In defiance of popular demand, I thought it was time to weigh in on Brett Kavanaugh.
Yes, I know, one of the last things Mark Z’s Emporium of Data Breaches* needs is another take on the testimonial argle-bargle in D.C. that dominated the news this past week. On the other hand, it’s well known that I have a *$#*$&! opinion on everything, so my need to sound off on these events is an urge biologic.
However, this will not be a link to a Washington Post think piece, a shared meme or one of those colored boxes with a punchy comment inside. I rarely link, I never meme and I don’t know how to create one of those parallelograms of pith, nor am I inclined to learn.
That leaves me with my neolithic preference for the black and white, sentences and paragraphs format others have abandoned. I’m OK with that.
I’m also not going to delve into the relative credibility of each of the main combatants’ versions of events. As far as I can tell, the perceptions there fall pretty neatly on existing lines. If you’re on my side of the political divide and you loathe Kavanaugh’s legal CV, you think Dr. Ford was doling out the truth bombs. In contrast, if BK’s brand of jurisprudence is right up your alley, then his was the accurate recitation of events. There’s nothing sensible about such ironclad pairings, though its obviousness and predictability are hard to deny.
Nevertheless, regardless which side you fall on, something to me is undeniably true: Judge Kavanaugh was undeniably untruthful. Not on the big What Happened? question, but on the little ones along the way.
No one being remotely honest (or coherent) believes Kavanaugh’s claims about those yearbook references. Ralphing and boofing were not nods to genetic troubles with his gastrointestinal system. No one should buy the idea that random baseball and college basketball games that he stopped watching were worthy of chronicling for posterity. And the Renate Alumni, of which he was a siccy Alumnius, were not proudly referring to chaste dates they attended with this unfortunate woman. We know this because these explanations bear absolutely no connection to boys being boys, a case of true possessive petard hoisting if there ever was one.
Now, I absolutely understand his desire to fabricate fictions in place of the facts here. Acknowledging a tendency he drank to blackout stage and that he chummed around (and shared ideals) with young men with such little respect for their female peers (sadly, a trait that extended well beyond the entitled douchebaggery running rampant at Georgetown Prep) does make him look like someone more capable of sexual assault. And giving a detailed description of the ins and outs of a Devil’s Triangle while your wife and daughters are looking on is, I hope, no one’s idea of a fun time (except maybe to Trump).
Nevertheless, outright lying to the Senate is 100 percent proof of a willingness to lie to the Senate, which should be a serious cause for concern if you were a member of that Club of One Hundred tasked with granting him his desired promotion. Not necessarily to partisan dungheaps such as Sens. Grassley and McConnell, but at least to the Sasses and Flakes, Collinses and Murkowskis of that once-august body.
I hope enough of these still-salvageable sens can recognize that a justice who so easily lies to them in this very public job interview really doesn’t warrant one of the nine seats at the head table, no matter how much you like his expected take on Roe v. Wade (or how Big Chief Tangerine loves his take on an imperial presidency).
One other thing. Yes, I’m aware of the argument that a derailed nomination can have a chilling effect on public service, and the message being sent when a single unproven allegation can damage a man’s reputation and hamper his career. The fear is not without merit.
However, I offer two things in response: First, none of this appears to have been a picnic for Dr. Ford, so I’m not sure there’s tremendous personal incentive for an individual to whole-cloth allegations.** And second, and far more important, one other message that could be sent with a No vote is one that tells young men that sexual assault, harassment or degradation is not acceptable at any age, and there will be consequences for such acts. Maybe not today, but a reckoning can still await.
And as messages go, that one’s a hell of a lot more vital.
*This originated over at Facebook, but I really liked that nickname for the site so I dragged it over here.
**And, worth noting, that when Neil Gorsuch was nominated to a seat Democrats rightfully believed should have been Merrick Garland’s just last year, there wasn’t a whisper of sexual improprieties along the way.