But so much is forgotten, left behind in the locker room as Trump and team celebrate on the field. The president, who deserves conservative praise for picking Kavanaugh off the Federalist Society’s menu and for sticking by him, is claiming and getting undue credit for the win. The fact is, the president — himself repeatedly and credibly accused of sexual misconduct — was largely a hindrance in the fight. And he’s now doing further disservice to the new justice and to the Supreme Court by holding up Kavanaugh like a partisan trophy, as he did Monday at a White House swearing-in ceremony that verged on becoming a pep rally.
Such gloating and total war is the new statesmanship. Ryan Williams, the president of the Claremont Institute, argues that the Kavanaugh battle retroactively vindicates Michael Anton’s famous “Flight 93” argument of 2016: that the presidential election was a “charge the cockpit or you die” moment for American conservatives. Now, Williams says, the middle has collapsed, the parties are pulling farther apart, and it’s Flight 93 for as far as the eye can see.
The Left largely sees the situation this way, too. In the wake of their failure to destroy Kavanaugh, Democrats and liberal activists insist they must “fight dirty,” as political scientist David Farris argues in his book, It’s Time to Fight Dirty.