Begala: Hypocrisy, thy name is GOP

Washington Republicans - the people who made Judge Merrick Garland wait for a year without so much as a hear...

Posted: Sep 20, 2018 9:49 AM
Updated: Sep 20, 2018 9:49 AM

Washington Republicans - the people who made Judge Merrick Garland wait for a year without so much as a hearing on his nomination to the Supreme Court - are now concerned about having a speedy vote for a court vacancy.

Led by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Senate Republicans blocked President Barack Obama's nominee for no good reason. Judge Garland was not accused of sexual assault. No Senator said he lied under oath. Even Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh described Judge Garland as "supremely qualified."

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The Republicans' blockade of Garland was without precedents and without conscience. They did it because they could. And now the same folks who delayed Garland forever are rushing to a vote on Kavanaugh for the same reason: pure power politics.

While Garland's only sin was to be nominated by President Obama, Kavanaugh has been accused by Sen. Pat Leahy (D-VT) of misleading the Senate while under oath. And, of course, even more troubling, he has been accused by Christine Blasey Ford, a research psychologist, of sexual assault. And yet the Republicans refuse to ask the FBI to investigate her allegations.

The GOP would rather get the confirmation right away than get it right. The folks who said the Senate shouldn't even hold a hearing for Judge Garland during an election year are pushing a vote just weeks before an election.

Hypocrisy, thy name is Mitch.

I certainly don't know the truth of what happened at that long-ago high school party at which Ford says Kavanaugh attacked her; neither do the senators. And I am not qualified to investigate potential sex crimes; neither is the Senate. But the FBI is.

Despite President Trump's repeated attacks, the FBI is the premier investigative and law enforcement agency on earth. It is their obligation to investigate the background of Supreme Court nominees. But President Trump and the Republicans refuse to call them in.

Perhaps they can't handle the truth. More likely, they just don't care. Kavanaugh is an all-but-certain bet to overturn Roe v. Wade, and he could have a profound effect on voting rights, gay rights and other Constitutional rulings cherished by tens of millions of Americans.

Kavanaugh could shoot a man on Fifth Avenue and the Republicans would vote to confirm him.

The fundamental choice is whether this process will be professionalized or politicized. The FBI works quietly (well, when the FBI director is not publicly undermining Hillary Clinton they do). They work privately. They investigate thoroughly. None of those things can be said about a Senate hearing. And so, rather than a professional investigation, we will get a political circus.

But the Republicans don't care. They don't care about your rights. They certainly don't care about Ford and her rights. They don't even really care about Brett Kavanaugh.

Without a thorough FBI investigation, this stain will remain on Kavanaugh. Even if he goes on to serve on the court for decades, the first paragraph of his obituary will include the fact that he was accused of sexual assault. Just ask Clarence Thomas. That is the price of rushing to judgment.

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