Did the Kavanaugh hearings help Trump?

As I’ve written before, my feeling, based on what I know and the testimony I heard, is that Brett Kavanaugh was guilty of sexual assault or malfeasance. Now I think he’s guilty not just of lying about that, but lying about many things, and that is perjury and disqualifies him from the Supreme Court. But I would have voted against him because of his extreme ideology before any of the accusations surfaced.

Is the testimony against Kavanaugh by Christine Ford and others absolutely damning, showing beyond a reasonable doubt? No, they don’t. We can’t be even 95% certain that Ford was correct. (I think we can be more certain that he lied about various things).  But do the data make it seem more likely than not that Kavanaugh is temperamentally and ideologically unsuited for the Court? Yes, that’s my judgment. Your mileage will vary. And, as I predicted, I don’t think he’ll make it to the Senate’s voting stage, but if he does, he won’t be approved. Again, I may well be wrong.

No matter what happens, though, I felt that the hearings were an embarrassment for nearly everyone: Democrats, Republicans, and Kavanaugh (Ford at least behaved with decorum). And I have no idea how either the approval or rejection of Kavanaugh will play out in the midterm elections.

But Seth Mandel, in the Atlantic article published yesterday (click on screenshot below), thinks that they’re helping Trump.

I’m not sure I agree, for if the judge is approved it’s going to turn many women on the fence against the GOP, and bring to the polls all those liberal women who didn’t vote in 2016. But let us hear what Mandel has to say. First, note that, like me, he’s against Kavanaugh’s confirmation:

I find Ford’s allegation to be credible, her behavior admirable, her bravery undeniable. But I also understand that there simply isn’t enough corroborating evidence to justify the certainty we’re seeing on either side, and that the 11th-hour leaking of the allegation—Senator Dianne Feinstein had Ford’s letter in her possession through the entire process—reeked of “October surprise” politics. Still, I have advocated consistently that Kavanaugh’s nomination be withdrawn. [JAC: I can’t say that my opinion of Feinstein has been burnished by her behavior at the hearings.]

. . . Christine Blasey Ford has acted honorably, with grace and care far beyond what we should in good conscience demand of a victim of sexual assault. But instead of having her warning quietly passed along, she was forced to offer her story in a grotesque spectacle, against her clear intentions. I have said multiple times that the White House should not advance Kavanaugh’s nomination any further. But those who carefully considered Thursday’s testimonies and concluded they could not in good faith reject his heartfelt denial are not rape apologists. Tarring them as such is a deliberate act to erase the distinctions between Trump and his critics on the right, and to then blame that erasure on the targets of a smear campaign.

Rape apologists? Yes, that’s what the Women’s March said about every Republican who voted to advance Kavanaugh’s nomination. That’s a bit strong, and I wouldn’t characterize every Republican member of the panel in that way—especially Jeff Flake, who made the Republicans get the FBI to investigate. Yet he, too was smeared, and unfairly (click on screenshot below to see the March’s whole thread):

What we are seeing, I think, is a clash of completely polarized ideologies that uses Kavanaugh as an fulcrum. It’s the polarization itself that is the big problem in our country, and it’s largely, but not completely, because of the Republicans and Donald Trump. What should we, as liberals, do? What Mandel doesn’t think we should do is engage in smear campaigns. (My own bête noire is the mantra “Believe survivors”, which is tautological, begs the question in the correct sense of that term, and also contravenes the basic principles of fairness. What we should be saying is: “We will take the claims of accusers very seriously and investigate them thoroughly if the accusers wish it.)

We have two choices. Since the Republicans and Trump are odious, almost beyond belief in their mendacity and stupidity, we could demonize them and lash out at them, which is what we saw last week. The other choice is to TRY to find some common ground, and, in the process, at least behave according to our own principles, and with decency. We should not accost our opponents in restaurants and harass them mercilessly, nor should we call people like Jeff Flake a “rape apologist”. What good do these things do?

You might say, “Well, nothing we can do will put even a dent in Republican truculence, so we might as well use their playbook.” I’m not at that point, and doubt I’ll ever be. It’s uncivil and accomplishes nothing. At least being a bit more conciliatory has a chance of working. That doesn’t mean being sympathetic to Kavanaugh, but simply being civil to our opponents and trying our best to convert them. And that’s what Mandel has to say. He ends his piece like this:

In contemporary American politics, persuasion is increasingly abandoned in favor of disqualification. The goal of partisans is often to convince their own side why they must not even listen to the other side.

The result is the eradication of principle from public life. Republicans’ treatment of Merrick Garland—Barack Obama’s nominee who was not even granted a hearing, let alone a vote—was atrocious. Along with others on the right, I said so at the time. But the sheer number of times liberals raise Garland as an answer to the Democrats’ procedural perversions is astonishing—as if what matters is not Kavanaugh’s guilt or innocence, but the satisfaction of partisan bloodlust.

One of the tragedies in all this is that leftists have identified those on the right who have been and are prepared to be their allies—Never Trumpers and others—and prioritized such people for destruction. I have said multiple times that the White House should not advance Kavanaugh’s nomination any further. But those who disagree with me, on principle, are not rape apologists. And labeling them so sends an unmistakable message: You would be a fool to reach across the aisle and work with Democrats to rein in the excesses of your colleagues.

This is what enabling Trump looks like: torpedoing efforts that could incentivize constraining his worst instincts. Such people consider themselves the “resistance” to the president. In reality, they are painting the country Trump. The rest of us can only hope they fail.

The sentences in bold ring true to me. Yes, many Republicans are mendacious and acting not out of principle but out of a misguided adherence to a warped ideology. But not all of them. On my part, I think we have to rein in the hysteria and demonization, while at the same time searching for the truth. I know politics isn’t science, but in science we convince our opponents with the facts, not by calling them jerks. Since nobody knows the facts in the Kavanaugh case, we must make the best judgment we can and recognize that at least some of our opponents are honorable people.

h/t: Grania


  1. mikeyc
    Posted October 2, 2018 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    My thoughts exactly. Well said, by both.

  2. dd
    Posted October 2, 2018 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

    Did anyone read the report that Rachel Mitchell, the lady hired by the GOP to act as interlocutor (since all GOP on the panel were males)?

    I was wondering what people thought…and I don’t mean the part where she stipulates about whether a legal charge can be made.

    Rather, I mean pages 2 to the end where she lists events and a timeline.


    • Posted October 2, 2018 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

      I read it. I thought it was fair as far as it went. It did little more than point out gaps in Ford’s account. For example, (a) running out of the house without interacting with anyone, (b) needing to get a ride home, and (c) not remembering how she got home are worth probing further. However, she wasn’t allowed to interview Kavanaugh so it is totally one-sided. I have to think if she had questions Kav, she would have had a field day analyzing his testimony.

      • rickflick
        Posted October 2, 2018 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

        Mitchell did interview Kavanaugh, but, of course, she was interrupted every 5 minutes.

        • Posted October 2, 2018 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

          She didn’t get very far though. Didn’t the GOP cut her off after she started focusing on the infamous July 1, 1982 calendar entry?

          • rickflick
            Posted October 2, 2018 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

            I don’t think the GOP knows how incriminating that looks. Later on in his closing, Sheldon Whitehouse discussed the entry in detail. Stunning really. It looks like that was the day. Everyone was there that had to be there. I’m pretty sure the FBI had already scoped that out days in advance and scheduled interviews based on those names.

          • rickflick
            Posted October 2, 2018 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

            OK. This in the WaPo:

            The bureau on Tuesday spoke with Tim Gaudette, a Georgetown Prep classmate of Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh, …

            Gaudette’s home was the site of a July 1, 1982, party that Kavanaugh references on the calendar submitted to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Lawmakers have zeroed in on this entry as they question Kavanaugh’s testimony in response to Christine Blasey Ford’s allegations.

  3. Posted October 2, 2018 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    The coverup has to stop! The FBI MUST interview Donkey Dong Doug and Gang Bang Gary. 🙂

  4. Posted October 2, 2018 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    I go along with what you say here but here’s a test question. Say the Dems take over both House and Senate in November. Say another Supreme Court Justice dies or retires. Should Dems block Trump’s pick like the GOP did Garland? I think they would be justified though they should also promise that it is a one-off response to Garland and follow it with legislation that prevents such shenanigans in the future.

    • Posted October 2, 2018 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

      I don’t think there should be a tit for tat rejection. It depends on whom Trump nominates. Isn’t that the right thing to do?

      • Mark R.
        Posted October 2, 2018 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

        “It depends on whom Trump nominates.”

        He’ll nominate someone off the list provided by the Federalist Society- like Gorsuch and Kavanaugh. They’re all cut from the same cloth: anti-woman rights, anti-gay rights, anti-worker rights, anti-immigration, anti-science and thus anti-environment; and they’re all pro money in politics, pro corporate-power/kleptocracy, pro religion before constitution, pro-keeping power by any and all means necessary.

        Ideologically, they are all the same, the amount of baggage they carry is, of course, what separates them and this particular nomination has shown to be an airplane’s worth of baggage. But another outlier for Kavanaugh is that he has written that a sitting President cannot be indicted for any crime while in office; he’s too busy and important. Thus, a big reason why Trump wants this wreck of a man since he is clearly on Trump’s side…bipartisanship has left the building years ago.

        So I’m with Paul, if we’re lucky enough to get power back, block the hell out of any Trump nominee. Hell, if we do end up blocking him consistently like Mitchell did Garland, maybe Trump will pick someone like Garland. At this point, I see the chance of that fading to zero.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted October 2, 2018 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

        At this juncture, it seems all but impossible that a president of one party will again be able to get a SCOTUS nominee through a senate controlled by the opposing party. The Garland fiasco, and exercising the “nuclear option” on the filibuster, seems to have destroyed the last vestige of any compromise element finding its way back into the Advise & Consent function of senate.

        I think it will take some type of structural change to the senate, and some senators (and a president) willing to resist party pressure to act as statesmen for the good of the country, to change that.

        • Randall Schenck
          Posted October 2, 2018 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

          The structural change you are looking for is a constitutional amendment or two. One with public financing for our federal elections, no more private money.

        • rickflick
          Posted October 2, 2018 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

          A small structural change involving the Court itself would help relieve some of the desperation from the process: Term limits for Judges.

