And here’s some Politico Playbook speculations on Kavanaugh’s chances for getting the Senators votes to be on the Supreme Court.
THE BLUNT REALITY … AT THIS POINT, it seems abundantly clear that SENATE MAJORITY LEADER MITCH MCCONNELL has a better hand than SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-N.Y.) as the two face off over Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court.
WHAT SEEMS MORE LIKELY AT THIS POINT: Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) defying Schumer in deep red West Virginia, or Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) defying McConnell? As we noted this morning, the Boston Globe found that Collins supported 99 percent of Republican judicial nominees. Manchin wins back home by finding a way to get to yes, and ignoring the jeers from the party’s liberal base.
EXTEND THAT PARALLEL to Sens. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) and Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.).
JUST LISTEN TO JOE MANCHIN, from CNN’S MANU RAJU (@mkraju): “Manchin says he’s keeping an open mind, doing ‘deep dive’ on Kavanaugh. He cited Texas case when I asked him why he’s emphasizing concerns about pre-existing conditions. ‘There are 800,000 people in WV in jeopardy. I’m going to look at all the findings and records he’s ruled on.’”
MOST DEMOCRATS PRIVATELY agree with the premise that they are playing a weak hand, and don’t have much of a chance to stop Kavanaugh. Democrats are hoping there’s an embarrassing set of emails from the Bush era that they can use against him, or that he chokes his way through a hearing. (His 2006 testimony in front of Judiciary seemed pretty unremarkable, in that it reveals a guy with a pretty astute sense for the politics of the moment).
THE REPUBLICANS’ paper-thin margin in the Senate insures this will be a partisan vote, with truly only Manchin, Heitkamp and Donnelly in play. Collins and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) are who you should watch on the Republican side.
DEMOCRATS are making the case that Kavanaugh will gut Roe v. Wade at his first opportunity, and he’ll further dismantle the health care law. They want to paint him as a scary conservative – a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Republicans have already started pointing to his community involvement – he coached his daughter’s basketball team – and Catholic church associations.
HE HAS, in many respects, a pretty standard-fare Washington background: a two-time Yale grad, a loyal White House aide, who clerked and made it to the circuit court. He associates with Democrats – our colleagues pointed to Doug Gansler, the former AG of Maryland, who is a friend of Kavanaugh’s from New Haven.
KAVANAUGH, HE’S JUST LIKE YOU! It’s tough to adequately describe just how much a part of the D.C. fabric Brett Kavanaugh and his wife are. Their kids go to school here, they’ve lived here their entire adult lives and they are well-known to many establishment Republicans who feel like they are an island in Trump’s Washington. We can’t tell you the number of Facebook posts we’ve seen this morning from seasoned GOP operatives celebrating the Kavanaugh pick.
CODA … FROM KAVANAUGH’S BIO … “In 2015 he ran the Boston Marathon in 4:08:36, and in 2010 he ran the Boston Marathon in 3:59:45.”
SCHUMER ON CBS – “Schumer lays out path to block Kavanaugh,” by Louis Nelson: “Senate Democrats can successfully orchestrate the rejection of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Tuesday morning, if they can convince the American people that his confirmation will lead to the undoing of abortion rights and the Affordable Care Act by the Supreme Court.
“‘Let me say this. I believe if we can prove to the American people, which I believe is truly the case, that this nominee will lead to a court that repeals women’s reproductive freedom, repeals ACA with its protections for pre-existing conditions, we will get a majority of the Senate to vote for it,’ Schumer [said] … when asked how he might block Kavanaugh’s confirmation. ‘Obviously, even if we had every Democrat, we need two Republicans. But if we can make that case, we will get a majority.’
“With Republicans in control of a 51-49 majority in the Senate, Schumer (D-N.Y.) would indeed need at least two GOP lawmakers, plus the vote of every single Democrat, in order to successfully block Kavanaugh’s confirmation.” https://politi.co/2JeX90G … Video of Schumer’s interview https://cbsn.ws/2uaJN0R