I’ve never seen him like this.

Who could have guessed that a notorious cocaine narcotrafficker might have a soft spot in his heart for due process?

I guess I should go ahead and correct this post even though I still think it’s true as a general matter. Generally, McConnell doesn’t care which conservative is confirmed to an important judicial vacancy so long as some conservative is. If you believe the media, Kavanaugh wasn’t even his first choice. He preferred Amul Thapar, who used to sit as a district court judge in his home state of Kentucky, or Raymond Kethledge, who had a much shorter paper trail than Kavanaugh. But clearly the sleaziness of the last few weeks has increased his personal investment in Kavanaugh’s vindication — which is what the confirmation vote will now amount to, let’s face it. McConnell’s speech, in fact, is a microcosm of the “Kavanaugh effect” among most of right-wing America: Even the de facto head of the Beltway Republican establishment, a guy routinely derided and targeted for retirement by his party’s base, is so disgusted by the late hit on the nominee that he can’t get through a floor speech about it without his voice breaking. Populists and RINOs, united at last.

McConnell would have preferred to confirm Kavanaugh last week rather than give Democrats seven more days to hunt for potential accusers, but I wonder if he’s glad in hindsight that Flake put the brakes on:

We can add a fourth item to that list based on the early reports: The FBI investigation that liberals demanded turned up nothing new that would derail the nomination, which will lead some Kavanaugh skeptics towards uncertainty and some undecideds towards giving him the benefit of the doubt. We may, in fact, soon add a fifth item. It’s possible that a few red-state Democrats will defect and vote yes based on the cover they’ve received from the FBI report to do so, if only to appease Republican voters back home. You won’t get every red-stater but you might get Manchin and Heitkamp and one or two others. A bipartisan confirmation vote will be a useful defense for Republicans going forward to Democratic attacks on Kavanaugh. Because, please understand, those attacks will never stop:

It’d be nice to think the nastiness over Kavanaugh will end on Saturday, when he’s confirmed. It will not. It may be just beginning.