    • ploubere
      Posted October 2, 2018 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

      The dems won’t refuse to consider a nomination as McConnell did, but they won’t vote to confirm a hard right ideologue such as Kavanaugh.

      • rickflick
        Posted October 2, 2018 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

        Which means, I think, that the court would remain shorthanded until DT “retires”.

      • Posted October 2, 2018 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

        What’s your source? I don’t expect the Dems to come out with their plans until the event. For the scenario to occur, first they have to have control of Congress and then a SCOTUS vacancy needs to appear. No sense talking about blocking anything before that.

    • eric
      Posted October 2, 2018 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

      In that case, I think they should negotiate with Trump to fill the spot with a moderate. Trump wins by adding another justice, the Dems win by taking the high road.

      But the sheer number of times liberals raise Garland as an answer to the Democrats’ procedural perversions is astonishing—as if what matters is not Kavanaugh’s guilt or innocence, but the satisfaction of partisan bloodlust.

      There is certainly a risk of descending into tit for tat. However, the author fails to point out that Garland get mentioned most of the time in response to McConnell complaining about process delays. And the valid, legitimate point in bringing up Garland when McConnell does that is to highlight that McConnell is a blatant hypocrite, and has no right to complain about a couple extra weeks of FBI investigation given his past action.

      • Posted October 2, 2018 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

        “… the Dems win by taking the high road.”

        Isn’t it too late for that? As far as I’m concerned, the Dems have taken the high road for the most part. I know they aren’t completely pure but nothing they’ve done comes close to the kind of thing the GOP has gotten away with. Are there voters left that will give Dems credit for taking the high road? I still see so many people, even among commenters here, that talk about both sides being as bad as each other.

  5. Posted October 2, 2018 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    The polls are showing the white women in suburbs are leaving the GOP over this. That should reflect in the Nov. vote. However, my prowels on the conservative blogs and contacts with rural republicans show that the hearings have made them more convinced to maintain their support of Trump and intensified their hatred and sustain for Democrats. Senator Graham has
    more support and admiration among conservatives than ever. His senate seat has not been put in danger by his deranged rants in the slightest. Much to the contrary.

    • darrelle
      Posted October 2, 2018 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

      “Senator Graham has
      more support and admiration among conservatives than ever. His senate seat has not been put in danger by his deranged rants in the slightest. Much to the contrary.

      And if all you had was a nutshell’s worth of space to describe the problem in the US these days, that’s it right there.

      • Posted October 2, 2018 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

        That about sums it up. You are right.

      • Posted October 2, 2018 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

        Despicables, anyone?

        • darrelle
          Posted October 3, 2018 at 8:41 am | Permalink

          I think so.

      • Mark R.
        Posted October 2, 2018 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

        Especially Southern politics and politicians. At the moment, that whole block is a danger to secular democracy.

        Did anyone else see John Oliver’s bit on the Kavanaugh hearing? Funny and informative as ever, but his takedown of Graham was especially delicious. His conclusion, which I have to agree with, is that the Republicans (and their constituents) have the attitude of: “We believe Dr. Ford, we just don’t care.” And the Kavanaugh nomination at this point can be seen as a symbolic: “fuck democrats and fuck women”.

        • Posted October 2, 2018 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

          Yeah, John Oliver is great. Graham’s rant came off as very calculated. They get a lot of mileage out of portraying the Dem’s effort as unfair to Kavanaugh, trashing his good name for something as trivial as drinking a lot in high school. It doesn’t convince me but I recognize it as a good strategy for the GOP.

        • darrelle
          Posted October 3, 2018 at 8:42 am | Permalink

          I haven’t but I am definitely going to look that up. Thanks for pointing it out.

      • Saul Sorrell-Till
        Posted October 2, 2018 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

        That sanctimonious bullshit rant of his absolutely infuriated me, partly because I could see how well it would play with the ‘persecuted old white male’ demographic, who believe that you can’t even squeeze a woman’s tit on the bus without someone complaining about it, but also because the Dems did absolutely nothing to counter it.

        It was an outrageous piece of chutzpah, to complain that a man who wants to be elected to the most powerful court in the land has had his ‘life ruined’ simply because he’s being put under the barest amount of scrutiny he deserves. Someone on the Democratic side should have hit him back on that, not let it hang there in the air.

        • gluonspring
          Posted October 2, 2018 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

          Yeah. His claim that his family “has been destroyed” was particularly over-the-top. Destroyed? I see them all there sitting right behind you. They are not in hiding. Your wife hasn’t divorced you. Your kids will not be prevented from going to the best schools money and privilege can buy. I bet his whole family will come out of this a lot richer, one way or another, than before this started. That’s how the world he lives in works.

          I didn’t like his judicial/political views, but I had no opinion about the man himself at all before watching his testimony. Watching his sense of entitled privilege, like we owe him a Supreme Court seat as his due in life, made me really hate the guy.

        • Michael Waterhouse
          Posted October 3, 2018 at 3:44 am | Permalink

          “The barest amount of scrutiny”

          • Saul Sorrell-Till
            Posted October 3, 2018 at 4:41 am | Permalink

            Are you telling me that he should be receiving less scrutiny?

        • darrelle
          Posted October 3, 2018 at 8:54 am | Permalink

          You and me both. That was absolutely disgusting. I sometimes forget to include ole Lindsey along with Mitch McConnell & Paul Ryan on my list of worst people in the country, but that little rant during the hearing was a most pointed reminder.

          He’s a reprehensible little shit. That little act of his defines asshole. It was a lie in every respect and the premeditated intent was to chum the waters in hopes of inciting a feeding frenzy among the ignorant and despicable demographics of Trump’s base. In my daydreams Christopher Hitchens was somehow in the room and thoroughly disassembled the reprehensible little shit as only Hitchens could, in view of the entire nation.

  6. Steve Pollard
    Posted October 2, 2018 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    Not sure how valid or relevant a comment is from this side of the pond, but simply looking at Kavanaugh’s petulant and emotional performance in front of the Committee, do you lot really want someone like this on the Supreme Court for the next 40 years or so? Even if he does like beer a lot?

    • Posted October 2, 2018 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

      The polls show about 40 per cent favor him. 52 per cent do not think he should be confirmed. Among women 58 per cent think he should not be confirmed.
      But in red states more than 50 per cent still favor his confirmation. Democrats from red states in the senate gave a legitimate concern about their chances of re-election if the vote against him. There may be some truth to the charge that democrats want to postpone the vote past the midterm election. They will be able to vote no after they have been re-elected.

    • gluonspring
      Posted October 2, 2018 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

      Which America are you directing your question to?

      Blue America, “Hell no”.

      Red America, “Hell Yes! We don’t care what he is or has done, he’s on our team and this is war!”

      All the other ink spilled on this is really only distantly relevant compared to the basic tribalism that completely overwhelms every other consideration.

    • eric
      Posted October 2, 2018 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

      Petulance an emotional is okay. Nakedly partisan is not. Kavanaugh was blatantly partisan, intentionally so IMO as he was trying to sell his right-wing cred to the GOP senators.

      But worse for him than his ‘performance’ is that practically every day, there’s more and more very solid evidence that the man has been lying under oath.

      • gluonspring
        Posted October 3, 2018 at 12:32 am | Permalink


  7. W.T. Effingham
    Posted October 2, 2018 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    “Your mileage may vary.” I can relate. It’s just that mileages have been varying too much to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

  8. JohnE
    Posted October 2, 2018 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    Ford emphatically says Kavanaugh did it; Kavanaugh emphatically says he didn’t. None of us were there, so how do we decide? Consider the following:

    1. While there are instances where women have lied about sexual assaults in the past, I think most of us would agree that those instances are relatively rare and that women do NOT lie “most” of the time. On the other hand, I think most of us would agree that guilty people actually DO lie “most” of the time when accused. Advantage Ford.

    2. Kavanaugh has clear and compelling reasons to lie: to save face and to secure a lifetime appointment to the United States Supreme Court. In contrast, the only reason that has been suggested for Ford to lie is that she hopes to reap fame and fortune from this ordeal. While that could conceivably be a reason to lie, it is far more speculative than Kavanaugh’s obvious motivations, and is contradicted by Kavanaugh himself who specifically acknowledged in his opening statement that the allegations against him were “publicly deployed over Dr. Ford’s wishes.” Again, advantage Ford.

    3. While Ford claimed to have a clear recollection of the assault itself, there were certain tangential facts that Ford candidly admitted she could not recall – such as whose house she was in and how she got home that evening. However, apart from the fact that Ford and Kavanaugh obviously disagree as to whether the assault occurred, nothing in her testimony has actually been proven to be false. In fact, even Donald Trump declared Ford to be a “credible” witness. In contrast: (i) it has now been shown that Kavanaugh has lied or given misleading answers as to numerous matters, including the extent of his drinking in high school and college, the numerous sexual and binge drinking references in his high school yearbook page (including his “slut-shaming” of a female classmate), and both his receipt of stolen Democratic emails and his involvement in formulating policies regarding the treatment of captured “enemy combatants” while serving as a staffer in the George W. Bush administration; (ii) while Kavanaugh refused to call for an FBI investigation (as we might expect a dishonest person to do), Ford eagerly invited one (as we might expect an honest person to do); and (iii) while Ford voluntarily took a lie detector test, Kavanaugh has never offered to do so. Thus, in terms of demonstrated credibility, the advantage again goes to Ford.

    Game, set and match Ford.

    • Posted October 2, 2018 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

      Play tennis much?

      • JohnE
        Posted October 2, 2018 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

        I used to!

    • eric
      Posted October 2, 2018 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

      On 1: I believe there’s been some studies on the subject; women lie about sexual harassment in less than 10% of cases. Moreover, there is a good correlation between the incidents of lying and the woman being young and in trouble (i.e. with the law, her parents, etc.). Obviously, Ford doesn’t fit this profile at all.

      I’d agree that he’s been lying under oath. Given that this alone should be reason to not raise someone up to the position of Supreme Court Justice, it IMO almost becomes irrelevant as to whether he’s lying or one of them is misremembering.

    • Jay Salhi
      Posted October 3, 2018 at 2:37 am | Permalink

      One of the most bizarre arguments is the argument that Ford has no motive to lie. She could have any number of motives including but not limited to:

      1. Wanting to kill the nomination
      2. Money
      3. Attention
      4. Motives that are not rationale

      What were the motives of the person who falsely claimed to have witnessed Kavanaugh rape someone on a boat and then recanted? What are Julie Swetnick’s motives?

