Gang of 14 Rules the Senate

I spit out a perfectly good swallow of Starbucks coffee when I read this.

So much for Senate Republicans’ commitment to have Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination voted out of the Senate Judiciary Committee today.  Instead, Chairman Specter agreed to Democrats’ demands for another hearing on Kavanaugh.  That hearing is supposed to take place next Tuesday, May 9, with a committee vote on Thursday, May 11.

Chairman Specter’s stated reason for agreeing to a second hearing is—get this!—that Senator Schumer said that a hearing could be useful in persuading him to vote for Kavanaugh.  No sooner had Specter said this than Schumer proceeded to label Kavanaugh a “partisan warrior” and attack his fitness to be a judge.  Unless Kavanaugh is lobotomized between now and May 11, there is zero prospect that Schumer will vote for Kavanaugh’s nomination.  Expect instead that he and his fellow Democrats will use the hearing to ask invasive questions Kavanaugh can’t possibly answer and to demand sensitive documents that the White House can’t provide—all of which will then set the stage for demands for further delay.

Although it’s tempting to blame Specter for this delay, a committee staffer tells me that Senators Graham and DeWine—members of the Gang of 14—worked hard to persuade Specter that another hearing would ensure that Democrat members of the Gang of 14 wouldn’t support a filibuster.  We’ll see.  In any event, it’s far from clear that, absent a second hearing, those Democratic senators would have supported a filibuster—and there would have been a lot of value in putting them to the test.

So, let me get this straight. The wishy-washy lukewarm Gang of 14 believe they speak for and largely represent the attitudes and ultimately the votes of the entire Senate, and if they ain’t happy, nobody’s happy. OK, whatever. The problem is, other Senators (like Specter) believe this too, and as a result, they’re willing to compromise, cow-tow and placate the Gang’s power hungry, camera seeking, self serving wishes and desires.

It’s sick.

Like Ed Whelan, I agree that it’s fruitless to believe Chuck Schumer would really vote in favor of Kavanaugh if there was just one more chance to interrogate him. Another hearing won’t matter a wit. The whole thing is nothing more than twisted theatrics.

Senators: worthless and weak.

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