Graham to Dems: Your character assassination of Kavanaugh changed the rules for me

After two days of relative comity in the Senate Judiciary Committee, what prompted this tongue-lashing from chair Lindsey Graham? Democrats on the panel played some games with quorums this morning in an attempt to stall the next phase of the hearings, and a few lashed out at Graham for breaking “norms” by supposedly rushing Amy Coney Barrett through the confirmation process.

The lowlight of these games came when Dick Durbin insisted that Graham was breaking the rules by proceeding without two Democrats present. Graham was scheduling the committee vote at the time, which will trigger the floor vote in the full Senate that Democrats have no way to stop:

Judging by his exhausted demeanor, Graham was fully expecting the Democratic panelists to try and stop the proceedings to confirm Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett. First it was Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), who told the chairman he could not move forward until at least another member of the minority was present. Then Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) interjected to introduce a motion to delay the vote.

“No, we’re not going to do that,” Graham said, shaking his head.

Wait — if Durbin said Graham needed two Democrats, how did Blumenthal not count towards the quorum? Blumenthal was hiding in the hallway at the time:

And members of Congress wonder why people revile them.

Anyway, Graham made it clear that he wasn’t going to brook any more obstructionism, and more importantly, why:

Fair enough. So what happens now? Barrett’s not exactly on a glide path to the nomination, Fox’s Chad Pergram explained on Twitter, but there’s not much Democrats can do but delay it for a short period of time. Best guess, even with some extraordinary Democratic maneuvering, would put Barrett’s confirmation on October 30 at the latest. Here are the highlights of that reasoning, assuming Graham hands off the nomination on the 22nd as planned:

That raises the stakes for Democrats, though, more than it does for Republicans. Not only does that keep enthusiasm and interest stoked among Trump’s base for as long as possible, just days before Election Day, it also keeps focus on Amy Coney Barrett rather than Trump, too. Why allow that to transpire when there is no real way to stop the confirmation? Barrett delivered an impressive performance over the last two days while Democrats mainly pontificated on election issues. The longer that Barrett is the face of the GOP in this election, the worse off Democrats will be — and the closer their impotence comes to Election Day, the worse the disillusion will be among their base.

They’d be smarter to just yank the Band-Aid off now, ask Graham to call a vote this afternoon, and let McConnell finish this next week. Their antics this morning show they’re not terribly bright about this, however, so let’s keep popping that popcorn all the way to Halloween.

Addendum: Let’s also toast the ending of this hearing, which is … rather surprising (via Twitchy):

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David Strom 3:00 PM | May 20, 2024