GOP sacrifices women and House Republicans with Kavanaugh plan

GOP sacrifices women and House Republicans with Kavanaugh plan
© Anna Moneymaker

In a trench during a battle, surrounded by advancing belligerents, who would I want at my side, fighting to the bitter end?

A.) Senator Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeLindsey Graham basks in the impeachment spotlight Kelly, McSally virtually tied in Arizona Senate race: poll The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Nareit — White House cheers Republicans for storming impeachment hearing MORE (R-Ariz.), whose anguished soul searching on the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh suggests a genuine desire to do the right thing but a seeming inability to thrust the spear?

B.) Senator Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyOvernight Health Care — Presented by Johnson & Johnson – House progressives may try to block vote on Pelosi drug bill | McConnell, Grassley at odds over Trump-backed drug pricing bill | Lawmakers close to deal on surprise medical bills GOP senators request interview with former DNC contractor to probe possible Ukraine ties Congressional leaders unite to fight for better future for America's children and families MORE (R-Iowa), who might want to protest the appalling lack of gentlemanly process and the violations of the country club rules of engagement as the enemy storms the breach? (Reality check: This was never about Senate committee process. It’s about whether a man with a potential lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court assaulted a woman and subsequently lied.)

C.) Senator Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGOP senators request interview with former DNC contractor to probe possible Ukraine ties GOP senator blocks Armenian genocide resolution Hannity slams Stern for Clinton interview: 'Not the guy I grew up listening to' MORE (R-S.C.), who might lull the opposition into the trench as a purring kitten, only to spring like a bloodthirsty lion?

D.) Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOvernight Energy: Pelosi vows bold action to counter 'existential' climate threat | Trump jokes new light bulbs don't make him look as good | 'Forever chemicals' measure pulled from defense bill Overnight Health Care — Presented by Johnson & Johnson – House progressives may try to block vote on Pelosi drug bill | McConnell, Grassley at odds over Trump-backed drug pricing bill | Lawmakers close to deal on surprise medical bills GOP senators request interview with former DNC contractor to probe possible Ukraine ties MORE (R-Ky.), whose “Party First” doctrine engineered opposition to President Obama at all costs and who now seems willing to sacrifice the House to save the Senate?

Not McConnell. None of us would survive that guy.

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The New York Times reported on Sunday that McConnell and the Republicans have decided to muscle through this confirmation. The theory is that it will energize the Republican base in tight Senate races, forcing red state Democrats like Senators Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampThe Hill's Morning Report — Biden steadies in third debate as top tier remains the same Trump wins 60 percent approval in rural areas of key states Pence to push new NAFTA deal in visit to Iowa MORE of North Dakota, Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyGinsburg health scare raises prospect of election year Supreme Court battle Watchdog accuses pro-Kavanaugh group of sending illegal robotexts in 2018 Lobbying world MORE of Indiana, Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinStatesmen seek bipartisan solutions to big challenges Both sides have reason to want speedy Trump impeachment trial No one wins with pro-abortion litmus test MORE of West Virginia and others to choose between their already nuclear energized Democratic base and a freshly recharged Republican base.

But, by their own admission, the party leadership recognizes the strategy as likely to seal the fate of House Republicans with large concentrations of moderate suburban women, particularly in the 23 House Republican districts that were carried by Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonYang expands campaign with senior hires for digital operations Top GOP legislator in California leaves party GOP senators request interview with former DNC contractor to probe possible Ukraine ties MORE in the 2016 election.

One Democratic candidate, Tom Malinowski, was first to test the theory. His campaign released a digital ad against Republican incumbent Leonard LanceLeonard LanceGun debate to shape 2020 races GOP fears Trump backlash in suburbs Bottom Line MORE (R-N.J.) that featured the very words of Lance: “I think Judge Kavanaugh is a brilliant judge and I tend not to believe the charges.” If you’re Congressman Lance or John FasoJohn James FasoThe 31 Trump districts that will determine the next House majority GOP House super PAC targets two freshman Dems with new ads Tax law failed to save GOP majority MORE (R-N.Y.) or Mike CoffmanMichael (Mike) Howard CoffmanBottom Line Koch political arm endorses Colorado Sen. Gardner 20 years after Columbine, Dems bullish on gun reform MORE (R-Colo.), you probably see the writing on the wall. It’s written by angry women, and men like me, who are revolted by the callous and immediate position of Republicans to “not believe” the charges.

Even in the Senate, the McConnell strategy cuts both ways. Sure, it builds pressure on some Senate Democrats in deep red states. But it might also backfire on Martha McSallyMartha Elizabeth McSallyOvernight Health Care: House to vote next week on drug prices bill | Conway says Trump trying to find 'balance' on youth vaping | US spent trillion on hospitals in 2018 Planned Parenthood targets GOP senators in seven-figure ad campaign Political ad spending set to explode in 2020 MORE (R-Ariz.), Dean HellerDean Arthur HellerThis week: Barr back in hot seat over Mueller report Trump suggests Heller lost reelection bid because he was 'hostile' during 2016 presidential campaign Trump picks ex-oil lobbyist David Bernhardt for Interior secretary MORE (R-Nevada) and other Republican Senate candidates in purple states. But, really, should we care if House Republicans have become collateral damage in the McConnell strategy? What about the deep wounds we inflict on women? And justice?

You could see Judge Kavanaugh slashing away during his testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee. He went from stiff upper lip to curled upper lip, foaming at Democrats through a frat boy snarl, interrupting them, mocking them and even snapping in response to a question from Senator Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharBiden: All-white debate not representative of party, but 'you can't dictate' nominee Delaney to DNC: Open second debate stage for candidates who qualified for past events There's a lot to like about the Senate privacy bill, if it's not watered down MORE (D-Minn.), asking her if she ever blacked out from drinking.

The judicial temperament we expect from Supreme Court justices was unmasked, and what we saw was the hardwiring of those “Westworld” robots run amuck. How could anyone expect fair treatment from Judge Kavanaugh on any Supreme Court case involving political issues such as voting rights, redistricting, campaign finance and more? I had the eerie sense that he’d replace the “Equal Justice Under the Law” engraving above the court’s doors with “What Goes Around Comes Around.”

Brett Kavanaugh may be on the ballot in the midterm elections. We’ll see then whether McConnell’s trench warfare strategy worked. But this is about so much more. It extends far beyond 2018 and plumbs to a deeper level. This is about the ability of Judge Kavanaugh to dispense justice wisely and fairly over a lifetime on the bench. It’s about how a society addresses the trauma of women that is caused by sexual assault. It’s about the message we send not just to our daughters, but to our sons.

This isn’t about political trench warfare. It’s about in what kind of country my two adult daughters live their lives and raise their families. I won’t allow them to become collateral damage in Mitch McConnell’s midterm turnout model. I’ll fight like hell for them. I’ll protect them first. Will you?

Steve IsraelSteven (Steve) J. IsraelThe Hill's Morning Report - Dem dilemma on articles of impeachment Republicans need to face reality with hypocrisy on impeachment Elise Stefanik tests impeachment waters for moderates in Congress MORE represented New York in Congress for 16 years. He served as chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee from 2011 to 2015. He is a novelist whose latest book is “Big Guns.” You can follow him on Twitter @RepSteveIsrael and on Facebook @RepSteveIsrael.