The question before the Senate is now whether to confirm the man who appears to be a lying sleazebag or to say no, we will not put a boozing, belligerent individual, also a possible sexual predator, on the highest court in the land.
In all likelihood, the FBI investigation will not answer definitively whether Brett Kavanaugh committed the act of sexual aggression that Christine Blasey Ford has accused him of. While I believe her it may still come down to a he said/she said issue for the Senate. But what the investigation could confirm is what all those who knew him in high school and college have said is true: He lied to Congress about his drinking. That his claim he was simply a basketball fanatic, hardworking choirboy, claiming getting into Yale proved he didn’t drink, is a lie.
Also beyond credulity were his explanations of the terms he used in his high school yearbook including “FFFFFfourth of July,” “Boof,” and the “devils triangle.” The FBI could confirm all his friends understood what those terms meant to them and to all kids in those days. They could also confirm what they all understood the term “Renate Alumnius” used by so many of his friends in their yearbook quotes meant.
Like so many, I was riveted by the hearing. First watching as Ford, in quiet and believable words, opened herself up to the world and told us what she claims Kavanaugh and his friend Mark Judge did to her at a high school party.
Then we heard from Kavanaugh. He came across as a belligerent, whiny, sniffling man of privilege as he denied everything and fought back. He rudely challenged Democratic senators in a way I don’t think anyone has ever seen in a congressional hearing. He just about shouted, “This whole two-week effort has been a calculated and orchestrated political hit, fueled with apparent pent-up anger about President Trump and the 2016 election, fear that has been unfairly stoked about my judicial record. Revenge on behalf of the Clintons and millions of dollars in money from outside left-wing opposition groups.” That display alone should disqualify him from sitting on the Court. What it did is remind us of how his unhinged display contrasted with Hillary Clinton who faced 11 hours of badgering and offensive questions by Republican senators in her Benghazi hearing and never once lost her cool.
So the FBI investigation, which has been severely limited by agreement between Republicans in the Senate and the president, will finish and a report will be submitted to the Senate. Then they will vote. The reality is whichever way they vote this nomination and the process used will impact us as a nation for years to come.
Like it or not the nomination and confirmation of Neil Gorsuch and now the nomination of Kavanaugh can be laid at the feet of those who either didn’t vote in 2016 or voted for a third party. They apparently didn’t understand the ramifications of what they were doing. So these men were nominated by a president who many consider certifiable and a man lacking any human decency. But then he was elected to do this.
What made this worse is how the Republicans who control the Senate Judiciary Committee handled the nomination. They willingly moved forward without 90 percent of the writings and background information on the nominee. They were willing to move forward without an FBI investigation of charges made against the nominee. They were willing to send his nomination to the whole Senate without having those who made the charges, or any other witnesses, come before them for questioning. They apparently took a look at the hearings for Justice Thomas in 1991 and decided “it worked then so why not now?”
They did learn one thing from those Thomas hearings, which was how bad it looked for a group of old white men to be the only Republicans asking questions of Anita Hill. So this time when questioning Ford, they hid behind the skirt of Rachel Mitchell who they hired to question Ford for them. It was telling that when it came to questioning Kavanaugh she was quickly dismissed as not being partisan enough.
Will this be the future for all Senate hearings as long as Republicans are in control? One thing that seems to have been overlooked by some in the media, or chalked up simply to his being a big diva, was Lindsey Graham’s threat to women and Democrats that when he becomes chair of the committee if Republicans keep control of the Senate he will wreak revenge on them. That threat should be scary enough to get everyone to come out to vote on Nov. 6.
Peter Rosenstein is a longtime LGBT rights and Democratic Party activist. He writes regularly for the Blade.