Good Friday Morning! The Kavanaugh hearings are finally over! And things are less crazy this week without some hair-brained theory. After a constant back and forth of “will she or won’t she” testify, the country finally heard from Christine Ford under oath. It was a smart move by Republicans. I’ll get into that more below along with some links.
Where you can find me this week
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Ever feel like you spend a week beating the same drum? That was me this week, making a variety of arguments on why the GOP should vote immediately on Kavanaugh. I’m pleased with the fact they’re voting quickly. I would have liked to see them push Democrats a bit more on the logistics.
The Kavanaugh nomination hearings are over! What next?
I feel like everyone I spoke to was listening to, watching, or responding to the Kavanaugh hearings. As for the substance of the interviews, I think they stand for themselves. I don’t have a lot to add on that front. I don’t think the hearings changed anyone’s minds about what happened to Christine Ford, but it was a smart political move by the GOP to hold them.
What I will do is reference where things stand, and where we go from here.
The end goal of all those hearings was to determine whether or not Brett Kavanaugh is cleared to serve as a Supreme Court Justice. And with that goal in mind, it’s undisputable Kavanaugh won those hearings. And I can say that because Ford’s testimony did little to change the political reality for many of these Senators, and Kavanaugh’s fiery but credible denial means this entire event is back to what its always been: power politics and vote counting.
And right now, it looks like Democrats severely overplayed their hand.
When the Ford allegations dropped, along with the other wildly unsubstantiated gossip-rag material after Ford, the media shifted its narrative immediately to pretending all the pressure was off red-state Democrats to vote for Kavanaugh. The entire media apparatus, including myself at times, assumed red-state Democrats no longer mattered and all the burden remained on Collins and Murkowski, the two moderate Republicans.
That was wrong.
By giving Ford a hearing, and then providing enough evidence to refute anything she says, Republicans removed that story entirely from the equation. The GOP even went the extra mile and had the prosecutor they used during the hearings explain what Ford did and didn’t prove to the Senators, adding that she wouldn’t have prosecuted based on Ford’s testimony. It’s all about campaign strategy now. And on that front, the antics of the Democratic Party hurt their chances with these swing Senators in a severe way.
So where are we now?
Who is the master of vote counting?
Townhall reports that their insiders are saying the GOP has the votes, both for the committee and floor vote. I know they’re right on the committee vote, that’s the easy decision. The real question is the floor vote before the full Senate.
Chad Pegram over at Fox News had this useful summary of how things will proceed:
McConnell will likely “file cloture” to end debate on Kavanaugh nomination on Sat to overcome a filibuster. By rule, a cloture petition to end debate on the nomination requires a day to elapse before it’s ready. Sunday serves as the intervening day before cloture “ripens.”
On Monday, the cloture petition to end debate on Kavanaugh “ripens” and the Senate may take a vote to break the filibuster and end all debate. This requires 51 yeas.
If the Senate votes to halt debate, on Kavanaugh nomination, opponents of are afforded 30 hours of clock time to burn before a confirmation vote. Expect confirmation vote to come late in the day on Tuesday…MAYBE Wednesday…depending on when the 30 hour clock started running.
So between now and next Tuesday or Wednesday, Democrats are going to throw the full kitchen sink at Kavanaugh and the swing-voting Democrats and Republicans in the Senate. It’s all about doing two things: 1) Trashing Kavanaugh, which the media will be complicit in helping, and; 2) Trashing the swing Senators to convince them not to vote for Kavanaugh.
The first part is unfortunate but expected at this stage. The Democrat’s opening salvo after the events was pushing the American Bar Association to release a letter saying Kavanaugh should undergo an FBI investigation. The ABA already ruled Kavanaugh eminently qualified for his position, and this backtracking reeks of desperation by Democrats.
It also won’t matter because conservatives don’t care at all what the ABA thinks about their candidates.
So you can expect more baseless moves like that. I also wouldn’t be shocked if one of the big papers dropped another allegation bombshell, in a ploy to reopen the hearings and postpone a vote. Michael Avenatti, a diva in search of a spotlight, will also probably try to drop his bombshells.
Here’s the real problem though, Democrats severely overplayed their hands in these hearings. They’re wholly dependent on the press to run their smear campaign because the Senators discredited themselves. In the first round of interviews, Democrats spent an inordinate amount of time grandstanding over useless points.
The only Democrat who didn’t waste everyone’s time was Amy Klobuchar (MN). She asked insightful questions every step of the way, and I don’t believe Kavanaugh always helped himself in his answers to her. In the first round of hearings, she challenged him on judicial philosophy, which brought out some profound questions and answers. In this latest round, she stayed true to form and asked hard questions.
If you want what a Democrat should be in the process, look to Klobuchar. She gained the respect of every conservative lawyer I know. And because of that, I don’t anticipate a smear campaign from her. It’ll come from the press.
The question is whether or not it matters. Are the votes already counted?
As I said, Townhall sources say the GOP has the votes. Eric Erickson is telling the same thing. The key Senators were all huddled after the hearings:
After the hearing, moderate Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Lisa Murkowksi, R-Alaska, as well as Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va. and Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., huddled to discuss the nomination, Fox News confirmed.
They talked for approximately 30 minutes before a GOP conference meeting Thursday evening ahead of Friday’s planned Judiciary Committee vote on whether to recommend Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the full Senate.
My prediction is that McConnell sweeps the moderate Republicans in this group, which gives him Collins, Murkowski, and Flake. That gets him to 51 and Kavanaugh nominated. But I also believe, based on some other reporting I’ve read, that McConnell is going to pick off Manchin of West Virginia. That gets us to 52.
And if McConnell and the GOP already believe they have 52, then they probably are closer to winning a few more. I think they get two more Democrats to split off, individually Donnelly and Heitkamp, who will break late. That gives Kavanaugh bipartisan consensus and ends this stupid line of him being illegitimate.
We’ll see how it shakes out over the weekend. Expect a steady flow of smears and attacks until then. The hearings are over, which means the gloves and rules are genuinely off now.
Links of the week
Satire piece of the week
WASHINGTON, D.C.—As accusers against Brett Kavanaugh continue to come forward and his nomination vote looms near, the embroiled judge has produced what some are calling a “smoking gun” in order to confirm he was a virgin when alleged sexual misconduct took place: official Star Wars bed sheets he used throughout high school and into college.
Kavanaugh held up the sheets, carefully preserved in his childhood home for many years, and continued to declare his innocence.
“I was sleeping on an X-Wing for crying out loud,” an exasperated Kavanaugh said in a Fox News interview as his wife nodded solemnly. “I clearly wasn’t one of ‘those kids’ who were partying every weekend.”
Thanks for reading!