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This article highlights the pickle that Democrats find themselves in over the Kavanaugh nomination. At one point, the article states “White House officials contend the Supreme Court was a powerful motivator for Republican base voters in 2016, when Trump won the White House, and they’re seeking to capitalize on Kavanaugh’s confirmation to help overcome an enthusiasm gap with Democrats. Likewise, a vote for Kavanaugh by either Tester or Heitkamp could frustrate their Democratic base eager for a more confrontational approach to the Trump administration.”

With the Democrats’ base getting crazier with each primary, the Democrats are in a difficult spot. Do they do the right thing and listen to their constituents? Or do they pander to the progressive extremists that fund their campaigns? If I was advising them, I’d advise them to take a centrist approach and tell the extremists to take a hike. I’d rather have the votes than the campaign cash. It isn’t that complicated.

“It’s a real pickle,” said GOP strategist Josh Holmes. “There is no question that all of these red-state Democrats would prefer to have an extremely quiet experience when it comes to the consideration of Kavanaugh,” he said. “They don’t want to upset leadership and the liberal base that’s funding their campaigns, but the voters who control their fate are overwhelmingly in favor of Kavanaugh.”

The problem for these Democrats is that President Trump intends on making this a loud rambunctious election issue. If they vote against Kavanaugh, they’ll lose. In fact, I’d argue that they’re already likely to lose since they both voted against the Trump/GOP tax cuts. That issue hasn’t been exploited — yet — but it soon will.

Democrats question whether the Kavanaugh vote will resonate in the race to unseat Tester, the Big Sandy farmer who has emphasized his independence and willingness to cross the partisan aisle to work with the president, who carried Montana by 20 percentage points two years ago.

“It’s not like you’re standing in the grocery store line and people are talking about the Kavanaugh confirmation. It’s pretty inside baseball for folks,” said Barrett Kaiser, a Montana-based Democratic strategist who advised former Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont. Kaiser said Tester had demonstrated a “proven bipartisan record of working with this administration when it helps Montana and oppose them when it doesn’t.”

That’s BS. In Tester’s case, he’s already voted against Justice Gorsuch and the Trump/GOP tax cuts. If he votes against confirming Judge Kavanaugh, what type of chance will he have of convincing Montanans that he’s a bipartisan on the issues that matter most? I’m betting that chance drops precipitously. Just watch this rally, then tell me that Trump isn’t inspiring new voters:

Heitkamp and Tester might as well vote against Kavanaugh. It isn’t like they’ve got a great chance of winning this November.

After President Trump tweeted that he’s willing to shut down the government over funding for his border wall, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that he’s optimistic they “can avoid a government shutdown.” A senior Republican aide said “We’ve got the whole month of August dedicated to appropriations. This notion that we’re going to shut down the government — everyone needs to dial down the panic button a couple notches.”

That leads me to this question: will Republicans finish the major funding bills on time, then force Democrats to either vote for funding the wall or shutting the government down? The truth is that Republicans might paint the Democrats into a corner by passing the vast majority of appropriations bills on time. The NDAA is heading to President Trump’s desk, which funds the military. Since Congress is passing individual appropriations bills rather than a CR that funds the entire government, the MSM and the Democrats (pardon the repetition) will find it virtually impossible to succeed in accusing Republicans of shutting down government.

Further, the part of the government that is actually shut down is the Department of Homeland Security. Do Democrats really want to tell swing-district voters that they don’t want to build the wall? That might work in some of the most liberal districts but it can’t help them in the Rust Belt, the Midwest or Great Lakes states where they’re fighting to recapture governorships and/or hold onto precarious Senate seats. Further, if Democrats vote against funding the wall, won’t that essentially kill their opportunity to flip the Arizona and Nevada Senate seats?

“We’ll finish up the set of appropriations measures we’ve been considering for several days and take four more big steps toward our goal of completing a regular appropriations process and funding the government in a timely and orderly manner,” McConnell said on the Senate floor.