      None of us is a mind reader but the argument that there is no conceivable motive is ridiculous.

      • Posted October 3, 2018 at 10:07 am | Permalink

        You are right, of course, but it seems very, very unlikely she’s got false motives in this case. She has shown no sign of being politically active. She could have a personal vendetta against Kavanaugh other than for attempted rape but someone would have turned that up by now as many, many of their friends have been interviewed by the press. So the chance she’s lying about it is vanishingly small.

        As I noted earlier, there is also the uncanny match between her reporting of the event and Kav’s July 1st calendar entry. It would be really difficult for her to pull that one off.

      • rickflick
        Posted October 3, 2018 at 10:10 am | Permalink

        I think if people use the term “no motive” I think they probably mean low likelihood that she’s lying. Especially relative to Kavanaugh. If you assess her overall behavior before and during her testimony, no nefarious motive seems likely. All we have to go on here is probabilities.
        It’s clear that she DID want to kill the nomination. At least she said she wanted the Senate to have the facts before making their decision. Money and attention as a motive are contradicted by her reluctance to be identified and her demeanor. It’s not that it is impossible she has diabolical motives, it’s just that there is little to indicate that conclusion. I would hope the FBI will spend some time exploring some of these options.

        • Posted October 3, 2018 at 10:25 am | Permalink

          Yes, good point! Clearly she wants to kill the nomination. She may also want to destroy his life, or at least his career.

    • Michael Waterhouse
      Posted October 3, 2018 at 3:49 am | Permalink

      Ford knows all about lie detector tests.
      Which are bogus, especially for those in the know.
      Why not take one.
      When asked if she had ever coached anyone on taking a polygraph, she said no.

      Turns out she did.


      • jay salhi
        Posted October 3, 2018 at 8:26 am | Permalink

        Lie detector tests are junk science. People take them for PR purposes. A lawyer finds a someone to administer the test and for a fee the polygraph gives the person credibility in the eyes of the public.

        Roy Moore claimed to have passed a polygraph test.

  9. Posted October 2, 2018 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    The 30th (!) instance of perjury was revealed yesterday: BK testified that the first he heard of Ramirez’ d*ck wagging accusation was when it appeared in the New Yorker. Except long before, he personally as well as his ‘team’ were contacting former Yale classmates to persuade them to deny that allegation.

    Not only is that a material lie, it also strongly indicates that BK did in fact commit that act of sexual harassment.

    Flake says he wants “fact” (sic) from the FBI investigation, but also agreed that BK lying would disqualify him.

    • Posted October 2, 2018 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

      Witness tampering is a federal crime. He may wind up in jail.

      • Posted October 2, 2018 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

        He should, but these bastards skate through life.

  10. Christopher
    Posted October 2, 2018 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    I would recommend all sides look at the most recent appointment and note the main difference. Both Gorsuch and Kavanaugh were tRump nominations, one got approved, one is being blocked. What’s the difference? It’s not the president, it’s not who’s in Congress, or who controls Congress, it’s not the voters, it’s the nominee. The republicans need to notice that, as do those who argue that even if Kavanaugh is not appointed, another republican will be. That’s not really the point, nor is it the point that the republicans refused to do their jobs and wouldn’t let a sitting president Obama have his choice in the last year of his term. No, the point, the non-political spectrum-based point of it all is that Kavanaugh is a deeply flawed human being and should have never been nominated in the first place. Of course the same was said of Thomas, so who knows, Kavanaugh might spend his time on the bench silently twiddling his thumbs and never bothering anyone again (as far as we know) but its clear to me that there are differences here between tRump’s appointees and the right shouldn’t blame the left and push through the nomination any more than the left should refuse any confirmation based solely on who is president.

    • gluonspring
      Posted October 2, 2018 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

      What’s the difference?

      One difference is that this one really tips the balance of the court. Replacing Scalia with a clone, Gorsuch, changes nothing. Replacing Kennedy with someone far to the right of Kennedy changes the status quo in a material way.

      That ups the stakes for everyone in a significant way, increasing the intensity of both sides markedly.

  11. Posted October 2, 2018 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    I have advocated for being civil to republicans and stated they are not all deranged on this and other blogs. All it has achieved has been to get myself called a racist or s racist sympathizer. One commenter on this blog said he was sick of hearing my insulting calls for civility.

    I agree with statements made in the above blog and have often so stated.

  12. Posted October 2, 2018 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    I think the Garland comments were fully justified on the Dem’s side. Especially after Lindsey Graham’s rant about the Kavanaugh hearings being the worst thing he’s seen in politics. (Go look in the mirror Lindsey! Or go look at Mitch McConnell!)

    The Garland comments came out AFTER the COP continuously went crazy about “we will brook no delays!” for weeks.

    And they are fully justified.

    • Posted October 2, 2018 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

      BTW, the day Sen. Flake required the week’s investigation, I sent him a note via his website praising his stand for the investigation and his reasons for not seeking reelection (he can’t stand the Trumpian direction of the party — the GOP goons in AZ are ranting on about how bad Flake is and McCain was).

  13. Posted October 2, 2018 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    Why the GOP does not dump this this rapidly sinking nominee and move on to another conservative judge, defies logic. There must be something else going on. Perhaps they do calculate that this nasty struggle will help them in the upcoming elections. My guess is it’s a wash at best for them.

    • Posted October 2, 2018 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

      I am convinced the Senate will vote to confirm Kavanaugh if it comes to a vote.

      The only way Kavanaugh will not be confirmed is if he is withdrawn as a nominee.

      • rickflick
        Posted October 2, 2018 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

        If he’s not confirmed, I wonder if Flake will be among the dissenters.

      • Posted October 2, 2018 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

        They won’t hold a vote without the requisite votes. It’s down to what Flake, Collins, and Murkowsky make of the FBI’s report. Flake seems to be signaling that he wants definitive proof, which is impossible. Maybe, just maybe, these texts about Ramirez’ accusation will sway Flake.

    • eric
      Posted October 2, 2018 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

      They want the position filled before the midterms and the low-but-realistically-possible chance they lose the Senate. That’s the ‘something else’

      • Posted October 3, 2018 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

        Yeah, I’m wondering what their internal polls are showing.

    • Posted October 3, 2018 at 5:29 am | Permalink

      He’s not their nominee, he’s Trump’s nominee. They can’t dump him.

      They have two choices to get rid of Kavanaugh:

      1. put pressure on Trump behind the scenes to get rid of him

      2. vote against Kavanaugh.

      Who is to say they are not doing the former. The latter would bring the GOP in the legislature into open conflict with the president. I think that would be disastrous for many of their job prospects.

  14. Randall Schenck
    Posted October 2, 2018 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    Certainly what Jerry Coyne says is correct. How can one succeed by simply screaming at every idiotic thing the republicans do or say. They must be outsmarted in this rotten game called politics. There is nothing tasteful about it but you have to play the cards as they are dealt. The democrats have been very good in this game at getting beaten time and again.

    So right now the game is getting this terrible pick for the supreme court stopped. It would be all over now if not for the delay by Flake. The push now should be to bring full light on the investigation and to demand more time if necessary to collect the evidence. Make the effort to convince Flake and the few other reasonable republicans that all the evidence must be collected and laid out before voting. If not then pressure to vote no.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted October 2, 2018 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

      As we speak here, the news I am getting is that Ford has not been asked by the FBI to give them testimony. Obviously that makes no sense. So get this information to Flake and others who might have some weight in this and get something done. It is apparent that the FBI investigation is mostly a sham, a dog and pony before a vote so go after it based on this information. Flake and others said they will not vote for the guy if they can be shown this investigation is a sham.

      • Posted October 2, 2018 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

        According to Graham on a Sunday morning talk show she was not on the list of witnesses given by the White House to the FBI to question. The list was from the senate committee to the White House. Trump said he just told the FBI yo go what the senate wanted. Which was to question for our witnesses. Ford was not on the list. Flake is not happy with that. Stay tuned.

        • Posted October 2, 2018 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

          Question four named witnesses. Neither Ford nor Kavanaugh were on the list.

          • Randall Schenck
            Posted October 2, 2018 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

            This whitewash or sham of an investigation is very apparent now so that is what needs to be used against the republicans. Flake and others need to be convinced that what they asked for is not being done…vote no unless they change their ways.

            • Posted October 2, 2018 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

              The more emails and telephone calls made to senators the better. That does make a difference if the quantity is high enough.

              • Randall Schenck
                Posted October 2, 2018 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

                Yes, and the democrats need to go after and make noise about the lousy investigation. Not throw names at people and attack personalities. Go after the process that is a sham and don’t let up.

        • Posted October 2, 2018 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

          As for the FBI investigation being a sham, I expect they will work extra hard because Trump has slammed them over and over again. Trump and the GOP may well try to control the investigation but I don’t see the FBI listening to them for the simple reason that Trump and GOP couldn’t go public against them for fear of making it obvious that they are not interested in getting to the truth. Trump is well aware of this which is why he felt the need to tweet that the FBI could interview whoever they please.

          • Randall Schenck
            Posted October 2, 2018 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

            Your comments are kind of a contradiction. You say the FBI will work extra hard and Trump and the GOP may well control them. Then you don’t see them listening.

            This investigation, although done by the FBI is totally controlled by the President as to what they can do. That is the whole problem here. It is being restricted by these very people. The only way the FBI gets to do it fully and correctly is to be allowed to by the president.

            • Posted October 2, 2018 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

              I don’t see the FBI listening to Trump and the GOP attempting to control them. I also have heard that the WH can control the FBI’s investigation but how exactly does that operate? Seems to me that if the FBI made a strong case for needing to interview someone, they would either interview them and ask permission later or make their case publicly. As I said, Trump and the GOP are not going to risk this looking like a fake investigation. They tried it, got caught, and have backed off. Trump has tweeted that the FBI can interview whoever they please. The WH has maintained that Trump’s tweets are official statements. The FBI have the cover they need.

      • Posted October 2, 2018 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

        In a very real sense, Ford has already been questioned. The FBI definitely should interview her too but with the limited time they have, it makes sense to put priority on interviewing those that haven’t been.

