Readers have been asking for my thoughts about Thursday’s all-day Senate Judiciary Committee hearing since Thursday morning, when the committee was still questioning Dr. Christine Blasey Ford about her allegation that Judge Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her in high school. I’ve put off everyone who’s asked, until I could finish these notes. (I was hoping for Saturday, but it turns out that I have a life.) Six days later, off we go. I know this is a lot.
First, my starting point: I awoke that morning willing to believe Dr. Ford and to conclude that President Trump should withdraw his Supreme Court nomination. I was also willing to believe Judge Kavanaugh and to declare that the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Senate should just vote already.
The hearing ran through the afternoon. I watched or listened to about half of it live — some of it from my dentist’s chair, and the dental work was a lot less painful. By Friday evening I had watched the rest of it. Parts of it I watched a second time, or even a third or fourth.
This all would have been easier, if I were willing to believe that he is lying simply because he’s a man (and a conservative), and that she is telling the truth simply because she’s a woman. Some folks are wired that way, I guess, but I still see guilt and innocence as individual matters, not a tribal thing.
The evening before the hearing, I posted some preliminary thoughts:
- I didn’t believe either the accused or the accuser yet; I just had some suspicions.
- Thursday’s process would be about power, not truth.
- It was already clear that the Judiciary Committee minority had grossly abused the committee’s established processes, in order to avoid having Dr. Ford’s charges investigated properly in the normal course of business — probably with the intention of using them to delay or block the process later.
Some readers agreed, wholly or in part. Inevitably, others found me woefully partisan, because of that third thing. I was pleased that no one insulted logic and common sense (among other things) by accusing me of disrespecting all abuse victims by failing to believe one alleged abuse victim whose testimony I had not yet heard. I would be grateful for the same consideration here, as I weigh her testimony (and his).
That said, I would love to hear your own evaluation, especially if it is based on your own observation of the entire hearing, not just small excerpts that the Big Media Acronyms and others cherry-picked to buttress their own positions, or secondhand evaluations from the chattering class. So if you comment, please tell us how much of the hearing you watched, heard, or read.
(I’m loath to suggest that anyone watch the whole hearing. For me it was a dark two days. But if we’re passing judgment on their testimony, we should hear their testimony.)
It Moved the Needle
On Thursday evening someone asked if the hearing moved the needle for me. I had to tell this reader that it might have, but I wasn’t sure. I still needed to watch the half I had missed. Then we would see.
After absorbing the whole thing, I can say that it did move the needle. I now believe Judge Kavanaugh is probably innocent of Dr. Ford’s allegation. I disbelieve her with respect to her accusation against him. She was vague on numerous key points and undermined her own credibility on others. More importantly, by any sensible standard, her testimony remains uncorroborated. Others’ sworn statements and the one piece of physical evidence available, Judge Kavanaugh’s calendars, tend in the Judge’s favor.
That said, I am not fully convinced that Judge Kavanaugh was as disciplined a youthful drinker as he swears he was. I’m not troubled by the youthful drinking in this matter, but if he’s found to have lied repeatedly and explicitly under oath, I’m not crazy about having him on the Court. Republicans complain that Democrats making a fuss over this are moving the goalposts, and they are, but perjury could be a deal-breaker for me. If it happened.
That said, I’ll tell you in more detail why I believe him, to the extent that I do, in the process of describing the hearing. Note that I will not offer a complete account of all testimony or a detailed analysis of every useful or interesting point. If that’s what you want, you can watch it yourself and draw your own conclusions, preferably in that order.
The hearing began with opening statements from the chair, Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), and the Ranking (minority) Member, Senator Diane Feinstein (D-California). The next few hours were devoted to Dr. Ford’s testimony.
(I call her Dr. Ford because the New York Times does. I’ve seen her called Dr. Blasey Ford, and her Stanford University profile has her as Dr. Blasey. I attach no significance to this variation, where her allegation is concerned.)
Judge Kavanaugh was not present for this part of the hearing. When asked later, he said he hadn’t watched it, because he was working on his own testimony.
She began with an opening statement, then was questioned in alternating five-minute increments: five minutes from the Republican side, then five from the Democratic side, and so forth. Each Republican senator’s time was yielded to Rachel Mitchell, a highly regarded prosecutor and leading expert on sex crimes. (She literally wrote the book.) This alternating approach, though familiar enough from committee hearings generally, made things disjointed, especially given the dramatic difference between the two parties’ approaches. If the increments had been ten minutes — perhaps two senators’ time from the same party, then two from the other — it might have helped.
