Republicans are, unsurprisingly, leaning all the way in on bashing protesters who had the gall to voice their opposition to the nomination of an accused sexual predator to the Supreme Court of the United States. And as the narrative that the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation fight was bad for Democrats continues to take shape, they’re only getting more craven.
A new Washington Post story out today takes stock of this hot new strategy, which is nakedly about boosting turnout in the midterms (emphasis mine):
In Virginia, Rep. David Brat (R) is running against the “liberal mob,” and GOP Senate candidate Corey Stewart has decried the “mob tactics” that “tried to destroy” Kavanaugh.
“When we’re out at grocery stores or at events, we’re finding swing voters are turned off by how Kavanaugh was treated,” Rep. Peter T. King (R-N.Y.) said. “Chasing senators down the hall, running up the stairs at the Capitol — we’ve been taken aback by how people have reacted to it. And we’re responding.”
Brat’s new ad shows a crowd sitting in an auditorium shouting back answers to his questions. His campaign cited his Democratic opponent as it tweeted: “Abigail Spanberger sits in front row at Dave Brat town hall agreeing with the liberal mob attacking Dave Brat.”
Less than a decade ago, these people rooted for Obamacare protesters who brought guns to town hall meetings and would scream at anyone who would listen about refreshing the tree of liberty with the blood of patriots and tyrants.
From a 2013 retrospective NPR did on those town hall meetings, which, to be clear, were about giving people healthcare:
Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Fla., struggled to keep a health care town hall meeting in Tampa under control as protesters crowded the room and the struggle turned physical. Hundreds of people showed up for the meeting to protest Obama’s plan and many were not allowed into the room. That didn’t stop them from banging on the door and drowning out the congresswoman’s remarks with shouts of “You work for us” and “Tyranny.”
These same people now purport to be furious that Ted Cruz was interrupted while trying to eat dinner with his wife after a long day of working to put an alleged sexual assaulter on the Supreme Court. That was a protest where the most violent thing to happen was a guy yelling “Beto’s way hotter than you, dude.”
As the Post story notes, the line that the protesters are violent (they’re not) and paid (nope) is a line that’s coming straight from the top:
“They have encouraged mob rule,” Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) said on the Senate floor Friday. Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) said there was “a paid mob trying to prevent senators from doing the will of their constituents,” while Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) wondered on Twitter: “Imagine the coverage on cable news if an angry mob of conservatives stormed the steps of the Supreme Court building.”
Survivors and women furious about the damage that putting Brett Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court will do is obviously fake. Showing up in a bus with Brett Kavanaugh’s face on it, on the other hand?
Looks like grassroots energy to me.
Yet while Republicans continue to emphasize their support for Kavanaugh ahead of the election, it becomes clearer every day that this might not be the best hill to die on. A CNN poll released yesterday asking if Kavanaugh should be confirmed (which was oddly done in the days leading up to and after his confirmation) showed that 51 percent of people were opposed to him, a double-digit jump from the 39 percent opposition to his confirmation in September.