Monday, September 17, 2018

Hold Onto Your Hat, America: The Kavanaugh Supreme Court Nomination Is Dead

It may take days or even weeks, but Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court is dead, a welcome casualty of converging political and social trends. 
The nomination of the man who would be the pivotal fifth conservative high court justice suddenly went on life support on Sunday morning when The Washington Post identified Christine Blasey Ford, a 51-year-old research psychologist at Palo Alto University in Northern California, as the woman who had anonymously revealed that during a high school party in the early 1980s, a stumbling drunk Kavanaugh attempted to rape her, pinning her on a bed, groping her and covering her mouth to silence her after she screamed in the hope that someone downstairs would hear her. 
Ford further states that Mark Judge, a friend and classmate of Kavanaugh's, stood across the room laughing "maniacally" before he jumped on top of them, she tried unsuccessfully to wriggle free and then Judge jumped on them again, sending all three of them tumbling.
"I thought he might inadvertently kill me," The WaPo quoted Ford as saying. "He was trying to attack me and remove my clothing." 
Ford's account is detailed, compelling and truthful, according to a polygraph test, and all the more so as the White House rushes to try to prop up a nomination that has quickly descended into turmoil with a Senate Judiciary Committee vote to approve Kavanaugh scheduled for Thursday delayed until after Kavanaugh and his accuser appear before the committee next Monday.
The political and social trends that have become Kavanaugh nomination lightning rods are powerful:
The apparent culmination of a determined four-decade-long quest by conservatives to turn the Supreme Court into a reliably conservative tool. 
The increasingly potent #MeToo movement, which has claimed numerous casualties as victims of sexual harassment and assault have come foreward. 
The rising Democratic tide, which threatens to engulf the House and now even the Senate in the November 6 midterm elections in which a record number of women are running.
In the short term, the most powerful of those trends is the possibility that Republicans may lose control of the Senate if they allow Kavanaugh to become an election issue with the Russia scandal and repeated Republican efforts to repeal Obamacare weighing down their candidates in close races in which independent woman voters may play an outsized role. 
So it should come as no surprise in a year when nine members of Congress have lost their jobs to sexual harassment, most of them Republicans, that Republicans will not hesititate to throw Kavanaugh under the bus in the service of hanging onto the Senate and the increasingly faint hope that another conservative nominee can be pushed through and confirmed. 
The alternative would be catastrophic to Trump, the GOP and conservatives in general:  
A stunning setback as defeat is plucked from the jaws of victory.  Democrats take the Senate and nominate a man or woman who tips the high court balance back to where it belongs -- the good old center.  In the process, Roe v. Wade is saved from certain death and there even is a shot at repealing draconian extralegal decisions like Citizens United. 
Trump, meanwhile, broke his silence Monday afternoon, saying Kavanaugh has "never even had a little blemish on his record" and called it "ridiculous" when asked whether he should withdraw his nomination. 
Following the trajectory of the Harvey Weinstein, Roy Moore and Leslie Moonves scandals, the Kavanaugh nomination will further fray and finally fall apart in stages. 
First will be doubling down on denials. 
Kavanaugh, who revealed himself to be a seriously flawed nominee, made a huge tactical error in not telling the FBI when it undertook a background check of him of an incident in his youth that he now regrets, or something.  It is probable that had he not lied when asked if he ever sexually harassed a woman, he would have gotten a pass even in the #MeToo era. 
Next will be attacks on the victim and Democrats. 
Ford's life already has been effectively destroyed by her decision to come forward.   But the worst is yet to come as Kavanaugh's defenders defame her, claim Kavanaugh is the real victim, as well as question Senator Dianne Feinstein's 11th-hour decision to make public the allegation, which they will declare to be part of a conspiracy to deny Kavanaugh his rightful place on the high court.  
Next will be revelations that Ford may not be the only victim.   
Mark Judge is now a writer for conservative publications.  Not surprisingly, he has denied the incident occurred, but inconveniently as a reformed alcoholic, he has written extensively of his drunken high school exploits, and it seems unlikely an incident he claims never happened was a one-time occurrence.  
Next will be a decision to put the nomination on hold. 
White House aides and Republicans will scramble to find a way forward as they pray that Trump keeps his pie hole shut before Ford and Kavanaugh testify and doesn't make a precarious situation worse as he has in the Moore and Rob Porter scandals, as well as his flimsy denials of his own serial sexual predations.  
Next will be the end game. 
A semi-tearful Kavanaugh will acknowledge in the face of compelling evidence and behind-the-scenes pressure from the White House, that he has decided to withdraw from consideration for the good of his family and the country. 
Finally, how horrifying that Kavanaugh, who sought to portray himself as a champion of women during his nomination hearings, is in reality their worst enemy, as well as an originalist poseur who claims he wouldn't impose his own political views from the bench. And by his perverted moral calculus, would have denied his victim the right to an abortion if she had become pregnant.           


Anonymous said...

I hope you are right, but McConnell is Satan.

Carol said...

I, too, hope you are right. However, let's not give McConnell the power of Satan; perhaps he is a minor but effective demon in service to the dark lord.

Bscharlott said...

You make a good case. Let's hope you right.

Frank said...


Dan Leo said...

Never a dull moment in the Trump administration...

Nancy Willing said...

Correction: Nov. 6th is the midterm election.

"The rising Democratic tide, which threatens to engulf the House and now even the Senate in the November 7 midterm elections in which a record number of women are running."

Nancy Willing said...

The two faces of the nominee:

suck up-y to the committee members

and contemptuous to Guttenberg, dad in mourning.

nuff said.

Shaun Mullen said...

Election date corrected. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I believe you're an incurable optimist. This is an exercise in raw power, and McConnell is the one wielding it. Unless 2 out of 3 from Jeff Flake (possible but unlikely), Lisa Murkowski (she has the backbone but has party loyalty - G-d knows why), and Susan Collins (hopeless) inform the WH that they will vote "NO," Kavanaugh slithers in.

Unknown said...

" Democrats take the Senate and nominate a man or woman who tips the high court balance back to where it belongs -- the good old center."

I'm not following here. Even a 2/3 majority D Senate wouldn't get to nominate a replacement for a failed Kavanaugh nomination. The Senate confirms, the president nominates.

If the Kavanaugh nomination fails, what presumably happens is that Trump nominates some other Federalist Society stooge, and the R Senate confirms him or her, either before the election or in the lame duck. The only way that backup plan could fail is if Trump stubbornly refuses to give up on the failed Kavanaugh nomination, and fails to nominate a replacement until after a majority D Senate is seated in 1/19. That Senate could deny him any nominee, and we'd have 8 justices until 2021.

Anonymous said...

Trump may be shaking Mrs. Kavanaugh's hand, but he's imagining the elder Kavanaugh daughter's tits. He once talked about shagging his own daughter. Why should anybody else's be off limits in his loathsome fantasies?