Republicans May Capture the Court, but Lose a Generation of Women & Religious

New Orleans  It’s appalling to read almost anything about Judge Kavanagh and the relentless, tone deaf efforts of the Republican majority in the Senate to push through his nomination.  Even as hearings loom and his victim negotiates to come forward, there is a tragic sense of inevitability shrouding this nomination that now reduces the country for decades, just as the seating of Clarence Thomas has done.

The obvious impact of Kavanagh being seated is the recognition that this will now give conservatives a solid expectation of a majority on a host of their favorite issues like support of guns, religious license and opposition to abortion, labor and civil rights, immigration and a host of other pet peeves.  There may be surprises, but there’s no question that we face decades of legally questionable, but undeniably partisan decisions.  The pretension that we have an objective rule of law and that the court is unbiased will be an exercise in nostalgia.

This may be one of those notorious Robert Johnson and Goethe-like cases of making a deal with the devil and losing your eternal soul.  In this case, the analogy would be Republicans and conservatives taking control of the Supreme Court now, but in doing so losing their chances at winning the majority of religious or women voters for the same generation and likely young people, minorities, and those with immigrant heritage as well.  The consequences would then be losing the Presidency, the House, and Senate in the same period that they hold onto the Court.

President Trump of course deserves the lion’s share of the credit for damaging the party’s standing with women, perhaps forever, and shaking the faith of the truly religious with any commitment to common decency or morality as opposed to political expediency.  Strong arming the nomination of a justice in the #MeToo period against a credible allegation of sexual assault is another stake in the heart of their prospects for the future.  For goodness sake, Ronald Reagan’s daughter has come out in her defense acknowledging her own assault years ago and unwillingness to talk about it.  A hard liner from a red county was quoted in the Journal saying what all of us believe that “everyone at 17 knows what sexual assault is.”  Just as Anita Hill will be a feature of Clarence Thomas’ obituary, so will this assault be part and parcel of a future Justice Kavanagh’s obituary.  The truly religious and women will not forget this mindless display of political power when it comes for their equally powerful ability to vote.

The Republican tactics of “expediency without principle” and “power without platform,” can work for short term advantage even if in the case of the Court it is a long-term disaster, but they seem to be forgetting that tactical superiority that is not embedded in a solid strategy reaps the whirlwind.  In America where despite voter suppression, elections are still held and results still counted, they will pay for these machinations that are so out of step with the American people and fundamental American values.

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Ten People Know Scott Pruitt

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Carolyn Kaster/AP/REX/Shutterstock (9569074a)
A sign criticizing Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt is seen posted on the base of a utility pole on the corner of H Street NW and 13 Street NW in Washington
Trump EPA, Washington, USA – 06 Apr 2018

Little Rock     The key architect of the Republicans efforts to maintain control of the House of Representatives is 37-year old Corry Bliss.  Times’ columnist, Frank Bruni, description puts him in the thick of the midterm campaign.  “Bliss serves as the executive director of the American Action Network and the Congressional Leadership Fund, a potent super PAC that raises money for, and directs it to, high-priority House races nationwide.”

His interview is interesting as a reminder to anyone who has forgotten how sure they were that Hillary Clinton would be seated as President in the election against Donald Trump, that the Republicans are alive and competing fiercely to hold onto Congress in the midterms, even if they are not completely well and carrying huge White House baggage around their necks.  Bliss scoffs at the notion of a “blue wave” sweeping Democrats into office.  He accurately notes the fact that Republicans in the critical, recent Ohio primaries outperformed the Democrats by 150,000 votes in turnout, challenging the notion that Democratic activism is red hot and can overwhelm predictions.

One of his comments that I found most interesting though was a throwaway line when he was asked about the constant scandals involving Trump secretaries and appointees like the eleven investigations at various levels involving Scott Pruitt, Trump’s head of the Environmental Protection Agency.  He scoffed that there aren’t “ten people in the country” who even know who Scott Pruitt is.

Scott Pruitt of the luxury flights and free housing, the special $30,000 phone booth, and the wildly expensive, multi-million-dollar security team probably winched at reading that line from a Republican super-organizer, but the more you think about it, there’s some frightening truth to the point.  So, sure, more than ten people do know who he is.  Maybe it’s a thousand or tens of thousands or even a million.  He was a rightwing footnote as Attorney General in Oklahoma who sued the EPA a lot representing the oil and gas industry and found himself nominated by another political unknown to gut the EPA.  But, no matter his mischief, the point Bliss makes powerfully, despite the exaggeration, is that people are not going to vote on whether to retain or unseat their local Congressperson based on whoever the heck Scott Pruitt might be.

When we think about it, we know why.  Every poll is clear that people are not paying attention in class.  They might vote for or against based on Trump and his antics but be warned that this is also a dangerous assumption.  The Republican base has moved across the spectrum on issues like free trade, taxes, and debt largely based on the seismic shifts directed by Trump.  His positions and personal characteristics may be appalling to many, but there is no denying that he is the leader of his band and holding them steady.  Even his general popularity is improving.

People vote for their local folks on local issues as well as holding their ears to the ground to hear which way the herd is running, but progressives can’t win by just running against Trump any more than they have a chance of winning with the hope that more people know Scott Pruitt and are appalled by him and his attempts to destroy the world we live in forever.

To win, they have to stand for something more.  And, everyone has to know where they stand. Standing against something doesn’t equal winning.

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Please enjoy Ana Egge’s Girls, Girls, Girls.

Thanks to KABF.

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