Democrats are really, really angry.
Every now and then, it’s worth recalling what it is they are so angry about. It boils down to this: they are powerless, unable to enact a progressive agenda disliked by the majority of the country. Since Democrats are in the minority in Congress, they cannot legislate. Since President Trump beat Hillary Clinton, they lost the ability to whip up diktats through White House executive orders.
And if Judge Brett Kavanaugh is confirmed as an associate justice of the Supreme Court, Democrats won’t be able to look to that branch of government to further their ends.
Hence the Democratic anger and frustration on full view during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court. Democrats on the committee, several of whom may be running for president in 2020, have embarrassed themselves.
The staged interruptions and complaints about the process by Democratic senators made a mockery of the calls for civility and bipartisanship that adorned the memorials for their late colleague, Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain. Apparently, treating your ideological foes with courtesy is appropriate only if that graciousness flows right to left, not the other way around.
The Democratic committee members say they are angry that they have not received more documents about the judge, and that some of the pages were delivered less than a day before the hearings were to commence. But it’s all hogwash; the material provided was more than that received from the past five nominees combined.
Kavanaugh has an extensive public record of decisions that Democrats are free to review. They do not want to review them; they prefer to sulk and posture.
After all, every single one of the Democrats on the committee has vowed to vote against confirming Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court – so what difference would a few thousand pages make? The Democratic senators have made their minds up.
The fury of Democrats has nothing to do with missing pages or hurried timetables. It has everything to do with being sore losers. They still cannot accept that Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton in 2016.
Doing so would demand coming to terms with why, under President Obama, the party lost not only the presidential election but also an unprecedented number of seats in the Senate, the House, in state legislatures and governors’ mansions across the country.
It would mean admitting that President Obama was a disaster for his party.
During that agonizing descent into impotence – as Democrats lost the House in 2010, the Senate in 2012 and the White House in 2016 – not once did the party veer from policies that clearly were unpopular with voters.
Not once did Democrats loosen their grip on the progressive juggernaut that propelled them forward. They embraced environmental laws that could cripple the country’s energy base, health-care mandates that were affordable only to those subsidized by the government, restrictions on law enforcement agencies that compromised our safety on our streets, regulations on small and big businesses that made them uncompetitive. They made it harder for entrepreneurs to succeed and create jobs, and they supported immigration programs that mocked the rule of law.
Because Democrats lost their majorities in Congress, President Obama took it upon himself to create laws and to implement them. In many instances, such as with Obama’s Clean Power Plan – which would have upended our country’s energy industries – the Supreme Court slammed on the brakes, so egregious was the executive overreach. Ditto the effort to fundamentally change our immigration and labor laws.
In 2014, the Supreme Court ruled 9-0 against President Obama’s use of recess appointments in the case of National Labor Relations Board vs. Noel Canning. At the time, Bob Goodlatte, a Republican representative from Virginia, said that the "9-0 decision last week was the 13th time the Supreme Court has voted 9-0 that the president has exceeded his constitutional authority."
In the 2016 Supreme Court session, the White House lost 10 cases on unanimous decisions. That was a humiliating outcome that included votes from two Obama-appointed justices.
In fact, the Supreme Court ended up being the referee-in-chief, handing down an unprecedented number of unfavorable rulings to the Obama White House. Over time, most presidents score a “win” rate of about two-thirds; for Obama it was about half
This history brings the flap over Kavanaugh into perspective. If you are pushing an unpopular agenda, legislating from the White House is the last resort. But in that scenario, the makeup of the Supreme Court becomes vitally important.
The addition of Kavanaugh will almost certainly tilt the Supreme Court to the right, although over time judges can gravitate one way or another. Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, for instance, who was appointed by President Reagan, was initially a reliable conservative voter on the court but over the years become ever more liberal.
For the moment, however, Kavanaugh is solidly conservative; he is, in particular, no fan of the endless spread and intrusion of Big Government. For instance, he declared unconstitutional the structure of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, an agency uniquely unaccountable to Congress or the president.
Kavanaugh’s dislike of an overreaching government is catnip to conservatives, but anathema to liberals, who increasingly embrace a soft form of socialism, encouraging ever more federal control of our industries and our lives.
The Supreme Court with Kavanaugh aboard would become a serious speedbump for progressives. The next Democratic president would be less able to legislate from the White House. Instead, Democrats would have to promote their programs the old-fashioned way; they would have to win some elections.
And that, for sure, is why Democrats are so angry.