As impressive and courageous as Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony Thursday before the Senate Judiciary Committee was, the day was a total disaster for the country. Another woman making a claim of sexual abuse disbelieved and disregarded by a group of older, white men. Another gutting of what should have been a search for truth. Another hypocritical claim that Republicans are not engaging in partisan warfare. Another privileged man claiming to be a victim.
Anyone with even the slightest degree of open-mindedness would have had to acknowledge that Ford’s testimony was compelling and credible. There was absolutely no reason for her to go public with her accusation against Brett Kavanaugh other than her sense of civic duty. Her decision has cost her dearly and in all likelihood will be for naught. Senate Republicans were never going to take her charges seriously and were, to borrow Lindsey Graham’s language albeit with a different purpose, engaged in a massive scam.
Ford truly was a profile in courage. Terrified, she testified anyway with directness, authenticity and a total lack of evasion. She may inspire other women or silence them if they look too closely at how her words were disregarded by the majority party.
Kavanaugh, by contrast, provided a stunning demonstration of his lack of judicial temperament. He acted out in a way for which any woman would have been flayed alive. The mix of out of control anger and weepy emotion were both inappropriate and unconvincing. And the interrupting, talking over and patronizing address to women senators were evidence of his true character. As one Internet meme put it, imagine what this angry man would be like when he was drunk.
The contrast between his self-description, for example in his interview with Fox News, and his yearbook and other accounts is a gulf too wide. He ducked questions about his drinking other than to trivialize his behavior or to argue that the drinking of senators questioning him had any relevance. He openly lied about complying with state law, which had raised the drinking age in Maryland to 21 just as he was turning 18. His ease in misstating that reality is the problem more than that he was an underage drinker.
As angry and self-righteous as Kavanaugh was, he met his match in the screed offered up by South Carolina’s Lindsey Graham, who has seemed to come loose from his moorings ever since John McCain died. Graham conveniently brushed aside the years of hyper-partisanship exhibited by Republicans, including failing to give Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland the courtesy of even a hearing. Visions of pot and kettles come to mind.
As awful as the hearing was, the long-term fall-out will surely be even worse. We are about to get someone on the Supreme Court who cannot even pretend to be open-minded or non-partisan. His railing against left-wing conspiracies and the “revenge of the Clintons” guarantees that he will never behave) as fair-minded or as a neutral umpire. He has revealed himself to be a partisan warrior with an ugly temper.
it’s laughable that Graham would threaten Democrats with obstructionism when they regain control of the Senate. What does he think happened the last time Republicans were the minority? Moreover, their willingness, in the immortal words of Mitch McConnell, to plow through with Kavanaugh’s confirmation shows that they care not a whit about normal process. No FBI investigation. No questioning of Mark Judge. No opportunity for other accusers of Kavanaugh to speak to the committee. Graham is a hypocrite who once knew better.
The only upside of yesterday’s political charade is that it may inspire even more Democrats, especially women, to vote in November. While it is sometimes said that Republican voters will reward their partisans for giving them another conservative member of the Supreme Court, will they be as motivated as Democrats, given that they have already gotten their payoff?
Christine Blasey Ford reminded us that there are lots of decent people remaining. Off yesterday’s hearing, I would far prefer to see her on the Supreme Court rather than Brett Kavanaugh. He is a bully, a whiner, given to fighting dirty if that what it takes to win. That’s not the kind of person we want on the highest court in the land.