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Outsiders vs. Insiders: All hail the new breed of fiercely combative and fighting Republicans

It’s impossible to tell whether American politics indelibly changed last Thursday but the weeks and months ahead will provide plenty of clues.

What began as a star chamber-like show trial orchestrated by leftist Democrats seeking to delay if not defeat the nomination of the honorable Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court soon devolved into a virtual shouting match between very angry people on both sides of the political spectrum. Foremost among the Trump and Kavanaughcombatants was the nominee himself who purposely paused numerous times during his opening statement to steady his emotions (which ran the gamut between rage, frustration, sorrow, guilt (at putting his friends through this) and gratitude).

For those observing the spectacle at home the show was riveting and difficult to turn off, providing the type of drama people typically pay top dollar to witness on stage and in movie houses. The ratings for the day-long program should rival those of the most-watched presidential debates of recent times. Seeing as the “show” took place on a workday, however -- and at least half the public is tuned-out anyway -- the hearing probably didn’t rival the Super Bowl for viewership – but if it’d come at primetime on Sunday evening… who knows?

Thanks to a last-minute “yes” by wobbly Arizona Republican Senator Jeff Flake, Kavanaugh’s nomination was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee on Friday with Democrats continuing their absurd grandstanding behavior -- but ultimately lacking the numbers to turn the judge away.

(Note: Flake voted yes with the recommendation of delaying the full senate vote pending a one-week FBI investigation – stupid!)

Politicos are still in shock from Thursday’s hearing and the fierceness demonstrated by Kavanaugh together with a few of the presiding Republican senators. Some wonder whether this incident might mark a turning point in American politics where Democrats will no longer get away with jerking people around.

Rich Lowry wrote at National Review, “[H]ow is a person who maintains his innocence supposed to react when a political party will credit any allegation against him, when swathes of the media presume his guilt, when every aspect of his teenage years — including notations in his yearbook — are used against him, when all the testimonials in his favor and his decades of spotless public service mean nothing?

“Kavanaugh’s anger over these kinds of attacks says nothing about his jurisprudence. His extensive opinions as a D.C. Circuit Court judge are all carefully reasoned and written. His opinions on the Supreme Court, should he make it there, will no doubt be the same. Hearing a case or writing an opinion isn’t the same as defending your integrity in a high-stakes political showdown...

“Brett Kavanaugh, like all Supreme Court nominees, has carefully calculated his way through his public career. But if he gets on the Court, it will be because he abandoned the usual constraints and showed the nation a powerfully human reaction to the attacks on him. His opening statement may well end up changing the course of the Supreme Court, and of our politics.”

That’s no joke. The reason why Americans reacted so strongly to Kavanaugh’s “performance” was it vastly departed from his previous appearances before the committee or in other interviews on TV. Judicial nominees are not usually visibly contemptuous when speaking to senators – that’s a job for ordinary run-of-the-mill politicians who always get away with fits of temper.

If you’re not passionate in politics you’re not gonna last long. Who wants to vote for a boring guy or gal?

The nastiness on Thursday and through much of the past three years has generated much discussion about the direction of our culture and society. Pundits quickly blame/credit Donald Trump for the marked shift in political winds but the president was maybe just the first to expose a needed alteration in GOP strategy on how to deal with unreasonable leftists on a mission to destroy the foundations of the world’s preeminent modern republic.

Everyone understands democracy is messy and sometimes leads to extreme reactions but it’s gotten ridiculous of late. The Kavanaugh matter showed Democrats don’t value anything other than preserving their sacred cow issues like abortion and same-sex marriage. What Democrats can’t win through legislation the courts grant by fiat. Kavanaugh represents a potential departure from Democrats’ victory playbook so they’d rather kill his nomination by any means necessary, sacrificing dignity and reputations along the way.

To them it’s a small price to pay since their mind-numbed minions don’t give a hoot about means as long as they come out ahead on the ends. Liberal voters prefer a certain type of personality in their politicians – that’s why Democrats are pretty much all the same. Is there any temperamental difference between Nancy Pelosi or Chuck Schumer or Barack Obama or Joe Biden or Hillary Clinton? Heck no – they’re all petulant, selfish and spiteful, even towards each other at times. Is there a single Democrat you’d describe as a “gentleman?” Who, Corey Booker?