        • Randall Schenck
          Posted October 2, 2018 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

          A real sense? You think a group of politicians with mostly politics on their mind have done a good job of questioning the main person in this story. The one with the allegation. Most of these folks would not have a clue how to investigate sexual assault or sexual harassment. The FBI does and how could they possibly investigate this matter without a complete questioning of the main person.

          Tell me of the murder investigations on someone where they skipped talking to the accused.

          • Posted October 2, 2018 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

            I specifically stated that I wasn’t in favor of the FBI skipping an interview of Ford. They can assume that Ford has offered all she knows but might be hiding something. By interviewing others, the FBI may gain knowledge as to what questions to ask Ford.

        • Posted October 2, 2018 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

          That was Graham’s argument for leaving both Ford and K off the list. They had both already been interviewed. A spurious argument.

          • Posted October 2, 2018 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

            Note that I was not agreeing with them being left off the list. Clearly the FBI should interview both of them.

            • Posted October 2, 2018 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

              I agree. And anyone else they want or need to. The democrats have a list of about 60 people they they want interviewed. And they should be.

  15. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted October 2, 2018 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    The worst you could say about Jeff Flake before the investigations was that he was a “rape denialist”, but even so you’d have to be convinced BtKv was guilty to even say that! (He is not one of those folks who said it was no big deal. He is one of those who didn’t quite believe Ford.)

    Now when a Trump supporter says groping women is “no big deal” (https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/trump-brett-kavanaugh-supporter-groping-women-no-big-deal-senate-hearing-a8557351.html) and the Federalist publishes an article saying Kavenaugh should be confirmed even if he was guilty (http://thefederalist.com/2018/10/02/better-put-guilty-man-court-keep-innocent-man-off/) then THAT is rape apologetics!!!

    Imprecision in language is one of key signs of unclear thinking!!

    I have this combination of shock and sympathy towards Roman Polanski (homeless on the streets of Crakow between the ages of 6 and 12, also multiple rapist of teens) but that doesn’t make me a rape apologist.

    I am not all that convinced of Woody Allen’s guilt although he clearly had a history of inappropriate behavior with Dylan Farrow. (Perhaps something similar happened on a different day.) That doesn’t make me a “rape apologist” either.

  16. ploubere
    Posted October 2, 2018 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

    I have little doubt that no Republican will dissent, as the short and constrained FBI investigation is unlikely to produce any bombshells. Sadly, Kavanaugh will be confirmed, and we’ll have to live with that for another 4 decades.

    As for political concerns, the conservatives would rather get their man on the court than win the midterms.

    • Mark R.
      Posted October 2, 2018 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

      “As for political concerns, the conservatives would rather get their man on the court than win the midterms.”

      I think their thinking is they MUST get Kavanaugh confirmed to have a chance to win the midterms. They know this is their only chance of getting a justice in place before the midterms- that’s their ultimate goal imo. I don’t think they’re paying attention to women Independents who are siding with Dems over this process and nomination. The Reps are only thinking about their evangelical base. And ironically, their deluded base doesn’t even want Kavanaugh as he’s not extreme enough when it comes to dismantling women’s rights.

      • Posted October 2, 2018 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

        I suspect that the GOP want to win every battle based on a “who knows what the future may bring?” attitude.

  17. Posted October 2, 2018 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    Trump has nothing much to lose here and doesn’t seem especially troubled. He’ll easily find another lackey to nominate and protect him from a subpoena from Mueller. It also fits his usual game plan: playing off two sides against each other and waiting until it’s clear which side will win.

    As always, Trump is in his element when things are chaotic and everyone else is off balance disoriented and emotional.

  18. Posted October 2, 2018 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    You are right. The next nominees could well be as bad on ideology as K. But the women of America deserve that K gets blocked. And put in jail.
    The senate can dedlveith the next no nominee on his or her
    merits later.

  19. Joseph Kosiner
    Posted October 2, 2018 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    Setting the possibility of a Kavanaugh confirmation aside for the moment, the Dems have a sad history of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. Every time they try to work more closely with the Republicans, the Dems seem to get snookered. Much like Charlie Brown and the football, hope springs eternal, but Lucy always prevails. I prefer a recent suggestion that moves from Michele Obama’s “when they go low, we go high”, to when “when they go low, we kick ’em in the nuts”. The Dems need to grow a spine. As far as Kavanaugh goes…all bets are off.

    • Saul Sorrell-Till
      Posted October 2, 2018 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

      +1 There is a point where the ‘what would Jesus do?’ approach begins to resemble something like surrender. And it would take a hell of a lot for us to sink as low as the modern American right has. That is a bottomless hole. The idea that the right can ride roughshod over every precedent, without receiving any kind of hit in the polls, and we respond with a turned cheek…I don’t think that’s a particularly realistic approach in the modern age.

      I stop well short of the more extreme members of ‘the resistance’, but I still think we liberals haven’t even begun to fight back yet. We haven’t quite realised how serious the situation is, or altered the way we go about electoral politics in order to deal with it. And we need to do that asap.

      • Posted October 2, 2018 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

        I agree, but it’s difficult to imagine how we might proceed. When your worldview is basically predicated on fairness how do you effectively fight those who play dirty?

        • Saul Sorrell-Till
          Posted October 3, 2018 at 4:48 am | Permalink

          I don’t know, but imo the only vaguely liberal politician who has even begun to respond to the return of the far-right and pop[ulism is Macron. I like him significantly less than I used to, mainly because he seems so much less liberal, but he at least sees that there’s a need for a strong personality to beat back the right. It can’t just be about the pre-eminence of our arguments any more, we can’t just put forward people like Ed Milliband and expect them to win against a Trump or a Farage by limply wagging their fingers and saying nice things. We need genuinely attractive personalities from the liberal left too. And not far-left nutjobs either(because there are plenty of them). It’s a tall order.

        • Diane G
          Posted October 3, 2018 at 5:14 am | Permalink


      • Blue
        Posted October 3, 2018 at 9:50 am | Permalink

        I concur, Saul Sorrell – Till. +1


  20. Posted October 2, 2018 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

    After watching Kavenaugh’s performrance I’d reject him at face value—not because he’s lying (what else is new?) or even because he’s lying under oath, but for the simple reason that the man has absolutely no sense of humor.

    In my book, a sense of humor is indispensable to leadership of any kind: it breaks down barriers, builds community, and enables one to grasp points of view other than one’s own—all qualities needed by a Supreme Court Justice.

    On that score, to me the two greatest Supreme Court Justices in the recent past are Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Antonin Scalia, both of whom, despite their ideological differences, shared wonderful senses of humor.

    • Saul Sorrell-Till
      Posted October 2, 2018 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

      Yes, I’ve always found Scalia’s religious crackpottery and all-round reactionary nastiness to be secondary when set next to his way with a knock knock joke. And you should have heard his ‘laid back Jamaican’ schtick at the Supreme Court Xmas party – it was dynamite.

  21. Ken Kukec
    Posted October 2, 2018 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    Let us concede, at least for the sake of argument, that Republicans have a legitimate beef regarding the timing of Diane Feinstein’s handing of Christine Blasey Ford’s allegation against Kavanaugh. The Republican position on this matter is still incoherent. One the one hand, Republicans concede that Ford is credible and that her testimony had all the indicia of truthfulness. On the other, they rail against the allegation as a “smear” meant to defame Kavanaugh and his family.

    In any type of sexual assault case, there are essentially but two available defenses (plus a third option). The defenses are “consent” and “identification”; the third option is to contend that the victim is making the entire story up out of whole cloth — the “bitches be lyin'” defense as it’s known on the streets.

    In this case, given how Kavanaugh had been portrayed by himself and his GOP supporters in the early going of the confirmation process, a “consent” defense would’ve been a non-starter. Simply put, it wouldn’t do for a nominee to the highest judicial office in the land to appear before the judiciary committee claiming he had pulled Ford into an upstairs bedroom at the home of a prep-school friend and began pawing at her clothes because the little 15-year-old harlot was asking for it.

    Nor was “bitch be lyin'” a viable option. The Republicans learned the pitfalls of that approach when they deployed it against Anita Hill 27 years ago and it led to the backlash election of a rash of Democratic women to national office. Moreover, Ford is a responsible member of society, a PhD and college professor, without a shred of impeaching material in her jacket, and without any history of lodging false accusations. There are also records establishing that she told others of her assault well before Kavanaugh was nominated, including her therapist and her husband. She has no obvious motive for putting herself and her family through the agony of making these charges other than that the assault actually occurred. Hell, she even passed a poly regarding the attack.

    That left as the only option “identification” — that, yes, Dr. Ford had been assaulted as a teenager, but that the assailant was someone other than Brett Kavanaugh. And almost immediately upon Dr. Ford’s allegations surfacing, Republicans began promoting that theory. Indeed, the Republicans efforts in this regard had all the earmarks of being a concerted effort cooked up in some Republican smoke-filledfree back room.

    Kavanaugh immediately parked his keister in the White House hour after hour for days on end huddling up with White House counsel Don McGahn and other administration functionaries. Almost in unison, the Republican members of the judiciary committee, Donald Trump, Kavanaugh himself, and his many supporters began contending that poor Ms. Ford was clearly the victim of some type of teen-aged trauma, but that she was “confused” as to perpetrator who had caused it.

    Simultaneously, conservative WaPo columnist Kathleen Parker floated the idea that a “Kavanaugh doppelgänger” must have perpetrated the attack on Ford. And, most infamously, Kavanaugh’s buddy and fellow former SCOTUS clerk, Ed Whelan, made the outlandish claim on twitter that he could identify both the home where the attack occurred and the attacker himself (an individual who also just so happened to appear in Kavanaugh’s calendars of the time under the nickname “Squi”.)

    The problem with the Republicans’ theory is that there isn’t a shred of logic or evidence to support it. Ford identified her attacker not as a stranger — the circumstance in which the vast majority of misidentifications occur — but as an acquaintance she recognized from both before and after the attack. In her judiciary committee appearance, her identification of Kavanaugh was not only certain, but as straight-forward, credible, and compelling as the rest of her testimony.

    Under the circumstances the Republicans promoting the misidentification theory have nothing to go on but fumes. It’s incoherent for them to contend otherwise.

