GOP Senators Just Can't Quit Justice Kavanaugh
Things look grim for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. We say this every day, I know, but Monday ended with revelations that Kavanaugh allegedly tried to tamper with witnesses and, worst of all, might have picked a fight with guy he drunkenly believed was the lead singer of UB40. Who knows what Tuesday might bring? We could learn Kavanaugh continued his vendetta against blue-eyed soul bands and got in a brawl with someone he thought was the lead vocalist from Simply Red.
But Republicans, like Rick Astley, are never gonna give up on Brett Kavanaugh. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell promises a vote this week on the judge, regardless of what the FBI uncovers. That's either because he knows the fix is in or the GOP has been successful in dismissing the charges against him as "youthful indiscretions," including the alleged perjury from just last week. Rich Lowry in the National Review (no, I won't link to it) implicitly casts Kavanaugh as Tom Robinson from "To Kill a Mockinbird," the innocent black man wrongly accused of rape by the "white trash" Mayella Ewell (that would be Christine Blasey Ford in Lowry's modern update). The left, I guess, is the "racist mob" that kills Robinson. This is the point where I remind everyone that neither Kavanaugh's liberty nor his property are at stake, just a prestigious job he really wants.
Back in 2004, Howard Dean lost out on a dream job because he screamed like a loon, and he was a model of composure next to Kavanaugh's unhinged ranting last Thursday. You'd have thought Dianne Feinstein had asked him to go home and get his shine box. Conservatives have made endless excuses for his behavior. Wouldn't you be angry if you were wrongly accused of sexual assault and willingly attending UB40 concerts? Sure, but he was in front of the US Senate. Keep it together, man. I know if the cops burst into my house during my kid's birthday party and wrongly charged me with running a child porn ring, every common Megyn Kelly would blame me for not remaining as cool as Fonzie until it was all cleared up. The brothers who were arrested for sitting in a Philadelphia Starbucks managed to stay calm when they were cuffed and led away -- probably because they knew they'd be Freddie Grayed or Eric Garnered otherwise.
Tuesday at the Atlantic Fest, retiring Senator Jeff Flake expressed moderate RINO concern about Kavanaugh's temperament. He was willing to give his fellow white guy some "leeway" because of "what he'd been through," which again is what any American accused of a crime has to endure, but he wasn't down with Kavanaugh's "sharp and partisan" interactions with the Senate. Flake insisted that "we can't have this on the Court. We simply can't."
So, is Flake a "no"? Kavanaugh hasn't apologized for his Trump-like antics. He also swore Khan-like vengeance on the Democratic Party. It's already jotted down in his 2019 calendar like Jack Torrance's manuscript: "All work and no revenge against the liberals who tried to destroy me makes Brett a dull boy." Not so fast. Flake's words don't always materialize into actions. The Atlantic's Elaina Plott followed up with Flake for confirmation and the senator "appeared rattled." His staff rushed him into a stairwell (wisely avoiding elevators), and his "stammering" response was "I didn't say that…" and the baffling "I wasn't referring to him." Who the hell were you talking about? If it was Merrick Garland, then you're right. We can't have him on the Court. McConnell saw to it.
Flake will probably disappoint us again and vote to confirm Kavanaugh even if the FBI discovers that he was a member of an underground fight club in the late '90s. I can practically see the headline for the inevitable Federalist think piece: Democrats Willingly Watched Fight Club And Now They Want To Criticize Someone For Belonging To One. Typical Clinton-loving Liberal Hypocrisy.
But even if Kavanaugh falls short when it's time to vote this week, Lindsey Graham swears it's not over yet. He appeared on "Hannity" Monday and said he'd advise President Trump to "appeal the verdict of the Senate to the ballot box.... This good man should not be destroyed." Activate eye-roll emojis, y'all. So, what does all this melodramatic nonsense mean? Looks like Graham wants Trump to remake Weekend at Bernie's with Brett Kavanaugh and trot him out to the states Trump won and "take the case to the American people." This is a curious choice, because Kavanaugh has never been popular with the American voters, even if you only count white people (as I'm sure Graham does when has trouble falling asleep). Quinnipiac released a poll Monday that showed 48 percent of all voters and 55 percent of women oppose Kavanaugh's confirmation.
I'm not sure why someone with Trump's background in TV would want to "reboot" this loser if he gets cancelled. It's like when they kept remaking that show "Cupid." Who would enjoy that? If you ask Senator Bob Corker, it would be the survivors of sexual assault who fiercely protest Kavanaugh's confirmation.
I don't think survivors want to spend their days begging white men to not dismiss their suffering and experiences by elevating to the highest court in the land a man accused of sexual assault. There are a lot of conservative judges willing to roll back women's rights who don't have Kavanaugh's metaphorical (for now, at least) rap sheet. The right's devotion to him feels more than a little sadistic.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He recently fled Seattle, where he did theatre work for Book-It Rep and Cafe Nordo.