The Wall Street Journal:
Donald Trump didn’t help Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation with his crude mockery of Christine Blasey Ford on Tuesday night in Mississippi, but then this Supreme Court moshpit isn’t about this President. The left’s all-out assault on the judge is clarifying because it shows that the “resistance” is really about anything and everything conservative in America. Mr. Trump is its foil to regain power.
Brett Kavanaugh isn’t part of Mr. Trump’s New York menagerie, or some Steve Bannon insurgent. The judge is the epitome of the GOP legal establishment, a Supreme Court nominee from central casting. He went to the best schools and served his apprenticeship among legal elites including a clerkship with former Justice Anthony Kennedy.
He has spent 26 years in public service instead of cashing in as a Beltway lawyer. He served at the highest levels of George W. Bush’s White House staff in positions of great trust. On the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals for 12 years, he has written more than 300 opinions and had at least 10 adopted by the Supreme Court. He has taught at Harvard Law School at the invitation of then dean, and now Justice, Elena Kagan.
With these credentials Judge Kavanaugh would have been on any Republican’s short list for the Supreme Court. He could have been Jeb Bush’s nominee, or John Kasich’s, though Mr. Kasich in the ambitious ebb of his career now tilts with the anti-conservative left against Mr. Kavanaugh. In 2012 the New Yorker’s Jeffrey Toobin wrote that Mr. Kavanaugh would have been Mitt Romney’s “most likely first nominee” for the High Court. Mr. Toobin, who loathes conservatives, meant it as a warning.
Mr. Trump’s nomination of Mr. Kavanaugh is a credit to the process he established to win the election and govern with conservative support. He sought the help of legal elites on the right, led by the Federalist Society, who compiled an impressive list of potential nominees. This isn’t a rogue judicial operation to choose presidential cronies. It is the gold standard for legal talent that believes in the original meaning of the Constitution. It’s hard to see how any GOP President would have done better, and others have done much worse.
Yet this is precisely why Democrats and the left have set out to destroy Judge Kavanaugh—not in legal philosophy or competence, which they knew was a political loser, but as a human being, a spouse and father. They need to destroy him personally with accusations but no corroboration, as they tried with Clarence Thomas, so they can deny the open Supreme Court seat to a judicial conservative.
So much the better if playing the #MeToo card also helps Democrats retake Congress. In this sense too, Mr. Trump is the left’s foil, though the Kavanaugh fight has usefully exposed the dishonesty of the loud worries about Mr. Trump’s threat to “democratic norms.”
Democrats were so worried about Senate norms that they hid Ms. Ford’s name from Republicans for six weeks, found her a lawyer, midwifed a lie detector test whose results they still haven’t fully disclosed, and then orchestrated the rollout of her accusations. Mr. Trump’s rhetoric is too often divisive and dissembling, but no action in his Presidency comes close to matching the partisan viciousness of the Senate ambush of Brett Kavanaugh. These are today’s Democratic norms.
The other Democratic targets here are Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell and the conservative GOP majorities in Congress that have cut taxes, eased crushing regulations and confirmed a record number of appellate judges. Democrats claim to want to be a “check” on Mr. Trump, but good luck with that.
Their real goal is to retake Capitol Hill, roll back tax reform, expand the entitlement state, taunt Mr. Trump like a dancing bear, and set up 2020 for a return of the Obama agenda under the identity-politics leadership of Kamala Harris or Elizabeth Warren.
The media sometimes profess to be puzzled that more than 80% of Republicans across the country tell pollsters they support Mr. Trump despite his personal flaws. The Never Conservatives are the reason, and the assault on Judge Kavanaugh is the latest showcase of their methods. Republicans have figured out that if the left can willfully, even gleefully, destroy a man as distinguished as Brett Kavanaugh, they can and will do it to any conservative who threatens their grip on power.
Republicans are well aware of Mr. Trump’s excesses and falsehoods. But they have also come to understand that the resistance to him isn’t rooted in principle or some august call to superior character. They know Democrats nominated Hillary Clinton in 2016 despite her history of deceit. Voters know this is about the left’s will to power by any means necessary.
Republicans across America can see, and certainly their Senators voting on Judge Kavanaugh should realize, that the left hates them as much or more than they loathe Mr. Trump. Conservatives understand that, for the American left, they are all deplorables now.