And Senate Majority Chief Mitch McConnell went off on Democrats Monday afternoon, accusing them of conducting a “shameful, shameful smear marketing campaign.”
There’s a component of reality within the this-is-all-politics assault: The Kavanaugh affirmation battle — and the way in which the allegations from Ramirez in addition to California professor Christine Blasey Ford, who says Kavanaugh assaulted her once they have been in highschool, have landed — is completely and completely political. However the politicization of this listening to occurred a very long time in the past, and Republmicans are at the least as culpable for it as are Democrats.
It started with then-Senate Majority Chief Harry Reid altering the Senate guidelines on confirming judges in 2013. It worsened — badly — when Republicans have been unwilling to even take into account the nomination of Merrick Garland to fill the seat vacated by deceased Justice Antonin Scalia in February 2016. The altering of Senate guidelines to finish debate to substantiate Neil Gorsuch to the Court docket by a easy majority in 2017 additional infected issues. The deeply riven and partisan surroundings is the one into which Kavanaugh was nominated. And it has solely gotten worse.
There’s zero debate that Senate Democrats — notably these on the Judiciary Committee — bear a large quantity of animosity towards McConnell and the Senate GOP management as a result of blocking of Garland. You would inform that from the questioning of Kavanaugh in his first spherical of affirmation hearings earlier this month. Democratic senators from Dianne Feinstein to Pat Leahy to Kamala Harris have been pointed of their questions and uncertain about Kavanaugh’s solutions. And that was effectively earlier than the nation knew the names of Ford or Ramirez.
On the similar time, it is a bit wealthy for the White Home — and Senate Republicans — to assert that Democrats are merely enjoying politics right here, doing something they’ll to delay or derail a Kavanaugh vote. We now have two accusations of inappropriate sexual conduct geared toward a nominee for a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court docket. Kavanaugh has denied each of the allegations. When you can increase questions — because the President has achieved in an extremely inartful method — about why the ladies are coming ahead greater than 30 years after the alleged incidents and with Kavanaugh on the verge of affirmation, it is arduous to justify the response by Republicans to those fees as something however political.
The reply to all of these questions is politics. Senate Republicans and the White Home know that their window on confirming Kavanaugh is closing. The 2018 election — now in 43 days — is shaping as much as be a tough one for Republicans, with the GOP’s Home majority deeply imperiled and the Senate majority extra in play than anybody thought it is perhaps. Each day of delay within the Kavanaugh vote makes it that a lot nearer to the election, that rather more politically perilous for Republicans and that rather more doubtless that they will not be capable of get him seated earlier than the 2018 elections are upon us.
If that got here to cross, Republicans would don’t have any good choices. Making an attempt to substantiate Kavanaugh (or another nominee if Trump pulls Kavanaugh or Kavanaugh drops out) in a lame-duck session of Congress after main Democratic good points on the poll field can be dicey. And who is aware of what occurs within the 2018 election? The danger of pushing aside the affirmation vote till the following Congress is seated is solely a large gamble.
So, sure, there are politics right here — on either side — and on account of plenty of components that pre-date Kavanaugh however have been exacerbated by the way in which the Kavanuagh affirmation battle has performed out.