Brett Kavanaugh Is Damaged Goods

Yesterday, Judge Brett Kavanaugh said one thing to the Senate Judiciary Committee that is undeniably true: his reputation is gone.  The loss is irrevocable.  No amount of arm-twisting or political wrangling can bring it back.  His Honor’s honor has dried up, evaporated in a matter of days.  The supersonic speed at which it disappeared might well have been nausea-inducing to one such as Kavanaugh, who explained to a national audience yesterday that he has a sensitive stomach.

Yet yesterday Kavanaugh came out swinging, as though more bad behavior could rectify what he sees at the unfairness of establishing whether he is truly belongs on the nation’s high bench.  That society is turning up its nose at Brett Kavanaugh–a society that can’t be manipulated or argued with–is precisely what is fueling his rage and that of some Republicans on the judiciary committee.  For even if an FBI investigation were to disprove Dr. Christine Blasey-Ford’s allegations, it cannot explain away the maudlin and creepy sides of Kavanaugh’s character that came out yesterday as he tried to dismiss his accuser and assert his claims as a victim.

Some Republicans on the committee fumed and chewed the scenery, too.  They too charged that something unfair had happened.  The appearance of Dr. Ford was so politically toxic to them that they well nigh disappeared while she was in the room.  The pool cameras did not show the faces of the Republican members (except for chairman Grassley, who could not hide, and Orrin Hatch, fitfully, who sat immediately to Grassley’s right).  Republicans were not just invisible but silent, hiring a surrogate to interact with the injured woman before them.  This tactic enabled them to avoid acknowledging her or “touching” her story in any way.  To speak to her directly, to ask her any question, would have been to credit her as one who was making a claim.  Effectively, the senators refrained from hearing her to the extent that they could, evidently hoping that the rest of us would follow their lead.

Nonetheless, they could not make Dr Ford or the great impression she made, go away.  Who would have expected Dr Ford to be so unaffected, or to have such a girlish voice?  Who could have neutralized the authenticity encoded in her unruly curls?  And who could disbelieve her when she declared she was no one’s pawn?

Yet the nominee and his ardent backers needed someone other than Brett Kavanaugh to blame for an effort suddenly gone so wrong.  Lindsay Graham burst into an undignified howl against the Democrats, echoing Kavanaugh’s self-pitying claim that he was the victim of a well-organized “political hit.”  The Republicans’ chief bogeyman was the ranking Democrat, Diane Feinstein, whom they blamed alternately for keeping Dr Ford’s story under wraps and for letting it out.

The Republicans’ anger is understandable because Brett Kavanaugh is damaged goods.  It’s a fact that nothing can undo.  Given that they are bent on elevating him to a high and illustrious position, his disgrace is of a sort that implicates them too.  Now they are stuck with perfuming the pig, pushing such a one off on the public, and hoping that none of its muck ends up sticking to them.

Ironically, President Trump is the big gainer in this.  Even if Kavanaugh’s nomination fails, Trump will have seen his sometimes fractious counterparts in the Senate throwing their own moral scruples overboard to rally round a two-bit character whose evasions and equivocations will be remembered until the day he dies.  An unseemly spectacle, this capitulation.  In the wake of it, what impediment to Trump can such senators pose?

9 responses

  1. Susan, I consider myself a good hearted person. But once I pulled the wings off of a fly because I had heard of someone doing it. It was not good. In my life I may have smashed or poisoned thousands or millions of flies which was necessary. But I clearly remember that one poor fly that I tortured to death. It was cruel and evil. Children and young adults get a pass on doing stupid things when they are young and learning life. This willful attack on Brett Kavanaugh’s outstanding reputation and history of considerate actions should never have been open to the public without a Grand Jury evaluation of the facts. This whole political charade is disgraceful. The perpetrators of this carry the stench of the swamp that needs to be drained. Our congress especially needs to be peopled by respectable, thoughtful, persons who intend to do good and not evil. Who intend to uphold our constitution and not work to circumvent its limits. What about Mary Jo Kopechne and the abbreviated FBI investigation of that incident? How could Mr. Kennedy survive that and occupy a seat in congress for fifty years after her un-necessary death which was directly caused by his thoughtless or alcohol induced inaction? At best Manslaughter. Yet now we have a very upstanding person who has a record of supporting our constitution and this, terrible un-warranted attack on his career and his family. What about these children? What about his wife? Are there no limits too low to stoop to for political gain? How can our congress be filled with representative of such low character?

    I hope you give serious consideration to my words here. I think in the end we all wish for a good life and fairness in daily activities. And to leave a strong safe country for our posterity. That’s what I hope for. Sincerely David

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    • David,
      Youth is a time of mistakes, but age should bring the capacity to admit the mistaken character of youthful acts if any were harmful or unwise. This is where Judge Kavanaugh is getting tripped up. What is happening to his family is extremely unfortunate, and I feel for them.

