All Kavanaugh’s lies

Oh my, Nathan Robinson basically builds the extensive legal case for Kavanaugh’s perjuring himself before the Senate in Current Affairs.  It’s a pretty damning case.  It’s long, but worth skimming, at least, to get a feel for it.  Here’s some from his broader take on Kavanaugh’s defense of himself:

Much of the other text in Kavanaugh’s testimony is angry wind about how his life has been ruined, disgrace has been brought upon the august body of the Senate, the nation is going to hell in a handbasket, etc. Look, then, how little this all adds up to. When he addressed the specifics, he dissembled or stalled until the questioning Senator moved on or ran out of time. His character-based defense requires us to swallow obvious falsehoods.

What of his other main points? His distinguished career on the bench and his long record of employing women and being friends with women and coaching girl’s basketball and such. As to his time as a judge, I could mention that his record of judicial opinions suggest he is a man devoid of human empathy. But his atrocious jurisprudence seems to have become all but irrelevant to people at this point. Instead, I’d point out that this statement ignores the entire flood of concealed abuse by powerful people that has come out over the course of the MeToo movement. “If this allegation was true why didn’t it become a scandal earlier in my career?” is what we might call the “Cosby defense” or the “Weinstein defense.” We know the answer to that question: because women aren’t believed, as evidenced by, well, the entire thing that’s happening right now in which Republicans are overlooking Kavanaugh’s endless disqualifying statements and calling a credible accusation a witch hunt.

Kavanaugh says that as a federal judge, he has been investigated up and down. You know who else was a federal judge? Alex Kozinski, the judge Kavanaugh himself clerked for, who turned out to have engaged in decades of sexual harassment without consequence and who even assaulted a woman on live television without it impeding his career. Kavanaugh is not stupid, yet he defends himself with lines like “if such as thing had a happened, it would’ve been the talk of campus,” even though it definitely wouldn’t since frat brothers engage in casual disgusting behavior all the time. And they get away with it, as Kavanaugh might be expected to have noticed, because of people like Kavanaugh’s former employer Ken Starr, who failed to investigate serious campus rape allegations when he served as a university president.

And from the conclusion to the piece:

What does it say about this country that this is the state of our discourse? That Kavanaugh even stands any chance of being made one of the most powerful figures in the American government, with control over life and liberty? That a man like this is even a judge? He went before the United States Senate and showed total contempt for his vow to tell the truth. He attempted to portray a highly esteemed doctor as a crazy person, by  consistently misrepresenting the evidence. He treated the public like we were idiots, like we wouldn’t notice as he pretended he was ralphing during Beach Week from too many jalapeños, as he feigned ignorance about sex slang, as he misread his own meticulously-kept 1982 summer calendar, as he replied to questions about his drinking habits by talking about church, as he suggested there are no alcoholics at Yale, as he denied knowing who “Bart O’Kavanaugh” could possibly be based on, as he declared things refuted that weren’t actually refuted, as he claimed witnesses said things they didn’t say, as he failed to explain why nearly a dozen Yale classmates said he drank heavily, as he invented an imaginary drinking game to avoid admitting he had the mind of a sports jock in high school, as he said Ford had only accused him last week, as he responded to his roommate’s eyewitness statement with an incoherent story about furniture, as he pretended Bethesda wasn’t five miles wide, as he insisted Renate should be flattered by the ditty about how easy she was, as he declared that distinguished federal judges don’t commit sexual misconduct even though he had clerked for exactly such a judge.

And what does it say about us, and our political system, that he might well get away with it?





About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

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