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As I was standing in the street,
As quiet as could be,
A great big ugly man came up,
And tied his horse to me.
As I watched Sen. Flake over the past two weeks, this bit of children’s nonsense verse kept coming to mind. Sen. Flake is the poor innocent fellow who was standing in the road back in 2016, when a Great Big Ugly Man came up and tied his horse to him. Since then, Flake just hasn’t been himself, or at least not his best self, or at least not the best self he would have us see.
Having declined to defend his seat, submitting himself to the judgment of his party’s voters, in his state, Sen. Flake needed a new purpose. His mentor, the man whose political career he had hoped to emulate, left public view in a blaze of hate-fueled spite. We all remember the gleeful thumbs up as Sen. McCain broke his own word and his party’s decade-old pledge to repeal Obamacare.
Flake is now in the same position, politically. What could be his shining moment to stick his thumb in the eyes of The Great Big Ugly Man and all his Deplorable voters? The border wall got all muddled up in a minibus funding bill, a bill combining several appropriations, but not all 12 acts in the Congressional appropriation system. There is not likely to be an opportunity to be the deciding vote on rejecting funding for the wall. Indeed, the Congress and the President have jostled their way to a fairly uncontroversial close-out of the political calendar, prior to the midterm election.
But then arose the crucial swing vote vacancy on the Supreme Court. This is not replacing one conservative with another, but replacing a social-sexual-politics activist with a constitutionalist. Hence the rending of garments on the left. But appointing constitutionalist or “originalist” justices has been a Republican Party platform item, run on, by all but the most extreme abortion supporters, for decades. How to defeat The Great Big Ugly Man’s nominee without losing all credibility as a “conservative?”
Sen. Diane Feinstein had the answer and Flake grabbed the ball and kicked it downfield. He was not the only Republican senator to demand Dr. Ford be heard, but he was the not-so-hidden voice, that kept demanding Chairman Grassley keep playing along with the Democrats game. It almost worked, but Sen. Flake didn’t understand the game.
It almost worked, but then the crazies who dominate the Democratic Party did what they do. And the stench of the increasingly outlandish smear, plus the assault on men, and on all notions of due process or fair play, got too heavy. Senator Flake was reduced to justifying himself, acknowledging his hand on the delay, while claiming sincere concern, sympathy, and yet uncertainty.
Then Flake was publicly rebuked, in all but name, by his fellow Republican Senators in the Thursday show-trial hearing, and by the words of the nominee, and the faces of his mother and wife. He took only one minute, of the five to which he was entitled.
Then, on Friday, Sen. Flake said he would vote “Yes.”
After hearing more than 30 hours of testimony from Judge Kavanaugh earlier this month, I was prepared to support his nomination based on his view of the law and his record as a judge. In fact, I commented at the time that had he been nominated in another era, he would have likely received 90+ votes.
When Dr. Ford’s allegations against Judge Kavanaugh surfaced two weeks ago, I insisted that she be allowed to testify before the committee moved to a vote. Yesterday, we heard compelling testimony from Dr. Ford, as well as a persuasive response from Judge Kavanaugh. I wish that I could express the confidence that some of my colleagues have conveyed about what either did or did not happen in the early 1980s, but I left the hearing yesterday with as much doubt as certainty.
What I do know is that our system of justice affords a presumption of innocence to the accused, absent corroborating evidence. That is what binds us to the rule of law. While some may argue that a different standard should apply regarding the Senate’s advice and consent responsibilities, I believe that the constitution’s provisions of fairness and due process apply here as well.
I will vote to confirm Judge Kavanaugh.
Word got out that not only was Senator Flake a “Yes” vote, but George W. Bush was helping whip votes for confirmation. Former President Bush is another senior Republican politician who had been minding his business when A Great Big Ugly Man came up and tied his horse to poor George, causing him to suddenly speak out where he had been silent through eight years of President Obama. Why have it known that he was pitching in to help that man’s nominee? I suggest the stench of the smear was so bad, that it wafted out to Crawford, Texas.
Then Flake (I fight hard not to stutter his name) seemed to throw one more spanner in the works. He changed his “Yes” vote to a conditional “Yes.” He voted approval to send the nomination to the whole Senate with a recommendation of confirmation. But, he then said he would not vote “Yes” on the final vote without a new FBI investigation.
This hangs the Kavanaugh family out in the wind for further abuse, as Flake knew. But, is it also a wise move by Sen. Flake, to help get Judge Kavanaugh confirmed? It appears that Sens. Collins and Manchin both want this as well. Flake’s demand also blunts the Democrats’ big talking point: “FBI, FBI, FBI investigation.”
The Senate Republican leaders agreed, but put a strict limit on the FBI investigation, to stop further serial delays by further “discoveries.” The Senate Committee on the Judiciary, imposed a one week limit, along with limiting the scope.
The Senate Judiciary Committee will request that the administration instruct the FBI to conduct a supplemental FBI background investigation with respect to the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to be an Associate Justice on the Supreme Court.
The supplemental FBI background investigation would be limited to current credible allegations against the nominee and must be completed no later than one week from today [Friday, 28 September].
1. The allegations in the Swetnick affidavit are so bizarre that , even while suffering from my addiction, I would remember actions so outlandish. I categorically deny them.
2. I do not know Julie Swetnick….
6. I will cooperate with any law enforcement agency that is assigned to confidentially investigate these allegations.
Jeff Flake has four sons and a son-in-law. Two are adult sons, one of whom has already been prosecuted for likely political reasons. He also has two younger sons and he has a son-in-law. These past two weeks define what will become known as the “Flake rules,” if he ratifies them. If he still chooses to fan the wind his Democratic friends sowed, might not his family reap the whirlwind?
The Bush family thinks they still matter in our national politics. They aspire to rule again. But what if the whirlwind catches them like a Texas tornado? (No, not those Texas Tornados.)
The left has managed to make all the factions of the Republican party, plus the MAGA voters, play together for a season, perhaps just in time for the midterms to become a “red ripple.” The outrage over the rotten behavior of Democrats, and the threats to all men in women’s lives, looks like it will drive up, not down, midterm votes for Republicans. Pray for the Kavanaugh family, for our Deborahs or Thatchers to stand forth, and for our Republic.Published in