Yesterday was all about the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on allegations of sexual abuse by nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
Kavanaugh’s accuser, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, was an extraordinary witness. She seemed entirely authentic, strong yet vulnerable, and her recollections of sexual abuse by Kavanaugh were compelling. Her demeanor was mostly calm and measured, though her emotions seemed close to the surface at times. In short, her testimony was moving and seemingly credible. Even conservative commentators after her testimony remarked how effective she was, and how devastating it would be for Kavanaugh.
Kavanaugh, on the other hand, began by screaming his statement to the Committee, practically spitting as he turned each quivering page of his notes with a loud snap. Kavanaugh spent most of his time shifting back and forth between rage, self pity, and defensiveness. Questions posed by Democratic Senators never received a direct answer, and his rambling non-responses were more filibuster than information. For a man who gave a lot of lip service during prior hearings to possessing a fair and impartial attitude, Kavanaugh came off as a belligerent, hyper-partisan hack who blamed the hearing on a wide array of villains, including the Senate Democrats and the Clintons, who were getting their revenge! When asked about snide, sexual comments on his high school yearbook page, Kavanaugh had an innocent excuse for every single one, and each excuse strained credulity to the point of rupture. Either Kavanaugh was lying, or every single innuendo in his yearbook that everybody else knew to be a sexual reference had a different, G-rated meaning to him and his friends.
It also became clear during testimony that despite a legion of references to drinking and partying, and despite a best friend who went on to write a book about drunkenness and drunken exploits, Kavanaugh could not admit he ever drank to the point of blacking out or not remembering parts of an evening. Such an admission would have left him open to the possibility that he molested Dr. Ford in a blackout and didn’t remember it. So Kavanaugh lied and said that he had never had too much to drink–despite statements to the contrary from many who knew him, as well as his own written notes describing certain parties and gatherings. The accusation by a friend that he was shy when sober but aggressive and angry when drunk looked a lot more credible when considered against his rage during the hearings. His assertions simply weren’t credible, and he kept being dishonest and evasive throughout questioning.
It’s important to point out that the GOP under Trump became the party of aggrieved male privilege and anger. Trump’s entire message flowed from a sense of “being treated unfairly,” and this was the underlying position fueling the rage of his supporters. So Kavanaugh’s testimony, while unhinged and dishonest to the point of disqualification, also played to the Trump base perfectly. He stoked their grievances and their self-pitying sense that the world was giving them a rotten deal, just like Dear Leader Trump, and just like poor, poor innocent Brett. Kavanaugh’s unyielding defense, centered around conspiracy theories rather than a full examination of the facts, was read meat for Trumpers, who see themselves in him.
After the hearings, and despite extraordinary bravery and credibility from Dr. Ford, Republicans seemed emboldened to ignore her and the other accusers and vote on Kavanaugh this morning, sensing that their base wouldn’t punish them for moving forward with a nominee who was manifestly unfit–just as long as he would deliver the policies they covet.
In this climate anything can happen, but I’m betting that Kavanaugh will be confirmed, which is an extremely shitty prospect for anyone who cares about justice, progress and the rights of individual Americans. But there is ONE thing we can do to change the vile course set by Trump and the GOP. We can VOTE. We have to make sure our like-minded friends and neighbors mobilize and get to the ballot box this November. We can’t let the tyrannical Trump regime continue to run amok or put more sleazy partisans on lower courts, so voting out John Faso will be the first, best step toward a more secure, just and stable future.
Let’s keep working to Fire Feckless Faso and elect Antonio Delgado…