I don’t often think fondly of Christopher Hitchens, but an insight of my ex-friend did brighten my eyes during the last week.
Specifically, after I sent out a series of news releases effectively arguing that then-President Bill Clinton should be impeached “for the right reasons”–specifically, illegal bombings, Hitchens objected. He argued that the distinction between Clinton’s personal and professional actions was a false one, that “it’s all part of the same scummy guy.”
As some argue that Kavanaugh shouldn’t be judged on actions he committed when he was 17, are they pretending they are ignorant of his professional record, of his pattern of lying under oath even before Ford came forward?
Are we to act as though Kavanaugh’s apparent attempted rape of Christine Blasey Ford has no relation to his backing torture?
Are we supposed to pretend that there’s no connection between being a privileged hoodlum and flacking for corrupt presidents and corporations?
Are we supposed to just go along as though there’s no relationship between putting misogynistic crap on your high school yearbook and expecting to get away with it and brazenly lying about it under oath decades later?
Should we really pretend that having a high school cabal who clearly seem to use their sense of privilege (Kavanaugh’s mother was a judge) to get away with whatever they want to do doesn’t relate to cliquish associations like the Federalist Society, using the law to further the interests of elites?
The problem is the the power of privilege that causes silence among those who are not part of it.
Where are those “values voters” I hear about?
I’ve heard feminists say to the point of cliché that rape “isn’t about sex, it’s about power”. I’ve seen a few articles pointing out the “power of sexual violence” exposed by Ford’s testimony, but virtually no utterance connecting that violence and will to power to Kavanaugh’s professional work.
Kavanaugh didn’t just apparently try to rape Ford years ago, he shamelessly lied about it now, openly falsifying what terms he used meant — as he lied under oath about other things regarding is professional work to the Senate Judiciary Committee. With Barely. Anyone. Raising. Their. Voice. At. Him.
Kavanaugh–like Oliver North and Clarence Thomas before him –was able to use a faux anger to bully punching bag Democrats who seemed more concerned about appearing judicious than winning. Many ask if Kavanaugh has the temperament to be a judge, almost to preclude more substantial arguments against him. The unasked question is if the Democrats have the temperament to be effective.
Who showed fire in their belly and articulated Kavanaugh’s lying under oath? Who went for the jugular? Sen. Dick Durbin came close to doing so about Kavanaugh failing to call for an FBI investigation–and then a (pathetic) FBI investigation happened. That should be a lesson.
Kavanaugh, when he was working for Ken Starr, suggested that Clinton be asked “If Monica Lewinsky says you inserted a cigar into her vagina while you were in the Oval Office area, would she be lying?”
Where was the senator asking “If someone says ‘boofing’ means anal sex and not flatulence as you claim and ‘Devil’s Triangle isn’t a drinking game as you claim under oath, but a reference to sex between two males and a female, would they be lying?” or “Amnesty International has recommended that your nomination be slowed since you could be involved in violations of international law. So, are you a war criminal?”
Such a senator was not to be found. Some senators laid the basis for showing Kavanaugh lied under oath. And perhaps they expect that he will be impeached once they get a majority. But who knows what happens between now and then.
In terms of making the case to the public in a way that could not be ignored, they at best fell short. The best a few senators could bring themselves to do was mumble something about perjury when what was needed was to do down the litany.
By contrast, it would appear Kavanaugh, who was charged with getting right-wing judges through congress during the Bush administration, rolled out his own nomination by inoculating himself against the weakness he knew he had: Stressing his credentials as a girl’s basketball coaching, loving dad to his daughters and mentor to females in the legal profession.
And then he and Republican senators put on their act of moral outrage that should have come from the critics of Kavanaugh. Perhaps there was some of the genuine anger in the streets in protests against Kavanaugh– that seem to have come too little too late–but at best rarely from the committee hearing room.
And those optics largely prevailed: all part of the same scummy system.
(Sam Husseini writes for CounterPunch … where this piece originated.)