Brett Kavanaugh is under attack by the Democrats and their friends in some media outlets. The attacks have ranged from a grandstanding Cory Booker to a plausibly true accusation of sexual assault when he was a teenager.
During this time, the Republicans – I cannot in good conscience call them “the right” while they are promoting increased deficits, attacking the free market, ignoring morality and praising authoritarianism – have been defending him to the best of their ability.
This has led to the two sides becoming entrenched, with one group accusing the Supreme Court nominee of being a devious criminal and the other group claiming he is a brilliant jurist innocent of the malign charges. I believe the Democrats were going to claim the worst of any nominee, whether saint or sinner. The Republicans, though…
Let’s hearken back a few months. From the Washington Examiner, a pro-Republican paper, we find:
A U.S. circuit court judge who is seen inside the White House as a front-runner for the Supreme Court nomination is drawing criticism from conservatives who fear he would be more likely than others on President Trump’s list to gravitate toward the court’s ideological middle if appointed.
Sources close to the nomination process, including at least two influential conservative groups, have told the White House counsel’s office they are concerned about D.C. Circuit Court Judge Brett Kavanaugh, who Trump interviewed on Monday.Washington Examiner
That’s from July 3, only two and a half months ago.
How about the Daily Caller? That’s considered a reliable Republican venue by most observers.
Kavanaugh, a former Kennedy clerk and veteran of DC judicial circles, is roundly considered the front-runner for the position. While the op-ed pages of mainstream publications are filled with establishment consensus pieces promoting the case for Kavanaugh — the base backlash against him has begun. A conservative movement whisper campaign against Kavanaugh began last Friday and has reached a loud roar today — with conservative pundits and thought leaders wary about his judicial record, conservative bonafides and pro-life rock ribs.Daily Caller
That was from July 3, too. How about some of those pundits?
How about Ben Shapiro? He’s arguably the most prominent of the “reluctant Trump supporters”, the creator of the “Good Trump / Bad Trump” philosophical construction.
On the other side of the ledger, critics suggest (correctly in my view) that Kavanaugh upheld Obamacare in Sissel v. Department of Health and Human Services as well as in Seven-Sky v. Holder, in which he stated that the Obamacare penalties were actually “taxes.” Critics have also pointed to his opinion in a case regarding whether the government could compel priests to cover birth control under Obamacare; in that dissent, he held that there was a compelling government interest in providing birth control, but that the government could find less restrictive means of doing so.Daily Wire
Note: I deeply respect Shapiro and agree with him very often. I think the “Good Trump / Bad Trump” concept is deeply flawed, as there is no “Good Trump”; it’s merely “Bad Trump doing things I feel are good / Bad Trump doing things I feel are bad”. A good person does not steal the life savings and damage the credit of those who put their trust in him as their mentor (Trump University); a good person does not repeatedly cheat on his wife; a good person does not regularly withhold earned payment from business contractors; a good person does not grab people who have not requested it by their genitalia; and the list goes on. By encouraging people to support a “Good Trump”, many people have become invested in believing that he is good, and have found themselves defending actions they might otherwise condemn. In this fashion, many who spent their lives following principles have been encouraged to abandon them.
Now let’s look at the current writings.
The Washington Examiner. The Daily Caller. Glenn Beck. Ben Shapiro at the Daily Wire. Gone are any concerns about Kavanaugh’s viewpoints… because that’s a battle for the past. They tried to get Trump to pick an originalist, and they failed, so they’re supporting the best they can get.
What they’re no longer doing, however, is reminding their readers that Kavanaugh is merely the best they can get. Instead they’re giving the standard line of us vs. them, they’re horrible, we’re innocent.
In so doing, they are choosing – perhaps consciously – to deepen the division in the country in favor of fostering a civil debate.
This isn’t consistency, it’s tribalism. There is a reason that our most famous judicial swear includes, “the whole truth, and nothing but the truth”. Those additional parts are being ignored now, by a majority of voices in the Republican party. If the party has any chance of getting back to its roots in “the right”, they need to embrace honesty and consistency again.