      But I don’t think the Senate Democrats, or the Democratic party in general, is responsible. The unknown individual who leaked Dr Ford’s name to the press and, prior to that, Dr Ford’s actions themselves, are changing the course of history. You know the phrase, “Would you rather be lucky or smart?” What is happening to Brett Kavanaugh is extremely unlucky. Should it not be happening, though? And are you really okay with how Brett Kavanaugh is responding?

      President Trump, who is far from spotless when it comes to personal virtue, has been far more forthright than Kavanaugh in admitting that he has said and done things that he is ashamed of. Neil Gorsuch just went through the confirmation process without anything like the present brouhaha occurring. Claims like Dr Ford’s against Judge Kavanaugh are coming out because there is something to them. What matters is that we honestly come to grips with their factual foundation and that the Senate genuinely consider their bearing on Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation.

      What I am looking for is some admission from Brett Kavanaugh that when he was young and underage he did some things that were wild and that he may even have inadvertently hurt other people (or not remembered), and that HE IS SORRY. Instead, he behaving rudely and evasively and showing a lack of self-control that fits with the as-yet unsubstantiated story from Dr Ford.

      Ted Kennedy cheated justice and was unfairly “given a pass” in life. He was a drunk driver whose actions resulted in Mary Jo Kopechne’s death. He should have had to stand trial and accept the judgment of society. Bill Clinton should have admitted his sexual indiscretions candidly instead of letting them fuel a huge political crisis that has left Americans bitter to this day.

      In short, I want political leaders to exhibit personal responsibility. This is what Judge Kavanaugh is missing. As for the senators, I admire those (including Charles Grassley and Jeff Flake) who are struggling to do their duty, and all those (including Dick Durbin and Richard Blumenthal) who want establish that Kavanaugh is in every way fit for a position on the Supreme Court. When the American Jesuits and the ABA withhold their approval of a nominee, that is enough to give me pause. I respect the right of every president to pick justices for the Supreme Court and (except for the Citizens United decision) think the Court is doing an excellent job. We all need to try to let it be!

      Thank you again for your comment.
      SB

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  2. Great post Susan.

    Kavanaugh’s own words in his yearbook, on his calendar and in public settings about out of control drinking and sexual adventuring which he also recalled publicly on more than one occasion contributed greatly to his own undoing and will give his wife and children the most pause in years to come. Mark Judge’s book evidently confirms the drinking in those years. He went on Fox to paint himself as a virginal student athlete who spent his spare time at church. The record does not support that. The yearbook itself is an embarrassment to his Catholic boys high school. He would have been so much better off saying “If I did that I was drunk and don’t remember it and I am so sorry. I have fixed my drinking. ” In fact an earlier article I read about him included the observations of a bartender in town where he goes to drink alone after coaching his kids’ soccer games. Alcohol abuse that continues into your 20s does not just go away. Yikes.

    Margie

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    • When someone is evasive to the point of absurdity it’s logical to infer he’s hiding something. I am fascinated that someone so accomplished and dedicated is incapable of soul-searching when the moment calls for it.

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    • Good evening Susan. I did not find Judge Kavanaugh evasive, I found him unwilling to allow his very hostile interrogators to put words into his mouth. They got what they were after, more delay, another FBI investigation. This matter consists of one person who claims this man did one questionable deed 35 years ago. In my original post here I suggested it should have been evaluated by a Grand Jury. There it may have been tossed due to lack of evidence sparing us all of this political theatre. If not tossed this claim of wrong doing would carry much more weight. I believe this is a “all stops removed” attempt by the failing members within the democrat party to thwart anything our president does, and especially to prevent appointment of a constitutional judge. Many on both sides of the isle in our congress are pretenders occupying seats that should be filled by persons genuinely representing their constituents. Pretenders, pretending to “do that right thing”, all while doing the bidding of those who own them. None of this is new, it’s not shocking, it’s not unexpected. It is a war fought without blood and death. It is the American way.
      The judge was vetted by all the proper means, investigated by the best in the business on multiple occasions. Now I want him on the court more than ever because I have seen how terrified of him are those risking their very careers to attack him. Because of that I am sure appointing him would be a very good thing.

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    • The Senate’s role in the confirmation process is to re-review the candidate the president has selected, and make sure the candidate’s makeup is such that it will be a fit appointment. Many of those who have come before the Senate, not just judicial appointees but those appointed to other federal offices, have been turned away for a variety of what might be thought slight reasons. Notably Robert Bork for pot use in his youth, or Zoë Baird, who withdrew in shame after it was disclosed that she failed to pay federal withholding on her kids’ nanny. The acts were disqualifying not because of their criminality but because they revealed character defects including a disrespect for the law. This is the same process we are seeing now. The Senate could not do its duty by referring anything to a grand jury. Many people who previously accepted Judge Kavanaugh as “qualified” in terms of his accomplishments now see him as unacceptable based on his behavior the other day.
      I didn’t see any “terrified” senators the other day. I saw a majority who were concerned about his integrity and who wanted more information before approving his appointment to the bench. In fact, the decision to have the FBI take one last look was a good one. If Kavanaugh is as straight an arrow as Gorsuch, he has nothing to fear.

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