Living Large In Carson City: The Best Government Money Can Buy . . . Or Not Edition

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The United States Senate has always been considered the prestigious body of the United States Congress. Serving seven year terms, only one-third of Senators are up for reelection in given voting cycle. The Founding Fathers wanted to to give Senators a bit of stability that didn’t change as often as other members of Congress. Member of the House of Representatives serve two-year terms making their tenure in office a little less certain from election to election. Consequently, the Senate is seen as more of a cornerstone of the government, unlike the House members who face an uncertain fate every two years at the ballot box. In the House’s favor, however, it’s members can be seen as having a more direct relationship with voters since they seek their vote more frequently to remain in office. While Senators enjoy a bit of elitism , House members, by necessity, are scrappers who potentially have to take on new rivals three times as often.  For a couple of centuries, this formula has worked fairly well. Not so today.

The Brett Kavanaugh confirmation process to the Supreme Court demonstrates just how partisan the body has become and how dysfunctional  it is on every level. While Democrats have their share of blame, the Republican Senators in charge of the Judiciary Committee have proven their lack of integrity is equaled only by their ideological propensity to do everything they can to change the makeup of the court to serve the will of their base. Granted, the Democrats would do the same if given the opportunity, but Americans can only hope they would do it with less of a Machiavellian approach than the rapacious Republican majority.

The situation with Dr. Christine Blasey Ford since her story came out last week has devolved from one of a witness caught by her own sense of right and wrong and the Republican hate machine that is willing to destroy her completely. It is shameful to see respected members of the Senate acting like third grade bullies stomping their feet like children who haven’t gotten their way. Chairman Chuck Grassley is a man on a mission who is willing to overlook any transgression Kavanaugh may have committed in regard to Ford’s allegations. It’s shameful. It’s not right, but so goes the political minefield that is the American political scene today.

This past weekend another woman stepped forward with an even more egregious story (although Ford’s history is no less so) of the alleged antics of the embattled Kavanaugh.  Deborah Ramirez, a former classmate of his, recounted an incident at a drunken fraternity party where she alleges Kavanaugh exposed himself and thrust his penis in her face which she inadvertently touched without her consent. You can’t make this shit up.

She, like Ford, has memory issues that are the basis of the Republicans’ attacks on the two women. They are quick to point out that their are no corroborating witnesses and the amount of time that has passed will make it difficult to prove one way or the other that the alleged offenses took place. This on a day when Bill Cosby goes before a judge to face possibly 30 years behind bars for sexual indiscretions he committed decades in the past. The Republican’s support of Kavanaugh is gut wrenching to watch and harder still to justify, regardless of the fact that their whole approach is politically motivated and ideologically driven. If he is innocent, the FBI would substantiate his claims with a thorough investigation. Yet, the Republicans are dead set against any new information that may come to light.

Now, Michael Avenatti, Stormy Daniel’s attorney, claims he there is a third woman who has credible information that will implicate both Kavanaugh and his longtime friend, Mark Judge, in taking part in “train” raping drunken women.

Avenatti later tweeted that he had been in contact with Mike Davis, the Senate Judiciary Committee’s chief counsel for nominations. In an email, Avenatti told Davis that his team was aware of “significant evidence” that Brett Kavanaugh, his former classmate Mark Judge and others targeted women with alcohol and drugs at parties in the 1980s in order to allow “a train” of men to take advantage of them sexually.

One has to ask how many allegations have to surface before a. the Republicans decide enough is enough and unhook their anchor line to the hapless Kavanaugh or b. Kavanaugh throws up his hands and says he is out of the running. Something tells me that the Republicans either cannot or will not cash in their investment in Kavanaugh. This is partly due to unmitigated gall over having a sure thing blow up in their faces and partly due to the optics of the situation as seen by their base if they cut bait and run. It is hard not to feel a little delighted by their predicament.

Surrounding all of this is the unsenatorial manner in which all facets of the debacle are playing out. Many of the Senators simply do not care about the allegations and claim they will vote for Kavanaugh regardless of the evidence that may come to light. Mitch McConnell is the man who controls more of the Kavanaugh confirmation hearing than anyone else in America. He stated,

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., vowed that lawmakers will vote to confirm Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh in the “near future,” during a speech on the Senate floor in which he strongly criticized Democrats for what he continually called a “smear campaign” against the judge.

“The Democrats have already made up their minds and chosen their tactics,” McConnell said. “Delay. Obstruct. Resist.”

The Kentucky lawmaker added: “This shameful smear campaign has hit a new low… Senate Democrats are trying to destroy a man’s personal and professional life.” Fox News

Besides the hypocrisy that surrounds McConnell on a daily basis, he seems to forget his orchestrating the hold up of Garland Merrick confirmation to the Supreme Court for over a year at the end of the Obama’s second term. If anyone is responsible for the “Delay. Obstruct. Resist” mindset of the Democrats, it is his unprofessional attitude about how the balance of power should or could be maintained if the Republicans were less ideologically driven and more . . . well Senatorial.

Ultimately, Trump’s shadow falls over the confirmation hearings like a diseased blanket meant to pass on small pox to the American voter. He was uncharacteristically quite through the weekend, striking a moderate tone of “let’s wait and see”. Monday, the gloves came off,

President Donald Trump on Wednesday cast doubt on the allegation of sexual assault against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, and said that the judge “has been treated very, very tough.”

“I can only say this, he is such an outstanding man, very hard for me to imagine that anything happened,” Trump said.  CNBC

What happens this Thursday when Ford and Kavanaugh have their chance to air their accusations and defenses is anyone’s guess. Kavanaugh and his wife appeared on Fox News Monday where he had his talking points down. He reiterated two things: he wanted fairness and a chance to be heard and tell his side of the story. Here is a breakdown of the interview dissecting his performance CNN.

The question is will Kavanaugh conduct himself in the Judiciary Committee like he has all through the confirmation process which comes down to avoiding answering the hard questions on grounds that they are speculative or claiming judicial ignorance. He has claimed he never had sex until much later after high school, and that he was basically a model student who should be praised rather than being held responsible for his past indiscretions. Abused or abuser? The truth is out there.

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