Ms. Mitchell was calm, outwardly friendly, even reassuring with the witness. She asked Dr. Ford simple, clear questions about her experience and also her contacts with the media, the ranking member, and others. I yearn for the clarity and discipline of a jury trial in these matters, so I liked this approach, as far as it went. But I was left wanting more. There were parts of Dr. Ford’s testimony which raised my eyebrows, and I wanted them pursued further, to see if they were problems or just the ordinary, meaningless bumps that inevitably occur in prolonged testimony, especially under stress. But this game ran until the clock expired, not until the last batter was out.
I commented on Facebook, after hearing her opening statement and the first two five-minute blocks of questions, that her accusation was much more believable coming directly from her in person than it was in the media, or coming from the Democrats. To that point, she was fairly effective.
Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) elicited one of the most vivid moments of her testimony during his time. He asked her to recount her strongest memory of the attack. She described her attackers’ laughter.
Generally, though, the Democrats did her no favors. They spent most of their time praising her lavishly, and if they asked questions at all, they were the softest of softballs. They were playing to the camera, of course. (It isn’t just the Democrats who do this, in general, but in this part of the hearing, it was.) As charming as it is to watch Senators Cory Booker (D-New Jersey) and Kamala Harris (D-California) running for president on committee time, for example, I wish they and the others had taking the questioning seriously.
By the third or fourth time a Democrat assured her that she was not on trial and told her extravagantly how brave, how truthful, how heroic she is, it began to feel to me as if they were addressing a child who had just brought home a bad grade on a math quiz or finished 87th in the school science fair, not a mature, intelligent adult.
But it really wasn’t about her at all. It was about them. Welcome to the United States Senate. I hold that against them, not her.
I don’t know how Dr. Ford speaks or carries herself in ordinary life, and I don’t have scholarly credentials in the study of body language, but I thought she was doing her best to sound and appear weak, vulnerable, even childish during her testimony. It seemed unnatural at times, in part because there were other times when she appeared exactly the opposite — especially between questions and during breaks, when the camera was still on. Was this calculated, even coached? I cannot say.
Ms. Mitchell exploded Mrs. Ford’s supposed fear of flying, a major excuse for not having the hearing at the other end of the week. But that excuse came from her attorney, as I recall, not her directly, so I’m not sure there’s much hay to be made with it, where her accusation against Judge Kavanaugh is concerned.
She testified that she didn’t know that committee members had offered to go to California to hear her testimony. Either she was lying about that, or her attorney made a serious error by not informing her. Without evidence of the former, I’m willing to believe the latter, especially given the sort of attorney the Democrats supplied her.
On one occasion, when Ms. Mitchell asked Dr. Ford how she knew about a conversation she had previously reported, because it would have taken place downstairs when she was locked in a bathroom upstairs, Dr. Ford answered, “I assumed there was [a conversation].” This sort of thing discredits testimony.
She dropped a lot of psychology vocabulary in some parts of her testimony, and she’s fully entitled to it. It’s her profession. But my eyebrows rose after I had heard some of that, when she didn’t know the meaning of the word exculpatory. Still, she might have been more nervous than she seemed, and for the prosecutor to have pursued that might have seemed petty.
Some of her answers were unresponsive (to the questions asked), but this was at least equally true of some of Judge Kavanaugh’s answers, and I’m not making much of it in either case.
I did not believe her ditzy naivete about the GoFundMe accounts people have started in her behalf, which are well funded indeed.
If she had and has no political motive, as she testified, I wondered why she turned to a political branch of government, not to law enforcement, with her allegations. One can explain this away by citing the passage of time, 36 years, and the consequent unlikelihood of producing evidence or corroborating testimony, but that argument cuts both ways, to say the least.
I wish someone had questioned her about her ties to anti-Trump events and organizations — again, given her sworn testimony that her motive was not political.
Where things really left the rails for me, in terms of her actual testimony on Thursday, was when Ms. Mitchell asked her why she didn’t contact the Judiciary Committee and the White House, given her testimony that she had originally wanted to contact them specifically. Instead, she contacted her congresswoman, Anna Eshoo (D-California) and The Washington Post. She answered that she didn’t know how to contact the Senate or the White House — and she left it at that. I will put my problem with this in the form of the question I wish Ms. Mitchell had asked next.
