Littwin: Kavanaugh had a point. What goes around may well come around.

Brett Kavanaugh outside the Oval Office. (Photo via whitehouse.gov)

The Senate has voted. Brett Kavanaugh has been narrowly confirmed. In a normal time, that would be the end of the story, or at least this chapter of the story.

These, as you probably know, are not normal times.

This is the time — the first time, I promise — a Supreme Court nominee has uttered the phrase “what goes around comes around” in a confirmation hearing. Was it a threat, as some inferred, or was it an assessment of this moment in history?

In either case, if the midterm elections next month go as expected and Democrats retake the House, we know what will come around. Investigations into Kavanaugh’s confirmation would become the new Benghazi, and we would expect hearing after hearing after hearing. At one point, Lindsey Graham said Kavanaugh had gone through hell during his Senate confirmation. Here’s a guess: It may well get a lot hotter. 

The ramifications of putting the hard-right Kavanaugh on the bench to replace moderately conservative Anthony Kennedy are clear. The court will move in only one direction, which is to say, backwards, meaning the long arc of the moral universal has hit a major detour. Vulnerable and under-represented communities, whose rights have often been protected by the recent courts, now wonder which of them will be hit first and which will be hit hardest by the latest version of the Roberts court.

And yet, in the short term, in the now, the story is not about the court’s future, but about the present state of the nation in which Kavanaugh was nominated and confirmed and in which Merrick Garland’s nomination was not even considered.

In the short term, it’s how the Senate Republicans, uninterested in learning the truth, condescendingly said Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony was “credible” while then blithely ignoring it. Many — let’s start with you, Susan Collins — said that they believed Ford was assaulted but that she must have fingered the wrong guy. Maybe Collins should have asked a scientist. Read this piece in The Washington Post: The experts say in cases of a known attacker, you just don’t ever get the wrong guy. And if that’s the case, either Ford lied or Kavanaugh did. 

Many Republicans sought to grab the middle ground, saying that there were very fine people on both sides, even as they watched in silence as Trump mocked and taunted Ford at a public rally, in which Ford’s name brought the not-meant-to-be-ironic chant, “Lock her up.” Orrin Hatch, who then went on to slut-shame an accuser, might as well have been in that crowd.

In what may do the most harm to the credibility of the court, Kavanaugh’s partisan attack in his final hearing confirmed the lie of the ideal that the Supreme Court was the last place in Washington rejecting partisanship. Kavanaugh said his problems stemmed from “left wing” attack groups, Democrats out to destroy him because they resented Trump’s election and, of course, vengeful Clinton defenders for Kavanaugh’s role in the Ken Starr investigation. Meanwhile, Kavanaugh insulted senators for their questions and insulted everyone with heedless lies about teenage drinking and boofing. Personally, I can’t wait for the boofing hearings next year.

Kavanaugh would later semi-apologize for his behavior — in the right-wing editorial pages ofthe Wall Street Journal. Just as he had gone on the air to make his case for nomination — but only to the slice of America that watches right-wing Fox News. He didn’t bother with the rest of America, just as Trump doesn’t bother with the rest of America. Why would anyone be convinced that Kavanaugh can be trusted to give those not in the base a fair hearing? 

Look, the fight for this seat was always going to be ideological and it was always going to be partisan and it was always going to be nasty. Mitch McConnell had successfully blocked Merrick Garland’s nomination from getting a hearing, ensuring the ugliness. Of course, the ugliness goes back years and has been seen from both sides. But now, like everything else in Washington politics, it’s worse. Just google any McConnell speech.

During the campaign, Trump had promised his Supreme Court picks would someday vote to overturn Roe v. Wade. So, of course there would be a bloody battle. But no one had any idea where the lines would be drawn until Ford entered the scene. She gave a face to the fight, a face you can now find on the cover of Time magazine. It’s the #MeToo modern face telling us of her sexual assault accusation against Kavanaugh back when they were both in high school 36 years ago.

You know the details of the story. You know the gaps in the story. You know the other women who came forward, including Colorado’s Debbie Ramirez. You know how Ramirez’s lawyer gave the FBI 20 people to contact who might be helpful in investigating her story and how the FBI, working on directions from the White House, reached out to none of them. I think we can safely call that a cover-up.

But I doubt that a real investigation would have changed any votes. Did anything we heard in Susan Collins’ 40-minute speech defending her vote for Kavanaugh suggest that the FBI investigation could have made a difference? I mean, Collins had the nerve to say she hoped Kavanaugh would be a unifying force on the court. 

A year after the #MeToo movement began, we know, too, that the the success of #BelieveWomen still rests with the not exactly good will of those who are ready to believe women only when it’s convenient.

Democratic Sen. Patty Murray said the Senate’s vote conveyed this message to boys today: “They can grab women without their consent and brag about it. They can sexually assault women, laugh about it, and they’re probably going to be fine. They can even grow up to be president of the United States or a justice on the Supreme Court.”

This will all play out, of course, in the midterms, and we’ll see who is more fired up — those in the #MeToo movement or those in the Trumpian #ScaryTimeForYoungMen movement. The conventional wisdom is that the whole ugly process will help Democrats in suburban House districts and help Republicans in red-state Senate votes. I’m guessing it will be a disaster for Republicans in socially moderate to liberal Colorado. Predictably, Jared Polis opposed Kavanaugh and Walker Stapleton said he would have voted for him.

But it’s all guesswork. We’re at another crisis point in the continuing crisis of Trumpworld. In a month, we’ll have a better idea if the country cares.

