The rallying cry of conservatives eschewing character concerns for a pragmatic calculation to support candidate Donald Trump in 2016, was often condensed to two words: “He Fights!”
It was mind-numbing to a great number of us who constantly found ourselves asking what good fighting for the sake of fighting is. Fighting for conservatism is what we wanted, but Trump seemed willing to fight anyone, over anything, about anything. That’s why I always found the word “petulance” to be a better descriptor for his Twitter tirades and childish jabs.
That said, it’s not like it was hard to figure out why there was such a desperation on the right for someone who would stand up to the left. As but one in a myriad of examples, remember that liberals rallied around a man who killed a woman (Ted Kennedy) to prevent a decent and brilliant jurist (Robert Bork) from becoming a Supreme Court Justice simply because they didn’t like his politics. Yet when a dangerous radical like Ruth Bader Ginsburg was nominated to the same Court, Republicans put up no resistance and confirmed her 96-3.
Replicate that same formula multi-fold over the course of decades and you can understand the maddening desire to return the favor. And while Donald Trump has offered such comeuppance repeatedly, as he was elected by his base to do, the Republican establishment has been slow to follow. Obamacare wasn’t repealed, the Iran nuke deal wasn’t torn up, Planned Parenthood retains its taxpayer blood money.
And a few days ago it was starting to look like more of the same. President Trump’s Supreme Court appointee Brett Kavanaugh was enduring what even some rational Democrats acknowledged was a baseless character assassination that would make even Ted Kennedy blush. Yet Republican Senators largely sat silent and allowed the attacks to spiral to the point of grotesque. Even President Trump had been conspicuously absent from the scene, other than one ill-advised tweet.
Then, with frustration starting to mount, the right fought back on Monday. And most remarkably, the counter-assault was led by Mitch McConnell of all people, who dropped a bomb on the nonsense by first reminding everyone from the Senate floor that this hit job was pre-announced by Democrats:
> “Let me start with a quote: 'I'm going to fight this nomination with everything I've got.' That was the Democratic Leader on television mere hours after Judge Brett Kavanaugh was nominated to the Supreme Court,” McConnell began.
> “Others pledged their opposition before he was even named,” McConnell continued. “Before they'd reviewed a lick of evidence. Before they'd heard a minute of testimony. The Democrats had already made up their minds and chosen their tactics: delay, obstruct, and resist. Whatever it took -- whatever the truth really was -- they were going to do whatever they could to stop this qualified, experienced, and mainstream nominee.”
As it turns out, “whatever they could” would include slander, libel, and hideous, unsubstantiated lies.
> “Senate Democrats and their allies are trying to destroy a man’s personal and professional life on the basis of decades-old allegations that are unsubstantiated and uncorroborated,” McConnell continued. “This is what the so-called 'Resistance' has become. A smear campaign, pure and simple. Aided and abetted by members of the United States Senate.” …
> McConnell continued by suggesting that the Democrat's actions were a “choreographed smear campaign that ignored Dr. Ford’s request for confidentiality in order to inflict maximum damage at the last minute on Judge Kavanaugh.”
I don’t know whether this firmness is the result of having been the target of the left’s insane harassment himself, or maybe it was the inexcusable sight of a good and decent man smeared for the sake of perpetuating child sacrifice, or perhaps it might even be the influence of Donald J. Trump. But whatever it is that lit a fire in McConnell’s britches, this statement was one of his best ever.
And should he follow-through and call for the vote, it would not only be McConnell’s most lasting contribution to the preservation of American social order, it would also satisfy decades of Republican voter frustration over their leaders’ collective lack of spine.