Nothing much restrains the left these days. Starting with their post Inauguration Day anti-Trump protests leftists have maintained their intensity and viciousness to an extraordinarily high level – and as demonstrated by their no-holds-barred hatred towards Kavanaugh their bitterness isn’t just confined to our unusual outsider president.

Trump perhaps set the standard for a new breed of more provocative politics during the 2016 presidential campaign (both in the GOP primaries and general election) by harshly reacting to the very first question he received during a candidate debate (from Megyn Kelly, then of Fox News) regarding his past treatment of women. The hard-driving “You’re Fired!” celebrity businessman wasn’t about to curb his personality to fit the staid arena of politics.

Trump’s confrontational and combative nature led to a number of testy exchanges between himself and Jeb Bush, John Kasich, Rand Paul and Ted Cruz (among others). The “niceties” of Republican politics were ejected out the window, for better or worse. Sure, there’d been verbal “brawls” before (anyone remember Mitt Romney and Rick Perry going at it in Las Vegas?) but Trump’s barbs were personal and cut deep.

Even so, raw feelings are rarely seen in the Senate where the clubby atmosphere and snail-like pace leads to a more congenial environment. And you’re more likely to fall asleep at a committee hearing than needing to defend against pointed insults being hurled at you. In such rooms the senators are so proximate they can probably taste the spittle of someone seated on the opposite side.

That all changed on Thursday. Kavanaugh looked directly at his Democrat antagonists and aired out his grievances.

Kavanaugh even highlighted how one of the Democrats called him “evil” in the leadup to the hearings – and stared right at perpetrator Corey Booker. Kavanaugh also questioned why the “Ranking Member” sat on the Blasey Ford story for two months before exposing it (and after his four days of hearings and 65 in-office meetings with senators had concluded).

Kavanaugh glared at Dianne Feinstein as he snarled the words. There was no hiding for anyone. Nor should there have been. Democrats weren’t there to listen to Kavanaugh and didn’t listen to anything he said or did. Based on the earlier theatrics of mousy witness Christine Blasey Ford Democrats figured the nomination was all-but dead and they could now head home to campaign, displaying Kavanaugh’s bloody scalp as a trophy to their leftist constituencies.

Thankfully this time Republicans actually stood up to them, led by the most unlikely bully-deterrent of all-time, Lindsey Graham. Graham called the process a “sham” and excoriated his Democrat colleagues for what they’d put Kavanaugh through. Considering how many times Graham and his dearly departed best friend John McCain reached across the aisle to befriend Democrats, the senator didn’t hold back in his critiques.

It was the key moment of the entire session. Kavanaugh, Graham and others were indeed fighting back – and that’s why they “won” the day. J. Christian Adams wrote at PJ Media, “Kavanaugh won because he fought back. Kavanaugh won because he was unwilling to suffer from the ritual defamation of the Left. He broke free from the traditional advice administration handlers give nominees -- to be deferential and measured to the senators -- and went after the Democrats and his opponents for what they are.

“Ritual defamation has become the favorite tool of the institutional Left to advance policy.  If anyone stands up to the Left’s narrative -- whether it be voter fraud, race, life, or the purely ideological role of the mainstream media -- they are targeted for ritual defamation by Leftist organizations...

“Kavanaugh won because the evidence cut in his favor, but also because his appearance galvanized Americans exhausted by decades of the deconstructive tactics of those trying to destroy Brett Kavanaugh and his family. His performance didn’t bridge any divides, but it gave us confidence we can now stand our ground.”

This is too true. If anyone should understand being unfairly attacked it’s Adams, a conservative who’s out in the proverbial trenches exposing voter fraud. For his efforts Adams’s been rewarded with leftist smear campaigns all his own for researching and revealing breaches in the law by illegal aliens and others who shouldn’t be participating in the electoral system. Instead of being thanked and praised for doing what’s right for everyone he’s called names and labeled a hater.

Following Kavanaugh’s – and Graham’s – example expect to see more conservatives fighting back against leftist intemperance. If Republicans would only elevate Jim Jordan to lead the House they’d get some feistiness there as well. Even stodgy old Mitch McConnell’s senate floor speech last week showed a type of irritation and impatience with Democrats he’d rarely displayed before.

