Democrats apparently have decided to throw the kitchen sink at U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions, the Alabama Republican chosen by President-Elect Donald Trump to become the next U.S. attorney general.
Democrats and surrogates appear to be abandoning all logic, reason, and decorum in a desperate drive to smear Sessions, the Yellowhammer State’s junior senator since 1997.
“If the Left insist on attacking him on race, they will face a backlash. It will hurt them … People are sick of being called deplorable.”
Sessions has become the chosen lightning rod among President-Elect Donald Trump’s Cabinet picks that the Democrats and their minions think they can tag as racist, despite a congenial 20-year record in the Senate.
The effort to keep Sessions from heading the Justice Department seems destined to fail in a big way, if only because the senators voting on Sessions’ confirmation have worked with him for two decades.
“[Senators] know it’s not true,” said Quin Hillyer, a veteran conservative writer based in Mobile, Alabama. “If the Left insists on attacking him on race, they will face a backlash. It will hurt them … If that’s their game, then bring it on.”
Hillyer, who has written about Sessions since 1998, said the America people are tired of false accusations of racism made against good people.
“People are sick of being called deplorable,” said Hillyer.
But short of a certain backlash, little will deter the Democrats and their surrogates. The Democrats invented the modern game of sleazeball when it comes to judicial nominations — kicking off the kitchen-sink strategy in the 1980s. Sessions was actually one of their first targets.
Today, the 1986 torpedoing of Sessions will likely give his supporters the experience and information they need to fight back. In 1986, it was a different story altogether.
Sessions was a 40-year-old U.S. attorney when President Ronald Reagan nominated him, in 1986, to be a federal judge for the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama. What followed was a preview of unfortunate things to come for Republican judicial nominees.
“That was before [Robert] Bork, before Clarence Thomas, before the real ugliness,” said Carrie Severino, chief counsel and policy director of the Judicial Crisis Network.
Severino, who is supporting Sessions, said Sessions and his team were not prepared for the assault on his record or the dubious assertions that came his way in 1986.
“He was blindsided,” said Severino. “At the time, [Sessions’ team] was probably not aggressive enough. I don’t think they realized how serious the attacks would be.”
Opponents’ complaints ranged from Sessions’ attempted prosecution of voter fraud to a joke about the Ku Klux Klan. Yet what sounds like thin gruel today was painted as deplorable then. Sessions withdrew his nomination.
Later that year, the Democrats won a majority in the U.S. Senate. The tactics used against Reagan’s nominees culminated with an attack on Judge Robert Bork, Reagan’s 1987 nominee to replace Supreme Court Justice Lewis F. Powell. Democrats kicked off the attack by charging that Bork would allow segregated lunch counters.
The media joined in, with one reporter even appropriating the list of movies that Bork had rented from a video-rental store.
Bork’s nomination was defeated on the floor of the Senate, with four Republicans joining 54 Democrats.
Similar to Bork’s ordeal, which saw his name become a verb, was that of Justice Clarence Thomas. Feminist groups vowed to “Bork” Thomas in 1991, when President George H. W. Bush nominated Thomas to the Supreme Court.
Sessions would run for state attorney general in 1994 and he would win. He then won a Senate race in 1996, becoming only the second Republican senator elected from Alabama since Reconstruction.
Popular in Alabama, he was unopposed for re-election in 2014. Some say Democrats fear his potential effectiveness.
“[The Democrats’] biggest concern about Jeff Sessions is that he will uphold the law,” said U.S. Rep. Gary Palmer (R-Ala.) on “The Laura Ingraham Show” Thursday. “We all observed over the last eight years a Justice Department that had a reckless disregard for the rule of law.”
So the Democrats, the NAACP, and the mainstream media are readying old tactics against Sessions.
In Mobile, where Sessions lives, the NAACP conducted a sit-in at his office — theoretically to last until he withdraws his name.
On the media front, one complaint being bandied about is “the joke.”
Severino says Sessions and his attorneys were prosecuting Klan members in the 1980s, but the office had a hard time placing the Klan members at various spots. Fogging the Klan members’ memories was the fact they had used marijuana.
Sessions joked in front of staff that he had once approved of the Klan until he learned they were potheads.
Somehow, one employee took this joke as completely serious, and told the Senate about it in 1986. Severino dismisses the man’s story, suggesting it is “absurd literalism.”
Another charge is more brutal, and also brutally dishonest.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and journalist Joan Walsh are charging Sessions with “anti-voting rights activism.”
The charge stems from a 1985 case in which Sessions unsuccessfully prosecuted three black politicians for voter fraud. (Patrick worked on the defense.)
While Sessions did not win that case, Severino said absentee ballots were indeed altered. Severino said Sessions had no problem finding voters who said their votes had been tampered with. The fact that Sessions tried to prosecute a voter fraud case all the way back in 1985 likely infuriates the Left.
“To even hint that voter fraud prosecutions are acts of ‘voter intimidation’ is astounding,” said Logan Churchwell, a spokesman for the Public Interest Legal Foundation.