Lessons Learned: The GOP Weak Links

Written by J.R. Dunn

There is one single major cause for the chaos surrounding Republican SCOTUS confirmations over the past thirty years – the fulcrum for the entire exercise of humiliating conservative judges.  It’s not the Democrats, it’s not the left, and it’s not the feminists.  They aren’t the crucial factor.  They simply take advantage of it.

Quite simply put, it’s the GOP weak links.

Let’s be clear on terminology: these are not RINOs.  Of the four who succeeded in disrupting the Brett Kavanaugh nomination, none fits the classic mold of the RINO – the go-along-to-get-along type who adapts liberal principles and policies to reap benefits at the expense of rank-and-file Republicans.  While this crew displays some of those characteristics, in others, it’s measurably different.  Bob Corker is a traditionalist from another era, a man who thinks and acts as if it were still 1953.  Jeff Flake is pure hustler, one step above – if that – Michael Avenatti.  He’s whatever he needs to be at any given moment – a conservative, a NeverTrump, whatever it is he’s pretending to be now.  Flake will be whatever you want – just ask.  If human-sized crustaceans from Tau Ceti invaded Earth tomorrow, Flake would be running around in a lobster suit.

As for Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski…they’re oddities.  Eccentric females from third-tier states.

Since the Robert Bork hearings of 1987, the Democrats have based their strategy on the dependable backstop that a certain small number of Republicans would dither, posture, and pull a Hamlet act right up until the last minute.  In a Senate in which the GOP has held fifty or fifty-one seats, this is all it took to turn the simple act of confirming a justice into a cliffhanger.

No explanation for these actions is ever given, and none is demanded.  It’s simply taken for granted that the hijackers are acting in tune with a higher morality, channeling their inner Norman Rockwell characters in opposition to the GOP’s sleazy political stratagems.  (Democrats don’t have this problem.  Their rank and file simply fall into line.)

For years, the two major bottlenecks were Susan Collins and her fellow Downeaster Olympia Snowe.  Totally ignored otherwise, this pair were regularly thrust into the spotlight every time a contested confirmation battle rolled around, suddenly transformed into female solons of the highest order.  They were joined in later years by Alaskan Lisa Murkowski, another of the same breed, and most recently by Flake and Corker.

Snowe retired in 2013.  Corker and Flake are going, Corker after a brief, not extremely distinguished career, Flake after effectively being abandoned by disgusted voters.  This leaves Collins and Murkowski.

A peculiar factor is that both represent states far removed from the American mainstream.  Both Alaska and Maine are geographically isolated and culturally divergent, Alaska as a late-blooming frontier state and Maine as a colonial relic.

A lot is being spoken in praise of Collins due to her finally coming around to Kavanaugh and the firm statement of support that she gave him before the vote.  We’re told that her speech will live in history alongside Millard Fillmore’s immortal revenue bill speech of 1841, being quoted on the Fourth of July and taught to eager schoolchildren unto the fourth millennium.

This overlooks the fact that the crisis arose in the first place in large part due to Collins herself.  Diane Feinstein and Chuck Schumer would not have made their move (or would have been forced to come up with a different strategy) if Collins hadn’t been sitting in the middle of the road like a beached whale.  Collins played a large part in causing this crisis, and now she’s in the process of ducking responsibility.  This transforms her into something a lot like those demented firemen who set blazes so they can pose as heroes while putting them out.

If Collins had not been offered open bribes by leftist interests, followed by threats against her staff, it’s quite possible things would have gone differently.  Collins is a problem awaiting a solution.

I lived in Maine for a brief period years ago, and I was quite surprised to find a culture that was in large part a survival of the colonial epoch.  The old families run things, and the little people live their little lives.  It’s not quite to the point where the peasants whip off their work caps and tug their forelocks when a grandee walks by, but it’s definitely detectable.

What this means is that the level of political inertia is much higher in Maine than in other states.  An individual in office is viewed as possessing some form of Divine Right.  Moving against these officials is akin to blasphemy, so an officeholder is likely to stay there until either death or, as with Snowe, retirement.  Replacing Collins – she’s up for re-election in 2020 – would be an uphill battle, but certainly one worth considering.

This brings us to Murkowski.

Lisa Murkowski is one of the weirdest individuals in the Congress, a weird mob without question.  She clings to political power like a barnacle for no evident reason – she’s not an ideologue, has no apparent political interests, and has no detectable agenda.  Yet there she sits, even more contrarian – if possible – than Collins.  This time around, she stated that she didn’t make up her mind on Kavanaugh until she set foot on the Senate floor just before the cloture vote.

Who the hell thinks this way, apart from adolescent females?

Then she votes “present” for the confirmation vote, boldly sitting on the fence after posturing up until the last minute.

There may be more going on. There’s a candid shot of her being confronted last week by Feinstein, the Elizabeth Báthory of the Senate.  DiFi has Murkowski pinned against the wall, one arm held up to keep her corralled.  She has an expression of pure viciousness on her face – cold, nasty, and brutal.  The real Dianne Feinstein, in short.  Murkowski, for her part, is cowering, staring back at Feinstein with a look of real fear on her face.  It’s as transparent a shot of bullying as the classic photo of LBJ overwhelming Rhode Island’s Theodore Green.

Either the Dems have something on Murkowski or they’ve got her number as a weak sister easily bullied.  Doesn’t matter, really – they get the results they want either way.

Murkowski is politically weak.  In 2010, she was primaried by Joe Miller.  This kicked her into overdrive for the first and possibly only time in her life.  She ran a desperate campaign asking voters to write her in, which, incredibly, they proceeded to do.  She barely edged out the erratic Miller, 101,000 to 90,000.

What can possibly explain this result?  As a frontier state, Alaska has a rep for being populated by burly, bearded types and their stalwart no-nonsense women (think of the Palins here).  Hunting for their dinners, communicating by radio, visiting the outside world by floatplane…and yet here they are, represented in D.C. by a glaring-eyed scarecrow you’d expect to see mumbling to herself on a downtown New York side street.  Alaska has a large welfare population among both native Alaskans and urbanites.  (I’m told that some sections of Anchorage resemble Newark.)  This, very likely, represents Murkowski’s base.

Unlike Collins, Murkowki is on the ropes.  She has been dismissed by none other than Donald J. Trump himself (and boy, when he does it, you know you’ve been dismissed).  The latest word is that the Alaska GOP is moving against her, planning at the very least a stern rebuke for defying her constituents, with some talk of withdrawing support and replacing her in the next election.  Now is the time for a decent, Alaskan candidate to step up.

This is all to the good.  The GOP – and the country as a whole – deserves better than to have critical judicial appointments hijacked by weirdos.

This practice has given the Democrats a free ride for decades.  They have not been required to defend their elitist Philosopher-King concept of the federal judiciary, in which the bench dictates to the other branches, treats voting citizens as cattle, and redefines millennia-old aspects of human nature, all without oversight or recourse.

When a seat opens, the Democrats simply reach into the shadows; shake Collins and Murkowski awake; and set them tottering about, creating chaos and sowing confusion.  The worst part of it is that neither shows any sign of being aware of the actual nature of the spoiler role they play.  Is it possible that they don’t grasp it at all?

Whatever – this is not the way it was intended to work.  It can be said without exaggeration that Brett Kavanaugh has done a tremendous service before even taking his place at the bench by awakening the country to this miserable state of affairs and the creatures responsible for it.  It’s been a long time coming.

This article was originally published at TownHall.com