KATZ: Sen. Joe Donnelly Drops Moderate Mask
Indiana Democratic Senator Joe Donnelly has dropped his "Moderate Joe" mask for the final time. Sure, he may try to pick it up, but there are too many pieces to put back together. Too many fragments to try and glue in place. Too many cracks for Hoosiers to see through; to see the man behind the mask and say, "There he is! There's Progressive Joe!"
Donnelly was an early undecided on Justice Brett Kavanaugh. And in a tough battle for re-election against former GOP state Rep. Mike Braun, decisions like this matter greatly. He knew voting against confirmation was a serious political issue.
Then the bloodsport began with the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings; the interruptions and attacks of fellow Democratic Sens. Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Dick Durbin, Mazie Hirono, Richard Blumenthal (who lied about his service in Vietnam,) the allegations of sexual misconduct - uncorroborated or unsubstantiated or both - and the full-court press pile on.
Donnelly wanted an out on Kavanaugh, and the vicious attacks of his Progressive mates gave it to him. But he didn't want to come out and say he was a "No" vote. No, Progressive Joe wanted to wear his "Moderate Joe" mask again. He said an FBI investigation was needed to look into the allegations of Dr. Christine Ford. With this information, he could make an informed decision.
"I'll bet," Donnelly surely thought, "By calling for an FBI investigation, Hoosiers will see me as good ol' "Moderate Joe." They'll appreciate that I want more information. No one could fault me for such a thing."
But then, Arizona GOP Sen. Jeff Flake announced that he would vote Justice Kavanaugh out of committee if there was an FBI investigation. Less than an hour later, Kavanaugh was out of committee, and an FBI investigation was ordered by the White House.
Democrats got what they wanted. Moderate Joe got what he said he wanted. Progressive Joe, however, got screwed.
This is not what he wanted. An FBI investigation means that he would have to live up to his words. He'd have to see what new information, if any, the FBI investigation brought forward.
As we now know, it brought forth no new information. It made clear that the "witnesses" were never at the alleged party. It made clear that Justice Kavanaugh drank beer. It made clear that none of the allegations were corroborated by anyone. So Progressive Joe trotted out "Moderate Joe" once again. Even though the FBI investigation - which he wanted! - showed no new evidence, the issue now was Kavanaugh's temperament:
I’ve been asking whether @SenDonnelly could change his opposition to Kavanaugh since it hinged much on lack of FBI probe and now there is one. Here’s what a senior aide tells me this morning pic.twitter.com/ZFldn5smpD— Seung Min Kim (@seungminkim) October 3, 2018
What? His temperament? He never said a word about temperament! It was Judiciary Committee progressives who pivoted to this new talking point, and Donnelly fell right in line with his progressive brethren yet again. The "Moderate Joe" mask fell apart.
He voted "No" on the confirmation of Justice Kavanaugh, who was confirmed by the Senate 50-48. After, Donnelly tried to pick up the pieces of "Moderate Joe." He tried to fool Hoosiers one more time; one last gasp at convincing Hoosiers he was with them, and not with Sen. Chuck Schumer:
Watch: Joe’s statement following the vote on Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination. pic.twitter.com/19HPvYlSh1— Senator Joe Donnelly (@SenDonnelly) October 6, 2018
The nomination process for a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court is often a challenging one. That was true last year when President Trump nominated Justice Neil Gorsuch, who I voted for. That was also true this year with Judge Kavanaugh, when there was so much partisanship, and anger, in the process.
I believe the process was unfair to everyone, and unnecessarily divided the country. Now that the Senate has confirmed Judge Kavanaugh, I am very hopeful for his success. And for him to join the other justices to make decisions based on the Constitution, our laws, and their collective wisdom. Our country needs that today, more than ever.