Well, this isn’t going at all the way that Ditch McConnell had planned, which is fine by me. Nothing puts a smile on my puss faster than a case of the sadz on McConnell’s. What, oh what is a sniveling, double dealing, back stabbing little sycophant like McConnell supposed to do?
It was all supposed to be so simple. Glorious Bleater wanted Yertl the Turtle to pack the district and appellate courts with enough right wings to put KFC out of business. Fine, even McConnell can accomplish that, since all Orange Julius has to do is to close his eyes, jam his finger down into an open phone book, and give McConnell the name. More than a month ago, McConnell announced that he was cancelling the majority of the Senates August recess to to pass judges through the Senate like shit through a goose. Easy-peasy, right?
But then the wheels fell off of McConnell’s little red tricycle. All at once. And it was a member of his own caucus that unscrewed the lug nuts. Out of nowhere, all of a sudden GOP Arizona Senator Jeff Flake turns up in Zimbabwe of all places, monitoring their alleged first “fair” election since Mugabe flew the coop. Apparently, Flake has an emotional attachment to Zimbabwe, since he did his Mormon mission there many years ago. And if I heard the report correctly, he’s planning to be there for another 2-3 weeks.
No, no, noz! This throws a bucket of sand into McConnell’s Rolex in two ways. First, Flake is a member of the Senate Judiciary committee, where the GOP holds a one vote advantage. Committee rules require a simple majority to pass a nominee through the committee, and onto the Senate floor for a debate and full Senate vote for confirmation. With Flake absent, a simple party line vote ends up in a tie, and unlike in baseball, a tie doesn’t go to the runner. The nominee fails in the committee. If McConnell wants to be a total dick, he could always ignore the committee vote, and bring the nominee to the floor for a vote anyway, but that doesn’t likely do him much good.
Because right now, John McCain (all good wished to him and his family) is sitting at home in Arizona, getting treatment, which means that McConnell’s Senate majority as a razor thin 50-49. For as long as Flake is over in Africa, on a scouting mission for the Trump spawns nest safari, the Senate is stuck in a 49-49 partisan gridlock, and I think that Pence and Karen have plans on getting Marlon Bundo “fixed” this summer. Besides, with some of the whack-a-doodle nominees His Lowness is putting forward, it wouldn’t even take a GOP “no” vote, a single “abstention” could scuttle the nomination.
So, all by his little self, Jeff Flake has ground the Mitch McConnell judicial rubber stamp machine to a halt. But it doesn’t get any better or easier for McConnell once Flake finally gets his sorry ass back in town and goes back to work because;
McConnell has a serious [problem on his hand with the Kavanaugh nomination, and it has nothing to do with Jeff Flake. McConnell’s problem with getting Kavanaugh is an age old one, time. The Senate Judiciary chair, Chuck Grassley, announced that he hopes to hold the Kavanaugh nomination hearing “sometime in September.” This is not a good thing. Because first of all, the Democrats are going to be screaming to wait for the archives to come up with the 600,000 pages of documents from Kavanaugh’s time in the Bush White House, just like the Republicans demanded for Elena Kagan, and then time to digest it. And the archives say they won’t have those documents ready until mid October. But even if Grassley plows ahead without the documents, there still may not be enough time.
Because McConnell doesn’t have time. Right now, the Senate, by my estimation, is only scheduled to meet for 16 days in September. And what happens on September 30th? The federal budget expires. And right now Droolius Geezer is holding a government shutdown over McConnell’s head like the sword of Damocles. If Trump continues to hold out for his wall or bust, McConnell and Grassley aren’t going to have time to fuck around with Kavanaugh, they’re going to be desperately trying to keep the lights from going out. And if they don’t get Kavanaugh cleared in September, it may be game over, because after September comes; October. The last full month before the 2018 election. And if the Democrats use this August recess,and all of those town hall meetings and chance grocery store meetings to mobilize, hit the streets, and slam Kavanaugh like a screen door, they stand a solid chance, in my opinion, to flip a critical vote if this gets to October.
And that vote Is Nevada’s Dean Heller. Right now Dean Heller is in deep kimchi in Nevada, and a good part of that is because of Trump himself. Heller originally came out forcefully as a “no” vote on repealing Obamacare, after consulting with Governor Brian Sandoval. But when Heller became the critical swing vote, he capitulated, in return for a promised $1 million buy in from McConnell’s Super PAC. Heller is getting hammered on a daily basis by Democratic challenger Jackie Rosen as “Senator Spineless” in a devastating commercial, and he’s not even defending himself at this point. Maybe McConnell is still dangling the check on a string. If the Kavanaugh vote comes up in October, and Heller is in a paper thin race with Rosen, and the pressure is high enough, he may well decide to cave to that pressure and vote “no” on Kavanaugh. If he loses, what difference does it make? And if he wins, he can always deal with the Trump fallout next January.
SO, all is no longer as cheery on the McConnell front as it appeared to be just a short time ago. And, regardless how much damage McConnell is able to accomplish in the lower courts this August, the real brass ring won’t be decided until after Labor Day. And the longer the delay in the Kavanaugh vote, the longer vulnerable Democrats like Heitkamp, Donnelly, McCaskill, and Manchin can sit on the fence and hope to run out the clock. And if Heller flips, that gives them all cover, It ain’t over until the fat lady sings, and I’ve got her bottle of throat spritz in my back pocket at the moment.
Just so you can see what I’m talking about, here’s Jackie Rosen’s “Senator Spineless” ad. I think it’s an inspired takedown myself.