“Dr. Ford, you are obviously highly educated. You have a PhD. You are engaged in research at a professional level. You teach at one of the most prestigious universities in the world. You were sufficiently aware of things in Washington to learn that Judge Kavanaugh was on a short list for the nomination, long before his nomination was announced. And you were somehow able to discover and use your congresswoman’s phone number. Is it your testimony that not knowing how to contact the Senate Judiciary Committee or the White House, as you testified you wanted to do originally, was an insurmountable obstacle for you? That you were helpless to seek out and learn such common bits of information yourself in, say, a Google search, or maybe two?”
As it stands, this may not by itself be dispositive, but to me it smelled of deception. I wish Ms. Mitchell had pursued it.
Finally, there was some discussion of a polygraph test Dr. Ford took. There’s a reason polygraph test results aren’t admissible as evidence in court (though some agencies find them useful in security clearance investigations): they’re not reliable — especially when the subject is already under unusual duress, such as on the day of her grandmother’s funeral. (Or was it the next morning? She wasn’t sure of that either — one of several significant gaps in her memory of events far more recent than an alleged assault in the 1980s.)
Some have said that it’s unfair to evaluate her credibility. I obviously disagree. Her accusation, still unsubstantiated, is the whole basis for this process. Assumptions of its truth rest largely upon her credibility, so that has to be tested. In fact, her victim status itself depends entirely on her credibility — which would have been questioned far more thoroughly in a jury trial, by the way.
Channeling Clarence Thomas
In his opening statement Judge Kavanaugh channeled then-Judge, now-Justice Clarence Thomas’s famous October 1991 statement in his own confirmation hearing. So let’s look back at that for a moment. Accused of sexually harassing Anita Hill, he said:
“I’d like to begin by saying unequivocally, uncategorically, that I deny each and every single allegation against me today that suggested in any way that I had conversations of a sexual nature or about pornographic material with Anita Hill; that I ever attempted to date her, that I ever had any personal, sexual interest in her, or that I in any way ever harassed her…. I think that this … is a travesty. I think that it is disgusting. I think that this hearing should never occur in America. This is a case in which this sleaze, this dirt, was searched for by staffers of members of this committee, was then leaked to the media, and this committee and this body validated it and displayed it in prime time over our entire nation.”
Justice Thomas called the confirmation process — hijacked by Democrats then much as it has been now — “a circus” and “a national disgrace.” Then he said, “From my standpoint, as a black American, as far as I’m concerned, it is a high tech lynching for uppity blacks who in any way deign [sic] to think for themselves, to do for themselves, to have different ideas, and it is a message that unless you kowtow to an old order, this is what will happen to you. You will be lynched, destroyed, caricatured by a committee of the US Senate, rather than hung from a tree.”
Clarence Thomas was a profound threat to the Left’s narrative in a different way: he was a young, African-American, conservative Republican. In the end, you may recall, he was confirmed 52-48, though the Senate then tilted slightly Democratic.
For his part, Judge Kavanaugh was passionate, even angry at times, calling the process a circus and a national disgrace, as Justice Thomas had, and accusing Senate Democrats of transforming their constitutional duty to advise and consent into “search and destroy.” (One of the links below will take you to his opening statement.) He noted how some of them had declared their absolute opposition to the president’s nominee even before there was a nominee.
Much has been made of his demeanor by both sides. Some opponents call it evidence that he lacks the requisite judicial temperament. Some supporters are hanging their hat on it. I think it was consistent with a good, intelligent man who has been falsely accused in a perverted process and marked for partisan destruction. So either he is that, or he’s a better actor than I suspect.
Evidence and Testimony
From the Republican side, Judge Kavanaugh was first questioned by Ms. Mitchell. But most of the Republican senators spoke for themselves, as did all the Democrats. Naturally, things went more smoothly with the prosecutor. She’s from his world. She speaks his language and asks clearly worded, simple, logical questions. She made no attempts to twist or misrepresent his words. She didn’t take committee members to task. She’s not running for president. And she’s not part of the cabal which has said publicly that they are trying to take him down at all costs.
At times, during the senators’ questioning, he was combative. At times he was quite restrained. At times he seemed whiny and repetitive. More than once, he interrupted a senator, which might not be the best thing a nominee could do — and he argued with Senator Leahy — but all that pales next to what he said about the minority side, especially in his opening statement.
