Republicans Got Their Man, And Untold Women Were Caught In The Crossfire


Photo courtesy Los Angeles Times

Kavanaugh speaks at his confirmation.

The fact that Judge Brett Kavanaugh was finally confirmed to the Supreme Court over the weekend of October 6th was not so much a triumph of normalcy (in the soaring approbation of the National Review) as it was an unequivocal national disgrace. This was neither due to Kavanaugh’s judicial philosophy nor to his qualifications; it was due to the fact that the Senate Judiciary Committee turned a serious allegation of sexual assault into a weeklong charade of political posturing, inconsequential bickering, and manufactured outrage worthy of a community theatre production of a medieval morality play.

The Republicans should be comprehensively ashamed of themselves, not for defending Kavanaugh but for choosing in the process to cast doubt on an entire movement of women who deplore sexual harassment and abuse and in the process saying that credible allegations really don’t matter and later denying their credibility to begin with. The Democrats should be ashamed for not revealing Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s allegation at the beginning of the confirmation process and thus letting a dangerous situation fester to the point of terminal infection. They should further be ashamed that not once in their pre-Ford considerations did they ever think that any but the most vulnerable in their ranks should have considered voting for the confirmation of a judge whose apparent fitness and record eminently recommended him.

Lindsey Graham and countless of his colleagues should be ashamed for suggesting that young boys and men across the country were the real victims of sexual misconduct allegations (as if they haven’t been pampered enough already). Judge Kavanaugh should be ashamed for humiliating himself so thoroughly before the nation as to allege the existence of a vast left-wing conspiracy to prevent him his seat. Perhaps that argument makes sense to those who listen to InfoWars and wear tinfoil hats, but if the honorable Justice honestly thinks that the left orchestrated a well-oiled and dangerous conspiracy to smear him he clearly isn’t familiar with the political and abject incompetence of today’s Democratic party. Republicans may smugly assert that elections have consequences, but nowhere was this infuriating truism more evident than the proceedings of last week. Furthermore, in leveling these baseless accusations against Democratic senators he called into question his own credibility and impartiality on a court already tainted with the winds of political expediency.

As to Dr. Ford’s allegations, it would appear that Senate Republicans did everything but paint their ears closed and pretend that she didn’t exist. It didn’t matter in the end that almost every Republican from Fox News to Capitol Hill thought that her allegations had merit; it didn’t matter that her testimony was moving, powerful, and heartfelt; and it certainly didn’t matter that there was no substantive investigation into her claims. In a situation requiring a sewing needle, the Judiciary Committee employed a sledgehammer. Republicans ultimately pretended that she was mistaken, that she somehow misidentified her attacker, that she suffered from some unfortunate delusion that prevented her from telling the objective truth. They then marched onto the Senate floor and proudly congratulated themselves on their “Atticus Finch moment.” A more fatuous assertion has not been heard in the Senate since Cory Booker declared himself Spartacus.

If the Republicans are feeling a particularly literary mood, this columnist would humbly submit that they have identified themselves within the wrong literature. This confirmation hearing wasn’t To Kill a Mockingbird, and John Cornyn was no Atticus Finch; it was A Streetcar Named Desire, where the main character ignores a credible allegation of rape in order to avoid having to face the dreadful consequences of the truth. Judge Kavanaugh was Stanley, and the entire Republican conference played the role of Stella with truly depressing insight and fidelity.

That is not to say that we as a nation will ever know for sure what transpired in that Maryland townhouse; nor is it to say that the horrendous decisions of a 17-year-old should bar them forever from public service. It is merely to say that the Republicans got their man, and untold women were caught in the crossfire.