    • Posted October 2, 2018 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

      I’ve stated elsewhere that I’m inclined to believe Ford and that I don’t think Kavenaugh should be confirmed. So consider the following a gloss on your argument, not on your conclusion.

      You’re overlooking an alternative to the “misidentification” theory. It isn’t necessary that Ford mistook her attacker; it could be that, having been assaulted by someone, she was aware that her testimony would seem more credible (yes, even on a poly) than if she were “making the entire story up out of whole cloth.”

      In that case, her being a “a PhD and college professor,” and especially a psychologist, works against her rather than in her favor. Frankly, I thought the weakest part of her testimony was, when asked how she was certain about her attacker, she started talking about memories being lodged in the hippocampus, etc. Scientifically accurate perhaps, but I didn’t think it helped her case.

      In short, my gut feeling is that she’s telling the truth, but I’m not convinced that your analysis establishes that.

      • Posted October 2, 2018 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

        Yes, the “hippocampus” stuff was not a good direction for Ford to take. However, she didn’t take it further. I don’t think it hurt her too much.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted October 2, 2018 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

          True. But Ford seemed to stumble into that area, based on her own academic background and her effort to be as forthcoming as possible, rather than to spring it in a calculated effort to bolster her own credibility. To my thinking, that tended to enhance her authenticity.

          • Posted October 2, 2018 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

            I agree. In fact, if she did calculate it, she calculated wrong. It really wasn’t the time to get into neuroanatomy. Since she caught herself, it was if her internal voice had said, “Oh. They don’t want to hear about that.”

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted October 2, 2018 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

        Well, maybe so, but that’s not the argument the Republicans are making.

        Plus, I still don’t see a motivation for Ford lying about the identity of her attacker. She’s not a political activist willing to sacrifice herself (a la St. Perpetua*) on the altar of public notoriety in a last-ditch effort to save Roe v. Wade. Were she such an activist, she would know such an effort would be in vain anyway, since, if Kavanaugh is defeated, Trump will simply pick another name, of someone just as committed to overturning Roe, off the Federalist Society list.

        Also, if she were dishonestly substituting Kavanaugh for her actual attacker, why in the world would she put Mark Judge — Kavanaugh’s good buddy with every motive to exculpate him — in the room at the time of the attack?

        Still seems incoherent to me.
        *A little Catholic arcana for a former seminarian, Gary. 🙂

        • Posted October 2, 2018 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

          *A little Catholic arcana for a former seminarian, Gary. 🙂

          Thanks for the good laugh, Ken. I indeed know all about St. Perpetua and her partner in crime, St. Felicitas. In the sem every dinner meal was served with a reading from the “Martyrology,” recounting the stories of the martyrs who died on that day. Actually, they never died, they “fell asleep in the Lord.” Except when novices from the St. Louis Province were readers, in which case the good saints in question “fell asleep in the lard,” which was always good for a snicker or two.🙂

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted October 2, 2018 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

            My first-grade teacher was Sister Mary Perpetua, so I heard a somewhat bowdlerized version of her passion early on.

            Falling asleep in the lard probably wasn’t considered as dangerous before people started keeping track of their triglycerides. 🙂

    • Posted October 2, 2018 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

      Well put. I imagine a scenario in one of their White House meetings in which Kavanaugh asks Trump, “You have a lot of experience in these things. What would you do, Mr. President?”

      • Posted October 2, 2018 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

        It is interesting to me that except for the woman on the plane who after letting him kiss her for fifteen minutes said he tried to put his hand up her skirt, has come forward and accused Trump of anything but kissing them.
        Women have accused Kennedy, Johnson, Clinton and Reagan of rape. None of them denied doing it, although Kennedy was dead when it was made publc and could not. Trump bragged about grabbing girls but he has lied about everything else so why should that statement be true

        I don’t have a point that I can articulate but think that is interesting thing to wonder about.

        • Posted October 2, 2018 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

          Hmmm. Interesting theory. Trump likes to be seen as a bad ass and is certainly willing to lie. I could see him only grabbing in his daydreams and then boasting that he had done it in real life. He’s undoubtedly a wimp. But channeling Steve Martin, I have to say “Nah.”

    • Ferris Dane
      Posted October 2, 2018 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

      Since Republicans are putting on this show for their base their arguments don’t have to be coherent. They only need to give their base the smallest bit of meat to set their teeth in. Even if the meat is really textured soy.

      The base will do the rest by blindly following, as they have done for many years.

  22. Giancarlo
    Posted October 2, 2018 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

    Yes, yes, YES! The Dems should, for once, be principled, decent, and reach across the aisle to find the fabled common ground, because, you know, they have never, ever tried that before. And if they are not nice to the never-trumpers, why that’s just going turn them into trumpers and actually enable the Cheeto-in-chief!

    Sorry for the sarcasm, but in truth, politics isn’t science, it’s a knife fight, and the Dems have been defending themselves for decades with a cheese dildo while singing Kumbaya. So now, Feinstein pricks the GOP with her nail file, and oh the humanity! The Women’s March goes over the top with a tweet smearing Flake and we should all make amends and atone. Sure, why not, it has worked before.

    • KD33
      Posted October 2, 2018 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

      I agree with the sentiment that dems should hold to their arguments. But calling the senators rape apologists is not the height of stupidity, it’s reprehensible. If you want to see fractured community, just poll women who call themselves feminists – probably the most loaded term around these days. I wonder what fraction would say the Women’s March represents them well.

      • KD33
        Posted October 2, 2018 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

        correction: “… not *only* the height of stupidity…*

      • Ferris Dane
        Posted October 2, 2018 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

        The Womens March doesn’t represent the Democrats, liberals or the left.

        The elected Republicans actually do represent the Republican party.

    • Saul Sorrell-Till
      Posted October 2, 2018 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

      I’m irritated by the ‘rape apologist’ stuff, but not because I think it’s particularly egregious or even untrue, rather because I have no moral expectations of the American right whatsoever and I know they are liable to mobilise electorally on the basis of stuff like that_as though they have any right to be offended by anything liberals say ever again after two years of Trump spewing shit at us).

      It makes me want to scream, this section of the left who treats this as a game where they get to play in their bubble and graffiti the walls without consequence. Nothing – nothing – else matters beyond getting the GOP and Trump out of power, and to that end we should be playing things with as much political guile as we can. I find the American right to be almost limitlessly disgusting at the moment, but I’m also capable of acknowledging that they have a vote, and they’re mental. And that riling them up for the purposes of giving yourself a pat on the back is very stupid.

      • Giancarlo
        Posted October 2, 2018 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

        Well, I’d like to know what the political guile that Dems should be employing actually looks like. What I don’t think is necessarily useful is self-flagellation for offences by the left that are relatively minor compared to the coordinated campaigns conducted by the right – Vincent Foster, birtherism, Benghazi, pizzagate, and yes, Garland to name a few. Complaining too much about Woke transgressions such as bugging Cruz at a restaurant, etc. amplifies them and draws a false equivalence with trangressions on the right, and may actually end up pushing independents to the other side more than the transgressions would have in the first place.

        • Saul Sorrell-Till
          Posted October 3, 2018 at 5:37 am | Permalink

          I agree entirely with every word of that. There are priorities right now that are a fuck of a lot more important than the latest stupid thing some student has done on campus. I still find all that stuff frustrating, and I wish the entitled-left would get their act together and start thinking pragmatically, but obviously my priorities have changed after Brexit and Trump.

          How could they not? If we look back on this stage and see that all we were doing was going after some silly students who were behaving obnoxiously, while the right were busy like bees dismantling the fundamentals of liberal democracy, then part of me thinks we’ll deserve it.

        • Posted October 4, 2018 at 11:49 am | Permalink

          “What I don’t think is necessarily useful is self-flagellation for offences by the left that are relatively minor compared to the coordinated campaigns conducted by the right.”

          The issue isn’t the equivalency of the offenses. As you suggest in your final sentence, it’s the effect of the offenses on the respective bases and on independents.

          I for one expect the right to behave egregiously. I expect better of the left. The egregious behavior of the right by no means alienates the conservative base; they love it. Seeing the libs move in that direction does, I think, alienate the liberal base and, even more importantly, undermines the integrity of their causes. As I’ve stated elsewhere, if we have to become Trump to regain the White House, then we’re still going to have Trump in the White House.

          In short, I think you’re underestimating the effect of the far left’s offensive (and at times violent) behavior—both in practical political terms and on the importance of maintaining the moral high ground. (I could be wrong, but I think our host would agree with me on this.)

  23. Curt Nelson
    Posted October 2, 2018 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

    The main reason Kavanaugh should not be confirmed is that he has indicated that a president may be immune from prosecution, and the president who nominated him seems to be a crook.

    • Posted October 2, 2018 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

      Yes, that’s still my main reason too. My hope is that he’ll be rejected and that his replacement doesn’t share Kav’s feelings in this area and is apolitical to a much greater extent.

      • Curt Nelson
        Posted October 2, 2018 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

        I don’t understand why the dems don’t make this argument. It seems so valid.

        • Curt Nelson
          Posted October 2, 2018 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

          Especially after K declined during his hearing to say he’d recuse on that.

        • Saul Sorrell-Till
          Posted October 2, 2018 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

          I wondered that – I think it’s because they’re so petrified of even approaching the subject of impeachment, in case it spooks Republican voters into voting in the midterms.

          Anything that abuts that topic is verboten. It’s why they’ve been refusing to even say the word aloud for the last few months.

          • Posted October 2, 2018 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

            Yes, I think that’s why. The Dems really do not want to portray themselves as having Trump Derangement Syndrome. Until Mueller produces his report, and Trump’s past behavior is found to be arguably impeachable, Kavanaugh’s potential conflict of interest involves too many hypotheticals. If they say too much in that direction now, it makes it easy for the GOP to portray them as simply out to get the president and confirm the Dem conspiracy Kavanaugh referred to.

  24. Jon Gallant
    Posted October 2, 2018 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

    One of Seth Mandel’s points ought to be underlined, and expanded: “One of the tragedies in all this is that leftists have identified those on the right who have been and are prepared to be their allies—Never Trumpers and others—and prioritized such people for destruction.”