No more Mr. Nice Guy – it’s almost like a dream, isn’t it? What does Mitt Romney think now?

During his impromptu eruption Graham asked Kavanaugh if this process was akin to a “job interview” -- and the judge matter-of-factly replied it was part of the Senate’s constitutional duty of “advice and consent.” If this month’s confirmation hearings did constitute an “interview” for a position on the Supreme Court bench, it concluded with the most unusual behavior ever by an applicant.

How many individuals vying for a job would yell at and chastise half the people interviewing him? Was it speaking the truth or lack of judicial temperament?

Does temperament even matter here? Where Kavanaugh’s headed, not really. Michael Barone explained why at The Washington Examiner, “Judicial temperament is indeed important—for trial judges. They must deal personally with litigants and criminal defendants, almost all of whom are not experienced lawyers. They must deal with lawyers who may have little experience trying cases. They have to deal with jurors, lay persons by definition (though lawyers can serve on juries, as I have three times). Trial judges need to stay in command of the proceedings and, usually, to maintain a calm, disciplined atmosphere. They should be careful not to lose their tempers. They need judicial temperament.

“Appeals judges don’t. Judges on appeals courts—which Kavanaugh is and will continue to be if he is confirmed—don’t deal with the general public. They deal personally only with lawyers, whose clients may sit in the courtroom but never, or only very rarely, participate in the proceedings. It doesn’t really matter if they lose their temper...

“The judicial temperament argument is pure makeweight, a media meme which tells us nothing more than that most mainstream media operatives don’t want to see Republican nominees serve on the Supreme Court.”

Chances are Kavanaugh, if/when confirmed, will represent the best of both worlds. Kavanaugh demonstrated remarkable calm and self-discipline during his official senate confirmation hearings despite persistent prodding and pontificating from his senate Democrat interrogators. Simply put, he didn’t flinch.

It was only when Democrats intensified their witch hunt and sought to destroy him and his family that Kavanaugh got angry. As the judge pointed out in his opening statement one of the things he enjoys most in life is coaching Girls Basketball. Thanks to the Democrats and their absurd character assailing sideshow Kavanaugh doesn’t know if he’ll ever be able to do it again.

If Democrats are allowed to succeed all of society will lose capable and giving people like Kavanaugh because no one will put themselves out for fear of being run through the wringer by the politically correct thought police.

At this point it’s hard to predict how the Kavanaugh saga ends but America’s political class received a severe jolt last week. Conservatives searched long and hard for someone other than Trump to stand up to the ugly left – and thanks to a normally calm judge and a reformed RINO senator, we finally got it.

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New Breed of Republican

Great article, Jeff!

I point that should be remembered about Lindsay Graham standing up for Kavanaugh; Kavanaugh worked on the Starr commission and helped get Clinton impeached. Graham was one of the House managers fo that impeachment. Coincidence? How interesting that charge of sexual misconduct has been brought against Kavanaugh. Who is behind this?

And Graham could well be next, especially now that John McCain is dead and can no longer protect him. And there have been rumors swirling around for a long time that Graham is homosexual. How long before some radical gay man pops up with accusations against Graham? I suspect he is afraid of exactly that.

Sadly, even if confirmed, Kavanaugh won but a hollow victory. Who is going to accept the next nomination, knowing what is in store for him or her? Kavanaugh's treatment will continue to serve the purpose to which it was tailored.

The sad thing is the Republicans let them get away with it. They should never have allowed this circus in the first place.

Oh, and the delay in vote means the Democrats have more time to dig for things they can use. Time was and is not on the Republican's side.

And they should not have had that woman question Blasey Ford. She did more to hurt Kavanaugh then help him, failing to basically cross-examine Mrs. Ford. Ford's testimony could have completely fallen apart with a little push. The GOP dropped the ball there.

By the way, the Democrats sounded like parrots calling for an FBI investigation and now they have it. Which office will run it? The D.C. office. You know, Peter Strzok and Lisa Page types. I suspect the Democrats knew exactly who would wind up running the investigation. I fear the GOP got played here, and big time. I'll bet the report coming out of the FIB isn't going to be favorable.

Timothy Birdnow