By Mike Wilcox
What a spectacle the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings have become. I am saddened this process has broken down to allegations of flagellation and drunkenness, without thought given to the man’s long record as a judge in Washington, D.C.
I’ve mused many times about the ineffectiveness of the U.S. Senate. I think any of us who have carefully watched the confirmation proceedings could agree, this is an institution run amuck.
But then again, look at the participants. President Trump hater Sen. Jeff Flake couldn’t win his Republican primary election so he decided to retire. But wait, he was found everywhere last weekend after he joined Democrats in demanding an additional FBI investigation of Kavanaugh and his accusers. There he was on several cable stations, and at D.C. events trumpeting his change of heart. Rumor has it the Flakester will challenge Trump in the Republican presidential primary.
Two Democratic senators, New Jersey’s Corey Booker and California’s Kamala Harris, neither having served a full term, are expected to announce their presidential aspirations.
Then there are Ted Cruz and Lindsey Graham who tried to face down Trump in 2016. It’s not the Judiciary Committee, but rather a group of senators seeking the presidency and using the free television exposure the hearings provided to show the public how great their oratory skills are.
That’s what we do in the Senate. We stand up at the podium and talk eloquently about nothing. Truth doesn’t matter, only trashing your opposition.
I’ve chastised the Senate in the past for doing nothing but trash talking, and nowhere is this clearer than in these confirmation hearings.
One could say that once you’re elected to the Senate, you never leave. The ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee is Dianne Feinstein. She is approaching 86, and has been a Senator for 25 years. Chuck Grassley, the committee chair, is 85 and has served in the senate for 37 years. Orrin Hatch, a Republican on the committee, is 84 and has been in the senate a whopping 41 years.
This is the swamp Trump talks about and I’m sorry, there’s no way the judiciary committee can be effective with these old-timers leading the charge and young bucks like Flake and Booker using the venerable institution as stepping stones for the presidency.
I’m gonna throw out suggestions that might make some go bananas. First I suggest we cut the Senate terms from six years to four. Governors serve 4-year terms. U.S. Congressmen serve only two years. Why should the Senate serve six? Cut it back to four and maybe they will get something done.
Or eliminate the institution all together. Again, my claim is they do nothing. They are so divided along party lines that any meaningful legislation is stonewalled by one party or the other. All you had to do was watch the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings to see how our elected officials shamefully operated.