“We’re going to win so much. You’re going to get tired of winning. You’re going to say, ‘Please Mr. President, I have a headache. Please, don’t win so much. This is getting terrible.’ And I’m going to say, ‘No, we have to make America great again.’ You’re gonna say, ‘Please.’ I said, ‘Nope, nope. We’re gonna keep winning.’ ” Those are the words of President Donald Trump, and he appears to be living up to that. While some conservatives see the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court as a huge win, swinging the court conservative for years to come, at what cost will the backing of the controversial pick hurt the Republican Party for years to come?
Brett Kavanaugh on paper looked like an easy judge to rush through the Senate, but when Christine Blasey Ford’s account of sexual misconduct in 1982 became relevant, everything flew out the window. While Ford wanted her story to be thrown into the mix of character evaluation, she didn’t seem to want to be thrown into the limelight either. While having your story told in front of the entire world isn’t ideal in any way, no man or woman should be accused by a faceless victim.
Upon hearing both testimonies, Ford appeared truthful and honest in her lack of memory of 1982, and clear and poignant in her clear memories of being held down and laughed at. Regardless of one’s thoughts on Kavanaugh’s role, there is no doubt she went through a horrible, humiliating event at 15 years old.
Kavanaugh’s testimony was much shakier. His outbursts and nonprofessional tone, yelling about how he “worked [his] butt off,” were daggers to defending his temperament, and his aloof understanding of numerous sexual terms like “boofing” and “Devil’s Triangle” — claiming they were drinking games — made him look foolish and, even worse, a liar.
Many conservatives argued that he was damned if he did and damned if he didn’t, concerning his temperament about being accused of sexual assault, but he should have at least been honest about his sexual understanding. Maybe he was a virgin who just knew a lot about sexual activity, or maybe he wasn’t a virgin. One’s virginity and comprehension of sexual acts shouldn’t disqualify them from the Supreme Court, but his innocent Catholic boy routine was anything but.
There is a lot of blame going around about how this judiciary confirmation took place. One could blame Sen. Dianne Feinstein, ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, for coming out so late, making Ford’s story more of a political play. One could look at Kavanaugh’s inability to keep his cool. One could even look at Trump for not pulling Kavanaugh’s name and picking another candidate. But both sides were looking for a win, and while Trump and the GOP see this as “winning,” the cost is greater than the reward.
The GOP looks more like hypocrites than ever before. Had Kavanaugh been then-President Barack Obama’s pick, the Republicans would have given him the full Bill Clinton/Ken Starr treatment. He would have been painted as a sexual deviant and ran out of town.
That is not to say liberals can hold the moral high ground. They used Ford as a political puppet and useful idiot for their own agenda. And one late night TV writer revealed the dark underbelly of a crusade against men who may or may not be guilty.
“Whatever happens, I’m just glad we ruined Brett Kavanaugh’s life,” Stephen Colbert writer Ariel Dumas posted on Twitter. In many ways they ruined Ford’s life, too. But political collateral isn’t on their radar in an anti-Trump war.
Already many are citing Kavanaugh’s ability to understand promoting women with his four clerks being all female. That might look good for a day, but not a long-term solution in rectifying his or the GOP’s reputation in understanding the #MeToo movement and being the party of moral clarity. And Kavanaugh may never move on from this.
“Brett Kavanaugh may look the part when he dons the robe, but Kavanaugh will be an illegitimate justice for as long as he sits on the Court,” said Brian Fallon, executive director of Demand Justice.
Trump promised to make “winning” feel like a terrible headache. You can’t say he hasn’t lived up to that promise.