    Communicants of the pop-Left quite regularly identify Liberals for destruction if they are not sufficiently “woke”. I refer not merely to academics at Yale or Evergreen State, but to sturdy Liberals in Congress and other elected bodies who are subjected to primary challenges by pop-Left hot-dogs. In certain cases, this tendency reaches an explicit preference for Trump over a non-woke Liberal candidate (as, for example, was expressed by Roseanne Barr of the California Peace and Freedom Party).

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted October 2, 2018 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

      I don’t think that Roseanne Barr can currently be classified as any type of Leftist, and I think the California Peace and Freedom Party has disowned her.

      Your last sentence, however, may have some relevance to someone like Susan Sarandon who (in refusing to endorse Trump’s major-party opponent) made some noises that sounded faintly like the Leninist concept of “accelerating the contradictions.”

      • Saul Sorrell-Till
        Posted October 2, 2018 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

        Sarandon is a total idiot. That pre-election soundbite was so fatuous and entitled it made my teeth itch.

        • Giancarlo
          Posted October 2, 2018 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

          I think Sarandon was channeling NIkolay Chernyshevsky, the founder of Russian populism and inspiration to many a revolutionary. He is supposed to have said that “worse is better” to indicate that the worse off the masses were, the more likely they were to revolt. Now that’s a cynical view, yet here we are, with mainstream democrats moving to the left and embracing progressive positions like medicare for all and free college, in the age of Trump. Backlashes do occur.

          • Saul Sorrell-Till
            Posted October 3, 2018 at 5:39 am | Permalink

            But ‘here we are’ partly because of her and the cretins who refused to dirty their hands voting HRC. Anyone who considers themselves left, but who refused to vote for Hillary, for whatever fatuous reason, should be ashamed of themselves. She’s an idiot.

  25. Historian
    Posted October 2, 2018 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

    The ultimate way to “solve” the Trump problem is to VOTE Republicans out of office, not just nationally but on the state and local level as well. State legislatures determine the lines of congressional districts, hence giving them the opportunity to gerrymander. If the Democrats take control of the House in November then they can block all of Trump’s legislation. In 2020, he can be voted out office if he is still in office.

    Note that the New York Times has just posted a major article detailing various Trump tax frauds. This could be big.

    • Saul Sorrell-Till
      Posted October 2, 2018 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

      Could be. Certainly should be. Probably won’t.

    • Randy Bessinger
      Posted October 2, 2018 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

      I don’t see this going anywhere. Way past the statute of limitations unless fraud and that is hard to prove. If the IRS did not detect it then, I am skeptical now.

      • Historian
        Posted October 2, 2018 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

        There is no statute of limitations on civil tax fraud in the federal system , so in theory the IRS could go after Trump to collect back taxes.

        “Moreover, civil tax fraud and criminal tax fraud have different statute of limitations. For civil tax fraud, there is no statute of limitations, and the tax may be assessed at any time. By contrast, there is a criminal statute of limitations, but it applies only to the prosecution of the crime—the actual tax evasion—not the assessment of the tax owed. Typically, the statute is three (3) years after the taxpayer commits the offense. But there are certain, specified carved out offenses for which a six (6) year statute of limitations applies.”


        I agree, however, this is unlikely. But, it is possible that New York State may go after him.

        There may be a political effect when it becomes commonly known that Trump committed tax fraud in the amount of hundreds of millions of dollars. The Trump cult will not care, but this massive fraud may have an impact on independents and some Republicans as they realize that Trump’s claim to be a self-made billionaire is but one of another of his many lies. More people will realize that he is the consummate con artist.

    • Posted October 2, 2018 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

      I very much doubt that Trump will be a candidate in 2020. The most probable outcome is resignation in return for a pardon, à la Nixon/Ford. (If he runs and loses he probably could and would be indicted for numerous felonies.) Less probable is impeachment and conviction, given the makeup of the Senate. Somewhere in the mix is the possibility that he will attempt to assume dictatorial powers, and perhaps succeed, followed by a sham election for show.

      The whole thing reminds me of the fight between Gaius Marius and Sulla in the late Roman Republic.

      • Posted October 2, 2018 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

        I can remember when we were afraid Nixon was going to suspend elections and become a dictator. Could happen someday. If the military goes along with it. Military coup.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted October 2, 2018 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

          Thought for a second there you were gonna say you remember Gaius Marius and Sulla from Rome’s First Civil War, Old Guy. But then you’d have to be “Really, Really Old Guy.” 🙂

          • Posted October 2, 2018 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

            “I’m not the enemy of the state! YOU’RE the enemy of the state!”

            • Posted October 2, 2018 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

              That depends on who the state is. Don’t we have elections to decide that. Oh, there is one coming up now. We should be able to answer that question soon.

      • Randy Bessinger
        Posted October 2, 2018 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

        I used to think that too but now I am not so sure. For that too happen, I think the Mueller report will have to be very damning and be made public. There are too many positive things happening (as mentioned below) and the public might be apathetic. I think Fox News would have to turn on him

        • Posted October 2, 2018 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

          It’s likely that there will be a recession before 2020, just following the normal business cycle, and it’s as likely to be as severe as the 10-year recovery has been long-lived and robust.

          • Randy Bessinger
            Posted October 2, 2018 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

            That would do it, but just now read Fed Chairman not seeing it by then.

            • Posted October 2, 2018 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

              He wouldn’t. It’s his job to prevent it.

            • Posted October 2, 2018 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

              And seriously, Randy, can you imagine any Fed Chairman at any time, during any administration, saying something like, “I expect a severe recession in the near future”?

              • Randy Bessinger
                Posted October 2, 2018 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

                I believe Paul Volker called them as he saw them. He said (and did) say that he would take interest rates as high as needed to kill inflation even if it was 20%…and then he did. Not popular but it worked.

              • Posted October 2, 2018 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

                Volker’s term as Fed Chairman was during a time of very high inflation, the likes of which we can’t even imagine today.

                In 1980 the inflation rate was 14.8% A 30-year mortgage in 1981 was almost 17%. I know. I bought one.

                His job was to reassure the public that he was doing something about it. That’s what he did. Effectively.

                It’s not comparable to now, when things are apparently peachy keen. The job of the Fed Chairman now is Don’t Rock the Boat.

          • Posted October 2, 2018 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

            No recession until the Black Swan appears. That date is known to no one.

            • Posted October 2, 2018 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

              The business cycle is fairly predictable, in broad strokes. It’s a cycle. The CAUSE of the next recession is the Black Swan. There are plenty of troubling indicators: the trade war, ballooning deficits, Medicare bankruptcy, unpaid-for tax cuts, grotesque economic inequality, fraught politics. I could go on.

              • Randy Bessinger
                Posted October 2, 2018 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

                I agree those are all very worrying trends. Whether it happens by 2020 I don’t know. The stock market doesn’t see it yet but that could change quickly.

              • Posted October 2, 2018 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

                Those things or things like them have always been there. As long as I can remember.

              • Posted October 2, 2018 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

                There is always a group of Wall Street experts who are predicting the end of the business cycle. The time between rescissions has been anywhere between two and fifteen years. Timing of business cycles is anything but predictable.

                That, of course, is only my opinion. Others may disagree.

              • Posted October 2, 2018 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

                “Wall Street experts” is an oxymoron. They all have opinions as numerous, diverse, and self interested as assholes. Inevitably, one or a few of these “experts” will be thought to be prescient, always after the brutal fact, no better than chance.

                I’m afraid that in our hyper unequal world the game is rigged for the multi billionaires. It’s not stable.

                I’ll tell you this, and take it for what it’s worth, at your peril. This extraordinarily long and robust recovery from the Black Swan 2006 crash isn’t sustainable. There will be a crash, and if history is any guide it will happen right after a Democrat takes the White House in 2020, to no fault of his or her own.

              • Posted October 2, 2018 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

                I was being sarcastic when I referred to them as experts. I meant alleged experts.

                And I don’t doubt there there will be another recession. I just din’t -try to time it. I invest as if it were going to occur next week. It very well may have started this week. The market has been going down a few years. It may not get Bach to it’s last high for another twenty years. And I am prepared for that. That is my advice for everyone as an investment guide.

      • Posted October 2, 2018 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

        There’s at least one possibility I missed. Trump could run in 2020, lose, and immediately resign and be pardoned by Pence. Or he could run, lose, and then attempt to overthrow the election. I wouldn’t put anything past him.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted October 2, 2018 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

        I’ve little doubt that the Trump presidency will meet an ignominious end. Dirty deals are to Trump as coal is to Newcastle.

        • Posted October 2, 2018 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

          At this point mere impeachment, or worse a blanket pardon for him and his crime family, isn’t enough for me. I want a Giuliani-style perp walk in handcuffs.

          • Posted October 2, 2018 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

            What I want is somebody to come in and I go all the damage Trump has gone to the environment. Well, a few other things I could mention but will not.

        • Posted October 3, 2018 at 6:24 am | Permalink

          If you go to Newcastle, you will find almost zero evidence that there was ever any coal mining there.

          That’s kind of a bit like how I feel about Trump. Everybody keeps saying “when the collusion becomes known…” or “when this tax fraud gets exposed…”. I do not share their optimism. I do not think Mueller is going to find enough evidence to bring down Trump. I think Trump is either not guilty or an expert at covering up any illegal dealings.

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted October 3, 2018 at 8:23 am | Permalink

            Yeah, might be time to update my Newcastle similes.

            Stay tuned on Trump; shit’s gonna get deep, just you watch.

          • Posted October 3, 2018 at 10:16 am | Permalink

            Have you seen NYT’s new expose on how Donald Trump’s father passed on his money to his children? This was a crime family when Don was in diapers. Trump’s origin story of how his father gave him a $1M loan which he spun into billions has been blown into smithereens! It is possible that Trump took advantage of Russia’s hacking of the election without taking any action himself but there’s no way he’s clean. Practically everything he does is corrupt.

            • Posted October 3, 2018 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

              All that stuff about Trump’s business dealings is old news. I remember seeing stories during the campaign about contractors that he stiffed, about how he used bankruptcy as a “normal” business tool, about how Trump university was a con, about his murky tax records, about how he was the real life exemplar of “how to make a small fortune” (start with a large one that belonged to your daddy).

              And yet, none of it stuck. He’s the President of the United States. I’ve no doubt Trump is a crook but I’ll believe he is going to have to pay for it the day he gets sent down. Until then, all this talk of impeachment and conviction looks just like wishful thinking.

