I’ll just post some quick thoughts on today’s emotional hearing that the GOP turned into another partisan war. The situation remains fluid but it appears the Republicans are still intent on “plowing through” with this nomination. First, the whole procedure was an absolute mess. Leaving only five minutes for each questioner before moving on to the next questioner from the other party allowed for no questioner to actually explore certain points through a series of questions. Unfortunately, that was probably by Republican design.
I knew beforehand that Dr. Ford would be a credible witness but she turned out to be one of the most compelling and sympathetic witnesses possible. Her demeanor and testimony bore that out.
The decision to use a prosecutor in order to protect the eleven, primarily older, white men from the embarrassment of asking questions of a victim of sexual assault turned out to be an enormous mistake. Her questions seemed to be more aimed at determining the truth of the accusations and she often ended up to seemingly help Dr. Ford with her inquiries. In addition, her attempts to question Dr. Ford on her political views and activities long after the alleged attack was unseemly as these questions clearly should have been asked by the Republican members, highlighting their incredible cowardice. Her attempts to poke holes in Dr. Ford’s testimony largely failed and she ended her questioning by making the Democrats point for them, namely stating that a hearing like this clearly was not the optimal way to determine the truth of her memories.
To be honest, Kavanaugh’s testimony was a shock. Having been a squirrely hedger for this entire process, Kavanaugh came out with an angry, partisan 45 minute diatribe that included wild claims of a vast Democratic and left-wing conspiracy to block his nomination. That explosion was remarkable on two levels. First, it exploded the myth that Kavanaugh had tried to create about his choirboy image and his anger only highlighted the capacity for abusive and aggressive behavior that Dr. Ford alleges. As Will Stancil wrote sarcastically, “totally wouldn’t peg this guy for a belligerent drunk.” That was only reinforced when Kavanaugh started badgering Amy Klobuchar if she had ever blacked out after drinking. The man who continually talks about his lifelong respect for women actually had to publicly apologize to Klobuchar after the next break.
Secondly, Kavanaugh’s partisan outburst brings into question whether has really has the temperament to not just be a Supreme Court judge but still sit on the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. As Ron Brownstein wrote, “It’s reasonable to ask how does #Kavanaugh continue serving as a federal judge, much less on #SCOTUS after delivering such an openly partisan attack and identifying so unequivocally as an opponent of the Dem Party? He has validated those who see him as a GOP operative in a robe.”
The problems with Kavanaugh’s defense are multiple. His reference to his extensive calendar as exculpatory actually ignores a point that the GOP’s prosecutor crept up to but never concluded. On July 1, Kavanaugh’s calendar shows him going to a friend’s house for “skis” with two of the people that Dr. Ford alleges were there when she was attacked. Kavanaugh’s petty lies in other areas also bring into question his overall credibility. His answers about what “boofed” and “devil’s triangle” mean directly contradict what many of his peers at Georgetown Prep and most others understood them to reference. His answer about being a “Renate alumnius” was similarly unbelievable. In addition, his final answer to Kamala Harris, that he had not watched Dr. Ford’s testimony is also contradicted by reporting from the Washington Post. Add this to his prior lies about Manny Miranda and his work for Bush judicial nominees that highlight his lack of credibility.
But by far the biggest problem for Kavanaugh his continual refusal to ask for an FBI investigation that would clear his name. The contradiction in his answers to that question ended up being echoed by the GOP Senators. He claims that the FBI has already investigated him six previous times but, at the same time, claims that a new FBI investigation would be useless because they reach no conclusions. According to Kavanaugh and the GOP, the FBI background checks are both exculpatory and useless at the same time.
Republican Senators finally managed to find their own voice when Kavanaugh began to testify. The essential firing of their own female prosecutor in the middle of the hearing in order to launch a bomb-throwing partisan attack was yet another example of how these largely older white men continually silence women. Not only that, they created a situation where their hand-picked questioner who specializes in prosecuting sex crimes interrogated the victim but could barely ask a question of the alleged perpetrator, an odd scenario to say the least. In addition, most of those Senators never directed a question to Kavanaugh, but instead launched into partisan speechifying.
The Republicans’ outburst of angry partisanship in a list ditch attempt to save the nomination was hardly unexpected as they never had any intention to “discover” the truth in this hearing. They were simply going to let Dr. Ford speak, ignore anything she said, and then vote for Kavanaugh as quickly as possible before even more credible accusation surfaced. And that is what they apparently still intend to do. Dominance politics is all Republicans have left.
Originally published at tidalsoundings.blogspot.com on September 27, 2018.