Woodward rudely rains on Kavanaugh’s parade

everything is broken
The White House via Wikimedia Commons

Poor Brett Kavanaugh. All he wanted was a dignified Supreme Court nomination process, and instead his hearing was lined with women dressed as extras from The Handmaid’s Tale, people were yelling all the time about everything, and horrible terrible Democrats (as if there are any other kind) tried to scuttle Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing before it even got started.

When Barack Obama nominated Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court, was Garland’s confirmation hearing interrupted by protesters? It was not.

Did Republicans blast Garland as an extremist whose presence on the court would jeopardize the rights of Republican men to do whatever they want with their bodies? They did not.

Was Garland vilified as an ideological fellow traveler who would rule in favor of the precariat, worker’s rights and social justice, and against corporations, the 1 percent and institutional racism at every opportunity? He was not.

Why must Kavanaugh be subjected to confirmation hearing chaos, yet Garland’s confirmation process was the quietest in our nation’s history — even after Sen. Dean Heller tried to provoke Nevadans by asserting they should speak up and “have a voice” on Garland’s appointment?

Unfair! Poor Brett Kavanaugh.

Then, adding insult to injury, not only was Kavanaugh’s Big Day ruined by stinking leftists (as if there’s any other kind). His confirmation hearing, which was supposed to be the charismatic megafawn of the news cycle Tuesday and for at least the next few days, was all but blown off the air because America’s most well-known and popularly revered living journalist reported that the man who appointed Kavanaugh, well … let’s see:

  • “has the understanding of — ‘a fifth- or sixth grader” — Defense Secretary James Mattis
  • “He’s an idiot. It’s pointless to try to convince him of anything. He’s gone off the rails. We’re in Crazytown. I don’t even know why any of us are here. This is the worst job I’ve ever had.” — Chief of Staff John Kelly
  • “a goddamned dumbbell” — former Trump attorney John Dowd
  • “a professional liar” — former Trump chief economic advisor Gary Cohn

Talk about rude! After all, the genuinely striking thing about all these statements that Bob Woodward is attributing to current and former White House staffers about Donald Trump is that these statements are not in the least bit surprising to anyone and are slam-dunk believable because they all sound like perfectly reasonable judgments of Donald Trump.

So why bust them out on the very first most exciting and wonderful day of Poor Brett Kavanaugh’s coronation, er, confirmation hearing, huh, Woodward? Why do you have to step all over on that nice young man’s coronation?

Not that it will matter. While the media will wonder aloud if Trump is fit for public office (he’s not) and if his peculiar combination of insecurity and incompetence is a danger to domestic tranquility and national security (it is), Kavanaugh’s prom will go on. Donald Trump could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and not lose any Republican senators. Kavanaugh will be confirmed.

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It’s the Constitution’s fault. The holy sacred Founding Fathers (amen) weren’t all that hot for democracy in the first place – the word isn’t in the Constitution. Judges are appointed not elected. As evidenced by the fact that the aforementioned “idiot” and “professional liar” is president despite winning nearly 3 million fewer votes than his opponent, the electoral college circumvents and disdains the will of the people.

And then there’s the U.S. Senate.

The Senate is a cruel mockery of democracy. Wyoming has 579,000 people. California has 39.4 million people. Both states get two senators. As a result, “a majority of the Senate now represents just 18 percent of the nation’s population,” David Wasserman of the Cook Political Report recently observed.

So senators representing less than 20 percent of the nation’s population can — and will — cement the Supreme Court as the most out-of-step, right-wing institution in America, for, well, the rest of my lifetime, I’m guessing.

Thanks, Founding Fathers. Nice work, everyone.

Not that Madison (who originally wanted states with bigger populations to get more senators, btw) & Co. were so dramatically off-base, at least at the time, as scholar Michael Ettlinger explains (via Wonkette):

At the time the Constitution was ratified the most populous state, Virginia, had 12.7 times as many people as the least populous, Delaware, and 2.5 times the population of the average state. Today, California has over 68 times as many people as Wyoming and 6 times the population of the average state. Although the difference in population between large states and small has grown greatly, they all still get the same representation in the Senate. The Virginians and Massachusettsans of 1789 made a deal that, on balance, worked for them. The Californians, Texans, Floridians, and New Yorkers of today are paying a much bigger price.

And it’s only going to get worse. In states with few people, the people they do have are leaving for states where there are people, leaving the forsaken states with dormant economies, ever-shrinking populations relative to other states — and two U.S. senators.

Making this travesty even more travesterial (which isn’t a word but the president of the United States “has the understanding of — ‘a fifth- or sixth grader” so who cares?), U.S. citizens living in the District of Columbia, with a population about 12 percent bigger than Wyoming’s, and Puerto Rico, whose population is 530 percent larger than Wyoming’s, get no representation in the Senate at all.

The U.S. Constitution will be the ruin of this country yet.

But it’s not just the Constitution’s fault. It’s also Harry Reid’s. He deployed the nuclear option in 2013, establishing the precedent that Republicans in the Senate seized on so that they could, on behalf of the tiny minority of people they represent, confirm Supreme Court justices with a simple majority, and turn the U.S. Supreme Court into the nation’s most effective, enduring and consequential programming ever produced by Fox News.

If Americans love something more than building someone up, it’s tearing them down. Perhaps Trump’s base will finally tire of “Crazytown.” Then — and only then — will Republican “leaders” like Dean Heller also abandon the “goddamned dumbbell.” But by then, the damage done will take at least a generation to repair. Assuming it’s not irreparable.

So we should probably be thankful that at least Woodward will entertain us a little along the way, even if at the expense of Poor Brett Kavanaugh.

Hugh Jackson
Editor | Hugh Jackson has been writing about Nevada policy and politics for more than 20 years. He was editor of the Las Vegas Business Press, senior editor at the Las Vegas CityLife weekly newspaper, daily political commentator on the Las Vegas NBC affiliate, and wrote the then-groundbreaking Las Vegas Gleaner, which among other things was the only independent political blog from Nevada that was credentialed at the 2008 Democratic National Convention. He spent a few years as a senior energy and environmental policy analyst for Public Citizen, and has occasionally worked as a consultant on mining, taxation, education and other issues for Nevada labor and public interest organizations. His freelance work has been published in outlets ranging from the Guardian to Desert Companion to In These Times to the Oil & Gas Journal. For several years he also taught U.S. History courses at UNLV. Prior to moving to Las Vegas, he was a reporter and then assistant managing editor at the Casper Star-Tribune, Wyoming’s largest newspaper.

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