I just listened to Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s opening remarks at this morning’s Senate Judiciary Committee meeting concerning the vote to pass Kavanaugh out of Committee.
In what is a shock to my system, and something I would NEVER have guessed possible, I fully agree with Sen. Feinstein’s statements and I’m appalled at how the Republicans have handled this entire situation.
I sat yesterday and watched every minute of the hearing where Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and Judge Kavanaugh testified about Ford’s accusations. I went into it thinking that we’d see Ford nervously providing her version of the story, and then Kavanaugh would calmly, matter-of-factly, and competently deny it, as someone of the caliber of a Supreme Court Justice would be expected to do. I figured that in the end, there would be nothing new learned and the Republicans would drive forward with the confirmation, even though I still believed an FBI investigation was warranted. But what I witnessed from Kavanaugh was outrageous and I was seriously taken aback. Frankly, I did not expect to see a man so unsuited for the bench as he demonstrated.
I can’t stress enough how different those two testimonies were. It wasn’t even close. Ford was nervous, but clear and complete in her statements. She was congenial, forthcoming, and eager to answer every question put to her. She addressed every concern presented in a convincing, unflinching manner. She was 100% certain of her testimony. She was willing to back that up with a polygraph test, which she passed, and she was actively and eagerly requesting that the FBI follow-up on her testimony, including allowing the FBI to thoroughly question herself.
Let me put it bluntly. Those are not the actions and demeanor of someone lying. Yet, amazingly, her critics cling to one thing…they say that she lied about her fear of flying. Please…that is amazingly weak and pathetic.
Then, there was Judge Kavanaugh. From the start, he was an emotional basket case. He was loud, obnoxious, and whiny (much like Trump, which is probably a clue as to who his audience was). There is no denying that. Many excuse that as being righteous for wrongly being accused of sexual assault and the resulting hell that he and his family have been dragged through. Fine. There is certainly a case to be made for that if he has truly been wrongly accused. However, the position he is being placed in on the Supreme Court requires better. It requires a person who is able to maintain his composure, impartiality, and reason, under extreme pressure. Kavanaugh’s lashing out with partisan accusations and extremely inappropriate responses to questions demonstrate an appalling lack of demeanor for someone to be placed on the Supreme Court. The way he handled the situation should disqualify him, in and of itself.
But there was so much more that was wrong with his testimony. He fumbled with many answers, he completely evaded many more, and he obviously outright lied about others. This was so blatant that I am ashamed to have ever been aligned with those who are now pushing his nomination through, including those I formerly had very high respect for, such as Cruz, Lee, and Sasse.
The indisputable problems with Kavanaugh’s testimony boil down to the following:
- His belligerent answers to his drinking were simply not believable. Instead of answering directly and openly, he consistently attempted to deflect and attack the questioner. There is plenty of evidence and witnesses available to attest to Kavanaugh’s heavy drinking during that part of his life. For him to testify otherwise was dishonest. And for the Republicans to refuse to further investigate it is very telling.
- His consistent evading of the question about allowing the FBI to look into the accusations is disturbing. There is simply no reason that questions should not be asked of a handful of people in order to follow-up statements made and to fully vet the credibility and veracity of statements from such people as Mark Judge. In an extremely rare situation with sexual assault, the accuser claims that there was a third person in the room. To not bring that person forward for full questioning under oath is unconscionable and a true miscarriage of justice. The Republicans are complicit in this apparent cover-up, hiding behind a simple statement that Judge provided through his attorney with no follow-up questions. There is no way the Republicans would allow that to stand if the situation were reversed. They claim in holier-than-thou rhetoric that the accused has the benefit of the long- honored principle of the burden of proof being on the accuser (forget that that is for criminal, court of law situations), but if you are going to rely on that, then you also have to allow the long-honored principle that the accuser be allowed to call witnesses for cross-examination.
- Kavanaugh lied about a number of things, thinking we’re stupid, I guess. The yearbook entries about the girl that he and many of the football team included in their yearbook profiles is telling. “Renate Alumnius”. Anyone with any lick of intellectual honesty knows damn well what they were implying, including the woman who just now learned about the entries and was none too pleased. For Kavanaugh to tell us it was all about the respect they had for her as a friend and that it was referencing a kiss at a dance or some such nonsense is simply asinine. It’s a lie, plain and simple.
In and of themselves, these evasions and lies would probably not be such a big deal (a high school yearbook entry seems so trivial, after all), other than, personally, I would contend they do not present a person of high enough character to be on the Supreme Court, but concede that reasonable people could deem otherwise. However, when juxtaposed against the accusations, it begins to paint a picture showing that Ford’s claims are actually plausible.
At a very minimum, they are plausible and credible enough to demand a further investigation by the FBI, specifically focused on these issues.
No matter what argument you give about how the Democrats acted, or how Ford’s memory has holes, or how Kavanaugh has many character witnesses, or had great grades and was a super athlete, you can’t legitimately get around those three problems listed above.
Sen. Grassley’s absurd repetition of his reasons for not involving the FBI are pathetic and just don’t hold water. They all claim that “the FBI doesn’t form conclusions” so there is no need to involve them. Nonsense. The FBI investigation would not be about forming conclusions, but rather, the basic process of having professional investigators ask important questions and follow-up questions of pertinent witnesses…and then providing that information to the committee in order for the committee to form conclusions. But, Grassley claims, the Committee is already investigating these things themselves. Only, they are not. At the very least, the third person alleged to have been in the room during the assault should be brought in front of the committee, publicly or privately, and be questioned. This is a “no-brainer” for a basic, fair consideration of the accusations. That the republicans refuse to do it, pretty much tells us everything we need to know.
In the end, Kavanaugh will probably be confirmed. The Republicans will push it through for the sake of “winning”. Trump will gloat and will heap praise upon himself. And the supporters will cheer.
Enjoy it while you can, Republicans, because your actions today will have serious consequences tomorrow.
You may not believe that you are pushing more and more life-long, staunch Republicans like myself away. You may not believe that there are enough of us to matter. And maybe you are right. I suspect you are not, however. The country is so evenly divided that every vote matters nowadays. Not only are Republicans pushing some of us away with the same dishonest politics that we have always criticized the left for, but they are also pushing away women, young voters, and minorities more than ever, as well as driving many new voters into the mix. Thus far, many like me have refused to support the Republicans while they embrace Trumpism, but have resisted the urge to actually vote for Democrats. But crap like what they are doing now will drive more and more of us to reconsider that strategy.
Good luck with that.
You believe that the only thing that matters is the Supreme Court and you believe that with Kavanaugh you are locking in a conservative court for decades. Think again. There are a number of ways that the Democrats will be able to answer these tactics that the Republicans have used. The refusal to consider Garland and block that appointment, the use of the nuclear option to seat Gorsuch, and now the pushing through of Kavanaugh with all of these lingering questions…all of these things will be used by the Democrats to justify their next moves.
A reckoning is coming…and it’s well-deserved.