President Obama loved getting Republicans into an all-or-nothing position because he had the biggest megaphone. Republicans now have that super-sized megaphone. It’s worth noting that President Trump is on the right side of the border wall issue. Whether Republicans realize it or not, most Rust Belt/Corn Belt states prefer keeping the gangs, drug cartels and human traffickers out of their states.

If Democrats want to bet that they’re on the right side of that issue, let ’em try. Ultimately, I’m betting that there’s more people who want to stop MS-13 and keep the economy running strong than there are people who prefer open borders, rampant crime and a return to the Obama economy.

If Republicans can campaign on getting their appropriations done on time, that will tell voters that, despite a bumpy start, Republicans are getting the nation’s work done on time. That’s a net positive for both the House and Senate. Couple that with the Senate confirming another Supreme Court justice and the House getting started on Tax Cuts 2.0 and you’ve got a pretty nice list of accomplishments to run on.

If funding the wall is the only thing left on the agenda, that’d put Democrats in a sticky position. That’s a position red state Democrat senators don’t want to find themselves in.

This Politico article contains some of the best news I’ve seen all day. When I read “the party’s base is demanding Schumer and his colleagues wage a knock-down, drag-out fight”, I couldn’t help but smile from ear-to-ear.

Let’s be upfront about this. I don’t expect this to happen. Still, if the Democrats want to imperil their most vulnerable senators, I’ll be happy to see that happen. I’d love to see Republicans pick up 6-7 seats instead of 2-3 seats in the Senate.

Still, if the Democrats’ base insists on a knock-down-drag-out fight, Republicans should smile, then hit these red-state Democrats hard until they’re too toxic to win. In some cases, that shouldn’t be that difficult. It’s important that we remember that this vote isn’t the only thing that senators like Manchin, Donnelly, Tester, Heitkamp and Nelson will be judged on. Tester and Nelson voted against Gorsuch. All of them voted against the Trump/GOP tax cuts. Don’t think that those votes won’t be included in the GOP’s closing arguments in late October and early November.

Still, how long at-risk Democrats can or should hold out is a complicated political equation that could affect their survival in November. As long as they remain undecided, deep-pocketed conservative groups like the Judicial Crisis Network and Americans for Prosperity will continue pounding them with pro-Kavanaugh ads and activism in their states.

A spokeswoman for JCN said it would pull ads when and if Democratic senators come out in support of Kavanaugh and shift to thanking the nominee’s supporters. Meanwhile, GOP opponents, who expect some of these Democrats to ultimately support Kavanaugh, are hitting them for their supposed indecision.

Organizations like the Judicial Crisis Network are already running ads like this against Democrats:

This is another hard-hitting ad from JCN:

Good luck dealing with that pressure.
UPDATE: Rand Paul has announced that he’s supporting Kavanaugh’s confirmation. The pressure just got a lot more intense for Manchin, Donnelly, Heitkamp, Tester, etc.

Earlier this week, I criticized Democrat strategists for not being too bright. As if to provide proof that I was right, Paul ‘The Forehead’ Begala wrote this op-ed to prove my point. His point is that vulnerable red state Democrats can vote against confirming Brett Kavanaugh and not get punished for that vote.

The first point Begala makes is that “Kavanaugh is a total swamp creature.” Coming from a Democrat, that’s rich. Coming from a 25-year occupant of the Swamp, that’s even richer. Then Begala followed by saying “Rather than choosing a judge from Indiana or Pennsylvania or other heartland states, President Trump went with a Beltway Boy, born and bred. Kavanaugh got to where he is the Washington way: by loyally serving powerful figures in the party — first special prosecutor Ken Starr in his pursuit of Bill Clinton, then as a legal hit man in the Constitutional drive-by shooting of Bush v. Gore. And then, finally, as an aide to Pres. George W. Bush in the White House. Bush rewarded Kavanaugh’s service by placing him on the US Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, where he has consistently backed presidential power against the little guy or gal. Kavanaugh is the kind of guy who sucks up and spits down — the epitome of a Beltway swamp creature. Nobody who rides a John Deere tractor all day will be able to relate to Beltway Brett.”

