After a contentious confirmation for a new Justice of the Supreme Court, we are plunging headlong into election season. Both factions have said that the confirmation has energized their side, ensuring victory in November.
Both sides are wrong.
But first, let's say a few words about the Kavanaugh confirmation. As long time readers of "Telegrams" are aware, I've been away for awhile with ongoing health concerns, so I did not get a chance to weigh in on a story that's tailor made for, well, weighing in. on. (ouch, that was awkward). Here a few quick thoughts:
1. Nominee Kavanaugh was repeatedly asked to rule on cases he had not yet heard. Imagine having to go to court, preparing the greatest case of your life, only to have the judge slam down his gavel and render his verdict before the trial begins. "No need to present your case, I've already made my decision," he says. That's what the liberal Democrats wanted Kavanaugh to do. "Tell me now how you will decide on Roe v. Wade," they asked. And when he answered that he would not make those kinds of pronouncements, they went away very unsatisfied, saying, "Since Kavanaugh will not commit to the unqualified upholding of Roe v. Wade, we will vote against him." That doesn't seem right, does it?
2. Does anybody really think that the sexual assault allegation against the nominee was not a political maneuver? After trying to find the proverbial "smoking gun" in Kavanaugh's possession, Diane Feinstein takes a letter she has had for months and coyly says, "Oh hey...got something here that is troubling." Seriously? This wasn't political?
3. Sexual assault and harassment are, sadly, very real. I don't think we should minimize the problem, nor shift blame to the victims. However, I challenge the assumption that questioning the victim about what exactly happened is the same as rank mistreatment. "Forget facts, just take my word for it," is not adequate enough to destroy someone's career, either in a trial or in a job interview (and for the Democrats, the whole "job interview" thing makes it okay to be totally unfair and heavy handed, because, hey, it's not a trial.).
4. It became clear that the facts did not back up the accusation. Unfortunately, Judge Kavanaugh had had enough and snipped back at the Democrats. Yeah, not a smart move and not a good showing, but also very understandable given the circumstances. At this point, the Democrats said, "Okay, maybe we don't have the facts, but hoo boy, did you see the Judge's temper? Can't have a man like that on the bench, no way." As if there were Democrats who were sitting on the fence, undecided on the nomination, and then they see this.
5. The fact is, the Democrats were pre-determined to reject the Kavanaugh nomination. It wasn't his refusal to pledge to reach a particular verdict. It wasn't the decades old accusations against him. It wasn't his flash of ire before the committee. It was strictly a political decision, made largely because...Trump.
But now we come to the elections and both the Republicans and Democrats are saying this will be the most important election maybe in history.
And (as stated before) they're both wrong.
Maybe the lens of history will bring 2018 into focus, but my "gut," honed by years of observation, is telling me that very little will change. If the Democrats come into power, they still have to win over the citizens of the country who are largely convinced that politicians are no good. For all the talk about impeaching Trump and impeaching Kavanaugh, they run the risk of half the country saying, "Told you so...I knew they would do that." If the Republicans retain their margin, they may ease up a little so as not to rub it in. At least I would hope they would. A hand offered in bi-partisan respect and friendship would be incredibly refreshing.
But even if the mid-terms don't end peacefully, there's always the next election. And the next one. Our country survived pistol duals between political opponents, so I'm sure today's enlightened lawmakers will get through this as well.