HORIST: Kavanaugh hearing produces heat, but no light
I had not had high hopes that the post-game hearing in the confirmation process of Judge Brett Kavanaugh would produce any valuable information. It was a she says/he says situation from the time the accusation of sexual assault was first leveled at the jurist.
In such situations, it is always a matter of credibility for objective observers and preconceived judgments by those with a political agenda. The opinions of the objective observers can be changed by new evidence or the appearance of credibility by one or the other. Those with preconceived positions will play out their biases.
By the end of the hearing, we learned nothing new about the case – nothing that had not appeared in the new media since Christine Blasey Ford slipped out of the shadows. We already knew that she had told both her husband and her therapist of the event, but never revealed the name of the perpetrator.
Though her memory of the very specific action was crystal clear, she could not recall even the approximate date, the location, how she got there, how she got home and who was all in attendance. All these are critical details in checking out her story.
She referred to a witness who could not and would not confirm even the occasion, much less what she described as an attempted rape – and her fear of being murdered. Her principal eyewitness gave a sworn statement that he never recalled any such incident and never saw Kavanaugh behave in that way. Even Ford’s closest friend and alleged attendee at the house party – and who said she believes Ford — said that she has no recollection of the event.
It was claimed that Ford could not arrive sooner for a hearing because she has a fear of flying, so she would have to travel by car. It was shown that she was a frequent flyer for business and pleasure – and she ultimately flew to Washington.
She said that she would have preferred to give private testimony in California and said that she was unaware that Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley had made such an offer. It was suggested that her lawyers had not informed her. That seems preposterous on the surface of it, and even more questionable when one considers that the offer was made publicly and appeared on innumerable news reports.
There was also something else that bothered me about Ford’s testimony. It had the appearance of an act. Yeah! Yeah! I know that as an old white male my opinion will get a lot of feminist panties in a bunch. So, let me explain.
Ford’s demeanor was of a frightened young girl, not even a scared mature woman. She said she retained counsel because some friends advised it – although the firm she retained was recommended by Senator Diane Feinstein. Very quickly, Ford was being advised by very sophisticated attorneys and advisors associated with the left-wing resistance movement.
Ford was vague on who was funding her efforts – even whether her lawyers were being paid. They said they were not, which means they were doing it for “the cause.” But, what cause? She said there was a GoFundMe page, but she was not aware of how it all worked.
When a senator used the word “exculpatory,” Ford said she did not know the meaning of that word – even though she is a very intelligent academic active in Democrat politics. But, it is not a common word, so I gave her the benefit of my doubt. BUT, when she was asked why she did not communicate to the Judiciary Committee directly, Ford said that she did not know how to do that. THAT is totally incredible to me.
According to her introduction, Ford is an accomplished college professor, who has appeared on platforms around the world. Has an impressive string of academic degrees – a couple MBAs and a doctorate. She is a political activist who has marched in rallies. Somehow, all that resume stuff did not comport with the pathetic individual behind the witness table.
Kavanaugh’s defense offered no surprises of any substance. After all, how many times can a person say, “Not me?” “Wasn’t there.” “I categorically reject the accusations.” “I am innocent.” The answer is … as many times as the Democrats on the panel asked the same questions.
Kavanaugh did, however, provide a bit of a surprise in the ferocity of his anger and the passion of his pushback. There were times that you would have thought that the Democrat senators were in the witness chair. He repeatedly pointed an accusatory finger at whose political Brahmans who had attacked him for days with the condemnatory language. He even raised questions about their drinking habits.
There was a time when sexual assault surrendered the top topic when Democrats on the Committee spent an inordinate amount of time defining and analyzing teenage drinking habits. It was suggested that Kavanaugh – and the alleged witness – were so drunk that they had no recollection of their actions, or even being on the scene.
In an attempt to cast the sober judge as a lush, he was asked if he had ever blacked out from drinking. His negative answer was not sufficient, and Democrats quoted from a college associate who irresponsibly said she was sure he had memory losses because he drank so much.
Kavanaugh was being victimized by a tactic once memorialized by Booth Tarkington, I believe. He said that a person who drinks has no defense against being accused of being a drunkard.
Kavanaugh was no more credible or incredible than Ford. How could he be? This was a hearing with serious accusations accompanied by a paucity of evidence. She says, he did it. He says, he didn’t. In fact, she said she was 100 percent sure he did it. He responded that it was 100 percent certain that he did not. All the Democrats said he did it. All the Republicans said he did not.
The two-part hearing took approximately nine hours. Had the various inquisitors refrained from asking the same questions and making the same points for the benefit of their soon-to-be-released YouTube productions, the hearings could have been concluded in a couple of hours, at most.
A review of the post-hearing news reports proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that the all-day circus had little impact on the world or reality – or at least as close to reality as one can get in Washington. It produced reports and analyses that were totally predictable and consistent with the pre-hearing narratives of the various outlets.
On one issue, there appeared to be a modicum of agreement. Both Republicans and Democrats apologized for the hardship the hearings caused both individuals and their respective families. Both sides condemned a process that neither side would prevent from being played out in a disgusting display of political malfeasance.
The most important questions relate to the most important issue – and it was not sexual assault or high school drinking. It was the outcome of the Kavanaugh confirmation process and the impact on the midterm elections. The first answer will come soon. The second in a few not-short-enough weeks.