Notice that Begala never once said that Kavanaugh was a bad judge. The only reference to jurisprudence he made was to “the Constitutional drive-by shooting of Bush v. Gore.” I know Democrats hate that ruling but that case was decided correctly. The Florida Supreme Court didn’t follow the law. The Bush team took the case to the US Supreme Court. SCOTUS instructed the Florida Supreme Court to follow the law as written. When the Florida Supreme Court ignored SCOTUS’ instructions, SCOTUS ended the recount. At that point, Bush was ahead. There was no other outcome warranted.

That being said, I hope these red state Democrats listen to Begala. I hope that they ignore their constituents. I hope that they play into the hands of Republicans. They won’t stop Kavanaugh’s confirmation but they’ll give voters another reason to fire them. Let’s remember that 7 of the 10 Democrats voted against confirming Justice Gorsuch and that all of them voted against the Trump/GOP tax cuts. That isn’t a re-election resume. That’s a defeat resume.

Then Begala wrote this:

Finally, Begala wrote this:

If you don’t stand for something you’ll fall for anything. If President Trump is able to replace Justice Kennedy with a Trumpian Republican, women’s rights, gay rights, voting rights, the right to use contraceptives, so much of modern life, could be upended. Standing for principle, not caving to a bully, earns the respect of voters. Far better to be what Mark Shields calls “a conviction politician” rather than just another Washington windsock.

What a blowhard. Saying that confirming Kavanaugh will lead to making contraceptives illegal is the height of dishonesty. There’s no chance that will happen. This is the Democrats’ fearmongering playbook. It doesn’t have anything to do with reality. Nothing.

Still, I hope these red state Democrats obey Begala and Dick Durbin:

Suffice it to say that strategists like Begala are strategists that Republicans should promote. LOL

I could be polite and say that President Trump criticized Jon Tester, (D-MT), but that wouldn’t be forceful enough. When President Trump got to Four Seasons Arena in Great Falls, MT, it didn’t take long for Trump to trash Tester. It took President Trump a few minutes to get started on that ‘mission’ but once President Trump started zeroing in on Sen. Tester’s voting record, he totally obliterated Sen. Tester. President Trump totally demolished Tester’s carefully crafted image of being a mountain state moderate. It was like watching the destruction of Tom Daschle all over again.

This article does a nice job of covering the rally. I love it that they reported that President Trump “criticized Tester for publicly airing unproven allegations that Navy admiral and doctor and presidential physician Ronny L. Jackson drank on the job, improperly prescribed and dispensed medications and created a ‘toxic’ work environment.” Later, the Secret Service trashed Tester’s allegations. Unfortunately, Tester’s trash-talking had demolished a good man, which was the point of the attacks.

Elsewhere in the article, it correctly reported that President Trump “also criticized Tester for voting against the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch’s nomination for the Supreme Court.” Gorsuch is now one of the rising stars of the high court. Check out this video, especially where Don, Jr. warms up the crowd:

Especially fun was the part where Donald Jr. said this about Tester:

I can’t think of a single measurement where we aren’t better off today than we were 18 months ago. And yet, they run on this platform. Everything Trump does is terrible. If Donald Trump came out in favor of oxygen, the Democrats would come out against it. … When I look at Jon Tester in this race, he talks about all the things he’s voted for Trump on. But wait a minute. Where was he on Justice Gorsuch? Where was he on sanctuary cities? Do you want Montana to be a sanctuary state? And most importantly, the biggie, where was he on tax reform? You know where he was? He was with Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi. He was nowhere to be found — the big one, the one that puts money in your pockets, the one that allows you to take care of family, the one that allows you to put food on the table — he wasn’t there for that one and he said “expletive one of the worst bills ever put before the Senate.” Think about that. The bill that is allowing all these companies to bring back all this money, that is allowing these companies to pay all these bonuses, that is employing tens of thousands of people, all-time low unemployment numbers, all those positive things because of this bill, he was against it.

