Just gonna recycle a joke from the last post. Out: Senator Lindsey Graham.
In: Attorney General Lindsey Graham?
One of the most surprising developments of the Kavanaugh fiasco is that it’s mild-mannered Lindsey Graham, not, say, Ted Cruz, who’s emerged as the nominee’s most impassioned advocate. If any of us had to bet on which Republican would break from having Rachel Mitchell question the witnesses to let Democrats have it with both barrels, we’d all have bet the same way: Cruz. Instead it’s the man we call “Grahamnesty.” Huh.
Some are of the opinion that Graham has spent the past year or so auditioning for Sessions’s job, ingratiating himself to a president he once famously called a “kook” and turning into one of his most reliably, and unlikely, allies to that end. I’m skeptical. Only a sucker would want to emulate Sessions’s career path by giving up a safe Senate seat to become Trump’s daily hate object at the DOJ. I think Graham’s angry on the merits. And why wouldn’t he be? Whatever you think of Ford’s testimony this morning, the way Democrats have handled this reeks utterly. It’s highly probable to my mind that if Eshoo and Feinstein had pushed the Ford matter early in the process, Kavanaugh would have been sunk — maybe before September. As it is, he may end up confirmed largely as a rebuke to Democrats’ sleazy ambush tactics. The libs need a lesson that late hits of the sort they pulled here won’t be tolerated. And they may get one.
Always foolish to bet too heavily on Susan Collins, though.
I wonder if one reason Graham blew up here was because he was tired of watching the GOP waste its opportunities to ask tough questions of the witnesses by deferring to Rachel Mitchell instead. Graham has always been good in committee hearings. Mitchell’s performance this morning was … not good:
To put it mildly, this hearing isn't working for GOP. Dems are asking big, meaningful questions. What do you remember? What did you feel? Could it have been anyone else? Getting big, meaningful answers. GOP's Mitchell focusing on little stuff. Huge contrast.
— Byron York (@ByronYork) September 27, 2018
Maybe I missed it. Has Mitchell asked why Leland Ingram denied being present at this party, and why her attorneys said that was because Blasey Ford never spoke to her about her experiences there but she testified today that, in fact, she had? Seems relevant.
— Noah Rothman (@NoahCRothman) September 27, 2018
She did finally ask about Leland Ingham Keyser at the very end of the session. Republicans would have asked about it much sooner, safe to say.
If you’re not convinced that Graham’s sincerely angry because you think RINOs don’t get angry, I’ll give you one more possible explanation. Maybe he’s already thinking a step ahead to a world in which Kavanaugh’s nomination has failed. That’s the *probable* outcome at this point, I’d guess, although not highly probable. But if it happens, the GOP will need to leverage every ounce of right-wing anger at the outcome and try to convert it into turnout this fall. Graham’s getting a jump on that with this sure-to-be-viral clip.