In general, I found him authentically human.
Several times, his response did not answer the question someone asked, of which more below. While these were weaknesses in his performance, I saw them as a missed opportunities, not deal-breakers. In most of these instances, I could see how either (a) he was most of the way to an answer but didn’t close the loop, or (b) he was deliberately resisting the Democrats’ leading questions and their grandstanding.
The closest we got to actual evidence on either side was the calendar the judge used as sort of a diary, even in high school. He said he was following his father in that. But seriously, a calendar? If my whom-do-I-believe meter ended up moving a little before the day was done, at this point in the testimony my wow-what-a-dork meter was off the scale. (Bear in mind, this is almost — at least almost — something I could have done myself, when I was in high school.)
He went through the days in the summer Dr. Ford’s vague testimony suggests, especially the weekends, and there was no reference to the sort of party Dr. Ford describes. You often cannot prove a negative, and he didn’t, but in the absence of other evidence on either side, I found it somewhat convincing.
Both sides asked him for detailed accounts of some of the entries: who, what, where, and so forth, of which more below.
Beer and Slang
Judge Kavanaugh assured us that, as a youth, he liked beer. He still likes it. He drank beer, sometimes too many beers — but he swore he never drank to the point that he blacked out, and never awoke after drinking without knowing where he was or what he had been doing. This is and will be a fertile field for opponents who want to convince us that he lied under oath. We’ll see how that goes.
Social media and the Internet were soon abuzz with declarations that Judge Kavanaugh had perjured himself in a different way, because he said one term in his calendar referred to a drinking game, and another to flatulence, when they “really” refer to certain sexual acts. I am far less conversant than his accusers in the lexicon of depravity, but I do know where to find the Urban Dictionary, which is useful for a wide range of slang. It is true that those two terms there have the sexual definitions many have cited, though one of them has another definition which refers to a manner of introducing beer into the body which some young people have probably tried.
Here’s the thing: His questioners didn’t pursue either of these matters — as Ms. Mitchell didn’t pursue Dr. Ford’s bizarre inability to conceive of doing a Google search. And I do have enough experience of the world to know that there are other possible explanations for the discrepancies between his definitions and the Urban Dictionary’s. It’s entirely plausible that teenage boys would name a drinking game after a sexual act (likely one they had never performed). Moreover, words, especially slang, have evolving meanings and may mean different things to different people, in different times and places. And there’s hardly a word in the language which someone hasn’t tried to co-opt as a sexual reference. (Exhibits A thru Z: the Urban Dictionary itself.)
You may say that I’m splitting hairs here, in my desperation to exonerate a man who appeared guilty. I’m not. I’m really saying, we don’t know. Here again, the questioning didn’t take the next obvious step.
I get that he may have appeared guilty to you. He didn’t appear guilty to me.
Another thought: If these terms in his calendar, as he used them in 1982, really do mean that he participated in the acts which have the Twitterverse so twitter-pated, he’d have to be a moron to offer the calendar as evidence. He’d have to know that it would do more damage to his general claims of relatively circumspect behavior in those years than to Dr. Ford’s temporally and geographically vague accusation.
Some are also calling him a liar because he said that all the sworn statements exonerate him, when one of them, for example, simply says that someone doesn’t remember ever being at such a party. This falls short of exoneration, but it also fails to corroborate Dr. Ford’s accusation. It’s entirely plausible for him to assert that these statements combined — including the ones from people she said were there, who say they weren’t — actually do exonerate him. Or we could say he misspoke — and it would be a far more appropriate use of the verb “misspoke” than Senator Richard Blumenthal’s (D-Connecticut) claim to have merely misspoke, after crowing publicly about his heroic military service in Vietnam — where he never served.
Anyway, silly me. At the time, I just thought this was a good line, perfectly delivered by the judge, with just the right mix of restraint and dismissive disdain: “That refers to flatulence. We were sixteen.”
Judge Kavanaugh’s World
I have pondered how different Thursday’s circus was from the professional world Judge Kavanaugh inhabits. There he is in charge, of course, but there is more. There the rules of evidence, among other things, are conscientiously followed — and when they’re not, the accused may be set free, even if the violations of due process were unintentional. When the process is abused with malice aforethought, monetary, professional, and even criminal sanctions may apply.
There the presumption of innocence reigns. There a case is thrown out before the defense is heard, if the prosecution has too little evidence. And news reports are not given equal weight with sworn testimony.
