The dumbest possible message to precede the “return to norms” victory lap Democrats are planning to take tonight if Sleepy Joe wins big.

There was nothing illegitimate about Barrett’s nomination and confirmation. It was sleazy of pols like Lindsey Graham to have made promises years ago that they wouldn’t fill any vacancies in a presidential election year before opportunistically changing their minds. And it was foolish of Barrett herself to have attended that White House swearing-in ceremony/rally with Trump so soon before the election, while the president was wink-winking at the media about needing a ninth justice on the Court to decide the presidency.

But her elevation to the Court was done by the book. It was fast, but it’s not as if Barrett hadn’t been vetted by Democrats before. They had plenty of time to comb through her past when she was nominated to the Seventh Circuit a few years ago. They had the same opportunities at last month’s SCOTUS confirmation hearing to quiz her that they always have with nominees. Pelosi doesn’t even have the excuse here of Barrett being a lackluster nominee, some Trump crony who was rammed through at the eleventh hour to do his bidding on the Court. To the contrary, she’s so well qualified for the job that even liberal legal scholars felt obliged to commend Trump on his choice.

And the public polling is in her favor. If it eases the sting of losing Ginsburg’s seat to a very conservative replacement just weeks before an election that Democrats are favored to win, then Pelosi should tell herself what she’s got to tell herself, I guess. But Barrett being “illegitimate” is a lie no matter how it’s sliced.

As I say, if Dems are planning to complain — justifiably — about Trump baselessly questioning the legitimacy of the election if he loses, you would think they’d be policing their own rhetoric for casual smears of American institutions. But Pelosi long ago lost her balance in commenting on Trump-related matters, resorting to gratuitous Trumpy insults and slander of the opposition to better communicate her contempt for them. Having her sound like a hardcore Resistance crank on Election Day is icing on the cake.

But Trump’s doing his own part to delegitimize his new appointee. I’ll leave you with this tweet from a few days ago, sent in the dead of night, reminding his fans that he expects the Court’s conservative majority to be partisan hacks for him in the event of a ballot dispute. A Biden win can only be “ridiculous.” Note well, Justice Barrett.