If you don’t like spoiler alerts, look away now: Susan Collins is totally getting ready to vote for Brett Kavanaugh, in my extremely wise Politics Understander opinion, if given the chance.
In a clip from The Circus, a Showtime program about politics—what a bunch of clowns!—released Monday, Collins says she’s “very close” but “not all the way there” on deciding whether or not to vote to confirm Kavanaugh, who was this weekend accused of sexual misconduct by a second woman.
Here is what is most important: Collins says she does not “believe he’s going to repeal Roe v. Wade,” which is a very careful statement. It allows her to maintain the facade that she cares about preserving abortion rights while still voting to confirm him. All along, she has said she wouldn’t vote for someone who would overturn Roe. Kavanaugh would obviously love to overturn Roe, or else the Federalist Society wouldn’t have approved him. Claiming that she “believes” Kavanaugh wouldn’t overturn Roe—not that he has promised her as much or really offered any concrete reason to believe him—allows her to vote yes. That’s why she said that. So she can vote yes.
Note, also, her language about Ford—saying she “deserves to be heard” echoes what Senate Judiciary Chair Sen. Chuck Grassley said last Monday. It’s a commitment to hearing without any commitment to listening, let alone, say, exacting any consequences for Kavanaugh. Of course Ford deserves to be heard; even Chuck Fucking Grassley managed to cough up that sentiment. Does she deserve to be taken seriously? What about an FBI investigation? What about calling Mark Judge to testify? These are things that might mean something for Kavanaugh’s nomination. Saying you’ll hear her out is, at best, the bare minimum, and at worst just lip service.
Maybe I’m just beaten into cynicism and despair by, oh, everything else about Supreme Court politics in the last few years, but I’d put money on it: If Kavanaugh’s nomination goes to a vote, barring any more significant revelations about his disgusting past, Collins will fall in line and vote yes.