This chestnut is a leftover from late last week, but it underscores the rhetorical lows to which leading Democrats will sink in order to frighten identity groups, in service of a partisan goal. For all of the (sometimes entirely justifiable) hand-wringing about President Trump's over-broad and unfair MS-13 attacks against his political opponents, the notion that Democrats are above such things is risible. President Obama exhorted Hispanics to "punish" their "enemies" at the ballot box. Vice President Biden suggested to a heavily black audience that the election of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan would result in the empowerment of an administration that would want to put "y'all back in chains." And now here's Hillary claiming, via barely-disguised allusion, that by selecting Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court, Trump wants to roll back the abolition of slavery and the institution of female suffrage:
Hillary Clinton on Friday slammed President Trump's choice to replace Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, his second opportunity to appoint someone to the highest court in the country in as many years. "This nomination holds out the threat of devastating consequences for workers' rights, civil rights, LGBT rights, women's rights," Clinton said, after Trump officially named federal appeals court Judge Brett Kavanaugh as his nominee on Monday. "It is a blatant attempt by this administration to shift the balance of the court for decades and to reverse decades of progress," she continued during an address at the American Federation of Teachers' biennial conference in Pittsburgh, Pa. "You know I used to worry that they wanted to turn the clock back to the 1950s, now I worry they want to turn it back to the 1850s."
This demagoguery came in the context of an address to a government workers union, the financial future of which sustained a blow in the Court's recently-published (and correctly-decided) Janus ruling. Her 1850's smear is ludicrous on its face. Nobody seriously believes that a Justice Kavanaugh -- or anyone on the current court -- is yearning for a return to the era of slavery. It's a disgusting, unserious argument, further highlighting the struggles of the Left to coalesce around a sober-minded critique of the newly-minted nominee. I'm happy to reserve final judgment until the public vetting and hearing process is complete, but Kavanaugh has spent a dozen years as a highly respected jurist on the nation's most influential circuit court of appeals. Aside from not liking his judicial philosophy and loathing the man who elevated him, they appear to have nothing beyond their usual histrionics and scare tactics. But they're spoiling for a fight and intend to put on quite a show:
The White House and Republicans are hoping Kavanaugh is prepared for the coming onslaught. Meanwhile, Republicans are pressuring red state Democrats over the nomination, knowing full well that they're stuck in a precarious political position: Oppose the president's nominee and alienate mainstream voters back home, or support the president's nominee and inflame their own base. Here's a new NRSC ad running in North Dakota, turning up the flame under Heidi Heitkamp (who was one of just three upper chamber Democrats to vote in favor of Justice Gorsuch) by questioning her 'bipartisan' credentials and tying her to...Hillary Clinton:
One can imagine that Heitkamp is once again lamenting Mrs. Clinton's decision to wade back into the public eye with incidiary remarks. I'll leave you with frustrated Colorado Democrat Michael Bennet slamming his own party's foolish decision to mount a pointless filibuster against Gorsuch:
Democratic senator Michael Bennet: “We achieved nothing by filibustering Judge Gorsuch except giving Mitch McConnell the opportunity to strip us of our ability to filibuster a nominee who will cause a dramatic shift in the balance of the court.” https://t.co/8y44C6LGxF— John McCormack (@McCormackJohn) July 14, 2018
The base demanded it, though, so resistance-placating Democrats acted accordingly, myopically careening into yet another dumb, unilateral escalation against which Republicans justifiably hit back. I'll leave you with a frightening reminder of the sort of Supreme Court justices President Hillary Clinton would have picked.