Sheldon Whitehouse may have had the worst performance on Day 2 of the Brett Kavanaugh hearings. And that’s saying a lot.

In a forum filled with Democrat attempts to play gotcha with Kavanaugh, Whitehouse displayed the disdain and contempt for his political opponents that has become his hallmark.

Whitehouse never has been a happy warrior.

He demeans and belittles people who disagree with his policy provisions. Perhaps the worst example is when he compared opponents of Obamacare to Nazis during Kristallnacht and people who lynched blacks. Dana Milbank at WaPo noted at the time:

… Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (R.I.) had just delivered an overwrought jeremiad comparing the Republicans to Nazis on Kristallnacht, lynch mobs of the South, and bloodthirsty crowds of the French Revolution.

“Too many colleagues are embarked on a desperate, no-holds-barred mission of propaganda, obstruction and fear,” he said. “History cautions us of the excesses to which these malignant, vindictive passions can ultimately lead. Tumbrils have rolled through taunting crowds. Broken glass has sparkled in darkened streets. Strange fruit has hung from southern trees.” Assuming the role of Old Testament prophet, Whitehouse promised a “day of judgment” and a “day of reckoning” for Republicans.

Whitehouse brought that attitude to the questioning, working in repeated references to “dark money” supporting Kavanaugh, and trying to make the Federalist Society into some sort of nefarious operation undermining the country. That’s how Whitehouse rolls, his opponents are portrayed as devious and conspiratorial. And like former Congressman Alan Grayson, Whitehouse suggest that his opponents want people to die (though he’s not as blunt as Grayson).

Here is Whitehouse trying to get away with a question phrased in a misleading manner so as to suggest that Kavanaugh has a policy position against health care preexisting conditions coverage. In fact, Kavanaugh was simply sticking to the Ginsburg Rule of not commenting on a matter that might come before the court. But Whitehouse wanted his sound bite so he would claim Kavanaugh wants people to die.

Whitehouse repeatedly cuts off and prevents Kavanaugh from giving a full answer. But Kavanaugh ended up winning the exchange because Whitehouse didn’t get the sound bit he was hoping for.

It was no mistake that Whitehouse brought up preexisting conditions coverage. It’s a talking point of the anti-Kavanaugh opposition.

Whitehouse rolled out lists of donors to the Federalist Society, as if he had just unveiled some anti-American conspiracy.

And he focused a lot of his questioning on the role of the Federalist Society.

The attacks on the Federalist Society are pretty pathetic as Cortney O’Brien points out at Townhall:

During the second day of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings Wednesday, Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (RI) shamed the Federalist Society. The group, Whitehouse explained, is “a significant group of people who tend to share very conservative and pro-corporate point of view.” He then had an aide provide a poster showing a large list of the group’s “right-wing funders.” …

Whitehouse was trying to have a “gotcha” moment, but he failed to foresee a few issues. For instance, he did not note that liberal Justice Elena Kagan once praised The Federalist Society when she was Harvard Law’s dean.

Actually, all of the current Supreme Court justices have spoken at Federalist Society events at some point….

The story gets more interesting, though. It turns out Whitehouse has spoken at an event hosted by the Federalist Society too.

Perhaps we should have a Sheldon Whitehouse drinking game. Every time he says “Dark Money” we drink.

The problems is, not many people could handle that amount of alcohol.

You can view the entirety of Whitehouse’s question at this link.


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