Is the Senate too TOXIC for November?

During the Senate confirmation process of Judge Kavanaugh, I kept hearing the words of the British historian, Lord Acton who said: “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Also during the 89 days that the United States Senate considered President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, I was often reminded of a time when the Senate took a turn for the worst when it came to their actions and their decorum. It was during President George H. W. Bush’s nomination process of his cabinet and his choice to head the Department of Defense. The nomination was

John G. Tower, the former republican Senator from Texas and former Chairman of the Armed Services committee. It was March of 1989 and his confirmation process was predicted to be perfunctory at best. After all, Senator Tower was a former colleague. Almost all of the U.S. Senators knew the former Senator and liked him. They knew of his ardent views on keeping a strong military. They knew Senator Tower’s unwavering defense of our country and the freedoms that we held so dear.  In short, Senator John G. Tower was a force to be reckoned with when it came to the defense of our nation. Unfortunately, this was the root of the problem for this nomination.

The 1989 confirmation process included a supplementary FBI background check on Sen. Tower prompted when colleagues questioned his alcohol consumption habits. Sound familiar? Many of these Senators were his drinking buddies but omitted that fact from their accusations and Senate floor speeches. They raised concerns about former Senator Tower’s mental capacity. The FBI report was leaked and that document caused a feeding frenzy of unfounded accusations. In the end the nomination was defeated. All of the Senate Democrats but three voted against the nomination. All the Republicans Senators but one voted for him. Senator John G. Tower was defeated by the United States Senate by a vote of 53 to 47.

Remember the quote about power? That was the ultimate decider in the Tower debate from back-in-the-day. The Democratic Senators were the majority party in the Senate. They controlled the Senate; they were Chairman of the committees. They wanted as much power as possible given the President represented the opposite political party. A strong, ardent supporter of our military, who had recently served four years as the Chairman of the United States Senate Armed services committee, could surely wrest power away from the Democratic Senate Majority.

The confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh was not all that much different when it comes to the Senate Democrats in a panic over the loss of power. Only this time it was their fear that the Supreme Court would begin consistently right leaning with the confirmation of conservative Judge Kavanaugh.  So they drummed up FBI supplementary reports with hints of sexual misconduct. They conducted whisper campaigns of alcohol abuse by the candidate. After all, it worked back in 1989 to defeat a former colleague. It would surely work again especially with the #metoo movement going strong!

The average number of days needed to confirm all previous Supreme Court nominations was 70 days prior to the nomination of Judge Kavanaugh. Weeks before that day had passed, the Senate Democrats began shouting the words to describe the confirmation process as “ramming the nomination through the Senate” which came from a tweet from Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) on Sept. 26, 2018. “Ramming the nomination through the Senate” became the battle cry of the Democrats. “We need “more time” or “unfair process” became the resonating theme from Washington Democrats. However, the real underlying culprit to this near defeat of a President’s nominee was once again the fear of the loss of power. Senator Graham (R-SC) said it best when he spoke in the Senate Judiciary committee on Sept. 27, 2018 and said this: "Boy y'all want power, God I hope you never get it. I hope the American people can see through this sham.”

So, in the eyes of this multi-decade Senate watcher, the power quote perfectly describes the recent United States Senate debate of Judge Kavanaugh to be the 114 Supreme Court Justice. It is amazing how corruption and power can rear their ugly head at the most pivotal times in our Nation’s history. Its time for healing in the U.S. Senate. It’s time for bipartisan debate and legislative compromise to take place. Without it, the United States Senate will continue down the path of poison words and deeds in the name of party power.