Joe Donnelly moves from no to maybe on Kavanaugh vote

As the Senate Judicial Committee gathered to vote Friday afternoon to move Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination for a vote in the Senate, word trickled out that Democrat Senator Joe Donnelly of Indiana was a no vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination. Donnelly is in a tough re-election race back home and Republicans hope to separate him from the herd of Democrats in lock-step opposition Judge Kavanaugh.

As we all know now, Senator Jeff Flake decided to lob a last-minute bomb into the committee’s proceedings by holding his yes vote hostage to a demand that the FBI investigate Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s allegations. He put a time limit of no longer than a week for the delay. Republicans were forced to go along in order to have the votes to move the process out of the committee and onto the Senate floor.

But, a late afternoon headline in a northwest Indiana newspaper shines a glimmer of a doubt on Senator Donnelly’s commitment to a no vote.  He told the newspaper’s editorial board that now he’s willing to wait for the FBI’s report before making a final decision. In other words, Donnelly has moved from a no vote to a maybe.

U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., said he will await an FBI investigation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh before deciding whether to raise him to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Donnelly spoke Friday afternoon before The Times Editorial Board.

“I think Hoosiers are where I am on this. I want to know what happened,” he said.

It looks like the last minute demands of the senator from Arizona may give some red-state Democrats cover to vote yes after the FBI investigates. Flake is a weasel. He’s a bitter Never Trumper who, I believe, would like nothing more than to have a big, splashy eff you vote to stick it to President Trump as he ends his time in the Senate. Think John McCain and his dramatic thumbs down on the Obamacare repeal vote. In Flake’s case, he veils his opposition to Trump by virtue-signaling – in this case, it is a sense of fairness to the accuser – yet his voting record is one of siding with Trump more than 90% of the time. He enjoys the attention he receives opposing Trump and the Democrats egg him on. You may have noticed that several Democrats on the committee specifically gave a shout-out to Flake for his hesitancy to vote with the rest of the Republicans.

My theory is that Flake is pushing for a sweet cable tv gig or maybe a spot as a  lobbyist (or both) when his time in elected office ends. I don’t think it’s a stretch to imagine he’ll pursue a run for President in the near future.

So, this one week delay may work out to be a plus for the Kavanaugh vote. I was as aggravated as every other conservative when Flake pulled his stunt but maybe there is the silver lining that Donnelly will vote yes in the end. This also allows Senators Collins and Murkowski to vote yes after a renewed investigation while explaining to the voters at home that it was the fair thing to do. Democrats in red-states that Trump won big (bigly) like North Dakota and West Virginia would then be able to do the same. Senators Heidi Heitkamp (ND) and Joe Manchin (WVA) may separate from their herd, too. It’s possible.

Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination is supported by Indiana’s Republican Senator Todd Young.

I am certain that this last minute investigation into the accuser’s allegations against Kavanaugh will not change any other Democrat votes. Most of them were a no vote before the hearings even began. I’m sure none have changed after Thursday’s testimonies, either. I’m not alone in this thought.

While the Democrats claim the Republicans are ramming through this Supreme Court nominee, the fact is that there would not have been any need for last-minute theatrics if Senator Feinstein had handled Dr. Ford’s allegations in good faith from the beginning. Republicans have used traditional procedure and protocol while Democrats deliberately weaponized the #MeToo movement for their own political gain.

Senator McConnell is moving forward with Judge Kavanaugh’s vote in the Senate. The tentative date is next Friday for a vote by the full Senate. We all know that in the coming days leading up to next Friday will be full of new demands from Democrats and Dr. Ford’s legal team. Give them an inch and they’ll take a mile. It took no time at all after the committee vote and announcement of the delay for the investigation before #TheResistance began to ignore the deadline. This tweet appeared literally three minutes after the vote.

So, as we all move forward, I’ll leave you with this little nugget from Friday night’s Real Time with Bill Maher. Maher refers to the late Senator John McCain as Senator Graham’s “dead boyfriend.” White House Press Corps member April Ryan thinks it is just hilarious. Look for yourself.

Brace yourselves. It’s going to be a long week.