              The only reliable way to get rid of Trump is to make sure he loses every election he is involved in.

              • Posted October 3, 2018 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

                I think the NYT allegations are new but I agree with you that they won’t get Trump impeached. I believe the NYT admits that they aren’t prosecutable as crimes due to them being so old. (Some may trigger civil suits though.)

                I do think the shear weight of evidence against Trump will have an effect on voters. When he got elected, even I thought perhaps he’s a good businessman and that background might allow him to do some good. I would never vote for him but still hoped for the best. Now I know he’s much worse than I thought. Similarly, what I knew of his personality told me he is a womanizer and a cad. But I couldn’t be sure his “pussy grabbing” talk was just locker room talk or calculated to appeal to the Access Hollywood audience. Now we’ve heard about all the payoffs to porn stars and the like, we can be sure his pussy grabbing is real.

                I know none of this matters to his base but there are many more people that voted for him that are outside his base. Hopefully they are paying attention and will vote against him in November and 2020.

              • Posted October 4, 2018 at 4:12 am | Permalink

                A clarification: When I said “old news” I did not mean to sound like I was dismissing it. I merely meant that the general message of these accusations is not new and Trump has been getting away with it for ages.

              • Diane G
                Posted October 4, 2018 at 4:20 am | Permalink

                @ jeremy

                I completely agree. I honestly think the Dems need to get better at pointing out their opponents’ faults, as the Republicans will never stop with their dirty tricks. I think Hillary was right to concentrate on issues and not character attacks, but the Democratic party itself should have come down heavily on all the unethical and illegal machinations Trump has gotten away with in his business dealings, and with all the lies that went uncontested. Where was the hectoring press for him?

              • rickflick
                Posted October 4, 2018 at 8:46 am | Permalink

                Yes, the Dems should get better at criticism. But let’s face it, the election was lost over the previous decades of sloppy political thinking. Thinking that ignored a disgruntled populace terrified that the country was going crazy with immigrants taking jobs away faster that it was producing them. Democrats did not respond adequately to the level of fear.

              • Posted October 4, 2018 at 10:25 am | Permalink

                It all started with Dems parroting “diversity is strength!” without explaining how that works. It was as if they were only celebrating the fact that they largely vote with them. This was always dangerous. Xenophobia is a natural tendency of our species. The benefits of immigration to modern society have to constantly be explained and justified.

            • rickflick
              Posted October 3, 2018 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

              It’s a real shame that the authorities in NYC didn’t fully investigate Trump decades ago. It would have saved us a lot of grief. I suspect there isn’t much the press was not aware of but prosecutors turned a blind eye. I can’t imagine why they sat on this for so long unless they themselves were equally corrupt.

              • Posted October 3, 2018 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

                I don’t have data for this but it is my belief that white collar crime is not investigated and prosecuted anywhere near enough. Trump’s cheating only comes to light because he’s President. I suspect there are many more that slip by under the radar.

                It’s also very difficult and expensive to do the necessary investigation at the time the crimes are being committed or shortly after. I feel people like Trump are too well protected by privacy laws. Finding out where money is flowing is crucial.

              • rickflick
                Posted October 3, 2018 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

                That’s rather discouraging.

  26. Randy Bessinger
    Posted October 2, 2018 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

    I believe Kavanaugh will be confirmed and the Republicans will use the hearings as just another Pelosi/liberal conspiracy. I am also skeptical of the polls that show big gains for the democrats. Hope I am wrong but the economy is doing well, North Korea at least for the time being is not testing nukes and missles, and excepting the separated kids, the repubs seem to be winning the story of immigration run wild.

    • Mark R.
      Posted October 2, 2018 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

      Pelosi/liberal conspiracy? She isn’t even involved in this confirmation. It’s a Senate responsibility. Now, it’s no surprise she sides with Ford and not Kavanaugh, but how could the GOP spin this into a Pelosi conspiracy? It can’t be pointed out more that it’s the GOP that created the extension and (probably) sham FBI investigation. I laugh that McConnell continues to blame the Dems.

      Economy isn’t helping the GOP in recent polls I’ve seen. Might change, but in a month? Most Americans aren’t voting based on North Korea either, and the majority is not in favor of separating kids. I have a feeling that the masses of should-be voters aren’t fooled by a “good economy”. The economy is like the weather, it won’t last, and American’s are beginning to wake-up to this fact.

      Dems just need to target their message (big ‘if’ I know), but exposing the Draconian immigration policy of Trump’s GOP is a must. We need visceral politics at this point…the GOP are master visceral politicians.

      • Randy Bessinger
        Posted October 2, 2018 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

        Sorry, I meant Feinstein/liberal conspiracy…

  27. gluonspring
    Posted October 2, 2018 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

    You would be a fool to reach across the aisle and work with Democrats to rein in the excesses of your colleagues.

    So long as there are a few people reaching back, I suppose it’s worth making the pitch. A Flake here or there can make a big difference in a closely divided congress.

    In general, though, I think the set of people on the right even interested, much less likely, to reach across the aisle to rein in the excesses of their colleagues is very very small. I used to think it was larger, maybe 20% of the GOP, but I no longer believe this. Evidence is that the set consists mostly of a few lonely commentators who, it turns out, were not leaders of party thought but merely a kind of whitewash applied to it. The number of people in power willing even in extreme circumstances to help will be zero soon once all the nominally Trump-skeptical Rs, like Flake, finish retiring.

  28. max blancke
    Posted October 2, 2018 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

    Watching the left slowly ratcheting up the general hysteria is likely energizing conservatives.
    I am not even a conservative, but I am a gun owner and rancher. So I hold some positions that would make me unpopular among the harder of the left fringe.
    Watching the rage of those people, I have no doubt that they would load everyone I care about onto rail cars for the camps, if they had the power to do so.
    I don’t recall ever feeling that way before, at least in the US.
    That is a pretty good incentive to vote. I don’t even like the republicans. I have never voted republican.
    A real awakening for me was before the election, when Trump gave a speech in the nearest large town. I did not attend the speech, as he did not interest me. I did see the aftermath. People were lined up outside the event, spitting on people as they left the arena. Maybe there were crazy right wing people there as well, but many or most of those being spat upon were just retired people who wanted to see someone famous. They lightheartedly went into that arena in the USA, but they came out somewhere that people can be attacked for listening to a speech by a candidate from a mainstream political party in a city auditorium.
    That sort of thing really pisses people off, and makes them want to vote against you. And they don’t have to like Trump to do it.

    • Randy Bessinger
      Posted October 2, 2018 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

      I don’t think that is right, but really Trump demonizes the opposition…you know lock her up, lock her up. Look at the corrupt media back there etc.

      • Randy Bessinger
        Posted October 2, 2018 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

        I would add that Trump loves it when he can make people react that way to his supporters. He gains supporters that way. I think he is brillant that way. The problem is that when people do that to his supporters (or as you point out the merely curious) it has exactly the effect that you have posted.

        • Randy Bessinger
          Posted October 2, 2018 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

          I should not say “make” but excite Trump haters to react that way.

      • Posted October 3, 2018 at 6:34 am | Permalink

        Yes, Trump demonised his opponent, but his opponent demonised Trump voters (deplorable remember?).

        You aren’t going to change a voter’s mind by standing outside of a Trump convention and spitting on them as they are leaving.

        • Randy Bessinger
          Posted October 3, 2018 at 8:22 am | Permalink

          I do remember. She made a terrible mistake as that energized his base even more. His lock her up, lock her up also energized his base. As I recall, he aplogized. He is loathe to ever apologize.

          • Randy Bessinger
            Posted October 3, 2018 at 8:22 am | Permalink

            I mean she apologized.

        • Posted October 3, 2018 at 10:18 am | Permalink

          Trump is just better at demonizing opponents? Is that the point you are making? Clinton calling his supporters “deplorables” was certainly a misstep but it is not close the abominations Trump has unleashed.

          • Posted October 3, 2018 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

            Trump is just better at demonizing opponents? Is that the point you are making?

            Correct, that is exactly the point I am making. Trump pours insult and ridicule on his enemies and people he doesn’t like, but he never does it to people just because they are planning to vote for somebody else.

            • Posted October 3, 2018 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

              I have a hard time believing that he has the self-control necessary to attack everyone except voters. Certainly he’s not kind to women or people of color. Some of them are bound to be voting in November.

              • Posted October 4, 2018 at 4:32 am | Permalink

                You are not listening to me.

                He attacks all sorts of people, and if they are adults legally in the USA, they are at least potential voters.

                What he does not do (and this is in my previous post) is attack people simply because they are planning to vote for (or have voted for) somebody else.

                It’s a really important point. People who are told they are stupid just because they voted for Donald Trump or not going to switch their vote, they are going to double down.

              • Posted October 4, 2018 at 9:47 am | Permalink

                So Trump never trashes the Left? The Liberals? Those are people that consistently vote against him and will in November. This seems obvious so I must still be missing your point.

              • Posted October 4, 2018 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

                I don’t fully understand Jeremy’s point either, Paul, but he’s absolutely right that Trump is loathe to apologize. That’s part of his strength, however, because it distinguishes him from the ever-apologetic libs. He just makes one atrocious statement and then, when the media call him on it and predict that surely this will be his undoing, he responds with another atrocious statement. His base loves it and the media can’t keep up with him.

              • Posted October 4, 2018 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

                His base may love it but most people don’t like someone who lies all the time and won’t ever admit a mistake. That is not real strength but low self-esteem.

                The libs being apologetic is just one of the Right’s talking points and has no basis in fact. If one thinks behaving like Trump is the right way to go, anyone else will sound apologetic.

                During the first few Obama years, the GOP painted him as an apologist simply because he didn’t bully people like they wanted. The US is the most powerful country on earth but we don’t win much by bullying. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are good examples of this. Trump’s attempt to break the Iran deal will be seen as another in a few years.

              • Posted October 4, 2018 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

                Speaking of apologies, I just read this NYT article about Joel Kaplan, Facebook’s vice president for global public policy, apologizing for turning up at the hearing in support of Kavanaugh. What struck me most, however, were the facial expressions on women surrounding Kaplan. Swear to God, I thought at first that this was an SNL skit!