There Judge Kavanaugh is one of the people who decides how the rules are applied, when there are gray areas, and judges whether others have followed them satisfactorily. Judges have keen senses of the bounds of their authority — and others’.
There a host of objections may be raised as to the framing of questions, the treatment of witnesses, and other aspects of a trial or hearing.
There juries are required to be impartial.
Instead of the relatively orderly, logical, disciplined world of the courtroom, Judge Kavanaugh found himself in a 22-ring circus, where some of his judges — or jury, if you please — have themselves egregiously abused due process in his case, and where most of them had already declared their verdict one way or another before the hearing began.
He was a human on a hostile, alien planet. How could he not be impatient with the preening, the trivia, the absurdity, the injustice … if he’s innocent?
Among the things Senators said when it was their turn to question Judge Kavanaugh were some ironies that would have been funny, if they weren’t involved in such a process. We had Senator Feinstein, who had a Chinese spy on her staff for 20 years, claiming that she and her staff weren’t the ones who leaked Dr. Ford’s letter. We had Senator Blumenthal preaching honesty. We had Senator Booker, with his silly word games, questioning someone accused of sexually assaulting someone in his youth, a crime to which he has confessed in print.
Then we had Senator Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) mixing anti-Trump rhetoric and a sermon on the importance of decency into the same five-minute statement. And Senator Harris pretending there were no differences between how Justice Gorsuch’s process was handled and how Judge Kavanaugh’s is being handled.
At least Senator Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) spoke with outward decorum, when he tried to get Judge Kavanaugh to ask for an FBI investigation. Judge Kavanaugh said he was willing to submit to whatever the committee wanted, but that wasn’t good enough for the minority. I wish he had closed the loop. He could have said, “No, it’s not my place to ask that, and I won’t insult the responsible members of this committee, who have been investigating, and who have a well-used and well-established process for conducting these investigations, by asking them to abdicate their duties.”
Likewise, when asked about one report that he was a “sloppy drunk” in high school, Kavanaugh failed to connect the dots — or went off an a tangent. If his account of taking college seriously and working very hard was relevant to the question, it was because that was inconsistent with being a drunk. But he didn’t connect the dots.
In general, the Democrats spent more time belaboring the idea of an FBI investigation than anything else, when the judge was before them. Most of them spoke as if they had no idea that any other agency, let alone the Judiciary Committee, can and does conduct investigations. Most of the Republicans seemed to be trying to respond to this, but only a few did so clearly. I thought Senators Mike Lee (R-Utah), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), and Thom Tillis (R-North Carolina) did well at this. For example, Senator Crapo explained the Judiciary Committee’s investigative authority, what they’d been doing to investigate, and how the Democrats refused to participate.
Not that the Republican Senators were all conduits of clarity and respect. Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas) asked, “Do you understand you’ve been accused of multiple crimes?” Seriously, why ask that? It sounded condescending, like the Democrats’ panegyrics for the accuser.
I was worried that Senator Hatch was about to take the process down a very bad rabbit hole, during his time. In fact, I had to turn my car off and go into a meeting just then, and it wasn’t until Friday evening, when I listened to the rest of his statement, that I realized he hadn’t gone there after all. He did make a good point, referring mostly to some disgraceful content in the judge’s high school yearbook: “That [Judge Kavanaugh] wrote or said stupid things as a teenager does not make him a sexual predator.”
Senator Hatch was in pretty good form, but he wasn’t the warrior I remember from the Clarence Thomas hearings. That role fell to Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina). If enough Republicans stand by Judge Kavanaugh to confirm him to the Supreme Court, it will be in large part on the strength of his own opening statement and this part of Senator Graham’s remarks. He’s addressing the Democrats on the committee:
“If you wanted an FBI investigation, you could have come to us. What you wanted to do was destroy this guy’s life, hold this seat open, and hope you win in 2020. You’ve said that, not me…. This the most unethical sham since I’ve been in politics, and if you really wanted to know the truth, you sure as hell wouldn’t have done what you’ve done to this guy…. Boy, you all want power. I hope you never get it. I hope the American people can see through this sham…. You knew about it [the accusasation], and you held it. You had no intention of protecting Dr. Ford.”
Now addressing Judge Kavanaugh:
“She’s as much a victim as you are…. You’re looking for a fair process? You came to the wrong town at the wrong time, my friend.”