The important principle to remember in all this is that every Senate Democrat up for re-election this fall has a virtually identical voting record. In fact, it isn’t a stretch to say that DC Democrats have a virtually identical voting record.

Obviously, the House doesn’t vote on judicial nominations but they voted on the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act just like their Senate brethren. It’s stunning that every Democrat voted against the tax cuts. They voted against the policy that’s creating literally hundreds of thousands of new jobs.

That’s who Jon Tester really is. That’s who the Democrats really are. It’s time to drain the swamp of America-hating Democrats. It’s time to install God-fearing patriots who put America first in our federal government.

Saying that Donald Trump, Jr. didn’t leave anything in the gun in this op-ed is understatement.

Trump Jr. opens by saying “Sen. Jon Tester pretends he’s willing to work with President Trump to Make America Great Again, but his Chuck Schumer-approved, liberal record proves otherwise. Tester has voted no on tax cuts, no on repealing and replacing Obamacare, no on cracking down on sanctuary cities, no on repealing stifling regulations, and has continually supported gun control measures that would restrict our precious 2nd Amendment rights — all of which runs directly counter to my father’s America First agenda.”

What part of that record sounds like a moderate? Tonight, President Trump will rally for Matt Rosendale, the GOP candidate for the Senate in Montana. Expect there to be tons of red meat in the air describing Sen. Tester’s voting record. Here’s more from Trump Jr.’s op-ed:

When it comes to voting with the President, he only does so 37 percent of the time. He’s voted against President Trump’s federal nominations numerous times, for instance, and he even opposed a waiver to allow General James Mattis to become Secretary of Defense.

Then there’s this:

In this Congress, Tester has voted with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer 84 percent of the time and with his Democratic Caucus 85 percent of the time. He ranks in the top ten for donations from lobbyists, and voted with Barack Obama’s leftwing agenda nearly 95 percent of the time — including the disastrous and job-killing Obamacare.

When it comes to the issue of illegal immigration, Tester has been a complete failure. He voted against a Senate proposal in February that would crack down on cities that don’t comply with federal immigration laws. He then embarrassed all of Montana by voting against “Kate’s Law,” a bill that would increase penalties for illegals who reenter the U.S. after being deported.

Get out the butter on this guy. Thanks in part to Donald Trump Jr.’s op-ed, Tester is toast.

Apparently, the writer that wrote this article doesn’t believe in researching articles. Earlier this morning, I saw this article about the Democrats’ shrinking, virtually nonexistent, lead in the generic ballot question. According to the poll, the enthusiasm gap has virtually disappeared, too. But I digress.

The second paragraph in the Politico article says “It may be the cruelest irony of the Trump era. During an election season when the House seems to be a lost cause for Republicans and nearly every indicator suggests massive Democratic gains in November, the outlook for wresting the Senate away from the GOP remains grim.”

Based on generic ballot polling from last September, a blue wave looked possible, though that was a stretch, too. After the latest CNN poll, a blue wave in the House looks impossible. BTW, has anyone heard of a wave election where one party wins a ton of seats in the House but loses a bunch of seats in the Senate? Wave elections happen when the electorate gets into a ‘throw the bums out’ mindset. That’s when the right track-wrong track number is underwater.

This is wishful thinking:

Tester isn’t without his own showman’s instincts: Days after the president attacked him, the farmer-turned-senator appeared above-the-fold on newspaper front pages across his home state, photographed in a tractor cab as he prepared to put seed in the ground.

It’s better than curling up into the fetal position but hopping on a tractor won’t save Tester’s behind. Tester sabotaged a cabinet nominee with gossip and unverified information. He also voted against President Trump’s tax cuts. If those things don’t sink Sen. Tester, then he’s virtually invincible. I’m certain he isn’t invincible.

