9/19/18, by John Frary,
When I heard there was a bookmakers consortium in London offering 200,000 to 1 odds against Sen. Angus King voting for Judge Kavanaugh’s elevation to the Supreme Court, I thought, “why not?”Those odds looked about right to me, but a $200,000 pay off for a dollar wager? I remember my old father taking me on his knee when I was seven-years-old (I weighed under 200 pounds back them) and telling me that if some sucker ever offered odds like that — go for it!
Eager and greedy, I went looking for this consortium. It turned out it was a hoax. No bookmaker in London, or anywhere else, was offering odds on his vote. Just as well; saved me a dollar.
Maine’s Democrats knew the odds well enough. They made no concerted effort to persuade or bully Angus into voting no on the nomination.
Maine’s middling, moderate, non-partisan, ideologically neutral media produced no editorials or op ed columns demanding a no vote from Angus. There were no rallies in Portland, Lewiston, Bangor or Brunswick demanding a no. There were no sheaves of letters to the editor explaining why he should reject Kavanaugh. The Maine People’s Alliance didn’t bother starting a crowdfunding page to threaten King with a big pot of opposition money for failure to do what they want him to do.
Only gullible and inattentive voters had doubt about how Senator King was going to vote. Those who pay attention, Democrat and Republican alike, know Angus for a reliable liberal Democratic vote.
But the Artful Dodger knows how to work up some “independent” hocus pocus to deceive the simple folks.
Some may argue that the Dodger’s little charade was more obvious than artful, but it seems to work for him. His April explanation for voting against Trump’s previous nominee, Neil Gorsuch, started by assuring the voters that he approached his decision with an open mind.
From there he went on to explain his reasons. The six reasons he gave were the same as those given by his Democratic colleagues.
But we would be wrong to assume that the Democrats are always wrong about everything, so this can’t be taken as proof of phoniness.
Anxious to project an image of sober, rational, non-partisan devotion to duty — the Dodger goes on to explain how he had read many of Gorsuch’s opinions, met with him personally, attended some of the Judiciary Committee hearings, watched some others, listened to the people of Maine on both sides, and read all he could find on the man’s background, judicial philosophy, and temperament.
Angus King. What a guy!
Then he voted the way everyone who pays attention had predicted.
The Artful Dodger’s September explanation for his intention to vote against Kavanaugh is nearly identical. In both cases, he expressed his disappointment at the way the nominees declined to answer questions relevant to future cases that may come before him.
Prof. Stephen L. Carter, a Yale law professor, exposed the phoniness of this dodge in a June essay on Huffington Post: “Among the most unfortunate aspects of our strange spectacle [Judiciary Committee hearings] is the inquisition-style insistence on badgering potential justices on their views on the substantive questions with which, if approved, they would soon have to cope.”
“For one thing, nobody ever answers. Not Thurgood Marshall or William Brennan, not Antonin Scalia or Anthony Kennedy…The nominees may dance around the questions and pretend to have said something, but we know they haven’t. And that makes sense. After all, what kind of judge are we talking about who will promise — in advance, under oath — to cast a particular vote on a particular issue?
John Frary of Farmington is a former candidate for U.S. Congress, a retired history professor, an Emeritus Board Member of Maine Taxpayers United, a Maine Citizen’s Coalition Board member, and publisher of Frary Home Companion. He is a regular contributor to Maine First Media. You can reach him at [email protected].