Policy Market Blog

History Doesn't Repeat Itself but it Rhymes

Martin Kennedy - Thursday, October 04, 2018

GOP Senate Race in TN… and Arlen Spector, Robert Bork, Clarence Thomas, and Bret Kavanaugh  

Robert Bork was nominated by Reagan in the summer of 1987, when the senate was split 55 to 45 Dems to Rs.  Arlen Specter, not up for re-election until 1992, infuriated Republicans, especially those in Pennsylvania, when, on the Judiciary Committee, he voted ‘nay.’  Six Republicans voted against Bork in the full senate and two Democrats voted ‘yea.’   

A Republican state rep in Pa. challenged Spector in the primary, announcing just months before George H.W. Bush nominated Clarence Thomas in the summer of 1991. 

Spector’s performance in the Hill-Thomas hearings, including… ‘the women of America don’t need Senator Kennedy lecturing them about women’s rights’… provided redemption for Spector.  He went on to win the primary and the general in 1992.

TPM:  Never-Trump Republicans, an essential group for Bredesen, objected primarily with respect to norms, not policy.  Little, western norms like being ‘presumed innocent’ are probably important to them.   Relating judgments of culpability to one’s beliefs or ideology (see especially Sen. Mazie Hirono but also Sens. Kamala Harris and Kirsten Gillibrand) is the stuff of the French Revolution.

The Stern-Travis test:  Howard Stern was loved by cops, fire-fighters, construction workers, small contractors, and plenty of professionals.  Mostly men.  Nashville-based media personality, Clay Travis’ audience probably skews a bit more toward young, male professionals. 

Travis, who has a background as a Democratic operative, is both tuned into and drives sensibilities.  He’s been relentless in ripping the Democrats’ handling of Kavanaugh.   


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