Thank you, Jeff Flake. Finally, someone from the spineless, soulless Republican Party connected to his conscience.
But please, let’s not get carried away here. Yes, there is a pause, a reprieve from this madness, but it took two traumatized women -one who was revealing her assault for the first time and whose mother watched her do it live on TV, no less- standing in an elevator pleading: “Look at me when I’m talking to you! You’re telling me that my assault doesn’t matter. That what happened to me doesn’t matter!” at Flake for him to do what could and should have been done before the hearing was ever conducted: require further investigation in to the sexual assault allegations. I guess you could call him heroic or you can just say he was the only Republican willing not to say “Fuck You” to #MeToo!
The hearing was in Groucho Marx’s words: “a mockery of a travesty of a sham.”
The idea that the Republicans were interested in really listening to Blasey Ford was a joke. How could you watch her tell her story, a story that one in four women in this country could tell, and not find her credible-at least credible enough to want more information, to not “plow through.”
In my last piece “All Mixed Up And Nowhere To Go,” I ended with the following, regarding the build up to the hearing”
Yes, let’s “plow through,” “unfazed and determined” as we have our way with Ms Blasey Ford, as we stifle her right to have witnesses (hold a hand over her mouth), while we bully and demean her, blame her, question the validity of her experience, praise the guy for showing restraint, question her capacity to identify her assaulter. In other words, let’s treat her the same way Kavanaugh did.
The Republicans, those “Pigs in a Blanket,” were so fearful of their own impulses and misogyny that they didn’t have the nerve to question Ms. Blasey Ford. They held their collective breaths and sat on their hands while Rachel Mitchell, a sex crimes prosecutor, did their dirty work. As she gently probed Ms. Blasey Ford they were probably thinking: What the fuck is that woman doing? What’s with the softball shit?” She’s making the witness seem sympathetic.” “We should have never hired that lady assistant to do our bidding.”
It is very possible that at some point in Blasey’s testimony, Mitchell, who had been part of many sexual assault investigations started thinking: “This woman is about as credible a witness I have ever interviewed and felt guilty about playing hardball.”
Then Kavanaugh came out swinging. Rumor has it that he was secretly funneled in to the White House at 3:00 AM to be coached by The Don. Here’s what I imagined happened:
The Don: Brett, Brett, Brett, that performance on Fox News was so sad, so sad. You looked like a robot. What’s with this “I just want a fair…”? Life isn’t about fairness, it’s about taking what you want no matter what you have to do it; it’s about using your power as a white man to take what’s rightfully yours. Stop being so meek. Show us the football player in you. Show us the ugly, privileged guy who believes he deserves to get whatever he wants.
Brett: You’re right Mr. President, you’re 100% right. You know I am not always this mild mannered. Just ask my wife. (He laughs.) She’s been on the wrong side of a few outbursts. (Laughs nervously again.)
The Don: That’s what I’m talking about. We’ve all done that stuff, Brett. Take a lesson from me: I got 63 million people to vote for me with my anger and belligerence: I even got their votes after the Access Hollywood tapes! I bullied and bluffed my way through. You need to feel invincible out there. You need to deflect, distract and lie if you have to. We need you on that court; you worked your whole life to get here. This belongs to you-it’s your birthright! So you did some shit to women when you were drunk. I did it when I was sober! Ha! So go out and get them.
Brett: Yes, Mr. President.
The Don: Oh before you go, Hannity says if it is going south go full frontal with the left wing conspiracy-Clinton thing they spoke to you about.
Brett: Yes, Sir
The Don: And Brett, welcome to the club.
And Kavanaugh took that script and took it to the mat.
Let’s look at Kavanaugh’s Trumpian performance.
Hyperbolic outrage? Yes
Conspiracy theorist? Yes
Lying? Yes, Yes, Yes!
Let’s look at all the lies going back to his initial hearings with the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Kavanaugh was asked if he was involved with a scheme to steal Democratic staff e-mails related to judicial confirmations. He lied about it. E-mails showed that he was involved.
