NYT's Hulse Again Condones Undignified Democratic Tactics During Kavanaugh Hearings

September 8th, 2018 12:07 PM

New York Times congressional reporter Carl Hulse once again rationalized and trumpeted childish and undignified Democratic tactics during Senate Judiciary hearings, in the party’s cynical yet (so far) failed attempt to derail Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court

Hulse on Saturday celebrated “Democrats Sow Disorder in the Senate Over Kavanaugh and the Court”:

Boorish. Rude. Disrespectful. Insulting. Grandstanding. Hyperventilating. Deranged. Ridiculous. Drivel.

Those were among the words angry Senate Republicans used this week to assail the conduct of Democrats at a Supreme Court hearing that was often tense and sometimes toxic.

No condemning of Democratic tactics here:

But Senate Democrats don’t care what Republicans think. They knew going into the hearing that they would have to push the envelope of the chamber’s decorum to have any hope of derailing the confirmation of Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh, while simultaneously showing voters -- particularly theirs -- that they would not be bulldozed by Republicans.

In the end, they almost certainly did not cut into Judge Kavanaugh’s solid support among Republicans. And that is all he will need to be seated by the start of the new term in October, after Republicans eliminated the 60-vote filibuster on Supreme Court nominees in 2017. But Democrats were able to raise doubts about Judge Kavanaugh’s candor at earlier confirmation hearings for a Court of Appeals seat, underscore the sweep of his conservative ideology and show allies they were willing to put up a fight.


Tens of thousands of documents from Judge Kavanaugh’s years in the Bush White House were withheld from scrutiny and others were designated “committee confidential” -- a category that meant they were available to committee members but could not be made public without special permission. The battle over the documents gave Democrats an opening to contend that Senate Republicans and the White House were engaged in a cover-up of Judge Kavanaugh’s past positions -- an argument that almost consumed the hearings.


The wrangling led the committee to authorize the release of some of the withheld documents, and their contents suggested the confidentiality label had been broadly applied. The dispute also prompted Republican leaders to threaten to open an ethics investigation. Democrats dared them to follow through.

“Bring it,” said Senator Cory Booker, Democrat of New Jersey.

Hulse failed to mention that the contents also “suggested” it had been a pointless move that backfired, as the confidential documents revealed nothing of significance, and didn’t mention the mockery’s Booker’s silly “Spartacus” moment engendered:

But given the importance of this Supreme Court fight in confirming a successor to Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, the swing vote in many decisions -- as well as the investigations swirling around the president -- Democrats were ready to set aside the usual confirmation hearing niceties....

What niceties? Since Robert Bork, the Democrats have been far more partisan and aggressive against Republican president’s nominees than Republicans have been against Democrats:

In recognition of the new combativeness, the group delivered Everlast boxing gloves to Senators Harris and Booker as well as Senator Mazie Hirono, the Democrat of Hawaii who tore into Judge Kavanaugh for writings that she said disparaged Native Hawaiian people.

Hulse finally mentioned the Republican case deep into his analysis:

Republicans said they were offended by the Democratic tactics and saw it is a continuation of Democratic character assassination of Supreme Court candidates nominated by Republican presidents, beginning with Judge Robert H. Bork in 1987. They also believe that the tone of the hearing could cause a backlash among more centrist and independent voters and further impair the already damaged confirmation process.

Hulse closed by swallowing the Democratic narrative whole:

Democrats believed they had no choice. With little power to stop a nominee they saw as a conservative partisan, a Republican-imposed process they considered grossly unfair and a demanding political base spoiling for a fight, they decided it was time to sow disorder over the court.