So Republican lawmakers do have spines after all. Who knew? Last weekend’s confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, notwithstanding the controversies surrounding his nomination, stemmed primarily from two sources.
First, many Republican lawmakers objected to how Democrats politicized the nomination—holding allegations of sexual assault against Kavanaugh for more than a month, then leaking them days before his confirmation.
Republicans also thought confirming Kavanaugh would galvanize the party and unify their voters. Many conservatives voted for Donald Trump in 2016 with no small amount of trepidation regarding his temperament and character, but overcame their misgivings because they understood the value of having a Republican pick conservative jurists for the federal judiciary rather than the same power bestowed upon a liberal like Hillary Clinton.
Lawmakers defied the political controversies, protests, and Kavanaugh’s middling poll numbers, because they felt the need to deliver on a promise they made to voters. Well, if Republicans are going to go all crazy by starting to deliver on their promises, why don’t they deliver on the promise they made for the last four election cycles, by eliminating the health care law that has raised premiums for millions?
Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch
Senate Republicans’ bout of political courage in confirming Kavanaugh belies their other actions in the past several weeks. Even as most of the media generated ridiculous amounts of coverage on the Supreme Court nomination, the noise surrounding such topics as “boofing” allowed Republican lawmakers to renege on other political promises under the radar.
Case in point: The massive spending bill that Congress approved, and President Trump signed, last month. Despite funding most of the federal government, it does not include funding for a border wall. Republicans punted on that fight until after the election—ensuring they’ll never have it.
The spending bill also perpetuates the agreement struck in Congress earlier this year, one that busted prior spending caps by hundreds of billions of dollars. Oh, and did I mention the bill funds Planned Parenthood as well?