This is a few days old but shouldn’t pass unnoticed. Is Newt joking in saying this? It seems like a half-joke, or a quarter-joke, at best.

Imagine being Brett Kavanaugh, knowing that half the country already views you as illegitimate, watching Newt prime the other half to turn on you if you don’t rule the president’s way on a single narrow point of law. And not even a point of law that bears directly on national policy. He’s not saying that Kavanaugh’s a bust if he fails to overturn Roe or to strike down ObamaCare, which would at least be understandable in the context of why the right wants conservatives on the Supreme Court in the first place.

He’s saying he’s a bust if he fails to shield Trump from oversight by his enemies, which is exactly how lefties attacked Kavanaugh during the confirmation process. “Kavanaugh’s writings on executive power prove that he’ll be a stooge for Trump on the bench!” they cried. Not so, said people like me. If anything, Kavanaugh appears to believe there’s nothing inherent in Article II that protects the president from being investigated. Now here’s Newt all but confirming the leftist interpretation: The new guy had better be a stooge. (Which is surely how Trump views it too.) No wonder Vox jumped all over what he said. It seems to prove their cynical theory of why the White House was interested in Kavanaugh to begin with.

Newt has now set this up for Kavanaugh such that he’s guilty of a terrible betrayal no matter what he does once a subpoena fight comes before the Court. If he rules for Trump then liberals will claim they’ve been vindicated. They told you he’d put Trump’s interests over the country’s if he was confirmed and now here’s the proof. If he rules for Democrats then the Kavanaugh fight “wasn’t worth it,” never mind any other rulings he might issue on abortion, federalism, gun rights, etc etc. The most you can say for Gingrich’s logic is that it’s true to the spirit of what the GOP stands for in 2018. Trump doesn’t own the party, he is the party. His personal interests are now the Republican voter’s interests. Deficits may rise, agendas may stall, but so long as the president is shielded from scrutiny by the libs then we’ve won.

Didn’t we just spend the a month claiming that the Kavanaugh fight had to be fought and won if only to show Democrats that nasty, last-minute uncorroborated allegations of personal misconduct wouldn’t be allowed to sink a qualified nominee in the future? That is, apart from the policy merits of putting a conservative on the Court, there was merit in standing up for due process and deterring further eleventh-hour ambushes. Now here’s Newt qualifying all of that by essentially saying, “Yeah, but only if Trump still gets to hide his tax returns.” Maybe we should have let him be borked after all.