended.
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There is the problem that when you are explaining, you are losing. But what Bates says is all true, and it’s what Democrats need to bring to next week’s hearing for Jackson: the facts. But they have to bring those facts with anger and fire and ferocity. They have to be prepared to humiliate the worm Hawley (and Ted Cruz, and Tom Cotton, and Marsha Blackburn—the very worst of the Republicans are on this committee) to the utmost.
That means some discipline and some coordination among Democrats, which is far too often missing in these hearings. They’re generally too enamored with the sound of their own voices and the rare opportunity to carry on in front of national television cameras to actually be effective.
They can take some inspiration from Twitter. For example, using this:
This shit has to be called out for what it is. Forget the “comity” of the Senate hearing room. Forget the pomp and circumstance of the hearing room. When the likes of Hawley tries to advance this kind of malevolent bile, Democrats need to be united in attacking back and exposing it.