Now that 2018 shows signs of being the next Democratic wave year, it’s possible that once again Tester’s boat—and McCaskill’s, and Manchin’s, and all the rest—will be lifted. After all, in four of the five instances when the House changed control since World War II, the Senate has flipped along with it.

But there are crucial differences this year. Perhaps the biggest is that Trump has signaled his intent to leverage his popularity against Democratic Senate incumbents in the states where his approval ratings are strongest. His presidential travel schedule has closely overlapped the roster of states he carried in 2016. Trump could decide to try to zero in on Tester or another red-state Democrat with a disparaging nickname and a barrage of October tweets.

McCaskill recently fell behind in Missouri, which is hardly proof that there’s a rising tide lifting Democrats’ ships. Further, ignoring the races that are building in Ohio, Minnesota, Florida and Wisconsin is pretty foolish.

Rick Scott leads Democrat incumbent Bill Nelson by 4 points (44%-40%) and he can self-fund. Why this race wasn’t included in Politico’s article is inexplicable. Further, Scott is the popular governor of Florida, which means he’s both popular and has 100% name recognition in the state.

Call me crazy but I think it’s possible that this hit piece isn’t sloppy journalism. It isn’t a stretch to think it’s intentionally inaccurate.

Say what you want about Elizabeth Warren, aka Pocahontas. She’s nothing if not politically flexible. It wasn’t that long ago that Sen. Warren “trashed the politically vulnerable Montana Democrat for supporting a landmark bank deregulation bill.” This week, Elizabeth Warren “is coming to the rescue of Sen. Jon Tester in the face of escalating attacks by President Donald Trump.”

In her fundraising letter, Sen. Warren said “Jon and I don’t agree on everything — but I know that Jon makes every decision with the working people of Montana and all across this country in his mind. He’s a good and decent man, and right now he needs our help.”

Rather than calling her Pocahontas, I’d argue that it’s more appropriate to call her Pinocchio. What “good and decent man” throws a military veteran under the proverbial bus for purely partisan gain? That isn’t what I’d consider the actions of a good and decent man. Listen to what Sen. Tester said in this press availability:

Less than 30 seconds into the availability, when asked to confirm Sen. Tester’s statements, Sen. Tester said “I just can’t confirm it at this moment in time.” If that’s the case, Sen. Tester, why didn’t you just do your due diligence rather than leak this information to the press? I’m betting that Sen. Tester wouldn’t have followed this path had Adm. Jackson been appointed by President Obama. I’m betting that Sen. Tester would’ve quietly checked into the allegations rather than leaking it to the press. In fact, I’m betting that had Jackson a) been nominated by President Obama and b) had been guilty of the charges, Sen. Tester would’ve swept that information under the rug.

Later in the video, the MSNBC anchor and the MSNBC correspondent admit that they don’t know if the allegations were true or false. Since then, however, we’ve found out that the Secret Service has issued a statement that emphatically said Adm. Jackson wasn’t guilty of the accusations leveled against him.

Meanwhile, Sen. Warren has defended Sen. Tester, saying “Jon’s a man of integrity and courage, and I know he’s not going to back down or change his votes because of a television commercial or a tweet. But he needs our help to build the sort of grassroots campaign that can go town-to-town, person-to-person, to talk about what this election is really about.”

Finally, Sen. Tester defended himself, saying “It’s my duty to make sure Montana veterans get what they need and have earned, and I’ll never stop fighting for them as their senator.” What a crock. Sen. Tester has less integrity than the witch that ‘entertained’ the media at this weekend’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner.

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Sen. Jon Tester, (D-MT), has been skating on thin ice since President Trump crushed Hillary in Montana, winning by more than 100,000 votes. When Sen. Tester voted against the Trump/GOP tax cuts, he likely sealed his fate. If that didn’t seal his fate, Sen. Tester’s vicious attack on Ronny Brown pounded the final nail into his political coffin.

