Murkowski: I'm taking everything into account on Kavanaugh -- including Trump's comments about Ford

Fumbling away a chance to cement a solidly conservative majority on the Court for years due to pique over one of President Troll’s stinkier mouth-tweets would be very 2018.

She’s bluffing, though.

I think.

Interestingly, Jeff Flake took the opposite approach. He won’t consider Trump’s comments when weighing whether to confirm Kavanaugh, he told CNN. “You can’t blame other people for what the President says,” he wisely observed, adding that he thought what Trump said was “obviously insensitive and appalling, frankly.” The contrast between him and Murky here is a microcosm of the dispute among Never Trumpers as to what is and isn’t proper in opposing the president. Do you criticize him rhetorically but vote with him when you think his proposal/nominee has merit, or do you try to alter his behavior by voting against him until he shapes up? All Never Trumpers in Congress have taken the first approach, at least so far. What’s interesting in this case is that Flake is far and away a more vehement Trump critic than Murkowski is — yet she, not he, is the one hinting that she might choose to burn it all down in protest of POTUS’s actions.

Which is why I think she’s bluffing. What are the odds that Lisa Murkowski would suddenly emerge as the most hardass anti-Trump Republican in the Senate, and would take down a Supreme Court nominee in order to prove it? Not very high.

As for Collins, she seems to be taking a middle ground between the two. She’s shocked and appalled etc etc by Trump’s comments too but leaves it at that.

An uncomfortable possibility: Partly because the gender gap on Kavanaugh is so pronounced, women senators like Collins and Murkowski probably feel extra pressure to vote “the right way” than Flake does. If Flake ultimately votes yes, well, that’s to be expected. He’s a privileged white man, critics will say; bros look out for each other. If Collins and Murky vote yes, though, that’s a betrayal of the sisterhood. One way they can hedge against that is by being more forceful in their rhetoric, as Murkowski was here. Especially when it comes at the expense of an unpopular figure like Trump.

Here’s Lindsey Graham criticizing Trump for what he said too, albeit much less forcefully. The description of his remarks in the tweet below is a smear, by the way, although briefly a popular one among liberals on Twitter this morning who either didn’t watch the clip or didn’t get the reference he was making. His remark about dragging a $100 bill through a trailer park wasn’t his way of denigrating Ford; he was quoting an infamous crack made by James Carville 20 years ago to denigrate Bill Clinton’s accusers. (Carville remains a respected member of his party to this day, as does Bill, more or less.) His point was that Ford had been treated far better by Republicans than Paula Jones and Monica Lewinsky were by Democrats, and although he disliked Trump’s comments about Ford last night, that disparity should be borne in mind. The fact that liberals are so ignorant of Carville’s and Clinton’s tactics back in the day that they’d hold the “trailer park” quote here against Graham tells you all you need to know about how seriously they object to misconduct towards women by powerful men.

Jazz Shaw Jun 22, 2021 6:01 PM ET