Now that it’s too late to prevent a total right-wing takeover of the Supreme Court, the Democrats pretend to be the party of opposition.
The Supreme Court nomination process is often reduced to drama and its importance reduced to irrelevancy. That is the way Democrats like Barack Obama and John Kerry acted when they were senators. They declined to use their power to filibuster and scuttle the right-wing nominations they claimed were so antithetical to their beliefs. But thanks to them and other Democrats, the Supreme Court is now firmly in the hands of Republican ideologues and protestations about Brett Kavanaugh are little more than kabuki theater.
The Kavanaugh nomination has as its backdrop accusations of sexual assault going back decades. This important issue is now treated as an opportunity for Democratic Party grandstanding. Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez let the cat out of the bag himself. When pressed by a reporter, he admitted that the DNC wouldn’t withhold assistance to Democratic Party senators who voted to confirm Kavanaugh.
If Democrats cared about the Supreme Court, they would have done a better job of protecting their Senate majority and the presidency itself. Instead they hope to eke out victories while neglecting the issues that the masses of Democrats want them to advance. Democratic Party corruption is at the root of the Republican control of the Senate and the courts. All of their deal making has come back to haunt them and the rest of the country.
The Republicans have also outdone themselves in providing theatrics. They send attack dogs like Lindsey Graham to make their base happy but then send Jeff Flake to play good cop and request a flimsy FBI investigation.
Democrats routinely keep leftists in line by invoking the federal judiciary. Anyone who wants peace, a protected social safety net or anything else the Democrats don’t care about is told to think about the Supreme Court and keep voting for the party that never fights for them. Democrats are the cause of most of our problems and finger pointing about lifetime appointments is just another ruse to silence anyone who is paying attention to their treachery.
Cory Booker and Kamala Harris get lots of face time and burnish their faux progressive credentials in regard to the sexual assault claims. Booker even made a show of releasing supposedly confidential documents which weren’t confidential because they were made public at his request.
But Kavanaugh’s role in protecting the Bush administration torture regime has taken a back seat. The Democrats don’t ask because they don’t care. Or rather they care about upholding the Democrats’ role as partners in the duopoly, including as Obama famously said “torturing folks.”
Kavanaugh says that the bulk data collection of every American’s phone calls, emails and texts is “entirely consistent” with the Constitution. He also believes that the president is kinglike, with no obligation to heed Congress or the courts. This “doctrine of the unitary executive” is at least as dangerous as the possibility that he engaged in an attempted rape.
But right-wing legal doctrines do not garner ratings or cries of outrage. They ought to, and as the opposition the Democrats ought to be exposing attempts to take away the few rights we have left. The Kavanaugh circus is proof that neither party is concerned about constitutional protections. When Kavanaugh helped George W. Bush legalize torture, the Democrats were silent. They took a dive then and they are continuing their tradition of going along to get along.
Meanwhile the so-called resistance perform pathetic grandstanding of their own, which continues the worst of Washington’s evil doing. They may tell women to black out their social media profiles, or walk off their jobs or take part in some other symbolic act. If they were at all serious they would protest all of the rotten institutions, including the Democrats who put the federal judiciary securely in Republican hands.
If Kavanaugh didn’t exist, the Democrats would have to invent him. He is the perfect target for their faux outrage and creates a smoke screen for their people to rally against without asking hard questions about how their party has been brought to irrelevance.
In the end, this Supreme Court vacancy will be filled by some dreadful right-winger. If the Republicans were smarter, they would have put forward a bland individual whom they could confirm without raising much public attention. For now they are committed to Kavanaugh and Democrats are committed to making noise and acting for the cameras.
As Tom Perez admitted, some of them won’t even have to do that. The right-wing Democrats-in-name-only can do openly what the rest of them do with pretense. Two years after their electoral debacle, Democratic Party gaslighting has succeeded in silencing millions of people who ought to oppose them as much as they oppose the Republicans. Kavanaugh’s tearful testimony was not the only phony show in Washington.
Margaret Kimberley’s Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR, and is widely reprinted elsewhere. She maintains a frequently updated blog as well as at freedomrider.blogspot.com. Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgendaReport.com.