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Gus Van Horn blog

Reblogged:We All Lost, ...

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... but the More Important Battle Was Won

The good news and the bad news is that Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed to the Supreme Court over the weekend. The very bad news is that the change in the composition of the court puts in danger continued federal protection of women's reproductive rights.

The worst news is that the Democrats, who (I thought) favor continuing protecting those rights, abandoned the moral high ground that came with that position. Instead of articulating this concern and making a solid case to their Republican colleagues and the American people in favor of the right to an abortion, they chose the desperate tactics of character assassination and delay. As Robert Tracinski of The Federalist argued, this created a situation in which the hearings became about something even more fundamental than our government's inconsistent protection of all individual rights:
Based on reason and evidence alone, you would have to conclude that we have gotten no farther in the case and are not likely to get any farther. What is an FBI investigation supposed to so, other than to serve as a delaying tactic? Federal investigators would simply go out and interview all the same people who have already testified or given sworn statements. Given that the claim against Kavanaugh remains uncorroborated, I think the Senate has no choice but to confirm him. Not to do so would eliminate any standard of evidence and invite politically motivated false accusations against future nominees. [bold added]
This reminds me of the remarks Senator Susan Collins of Maine made -- a Republican who might have been persuaded to vote against Kavanaugh -- regarding her decision to cast a vote for confirmation. At least the GOP had enough backbone to not allow that very dangerous precedent to be set.

That said, the Democrats not only made a major contribution to the serious recent deterioration of our political discourse, they even further set their own cause back with this display.
What went missing when we needed it most. (Image via Pixabay.)
When a setback to a just cause appears inevitable -- as when a Republican President gets to replace a more secular judge with a more religious one -- it is time to make a moral case for that cause in as clear a manner as possible. (Within the hearings opportunities to do this might be limited, but they aren't nonexistent.) This makes it clear to voters and any persuadable politicians that what is about to happen is wrong, and could perhaps cause defections. At worst, it makes it easier to appeal to voters, say in future elections, why they should not vote for theocrats. Or it can help build support for what we really need, which is a change in the law to make abortion legal. This was a very serious issue, and what did we get instead? Nonstop dissection of a frat boy's high school antics and a grasping-at-straws that was obvious to anyone on the other side of the nomination debate and, more important, to anyone who was undecided for any reason.

I usually find myself appalled by the GOP's cowardice in standing up for those issues they should be proudly supporting, rather than trying to sneak in or even only pretending to support in order to get votes at election time. But this takes the cake. The Democrats' vicious attacks on Kavanaugh were simultaneously dangerous attacks on the very foundation of our republic -- and at a time when they should have been standing up for a woman's ownership of her own body. That the latter is now collateral damage of the first really says something.

-- CAV

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