This morning, the NY Post’s editorial certainly criticizes Sen. Tester, saying “Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) unveiled a stunning laundry list of complaints allegedly made by unnamed whistleblowers — claims that Jackson was routinely drunk on duty (to the point of being ‘unresponsive’), created a ‘toxic work environment’ and handed out prescription opioids like ‘the candy man.’ And yet no one seemed to notice any of this as Jackson was treating three presidents and their families over a 12-year period.”

Like I said in this post, it’s incredible that nobody noticed any of these traits during his multiple FBI background checks. Further, I cited this article, which states “Over the last 48 hours, media outlets have alleged that U.S. Secret Service personnel were forced to intervene during a presidential foreign travel assignment in order to prevent disturbing (former) President Barack Obama. The Secret Service has no such record of any incident; specifically, any incident involving Rear Admiral Ronny Jackson. Rear Admiral Jackson, in his role as the official White House Physician, has provided years of dedicated support to the men and women of the Secret Service, often miles from home and under difficult travel conditions, in order to ensure our personnel are healthy and prepared to execute our critical mission.”

In other words, Sen. Tester’s vicious attack against Rear Admiral Jackson wasn’t justified but it was likely orchestrated. Now President Trump is chiming in on Sen. Tester:


Ruining an innocent man’s career for purely partisan reasons is disgusting. Montana can do better than Tester. In fact, it’s difficult to picture how they could do worse than him.

As for the orchestration accusation, what else explains the 23 faceless accusers who’ve made this accusation? They’ve never shown their faces. They’ve never been subjected to scrutinization by a profession interrogator. (Not that it would happen but wouldn’t you love watching Trey Gowdy interrogate these 23 cowards?) This is pretty cowardly, too:

Tester’s office has not specified the time frame during which the alleged misconduct occurred. The senator’s spokeswoman Marnee Banks said the office would not comment until it knew more about the White House records.

The 23 cowards are mentioned in this report:

Then there’s this:

CNN had reported allegations that Jackson drunkenly banged on the hotel room door of a female employee and that Secret Service personnel intervened out of concern that he would wake Obama.

And this:

The Democratic staff on the committee considering Jackson’s nomination also claimed Jackson had doled out such a large supply of a prescription opioid that staffers panicked because they thought the drugs were missing.

That sounds pretty orchestrated. Faceless (aka cowardly) staffers make the accusation, the media dutifully reports it and Democrat senators announce that they won’t comment on it. Tester’s office won’t even say when the alleged incident happened.

What part of that sounds like it’s on the up-and-up?

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Julie Kelly’s article for the Federalist demolishes the Democrats’ chanting point that it’s a matter of when, not if, Democrats retake the US House of Representatives.

Digging into recent polling reveals some glaring weaknesses for Democrats. These aren’t insignificant weaknesses. They’re game-changing weaknesses. For instance, Kelly reports that “there is no ‘enthusiasm gap’ for Democrats. In fact, Republicans now seem more motivated to vote in November: 86 percent of Republicans say they are absolutely or certain to vote this fall, compared to 81 percent of Democrats.”

That’s the first time I’ve read that this cycle. If that holds, Democrats won’t retake the House. On the Senate side, that might indicate a red wave of historic proportions. Prior to this, I’ve been predicting Republicans gaining 4-5 seats net in the Senate. If the enthusiasm gap disappears, Republicans might have a big red wave staring at them. Instead of just flipping seats in West Virginia, Missouri, North Dakota, Indiana and Montana, the GOP might flip Florida, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, too.

The bad news for Democrats continues:

While white college graduates favor Democrats by nine points, non-college whites prefer a Republican congressional candidate by nearly 30 points, devastating news about a core constituency of the Democratic Party going forward.

This sums my thoughts up precisely:

A slim majority also said gun violence has no effect on whether they will vote Republican or Democrat. So it looks like the nonstop media exploitation of the Parkland school shooting did not work for the Left.

I don’t see a wave, be it blue or red. There just isn’t an appetite for a major change. The economy is getting stronger, which usually leads to not rocking the boat at the voting booth.