Some Democrats were more succinct and compelling than others, but they all seemed to understand that their job is to create a tsunami of opposition to right-wing gamesmanship and highlight the GOP’s opposition to positions that key voters — such as suburban women — find objectionable (e.g., striking down the ACA). If they save the seat, it would be a windfall; if they send more and more Republicans packing on Nov. 3, that’s a win, too.
Among the best of the Democrats was Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), whose presentation, cadence and passion have been well-crafted, both as a presidential candidate and now a surrogate for former vice president Joe Biden. Her remarks are worth watching in full:
She was right to declare the hearing a “sham,” given that Republicans, in rushing through Barrett’s nomination, are refusing to pass a coronavirus relief package for the American people. “I think it shows real messed-up priorities from this Republican Party,” Klobuchar said. "But I am here anyway to do a job. To tell the truth.” She slammed Republicans for pushing Barrett’s nomination, even as Americans were already voting and even though they refused to consider Judge Merrick Garland in March 2016. She traced out the likely consequences of Barrett’s judicial philosophy — ending the ACA, eroding the legal right to abortion, striking down health care legislation. She made certain to point out that President Trump was seeking to put her on the court so that she could hand him the election, should it be disputed.
Klobuchar summed up with a passionate plea to voters: “I doubt that it will be a brilliant cross-examination that’s going to change this judge’s trajectory this week,” she said. “No. It is you. It is you calling Republican senators and telling them enough is enough, telling them it is personal, telling them they have their priorities wrong, so do it. It is you voting, even when they try to do everything to stop you. It is you making your own blueprint for the future instead of crying defeat, so do it. This isn’t Donald Trump’s country. It is yours. This shouldn’t be Donald Trump’s judge. It should be yours.”
Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.), the vice-presidential nominee, appeared remotely, seated in front of a children’s book about the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She effectively delivered an advertisement against Republicans, ripping into senators who were putting Senate staff at risk. “This hearing has brought together more than 50 people to sit inside of a closed-door room for hours, while our nation is facing a deadly airborne virus,” she said. “This committee has ignored common-sense requests to keeping people safe, including not requiring testing for all members, despite a coronavirus outbreak among senators of this very committee.”
She railed at the Republican attempt to usurp the right of voters to pick their leaders. ”More than 9 million Americans have already voted and millions more will vote, while this illegitimate committee process is underway," she said. “Every American must understand that with this nomination, equal justice under law is at stake, our voting rights are at stake, workers’ rights are at stake, consumer rights are at stake,” she said. “The right to a safe and legal abortion is at stake. And holding corporations accountable is at stake.” Harris added, “I believe we must listen to our constituents and protect their access to health care and wait to confirm a new Supreme Court justice.”
Public opinion is with Democrats — on waiting to select the next justice until after the election, on the ACA, on abortion rights. For a change, Democrats finally seem to know how to use these confirmation charades as a way of highlighting Republicans’ increasingly out-of-touch views and anti-democratic tendencies.