Progressive groups to Schumer: "You are failing us" on Kavanaugh

Brett Kavanaugh returns to the Senate Judiciary Committee for a second day in Chuck Schumer’s three-ring circus, but he’s not the only one facing the wrath of the clowns. Despite Schumer’s plot to derail the confirmation hearing yesterday, progressive groups to which Schumer’s been pandering published a statement this morning blasting Schumer for not having stopped Kavanaugh’s confirmation yet. “You are failing us,” thirteen groups declared.

Maybe they meant to send it to Harry Reid?

Thirteen liberal groups have signed on to a letter, delivered Wednesday morning, that pans the minority leader’s strategy of stopping President Donald Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court. They say that “the Democratic Party’s progressive base expects nothing less than all-out resistance to Trump’s dangerous agenda,” and question whether Schumer is delivering it. …

“Your job as Senate Democratic leader is to lead your caucus in complete opposition to Trump’s attempted Supreme Court takeover and to defend everyone threatened by a Trump Supreme Court,” the letter reads. “But unbelievably, nearly two dozen Democrats have still not come out against Kavanaugh. … That is not the leadership we need.” …

“It is wrong to assume that a no vote on Kavanaugh puts red-state Democrats in electoral peril or somehow protects them from Republican attacks,” they write. “Anything less than 49 Democratic votes against Kavanaugh would be a massive failure of your leadership. We hope you won’t let us down.”

The signatories consist of the usual suspects — CREDO, Daily Kos, Democracy for America — but do have a couple of interesting absences. The two groups that have put the most resources into defeating Kavanaugh, MoveOn and Demand Justice, apparently decided not to sign onto the attack on Schumer. It’s worth noting that Demand Justice’s director Brian Fallon is Hillary Clinton’s former national press secretary from the 2016 campaign, spent some time in Barack Obama’s Department of Justice, and before that was a former aide to … Chuck Schumer.

Ain’t it funny how that works?

At any rate, this letter is an exercise in both futility and fantasy. Schumer doesn’t have the ability to block Kavanaugh without convincing at least two Republicans to vote against him, so whether or not Democrats declare their position now is pointless. The kind of stunts that the progressive activists have pushed Schumer into performing, especially those hypocritical and hysterical antics yesterday, are practically guaranteed to harden Republicans in their support for an obviously qualified jurist. Besides, Chuck Schumer can’t just order his caucus to oppose Kavanaugh: he’s not their boss, and he can’t fire them for voting to confirm Kavanaugh. He has to convince them to oppose a candidate that their constituents likely support, in places where CREDO and Daily Kos are hardly influential. And this ain’t helping.

Let’s not miss the irony of this, either. The kind of total warfare that this letter demands is precisely why Schumer and the Democrats don’t have any leverage on presidential appointments any longer. Harry Reid detonated the nuclear option in 2013 by reversing centuries of precedent and allowing a rule change on a simple majority in order to allow Barack Obama’s DC Circuit nominees to get to the bench without GOP recourse to the filibuster, in large part to pander to these same progressives. Mitch McConnell used Reid’s precedent to have a simple majority to strike down the filibuster on Supreme Court nominations, and that’s why Schumer’s only option is to pull juvenile stunts like we saw yesterday.

Schumer’s out of options. The only thing left is self-immolation, but that would likely generate complaints from these progressive groups that the fire didn’t burn brightly enough.