HORIST: Down to the wire on Kavanaugh
The procedural vote to cut off debate so that Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation can be put to a final vote resulted in the resolution of a couple of those all-important undecided votes. They were not shocking, but there were telling.
On the Republican side, Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski broke with her party to cast a “no” vote on even moving forward. Though there was an air of uncertainty due to her refusal to make any sort of specific commitment, her silence and a few of the comments she did make along the way suggested that she would vote “no.”
On the other side of the aisle, West Virginia Democrat Senator Mike Manchin broke with his party to vote “yes — to move the issue to a full Senate up-or-down vote sometime on Saturday. His vote was a bit more surprising because unlike Murkowski, he had refrained from any comments that might have offered hints regarding his vote. In addition, he was the only one of the so-called vulnerable Democrats – those up for re-election in states President Trump carried by wide margins – to decide to move the Kavanaugh nomination forward.
Of course, none of these votes to close off debate and move the nomination to the full Senate obligates any Senator. They are free to vote in line with their vote on closing off debate, or opposite to their procedural vote.
In fact, it is rare, but significant when that happens. We can recall that at the time of the Republican healthcare measure, the late Senator John McCain vote “yes” to advance the legislation and then “no” on the final bill – bringing it down to defeat.
It is almost impossible to find an example in which a senator voted “no” on closing off the debate and then “yes” on the final bill. That means that it is virtually certain that Murkowski will vote against confirming Kavanaugh even though she declared that he was a “good man.” That suggests that she does not believe Kavanaugh was the culprit in the accuser’s story but has been suckered in by the Democrats last minute attacks on his demeanor.
Arizona Republican Senator Jeff Flack and Manchin remain question marks. Will one or both of them reverse their “yes” votes on cloture to “no” votes on confirmation? Unlikely. That leaves Maine Senator Susan Collins. She took to the floor of the Senate to declare that she would, indeed vote to confirm Kavanagh. That was followed up by a tweet from Manchin that he would vote for confirmation.
That means that Kavanaugh will become the 114th person to sit on the highest court in the land. The most interesting question is what the left will do about it in Congress (impeachment?), in the courts (more accusations?), in the voting booth (a Democrat House?) and in the streets (violence?). This political earthquake will most certainly have aftershocks.
Larry Horist is a conservative activist with an extensive background in economics, public policy and political issues. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman, and he has served as a consultant to the White House under Presidents Nixon and Reagan. He has testified as an expert witness before numerous legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress and lectured at Harvard University, Northwestern University, Florida Atlantic University, Knox College and Hope College. An award-winning debater, his insightful and