8 COMMENTS

  1. I watched and listened to everything I could on online and off regarding both parties. I was horrified by Trump’s actions, and the lack of the Republican’s actions. This included, but is not limited to, Helsinki, North Korea “love notes,” the lack of security for our voting process, the degrading of Dr. Ford by the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES! The “grow up” comment by Senator Hatch, who works for the American people, he seems to have forgotten that, and the list goes on and on. However, the one thing that really angered me was the complete lack of respect not only for women in general, but for sexual abuse victims, such as me. I have never seen anything like this in all my 65 years. There was no maybe by this Republican party, it was “Kavanaugh will be voted in” despite the feelings of the American people and the lack of a decent investigation. This told me that this Republican party can’t even follow their own motto “family values,” and they don’t represent the people. They are greedy, and in their positions for the money and control of America. The 2017 Tax Bill also said a lot. I could go on, however, I have two more things to say, this Independent will NOT be voting for any Republican and I hope the Americans who love their country do their civic duty and vote against this disgusting Republican party. This Judiciary Committee needs to be voted out and new younger blood put in, they are too set in their ways to represent anyone, but themselves.

  2. Fourth justice on this court to be appointed by a “president” who failed to win the majority of votes. Ironically all four have viewpoints also not shared by the majority of Americans.

    Bob Keeshan would be proud.

  3. In the end, it didn’t matter to me if Ford was telling the truth or not. It was Kavanaugh’s behavior and attitude during his testimony that disqualified him. I expect judges to be cool, dispassionate, and self-possessed to a fault, and when under oath to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. He failed on all counts.

  4. If the only reason to not put Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court was the testimony of Blasey Ford, I can understand people coming to different conclusions. I don’t like it, I don’t think it is a correct judgment, but I can understand it. No one knows what emerged from the investigation other than the members of the Senate, and they are constrained from speaking of specifics.

    The lying and the partisanship were not addressed in what I read about the comments of Senators voting to confirm. So ew have someone who lied about things simple and relatively innocuous whether or not he watched Blasey Ford’s testimony. About more serious things like when he began his efforts to counter an accusation by Ramirez. About his time in the Bush White House. And about deadly serious things, like what he contributed to the Bush era discussions about torture/”extreme interrogation.”

    We won’t be able to do much directly about Kavanaugh unless new evidence or new claims emerge. But the ugliness of this process must have gotten through to people on EVERY side of the issue – so perhaps there can be discussions about how to set up a better process for the future, ones to insure a better view of the Court and its place in our government. If the Court is seen as only a partisan prize to be won, we will be well down the road to this generation’s “last, best hope” for democracy.

  5. Now that all you lefties have had your say, do you feel better? Now on to win the midterms. Republicans will keep the senate may lose the house.

  6. Elections have consequences

    50-48

    “Hiding news that doesn’t fit an ideological or a partisan agenda is perhaps the worst form of media bias. And it’s one more reason the public holds the press is such low esteem.” – Investor’s Business Daily

    “(Mr. Trump) won’t be president. He was sliding in the polls before the video, and the video now means that he has no way to climb back. Which independent voter, which suburban woman, which Main Street Republican on the fence is going to vote for Trump now?” – Mike Littwin

    “The only remaining question in the presidential race is how badly (or, if you will, how bigly) Donald Trump will lose.” _ Mike Littwin

    Magical thinking: The belief that one’s own thoughts, wishes, or desires can influence the external world. It is common in very young children. – Radiotherapy

    President Trump 306 Electoral votes
    Hillary Clinton 232

    #droptheMike
    }{

    The confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court is a victory not only for those Americans who believe in majority rule but also for those Americans who believe the tyranny of the minority should not be rewarded.

    And the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court is a victory not only for those Americans who still believe a person is innocent until proven guilty but also a victory for our president who in less than two years has reshaped the Supreme Court for a generation and whose approval rating according to a Rasmussen daily Presidential Tracking Poll has risen to 51 percent.

    Finally, the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court is a victory not only for those Americans who have the ability to accept facts, no matter how inconvenient or at odds with their current viewpoint but also a victory for those Americans with the ability to recognize BS for what it is.

    November 08, 2016

    “’Cause I don’t have no use
    For what you loosely call the truth” – Tina Turner

    Flags of Valor
    Folds of Honor
    Special Operations Warriors Foundation

    Veterans Day – November 11, 2018

  7. I’m an army brat and proud Democrat, I am sickened by the adoration of this draft-dodging President and what he and his supporters are doing to undermine our democratic institutions and ideals. Huey Long was right — When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag.

  8. The real facts here, regardless of whether you like Kavanaugh or not, the fact is, the Democrat hierarchy had already made up their mind, they were going to oppose ANYONE that President Trump appointed, regardless of qualifications, ability, or ideology, it was not about any of that or the man, it was about WHO appointed him. Ms. Ford had years to come forward, including several times when Judge Kavanaugh was being scrutinized for PREVIOUS appointments and she was silent, that speaks louder than her words this time. So much is said about FAR RIGHT LEANING Kavanaugh, the more accurate description is CONSTITUTIONAL LEANING, he believes in the constitution, that is what drives the left insane, including far left Mike Littwin, to the left the constitution is in their way and they hate anyone who gets in their way. Our system of justice demands that people are presumed innocent until PROVEN GUILTY, allegations from 35 years ago (well maybe Ms. Ford was a little sketchy on the time line) are just not valid proof. Many of these same people, hypocrites all, were very quick to defend Bill Clinton against multiple accusers with much better cases, to them it is all about whose horse is in the race, not what was supposedly done. This whole fiasco was little more than a dog and pony show put on by Schumer and company and yes actions have consequences, I believe the American voting public has been exposed to the real Democrat party and it was not a pretty sight, time will tell.

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