The question in front of the Judiciary Committee was really whether Judge Kavanaugh is a slime ball or is he being slimed. Initially I was one who didn’t know. What I did know was his positions were an anathema to me with regard to many issues including Roe v. Wade and his generally right-wing stances.
During the debate over his nomination I learned he was part of the cabal out to get the Clintons back in the 90’s funded by Richard Mellon-Scaife. He was the leaker during the Starr investigation. He was a Republican operative in the George W. Bush White House. In his opening statement he showed everyone how caught up in all that he still is when he said, “This whole two-week effort has been a calculated and orchestrated political hit, fueled with apparent pent-up anger about President Trump and the 2016 election, fear that has been unfairly stoked about my judicial record. Revenge on behalf of the Clintons and millions of dollars in money from outside left-wing opposition groups.”
Prior to Thursday’s hearing many thought his views were not enough to disqualify him for a seat on the Supreme Court. Some opposed him simply because the person who nominated him is considered a certifiable, congenital liar, without a shred of decency who is now our President as the result of many issues including people not voting or voting for a third party candidate in 2016.
So until the charges from Dr. Christine Blasey Ford came out it seemed he would be easily confirmed. Once she came forward the discussion turned to “can we believe her?”
Many said in cases like this there is rarely only one person to make such charges and soon we had more people come out and charge Kavanaugh with being a belligerent drunk and someone who acted inappropriately toward women. Kavanaugh denied everything and basically claimed he was a choir boy in high school focused only on grades, sports, his church and community service.
Many believed a final decision would turn not on whether he actually attempted to rape Dr. Ford though I believe her. But rather it would turn more on whether it appeared Kavanaugh had lied about his past or anything else. The final vote will rest on whether a few Republican Senators believe more witnesses should be heard. One of those witnesses is Mark Judge, who Dr. Ford said was in the room. Other potential witnesses include the women who have come forward, one with a sworn affidavit, saying in essence Kavanaugh is not who he claims to be and is lying about his past. Hopefully the FBI will not be contacting them all.
So like millions around the country I was glued to my TV set on Thursday morning waiting to see and hear Dr. Ford and then Kavanaugh. To see whether Senators on the Judiciary committee could stick to the issues in their questions and whether the Republicans, all white men and mostly old, would actually not trust themselves to ask any questions and delegate that to a woman they hired to do it for them.
By the first break in the hearing it was clear Dr. Christine Blasey Ford would go down as a hero to anyone, man or woman, who has ever been sexually assaulted. Whether it stops Kavanaugh from being confirmed to the Court or not the courage Dr. Ford displayed was amazing to watch and hear. Listening to her and remembering she was just fifteen years old when this happened was haunting.
Then it was Kavanaugh’s turn. He began his testimony and for the first few moments one had to sympathize with him. Then he went off the rails and talked about political hits and vendettas. He became a belligerent witness attacking Democrats on the committee. My view of him changed at that moment. I still believe he could possibly not remember the incident. He kept claiming others said he would never do something like this but he never answered the question about his drinking. He apparently lied about not watching Dr. Ford’s testimony according to a Senate staffer. He kept quoting the ABA saying they thought he was qualified. Yet one had to question how Republicans would react hearing the ABA has asked them to hold the nomination until the FBI does its background investigation on the charges.
Republicans have said they will move forward toward confirming a man who will sit on the highest Court in the land with a lifetime appointment. A man who at his hearing showed his true self. People say under stress people show who they are and Kavanaugh clearly showed who he is and it’s not pretty. He is an angry man and one with biases that have lasted decades. He has a right to be angry if he truly believes he has been maligned but we expect those who will sit on the highest Court in the land to be able to control themselves and deal with the issue at hand and not be influenced by decades old biases. The person at the hearing who made the point best that this is clearly a political appointment was Kavanaugh himself.
So what came out of the hearing aside from some outbursts like the one by Lindsey Graham is the courage of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford.
Dr. Blasey Ford is a woman who came forward and laid herself open in front of the world for no gain except to tell her truth. While the Judiciary Committee under Senator Grassley and Republicans under Sen. Mitch McConnell may not take her seriously there are millions of women and men around the nation who do and who will forever thank her for coming forward.
After the hearing it has become quite clear that Kavanaugh wasn’t being slimed but instead is a slime ball. It is sad for Americans of all persuasions if he is the best we have to elevate to the Supreme Court.
Peter Rosenstein is a community and Democratic activist based in Washington, DC, where he appears in the media as a commentator on issues including LGBT rights, politics and education. His columns may be found here.