You had to figure prospects for Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation were pretty bright when Senate Republicans followed up a perfunctory, truncated FBI investigation of allegations against the judge by scheduling the crucial procedural vote for Friday with the final vote soon to follow. Now two of the three Republican senators thought to be on the fence seem to be signaling they are satisfied with the whole dog-and-pony show, according to the New York Times:
Senators Jeff Flake of Arizona and Susan Collins of Maine did not say that they will vote for Judge Kavanaugh, President Trump’s second Supreme Court nominee. But after a closed-door briefing in which Republicans were told that no witnesses corroborated the accounts of Judge Kavanaugh’s main accusers, both made positive remarks. A yes vote from both would secure Judge Kavanaugh’s seat on the highest court in the land.
“It appears to be a very thorough investigation, but I am going back later today to personally read the interviews,” Ms. Collins said. “That’s really all I have to say right now.”
Mr. Flake told reporters, “We’ve seen no additional corroborating information.”
To be clear, if Collins and Flake vote yea on Kavanaugh, then barring something unexpected, it will no longer matter how Lisa Murkowski or Joe Manchin decide to vote: he’ll have the 50 votes he needs, along with a tie-breaker from Mike Pence (notwithstanding Heidi Heitkamp’s brave decision today announcing she’d vote “no”). He’ll be on the Court where he can join Clarence Thomas in wreaking vengeance for decades on the feminists and liberals and baby-killers who momentarily obstructed his ascent.
Yes, Kavanaugh opponents will do everything imaginable to convince Collins and Flake to walk back their apparent support for the judge. And as Flake showed last week, changed positions — or at least ostensibly changed positions — are always possible. But in the end, Jeff Flake is a lifelong conventional conservative Republican who just couldn’t bring himself to bend the knee to Donald Trump. Susan Collins has deluded herself (or tried to delude her pro-choice admirers) into believing Kavanaugh does not pose a threat to reproductive rights. And both of them seem to have decided for their own reasons to look the other way as Trump and Mitch McConnell rush this man through the final gauntlet of his confirmation, sure to be as controversial as Thomas’s in the eyes of history. It’s now a very near thing.