by Shelton Bumgarner
I don’t know what to tell you folks. We’re definitely in an unprecedented political crisis that could go either way, but the fact that Republican thought leaders are Newt and Graham are now attempting to “Kavanaugh” the current Trump situation is telling.
As you may recall, back in the quaint olden days, there was something called “borking.” This was the successful effort to paint Bork as too extreme for the Supreme Court on the part of the Democrats. Flash forward about 30 years and we now have entered the age of kavanaughing. I feel this is more of a Republican thing than Democratic thing because of how significant the sexual assault accusations against Kavanaugh affected them. They are still seething over all that because they felt as though they were forced to address something other than Kavanaugh’s policies, which they love. They had to address things about his character that happened when he was significantly younger man. So, in their eyes, to kavanaugh someone is to attack someone’s character when political reality puts you in a losing situation.
But there’s another way to look at kavanaughing. And that’s from the Republican standpoint. To kavanaugh from the GOP’s standpoint is to reference what happened to Kavanaugh as kind of an updated version of “waving the bloody flag” that happened in post-Civil War America. Whenever someone got in a bind, they would tout their courage in the Civil War.
So, for Republicans, kavanaugh is code for the Democrats going after someone not on policy, but on character. But in the specific instance of Trump, they want to switch out policy for facts. Their message to Republicans is this exactly what happened to Kavanaugh. We won that battle, so we can win this one.
I guess they can win. They seem to win every other battle. But there are two issues for Republicans like Newt and Graham going forward. One is that Trump is likely to go completely bonkers and the other is policy is not fact. Facts are harder to deny and harder to spin as a simple disagreement. When you start denying facts that are provable and equating whistleblowers with women accusing someone of character flaws you got a massive messaging problem ahead of you.
It’s easy to get an angry, white middle-aged man feeling “economic anxiety” that a young Kavanaugh sexually assaulting someone is just another attempt by “woke” #MeToo radicals out to ruin the career of someone whose thought on abortion they disagree with. It’s a lot more difficult — but hardly impossible — to tell that same angry white middle aged man that a whistleblower documenting “light treason” on the part of the president as an adult is the same thing.
I dunno. This is now the biggest political crisis in American history since late 1860. I have no idea what is going to happen. Republicans are going to ride the Trump Train all the way down to a Singularity. So, in that sense, they’re likely to win from a long-term strategic standpoint. All they care about is power for power’s sake. Their first task is to acquit Trump in the Senate. Their next step is to get him re-elected using whatever means necessary.
Once he’s safe in his second term, then they can sit back and relax. They can start fighting over who’s the biggest racist or misogynist. They can begin to jockey for their position in the Politburo. There are at least six would-be God King Trumps lusting after the throne. And those guys have to get past Don Jr. and Ivanka first.
The good guys don’t always win.