The corrupt bargain Washington Republicans have made

Michelle Goldberg at the Times notes how Kavanaugh evaded all questions about whether he will protect Trump from law enforcement when he is on the Supreme Court, and notes that unless two Republicans suddenly discover a conscience he’ll soon be on the Court.

He will owe his elevation to Trump, who is in effect an unindicted co-conspirator in a campaign finance crime that helped him achieve his minority victory. There’s every reason to believe that Kavanaugh will shield the president from accountability or restraints on his power. Yet even Republicans who think Trump is a menace are desperate to confirm his judicial pick.

What we have here, in miniature, is the corrupt bargain Washington Republicans have made with a president many of them privately despise. They know Trump is unfit, but he gives them tax cuts and right-wing judges. Those tax cuts and right-wing judges, in turn, strengthen the president’s hand, buying him gratitude from rich donors and potential legal cover. Republicans who participate in this cycle seem convinced that the situation is, and will remain, under their control.

And that the goals are worthwhile – that it’s such a good thing to make already rich people even richer and already struggling people downright desperate, and to make women prisoners of their own reproductive systems again, that the criminality and cruelty and vulgarity of Trump are a small price to pay.

So about that anonymous op-ed on Wednesday.

It was revealing, though not necessarily in the way the author intended. We already know that many of Trump’s closest aides hold him in contempt. What’s fascinating is how this official, who describes the president as amoral, anti-democratic and reckless, rationalizes working for him regardless.

Exactly. Anonymous Hero parades the usual Republican shit before us as if we’ll all agree that it’s great stuff, and then asks us to admire the people who help Trump stay in office by preventing some of his crazy from going public.

If Kavanaugh weren’t confirmed, it would be a profound blow to Trump, and not just because he would look weak and disappoint his evangelical base. Without Kavanaugh, Trump wouldn’t be assured of a conservative majority on the Supreme Court if and when it rules on him and his administration. With Kavanaugh, the tie-breaking vote on the Supreme Court will be a right-wing apparatchik chosen in part for his deference to executive power.

A vote for Kavanaugh is thus a vote to give Trump a measure of impunity. Republican senators who know the president is out of control have a choice — they can maintain a check on his ill-considered autocratic inclinations, or solidify right-wing power on the Supreme Court for a generation. It’s obvious which way they’ll go. Maybe they’ll tell themselves having adults in the room at the White House makes it O.K.

Allow me to state the obvious: nothing makes it ok.

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