In recent years, there has been much discussion of political tribalism on the right. We're told approving of everything that comes from President Trump and his administration, simply because he is a Republican, is wrong. Less popular but just as relevant a topic is how disapproving of policies and people solely because of the dislike for the man in the Oval Office is similarly incorrect.
What adherents of both tendencies won't admit is that it is a shared inclination toward binarism, and not principle, that drives them to these extremes.
To date, Trump has had his share of successes and failures. Claiming that his presidency is anything but a mixture of both is to be led by one's own desires instead of reality. Positive features include a soaring economy, massive reduction in Islamic State-held territories, cutting regulations, and historically low unemployment rates. On the flip side, there has been unapologetic and very public adoration of murderous despots like Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Un, the inability to fully decimate Obamacare, staff turnover and White House turmoil, and a near-constant stream of media fights and cringeworthy interactions unbecoming of our commander-in-chief.
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For reluctant Republicans and even ex-GOP Never-Trumpers, it's important to take things on a case-by-case basis. I believe that is the only way to approach this or any presidency.
But in recent days, there has been a trend toward opposing Judge Brett Kavanaugh's nomination for no other reason than who appointed him.
Of all the individuals on the final nominee shortlist, Brett Kavanaugh was certainly not the most conservative. His service to the "establishment" wing of the Republican Party has been many years in the making. However, that doesn't mean his selection falls into the category of aforementioned negatives. As a committed textualist and originalist, he has proven himself a competent and fair-minded jurist. In addition, his statements regarding Roe v. Wade as "settled law" are neither the first of their kind (Roberts and Gorsuch said as much, too) nor anything close to his final declaration on the issue.
For now, we're still in the confirmation process, and unfortunately, because of the issues at hand, some have projected their disgust at Trump's history with women onto the nominee. Though Kavanaugh has a host of character witnesses, no history of sexual misconduct whatsoever, and is facing allegations which currently remain uncorroborated, some view him as nothing more than a deviant appointed by a deviant.
This is vile.
Rather unfairly, there are others who use Kavanaugh's behavior at the Thursday hearing as proof that both the nominee and modern-day conservatism have crumbled beneath Trump.
In a piece at The Atlantic, former Republican Eliot Cohen expressed just that.
"It was, however, in the epic clash over the testimony of Christine Blasey Ford that the collapse of conservatism in the Republican Party became most evident. Eleven men, most of them old, hid behind a female prosecutor wheeled in from Arizona because they could not, apparently, trust themselves to treat a victim of sexual assault with consideration and respect. So much for courage."
"Perhaps the collapse of modern conservatism came out most clearly in Kavanaugh’s own testimony—its self-pity, its hysteria, its conjuring up of conspiracies, its vindictiveness. He and his family had no doubt suffered agonies. But if we expect steely resolve from a police officer confronting a knife-wielding assailant, or disciplined courage from a firefighter rushing into a burning house, we should expect stoic self-control and calm from a conservative judge, even if his heart is being eaten out. No one watching those proceedings could imagine that a Democrat standing before this judge’s bench in the future would get a fair hearing. This was not the conservative temperament on display. It was, rather, personalized grievance politics."
Cohen's melodramatic tone is similar to the gender-obsessed speech of leftists who claim that old, white men surely can't be trusted and that cowardice, not expertise, is the reason prosecutor Rachel Mitchell was brought in to help. In addition, Kavanaugh's obvious vexation at being labeled a sexual predator is considered a problem and proof that he can't perform his duties as an impartial judge? Such claims, though wildly inaccurate, are making the rounds among Democrats and discontented former GOPers alike.
I am appalled that cheering on the mockery of Kavanaugh is seemingly required of those who question Trump and his effect on American conservatism. I did not vote for either major party candidate on Election Day and can recognize purely partisan attacks when launched from both sides. The character assassination on the national stage, the blind belief, and derision are based exclusively on the fact that Kavanaugh is Trump's second nominee to the Supreme Court. The facts available to us do not implicate this man in the questioned moment of assault. The anger shown at the hearing neither confirms nor denies anything except the humanity of the accused.
If opponents of the president desire to make a case for why he is hurting his party, the country, and conservatism, there is plenty of substance available from which to choose. However, if they prefer to look at Trump and Kavanaugh as interchangeable forces for ruin, they, like the Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee, will find that the evidence to support their assertions is just not there.
Kimberly Ross (@SouthernKeeks) is a contributor to the Washington Examiner's Beltway Confidential blog and a senior contributor at RedState.com.