I can’t sleep tonight because our country has gone mad and that sort of thing upsets my sensitive soul. I’ve been trying to avoid talking about the state of the state, but I don’t see any way around it tonight. It’s too much. So yes, this is yet another outsider commenting on the sad farce that took place in our nation’s capitol yesterday. If that’s not your thing, feel free to move along.
I’m going to start by asking you to suspend disbelief here. For the purposes of this initial discussion, I’m going to propose that, in that very narrow matter of whether or not Brett Kavanaugh should be confirmed to the Supreme Court, it does not matter whether or not Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s accusations are true or not. Kavanaugh did enough to disqualify himself that, even if you were to find his denials credible, there is no reasonable way to draw the conclusion that he should be confirmed.
Bluntly speaking, Brett Kavanaugh lied during the hearings in such an obvious fashion that no one could credibly claim otherwise. His lies were insulting and unmistakable. The word “boffing” has an accepted meaning, and that meaning is not related to passing gas. “The devil’s triangle” is not a drinking game. Labeling yourself a “Renate Alumnius” is not a way to honor a friend you “hang out with”.
His explanations for these things were a slap in the face to the whole process. These are the kind of lies you tell when you don’t respect your accuser or the people who are going to vote on your confirmation. Everyone knew he was lying, and he didn’t care one bit. Everyone who votes for him today (and I fully expect him to pass committee and be confirmed sooner rather than later) knows that what he was saying was untrue and they don’t care either.
It’s a bit much, coming from a man who fervently believed that the phrase “I did not have sexual relations with that one” was enough to remove a sitting president, but don’t mistake that for irony. Irony lives in opposition to expectations. This is just crass realpolitik, rank hypocrisy, and precisely what one would expect for a man of Kavanaugh’s ilk.
I haven’t even discussed his temperament (volatile and angry) or his partisanship (which calls into question his ability to function as an impartial arbiter on the court), because these, too, aren’t necessary to disqualify him from the job. The bottom line is, regardless of whether or not you accept Dr. Ford’s testimony, Brett Kavanaugh has no business being anywhere near the Supreme Court.
Of course, Dr. Ford’s testimony does matter and I can’t imagine anyone watching the proceedings and not coming out of them with a stronger belief that she is telling the truth. Her testimony was immaculate. She provided precision where she could, and was honest as to where she couldn’t.
Contrast that with Kavanaugh’s testimony, which was riddled with ridiculous lies and inconsistencies, the vast majority of which had to do with his sexual history. If he couldn’t be honest about what the word “boffing” means, I don’t see any reason why we should presume he was honest about much else.
So, yes, I think her accusations are credible and his denials are not. Maybe that’s not fair, but when you lie as easily and as blatantly as Brett Kavanaugh? You lose the benefit of the doubt.
I’ll close this out with some speculation about what I see as the meta-thread running through these hearings. When I hear the Lindsey Grahams and Donald Trumps of the vociferously defending Brett Kavanaugh, I don’t hear men who really believe that Dr. Ford is falsely accusing him. I don’t even hear partisan hacks who are going to support “their guy” through thick or thin. I hear something much deeper and darker: I hear men of privilege who genuinely don’t believe that the things Kavanaugh is accused of doing are wrong.
I think way too many of these men standing up for Kavanaugh feel personally attacked by the accusations.
What I think, and again, I am speculating, but I am speculating with a great deal of “this rings true to me”. These men grew up treating women exactly the way Brett Kavanaugh is accused of doing and they’re thinking “We all acted like that in school, because that’s how ‘men’ act, and this is where we draw the line against women calling what they think of as normal boyhood behavior ‘assault’. I think they feel like, if what Kavanaugh did was sexual assault, then most of them are guilty as well.
A reach? It could be. But consider this: They could have withdrawn Kavanaugh from consideration, found another justice fresh of the Federalist factory floor, and very likely got the same sort of candidate without having to go through these hearing. Why did it have to be Kavanaugh? Why was he the line in the sand, the hill to die on?
I think, too, that this is why this is such an incredibly important moment for the feminist movement. As unlikely as it sounds, the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings have become a referendum on the matter of “boys will be boys” vs. “#MeToo”. It’s white (and let’s not kid ourselves about that) male privilege trying to stem the tide of accountability for their actions.
So, if Brett Kavanaugh is ultimately confirmed, not only are we stuck with a lifetime appointment for a mediocre man who has demonstrated amply that he has no business on the bench, it’s a symbolic slap in the face to anyone who has ever been sexually assaulted. They won’t be confirming Kavanaugh because they believe him; they’re doing it because they think he did it and they don’t think he did anything wrong.
And that, my friends, is why I can’t sleep tonight.