Here’s a five-minute clip, if you want to watch Senator Graham’s statement yourself. Love it or hate it, it’s worth watching.
Links to Testimony
Here’s Dr. Ford’s opening statement:
Here’s the entire hearing, breaks and all:
I do not share, though I am aware of, the widespread hatred for either party in this hearing (meaning the accused and the accuser). Furthermore, I am a Christian, under divine commandment to love my enemies, of all people. But I would not have to work very much harder at this — perhaps if I watched this hearing two or three more times — to bring myself to hate the Democratic side of the Senate Judiciary Committee. I think they’re worse than they’ve ever been — and I’ve seen them very bad indeed, at some points in the past 31 years.
I find myself suspecting that they don’t know how to evaluate good people. They don’t even believe in good people. They only believe in what they know firsthand: hypocrisy. They’re perfectly happy to be hypocrites, if it helps them suggest that someone else is a hypocrite too.
A key problem is illustrated by a phrase that keeps recurring in discussions of all this. I heard it several times in the hearing itself. The Democrats exulted that Dr. Ford had come before them “to tell her truth” — “to tell your truth,” when they addressed her. All by itself, this familiar bit of Leftspeak suggests a fundamental problem: Their object is not to discover the truth. For them truth is more subjective than that. It’s what one feels or thinks — and it’s a very short leap from there to whatever suits their political or rhetorical purposes at the moment.
I’m sorely dismayed by Senate Democrats’ utter disregard for due process. Or, as Senator Graham put it, “You’re looking for a fair process? You came to the wrong town at the wrong time, my friend.”
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich recently quoted a speech by Abraham Lincoln in this context. Before the 1860 election, he was addressing proponents of slavery: “Your purpose, then, plainly stated, is that you will destroy the Government, unless you be allowed to construe and enforce the Constitution as you please, on all points in dispute between you and us. You will rule or ruin in all events.” (Cooper Union speech, February 27, 1860, New York City)
This, I believe, is what we have come to, not just in this confirmation process.
Friday night, after absorbing the entire hearing, I literally thanked God that there are still some people inclined and empowered to push back against these reprobates. I thanked God also for the voters who are responsible for that glimmer of hope.
Meanwhile, the Big Media Acronyms have been declaring that the Democrats won this hearing hands down. The conservatives think they won. We’ll know on or about Election Day, when we see what the voters do with the House of Representatives and the Senate — and whether, by then, Brett Kavanaugh sits on the Supreme Court.
On a purely personal note, politics and government are like drugs to me: highly addictive. That’s why I can’t live inside the Beltway for very long without growing terribly cynical. But at this point I would prefer to disavow all interest in these things and devote myself to other worthy pursuits which I enjoy more. Maybe you feel the same. But we must not do that. Good people (if that’s what we are) must not surrender. We don’t have to agree, but we must stay engaged — locally and, as best we can, at the national level. For there are some who “will rule or ruin in all events,” and they must be opposed. The threat to a free people is existential.
If I’m to take seriously something I read yesterday, we’re now to suspect the FBI of gross misconduct in the early Clinton years and doubt that Vince Foster’s death was a suicide, if that’s what it takes to defeat Judge Kavanaugh, who was involved in that investigation. See Ambrose Evans-Pritchard’s “My sinister battle with Brett Kavanaugh over the truth.”
Meanwhile, the Democrats, having obtained the brief FBI investigation they demanded, are now complaining that a few days couldn’t possibly be long enough to allow for a sufficiently broad and deep investigation. If you didn’t see that coming, you haven’t been paying attention. They’re right, of course — but this just points us back to their abuse of process. The committee could have investigated the matter thoroughly this summer, had Senator Feinstein and her staff acted responsibly.
Some Republicans are still arguing that youthful drinking and carousing are not relevant, if the former youthful carouser has since grown up and lived decently. I never drank or caroused, but I have some sympathy for this argument. However, by testifying that some things never happened at all, not just on the occasion of the alleged assault, Judge Kavanaugh has gutted that argument. It’s now a matter of whether he told the truth or lied under oath.
Many people are horrified — most of them genuinely so, I think — by what we’re hearing about a culture of illicit drinking, drug use, and sex among some young people. We’ve heard it before, and I think this is worthy of discussion as a separate issue — if we’re still interested, when its relevance to the Kavanaugh nomination has passed.
So there you have it. You may not agree, but now you know what I think. Thanks for reading.