In 2006, Kavanaugh was asked if he was involved in the controversial nomination of federal Judge Charles Pickering. He lied about that too and said he was not.
In 2006, Kavanaugh was asked about his role in the nomination of William Haynes, the Pentagon general counsel involved in creating the Bush administration’s interrogation policies. He lied about that.
Then during the hearing he lied some more:
He said the term “devil’s triangle” in his yearbook entry referred to a drinking game. Google it. It doesn’t.
He said the word “boof” referred to flatulence. Again, no (it is a comment about anal sex).
Then there was his assertion that his yearbook description of himself as a “Renate Alumnius” was meant only to signify his friendship with Renate Dolphin, a woman who attended another school and socialized with Kavanaugh. Other football players were described as “Renate Alumni.” You know what they meant to insinuate.*
What I witnessed was a self-pitying, smug, belligerent man who was outraged that his white male privilege was being questioned. What I saw was a desperate man attempting to lie his way to become a Supreme Court Judge, just like Clarence Thomas did in 1971, which clearly shows that Thomas was lying. (You must read Jill Abramson’s February 2018 article for New York Magazine “Do You Believe Her Now?”)
And the consequences of not conducting the Hill debacle to its most honest and fullest conclusion is that we already have one sexual predator in the highest court in our land whose voting on women’s issues have been a frontal assault on women.**
But the moment of truth in the hearing came when Lindsey Graham-the grandest “pig in the blanket”, the pig that gets the prize at the county fair, saw Brett faltering and like Jack Nicholas in “A Few Good Men” exploded in righteous indignation about how awful and outrageous it was to treat such a good man so terribly.
The gloves were off and any thought that the Republicans had really listened to Blasey Ford and cared at all about the trauma of women who were sexually assaulted when out the window.
And then we have The Don who stated that Ms Blasey Ford was “compelling” and “credible.” But then his true sentiment came shining through in his tweet about Kavanaugh’s testimony:
Judge Kavanaugh showed America exactly why I nominated him. His testimony was powerful, honest, and riveting. Democrats’ search and destroy strategy is disgraceful and this process has been a total sham and effort to delay, obstruct, and resist. The Senate must vote!
So much for credible Ms. Blasey Ford! No match for Brett’s powerful and riveting as it always comes down to power!
And then to show his continued devaluation of women, The Don ginned up (or should I say “beered up” in honor of Brett’s love of beer!) a West Virginia crowd by mocking Diane Feinstein, the 85-year-old Democratic Senator. Later, he called Democrats “disgraceful political hacks” and accused them of trying to stop Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination because they were “nasty” and “angry people” who are willing to sacrifice anyone who gets in their way.
“You see the meanness, the nastiness,” Mr. Trump said. “They don’t care who they hurt, who they have to run over in order to get power and control. That’s what they want, power and control. We are not going to give it to them.”
So now we have an FBI investigation that may or may not allow the F.B.I. to do a meaningful job. I fear that Groucho Marx’s words will ring true again:”This is a mockery of a tragedy of a sham.”
In other words, “Fuck you to women, and Fuck You To #MeToo”.
*As former FBI director James Comey put it on Twitter: “Small lies matter, even about yearbooks.” The standard jury instruction, he noted, says: “If a witness is shown knowingly to have testified falsely about any material matter, you have a right to distrust such witness’ other testimony and you may reject all the testimony of that witness.”
**“Thomas typically votes against reproductive choice: In 2007, he was in the 5-4 majority in Gonzales v. Carhart that upheld the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003. He voted to weaken equal-pay protections in the Court’s congressionally overruled decision in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire. He joined the majority decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, holding that an employer’s religious objections can override the rights of its women employees…in one of the most underreported decisions of the last several years, Thomas cast the key fifth vote to hobble the federal prohibition on harassment in the workplace.
Thank you for your excellent article. I like the Groucho Marx quote which I will commit to memory and use whenever appropriate, which seems to be a lot during these dark days.