Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), the centrist Republican whom Republicans love to hate, has been a process hawk during the Kavanaugh hearings. This is a good and right thing. Process is an extension of rule of law. And the Kavanaugh circus certainly could use more of both rule and law.
Democrats have treated us to a demagogic crapstravaganza, insisting on jettisoning the presumption of innocence for the accused as well as due process. Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI) has been a one-woman clown show claiming in essence, “all conservative jurists are guilty of whatever they’re accused of because conservatives are subhuman troglodytes and deserve what they get.”
Sen. Collins, while clearly troubled by the accusations against Kavanaugh, has held fast to her demands for process and its perceived fairness to both Judge Kavanaugh and Prof. Ford. Here, for once, Sen. Collins is acting in the best tradition of American government: defending the rights of the unpopular and accused and respecting the limits of government authority.
Sen. Collins’ principled stand highlights the stark and critical difference between Republicans and Democrats, both in the Kavanaugh hearings and generally. Democrats believe rule of law (and its subsets of process and procedure) must be outcome determinative. That is, the rules will be whatever they must be to produce the desired outcome. Republicans believe rule of law is a lodestar, a fixed point from which all other positions relate.
We see this difference lived out in the parties’ approach to the Constitution. Republicans for the most part believe the Constitution is a firm set up rules which limit government interference in the lives of Americans. Democrats for the most part view the Constitution as guidelines at best as a hindrance to be ignored and at worst as the demented ravings of racist, sexist, LGBTQLMNOP+-phobic, slave-owning, patriarchy-sustaining, handmaid-indenturing white men that must be destroyed.
We see the difference clearly reflected in the approach of two women very much in the spotlight, Sen. Feinstein and Sen. Collins. Sen. Feinstein sat on Prof. Ford’s allegations for six weeks instead of raising the allegations when they could be fully vetted in private. Sen. Feinstein chose outcome (tanking Kavanaugh’s nomination) over process (justice to both Ford and Kavanaugh). Sen. Collins has, since Sen. Feinstein dumped Ford’s allegations at the eleventh hour, chosen process over outcome.
This difference between the parties may seem like a small thing, but it is not. This difference is prime mover of differences. It is the difference from which all other differences flow. One party believes in rule of law and the other in rule of man.
Americans are faced with that very choice, the choice between rule of law and rule of man. Centuries ago, Americans chose rule of law. Today, a large fraction of Americans is content with rule of man, so long as it is rule of their man.
If rule of man wins out, America will not long survive.