In the White House press briefing on Tuesday, Sarah Sanders came to the lectern carrying a substantial chip on her shoulder. It had just been reported that Democrats on Capitol Hill were refusing to take meetings with Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, and Sanders let the obstructionists have it in her opening remarks.
“In the two weeks since President Trump nominated Judge Kavanaugh, he has met with 23 senators,” she said. “Unfortunately, all of them are Republicans. That’s because Senator Schumer is encouraging his members to not even meet with the judge.
“For members of the opposing party to demand answers to questions and yet refuse to even meet with a qualified Supreme Court nominee is unprecedented,” she continued. “Senator Schumer should stop these political games and meet with Judge Kavanaugh. We welcome Senate Democrats who take their constitutional duty of advise and consent seriously. Judge Kavanaugh stands ready to meet with members of both parties.”
According to Democrats (save for a few red-state, sensible lawmakers), they will not give Kavanaugh any of their personal attention until they receive millions of pages of documents related to the nominee’s time serving in the Bush White House. The goal, of course, is not to get a thorough, comprehensive look into Brett Kavanaugh’s background but to delay the confirmation hearings as long as possible. The Democrats are going to pull out every tool in the shed to push those hearings back. Their obstruction has inspired Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to threaten to keep the senators in sessions all the way through Election Day, a move that would cripple the Democrats who want to spend that time on the campaign trail.
Democrats don’t have the numbers to block Kavanaugh’s confirmation outright, so the best they can do is delay and hope that, in the meantime, they can come up with some anti-Kavanaugh argument that will resonate with a handful of Republicans. Since Trump announced him as the nominee, the Democrats have bounced around from Roe v. Wade hysteria to Kavanaugh’s writings, which supposedly indicate that he would order the Mueller investigation shut down. Perhaps due to lack of evidence, neither of these arguments found any footing.
Of course, in dragging out the process and more-or-less signaling that they will vote in solidarity against Kavanaugh, Democrats are giving up any high ground (real or imagined) they might have had after the Merrick Garland situation. Whether or not that matters to voters remains to be seen, but we can’t help recall a few years ago, around the time of the 2014 midterms, when every news organization was telling us that the American people wanted to see lawmakers put an end to partisan gridlock.
Apparently when Democrats play the role of “the obstructionists,” that’s no longer a relevant issue. Funny.