Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy

Really don’t know what’s going to happen at the Kavanaugh hearings today, but, damn, do I love Tomasky’s take.  I’ve just been listening to the terrific “Slow Burn” season 2 podcast about Bill Clinton’s impeachment and, as those of us who were politically sentient at the time recall, the Starr report was grossly, absurdly, obsessed with the sexual details of Clinton and Lewinsky.  And who was behind that push for knowing every last detail of those sexual encounters.  Tomasky:

“Piece by painful piece.”

If you don’t know those words as written by Brett Kavanaugh back in 1998, I urge you to commit them to memory in advance of Thursday’s questioning.

They appeared in a memo Kavanaugh wrote to his boss, special prosecutor Kenneth Starr, on August 15, 1998. We were in the midst of the Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinsky scandal, and Starr’s team was about to question Clinton in front of a grand jury.

“After reflecting this evening,” the memo began, “I am strongly opposed to giving the President any ‘break’ in the questioning regarding the details of the Lewinsky relationship…I have tried hard to bend over backwards and to be fair to him and to think of all reasonable defenses to his pattern of behavior. In the end, I am convinced that there really are none. The idea of going easy on him at the questioning is thus abhorrent to me.”

The subsequent questioning of Clinton went as Kavanaugh had urged, and a month later, Starr and Kavanaugh and team issued a report that read not like something published by the U.S. Government Printing Office but by Larry Flynt. [emphases mine] There were discussion of the presidential johnson, and of when he had and had not ejaculated. The word “sex” or a variation appeared in the report 581 times. The word “Whitewater”—the failed land-deal the Clintons were involved in that was the original raison d’etre for Starr’s investigation—was mentioned four times.

The 445-page, X-rated report existed in the form it did for one purpose only: To make the American people become so morally repulsed by Clinton’s behavior that they would rise up in fury and demand that he leave office. And this was done, as the memo reveals, at the behest of Brett Kavanaugh.

“let’s be fair” liberals. Let’s not get too detailed about Kavanaugh’s past. All that yearbook stuff; let’s not go there! Whatever he did, he doesn’t deserve to have his youthful errors thrown before the public in such ghastly detail…

But one of those reasons is most definitely not that Kavanaugh doesn’t deserve it. He deserves every last bit of it based on the standard that he himself set 20 years ago.

Then, he wanted America to know every single distasteful thing Bill Clinton had done. What right has he today to be shielded from the same treatment? …

A society’s real moral guardians are, throughout human history, the people who are at first accused of being immoral—the ones who are willing to lift the veil that has protected people like Brett Kavanaugh for centuries. The Democrats need to be clear about which side they’re on Thursday. They may decide for tactical reasons not to press this or that matter too hard, and I suppose they have to be mindful of possible blowback.

But I hope they do what Kavanaugh himself urged be done to Bill Clinton—examine every allegation and challenge every lie. Piece by painful piece.

That’s a long-ish excerpt, but the whole piece is really, really good.  If you get a chance, you really should read all of it.

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

One Response to Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy

  1. Mika says:

    I checked what those F’s mean.

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