Whatever happens with Judge Kavanaugh's nomination, politics our country will forever be marked by what has gone on in the last few weeks. If utterly unsubstantiated accusations can sink a man and ruin his life, in full view of the nation, by a vote of the U.S. Senate, we are not who we once were.
In his column today in the Wall Street Journal, Daniel Henninger captures what is at stake–and it is even more than a seat on the Supreme Court:
We are a civilized people. We don’t actually shoot each other, most of the time. Street gangs do that, and the U.S. Senate isn’t a street gang. But it has begun to look more like Dodge City than the seat of a great nation.
Senate hearings have become dogfights attended by mobs. Demonstrators routinely throw themselves on the floor in front of senators’ offices. The Jeff Flake entrapment after the Judiciary Committee vote was a low point in modern Senate history, with the senator cornered inside an elevator by a woman shrieking “Look at me!” for inevitable capture by a video.
By now in the Kavanaugh saga, with all the moral intimidation, gender-baiting and bad faith thrown at their side, you would think each of the 51 Republican Senators would vote to confirm out of simple self-respect. But self-respect has become a hard thing to maintain under the weight of modern media, so people just bend.
On President Trump's unfortunate remarks about Kavanaugh's accuser, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, at a rally:
I’m not sure another Trump cannonball matters at this point. The Kavanaugh confirmation, watched by millions, has put in play considerations bigger than Donald Trump or Brett Kavanaugh.
You can have sympathy for Dr. and still realize that her story is not enough and that the tactics of foes of confirming Judge Kavanaugh have been appalling.
What if they work, though?
There is no circumstance where everyone involved with those norm-breaking steps suddenly wakes up, has a crisis of conscience, and realizes that they were morally wrong. The only way they decide not to take similar steps in the future is if they conclude that those steps are not effective.
If these sorts of tactics work, we will get more of them. Right now, Kavanaugh could be a squish who wimps out on Roe vs. Wade and I’d still want him on that court, because this isn’t really about him anymore. This is about what kind of proof is needed before you believe a man is a monster.
his is about whether decades of respected public and private life can be wiped away by an allegation without supporting witnesses. This is about whether anyone who ever knew you at any chapter of your life can suddenly come forward and paint you as a malevolent deviant of every kind . . . or whether people who never knew you at any chapter of your life can suddenly come forward and paint you as a malevolent deviant of every kind.
As Geraghty notes, the fate of the nomination (and much more) now rests with three Republicans, the ones long considered the "nice Republicans," the ones used to the kind of favorable media treatment most Republicans do not receive. They've been followed around and harangued lately.
Geraghty has some hard news for them:
Senators, I hate to be the one to tell you this, but there is never going to be enough political cover to stop activists from yelling at you. The only thing that will stop the Left from hating you is total capitulation. There is another option of course, which is to teach them the hard lesson that everything they tried against you did not work in its intended goal, which is to get you to vote against Kavanaugh. All of this is to sway you, frighten you, intimidate you, and bend you to their will.
And so we are here.