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Senator Susan Collins is my hero for the day. I am always wary of Senators Murkowski (R-AK) and Collins (R-ME) when any check on abortion-on-demand is at issue. However, Senator Collins has been a true stateswoman in the Kavanaugh hearings. She has sent a letter to Chairman Grassley, published on her Senate webpage, which will make the absolute best out of the mess intentionally created by Senator Feinstein.
Senator Collins proposed the Judiciary Committee hearing open with the attorneys for the accuser and the accused questioning the two of them. This would let the strongest questions be asked before Senators start grandstanding or pulling punches. Senator Grassley knows he has a problem: he has no female Senator on his side of the room, so the optics will be bad if they don’t roll over. The two attorneys are both women.
Steven Hayward of Power Line believes that Senator Collins’ recommendation, if wisely adopted, will be decisive in this political contest:
As of this writing there are reports that Prof. Ford is balking at testifying, or demanding certain conditions or limitations on the questioning, though with this fast-moving story and flood of incorrect or inaccurate information, it is hard to know what is really going on. But I have a hunch that if Sen. Collins’s proposal is embraced, Prof. Ford will withdraw from the hearing.
If Senator Grassley takes the lifeline Senator Collins has thrown him, the Democrats plan will be seriously disrupted. With the very shaky story Prof. Ford has offered so far, it appears they were expecting another circus hearing with Grassley wearing a big red clown nose, honking impotently.
It would still be wise to pin down “Never Trump” Senators Flake and Corker, as I suggested the other day. I fear they are itching for a McCain moment, when they can publicly stick their thumbs in the eyes of the “deplorable” electorate and destroy the party so they can save it.
Update: Later in the day, Professor Ford’s attorney, Debra Katz, sent email to the Committee, stating Prof. Ford will not testify, and copied CNN, who published it. She rolled out the DNC #MeToo talking points, demanding delay and an FBI investigation. Of course, she insinuated Anita Hill was right and Justice Clarence Thomas was a sexual harasser. Katz likely also knows her client won’t hold up under questioning by Beth Wilkinson, Kavanaugh’s lawyer.
I don’t think the Republicans will play by these rules. Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) threw the delay-of-game penalty flag on the Democrats’ “FBI investigation” ploy.
Good overview of how FBI background checks of nominees work. Not criminal investigation, not credibility judgment. Collect information & provide to Senate. That’s has happened. Cynical senators calling for “FBI investigation” know all this. https://t.co/eB51Vi2s0R
— Tom Cotton (@TomCottonAR) September 19, 2018
Senator Flake then “implored” Ford to appear on Monday. Is he desperate to have an excuse to stick a thump in Arizonans’ eyes, or is he ready to support confirmation, absent compelling evidence of wrongdoing?
When Dr. Ford came forward, I said that her voice should be heard and asked the Judiciary Committee to delay its vote on Judge Kavanaugh. It did so. I now implore Dr. Ford to accept the invitation for Monday, in a public or private setting. The committee should hear her voice.
— Jeff Flake (@JeffFlake) September 19, 2018
Steven Hayward offers a more positive read on Senator Flake, and reinforces Senator Collins as stateswoman.
Sen. Collins is clearly perturbed and offended by the way the allegation against Judge Kavanaugh came to light, and Sen. Jeff Flake (also the wavering Bob Corker) have both said that if Dr. Hill doesn’t appear next Monday, the Senate should proceed to a vote. The hint seems to be that all of them, in the absence of any additional credible information, are ready to vote for Kavanaugh. Keep your eye on them through the weekend. Their public statements will signal how it is going to go. (I expect there will be yet another last minute Democratic attempt to produce new “information” late in the week or over the weekend to screw up Monday’s scheduled hearing—a new “witness,” or some fresh “rumors” of rumors.” So it’s not over until it’s over.)
The attempt by Democrats to smear Justice Thomas again calls back to mind his confirmation hearings and the 1991 Thomas confirmation vote. The Democrats controlled the Senate, and yet, he was confirmed 52-48. “Voting yes were 11 Democrats and 41 Republicans. Voting no were 46 Democrats and 2 Republicans.” Will we see any Democratic statesmen join the stateswoman of the hour, Senator Collins?