Friday, September 28, 2018


Jeff Flake has developed a conscience, apparently, or the right-centrist version of one --
The Senate Judiciary Committee voted along party lines Friday to advance the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh after securing a key vote from Sen. Jeff Flake, who asked for a delay of up to a week before the full Senate votes.

Flake (R-Ariz.) said the delay would allow a limited FBI investigation of allegations of sexual assault while Kavanaugh was a teenager.
This happened after Flake had a televised confrontation with two sexual assault survivors.

Before we learned of Flake's demand -- at a moment when it appeared that he was merely planning to vote in lockstep with his party -- I cynically argued on Twitter that the pro-Kavanaugh vote wouldn't prevent him from getting better mainstream media coverage if he decides to run for president in 2020 than most of the Democratic candidates. You know my take on this subject: Insider journalists loathe Trump but will feel contempt for most of the Democratic aspirants in 2020 because they're just too ... progressive; they'll turn up their noses at Warren, Booker, Gillibrand, Harris, and the rest while rhapsodizing over Flake, John Kasich, and Mike Bloomberg (as well as any socially/environmentally liberal corporatist who runs -- Howard Schultz, Sheryl Sandberg).

But now I think Flake is the front-runner in the MSM primary. I say this even though Republican voters undoubtedly hate him even more now than they did 24 hours ago, and he'll run (if he does run) either as a longshot anti-Trump Republican or as an independent seeking the votes of, among others, disaffected Republicans.

I don't know whether this delay will prevent Kavanaugh's confirmation, but, as Scott Lemieux says, the press will now have more time to investigate the allegations against Kavanaugh even as the FBI conducts its limited probe, so this has some potential to make a difference.

If it does, Jeff Flake will be a mainstream media hero. There'll be think-pieces suggesting that he run in 2020 as a Democrat.

Poor John Kasich. He said before yesterday's hearing that a vote should be delayed until an investigation can be conducted. Flake came late to this idea, but he'll get all the glory.

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