              • Diane G
                Posted October 4, 2018 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

                Jesus. I suspect it was no accident that female supporters of Kavanaugh were seated front and center, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if they were instructed to look as angry as possible.

              • Posted October 5, 2018 at 3:37 am | Permalink

                I am honestly having trouble understanding why you are not getting it.

                Trump attacks people for being black. He attacks people for being women. He attacks people for being disabled. He attacks people for being soft on immigration. He attacks people for getting shot down and captured in the Vietnam war. He attacks people for wanting healthcare. He attacks people for wanting free trade.

                What Trump never does is attack people for voting Democrat. He never says Democrat voters are dumb because…” Hillary Clinton once levelled an attack at people who vote for Trump, not the far Right, not Conservative Christians: Trump voters. She said half of them are deplorables (FTR I agree with her, but sssh).

              • Posted October 5, 2018 at 10:35 am | Permalink

                Ok, I get what you are saying but I am having a hard time believing Trump has the necessary self-control. If he hasn’t slammed Dem voters, it is just that he hasn’t gotten to it yet.

              • Posted October 5, 2018 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

                Or he is not as stupid, in at least one respect, as everybody is making out. I think he has no clue how to run a country but he knows how to play to an audience.

                It’s a major flaw of democracy: the skill you need to get elected are not the same skills that you need to govern competently.

    • Posted October 2, 2018 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

      Railroad cars and camps? That is s little extreme. A lot extreme. I think delusional may apply here.

      • Historian
        Posted October 2, 2018 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

        I wonder if Max thinks the camps he refers to are analogous to those that ICE placed the children separated from their parents.

        • Posted October 2, 2018 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

          You think Max may be illegal. Max sounds like a Jewish name. I don’t think we have anyone in this country who wants to do that to Jews.

      • max blancke
        Posted October 2, 2018 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

        Is said would do so, if they had the power. Not “are likely to do so”.
        Part of my academic career involved interviewing victims, witnesses, and perpetrators of 20th century horrors. So it does influence my perceptions.
        But I have spent a lot of time talking to people about how they underwent the transition from bystander to perpetrator.
        Someone who would hit you with a bat if they saw you with an American flag is already halfway there.

        Oh, the belief that “it can never happen here” is a belief that, in my experience, was shared by almost everyone I interviewed. Until it happened there. The strength of that belief does not influence whether it happens or not.
        I don’t think “it” is likely to be the same “it” that has happened elsewhere,as the kulaks are armed here. So the railcars and camps remark is perhaps hyperbole.
        But I will go back to “if they had the power”. They do not, and I do not want to give them any more than they already have.

        • Posted October 2, 2018 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

          The people to worry most about are the ones most convinced that it could never happen — with them in charge.

        • Posted October 2, 2018 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

          Sorry for your experiences. But the history of the US and present state has no comparison to the history of Germany and state of Germayin the thirties. Populations are totally different and do are the traditions.

        • Randy Bessinger
          Posted October 3, 2018 at 8:27 am | Permalink

          I don’t like spitting on anyone. However, I fear a President who loves leaders who kill their opponents, including for one leader his 1/2 brother. That scares me alot.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted October 3, 2018 at 11:39 am | Permalink

          Yeah, well, meanwhile the President of the United States of America — the occupant of the august office once held by George Washington and Abraham Lincoln — was in Southaven, Mississippi, last night making like Hee-Haw Hitler in front of a crowd of rabid dolts.

          So I’m thinking your priorities in terms of “what could never happen here” might be slightly misplaced.

        • Posted October 3, 2018 at 9:38 am | Permalink

          Nasty stuff. Keep us posted. Probably more on the left and on the right

    • gluonspring
      Posted October 3, 2018 at 12:59 am | Permalink

      I’ve never walked outside one of these rallies, but I’ve seen footage from the rallies themselves. Often the are benign, but often they are quite chilling. Do the rallies themselves, with their demagoguery and demonizing all kinds of people by the actual President of the United States not give you any pause? I mean, seeing the President lead “lock her up” chants about a political opponent is the closest thing I’ve seen in my lifetime to anything out of a 1930s Germany documentary.

      I just find it odd to consider randos spitting on people (which is of course awful and counter productive) more significant than the actual President leading large groups in the kind of demonizing rhetoric he deploys.

      • Posted October 3, 2018 at 9:57 am | Permalink

        I hear you on the false equivalences. The Right bitches about liberals interrupting their dinner while they unfairly prevent a SCOTUS nominee from getting a hearing, pass laws to deliberately discourage minorities from voting, separate small children from their parents, pass tax laws that mostly benefit their friends, destroy the environment, ignore climate change, and on and on.

  29. Posted October 2, 2018 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

    It has helped the GOP, very much. It is the behavior of the certain, the witch finders, who have done this.

    FWIW my take is the opposite of Jerry’s. I think the most likely possibility is she has a false memory. I think the chances she has just made it up are low but not ignorable. I think the chance he did it is well under 50% but not so low they can be ignored either. The only opinions I find unjustifiable are the certain ones. Those are the ones I see the most of course.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted October 2, 2018 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

      What is your factual basis for claiming Christine Blasey Ford has a “false memory”?

      • Michael Waterhouse
        Posted October 3, 2018 at 4:23 am | Permalink

        The fact of the malleability of memory.

        The fact of minimal to zero corroborating evidence.

        Possibly lying about the polygraph test.

        Knowing the ins and outs of polygraphs and still presenting it as evidence.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted October 3, 2018 at 5:38 am | Permalink

          Everyone’s memory is “malleable”; that establishes nothing about Dr. Ford specifically.

          A clandestine attack 36 years ago on a 15-year-old girl tends not to generate abundant corroborating evidence.

          The sole basis for your polygraph contention seems to be an unsworn letter from an unnamed purported boyfriend that, when they were dating in the 1990s, he overheard Dr. Ford explain to a friend the essentials of how a polygraph works. (This doesn’t constitute “coaching” and polygraphers themselves routinely give subjects such an explanation before an exam.)

          These points may be relevant to credibility generally, but they provide no factual basis whatsoever to support that specific claim that Dr. Ford suffers from “false memory” syndrome.

          That claim, thus far, is nothing but a naked right-wing talking point.

    • Posted October 3, 2018 at 9:39 am | Permalink

      It is doubtful Ford got a look at Kav’s calendar before she made her accusations, so it is difficult to believe she could have made up or imagined the combination of him and his friends “having ‘skis at Timmie’s” on July 1, 1982.

  30. Ken Kukec
    Posted October 2, 2018 at 9:46 pm | Permalink

    Donald Trump who, after her judiciary committee testimony, said Dr. Ford appeared honest and well-intentioned citizen, took to mocking her openly at his Nuremberg rally in Mississippi tonight.

    The man has the self-control of a bonobo tweaking on bath salts.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted October 2, 2018 at 10:03 pm | Permalink

      Well, he can mock away and we will see who gets the last mock. After the job the NYTs did on Trump today he is going to be very busy lying his way out of that. His years of tax fraud and living off of daddy, even after daddy is long dead.

      Kavanaugh will not be on the court and you can all take that to the bank if you like. More lies have been discovered today and those where found again, by journalist, not the FBI. What the FBI is doing is too slow and too little. Their client in effect, is Trump so they are walking on ice. It is a joke but it will not matter. This guy is, as I said long ago, toast.

    • Randy Bessinger
      Posted October 2, 2018 at 10:12 pm | Permalink

      Frontline on Trump tonight 2 hour special.

    • Historian
      Posted October 2, 2018 at 10:16 pm | Permalink

      The frightening thing about Trump’s rallies is not the man himself. It is the crowd that unthinkingly cheers every ludicrous thing he says. I suppose that in every society there is a certain part of the population that craves for a fuhrer. Such a person plays to their grievances and whips them to a frenzy. These are the types of people who threaten democracy, aided and abetted by the majority party in this country.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted October 2, 2018 at 10:48 pm | Permalink

        It’s wall-to-wall demagoguery, the likes of which I never dreamed we’d see from an American president.

        It’s frightening and disgusting.

      • rickflick
        Posted October 3, 2018 at 9:25 am | Permalink

        That’s a glimpse into the abyss.

      • Posted October 3, 2018 at 9:49 am | Permalink

        It is scary to watch those rallies. I remind myself that there’s always going to be a small fraction of the population that is loony but Trump’s ability to get them all in one place is still scary.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted October 3, 2018 at 10:09 am | Permalink

          I’m unaccustomed to seeing anything like it, except maybe in old newsreels from the Thirties.

        • Diane G
          Posted October 4, 2018 at 3:44 am | Permalink

          Oh, I think it’s much more than “a small fraction.” They just usually keep a lower profile.

  31. Robert Van Orden
    Posted October 3, 2018 at 12:17 am | Permalink

    Excellent post. I will respectfully disagree on one point.

    For as many days as Garland is not on the bench is exactly how long I expect the Dems to block any/all Trump nominees. I support this effort. I could give a damn if all justices die/retire and there is no court in the interim.

    Granted, some Dems looked like partisan fools *cough* Booker *cough*.

    However, there is no reason for the Dems to rollover here. There are to few life time appointed SCOTUS Justices and to much on the line.

    I want politicians to reach across party lines. Let them try reach across party lines on a transportation bill or whatever.

    • Robert Van Orden
      Posted October 3, 2018 at 12:18 am | Permalink


      • Robert Van Orden
        Posted October 3, 2018 at 12:24 am | Permalink

        I would also like to add that the Republicans changed rules to get Gorsuch nominated. So it’s not just the Garland issue that has me ticked off.

    • gluonspring
      Posted October 3, 2018 at 12:48 am | Permalink

      I agree there is no “reaching across the aisle” with regard to SCOTUS nominations until the GOP pays some kind of price for the Garland offense. Tit-for-tat can be a stable strategy to ward off defection and ensure long term cooperation. Tit-for-nothing is not a strategy that can work.

      • mordacious1
        Posted October 4, 2018 at 4:34 am | Permalink

        Democrat Harry Reid was the one who changed the rules for confirmation of federal judges (the nuclear option) in order to pack the courts with Obama nominees. He’s on record as stating that it would be no problem doing the same for SCOTUS once Hillary was president, if the Democrats had the Senate.

        It’s okay when Democrats do it. Right? Because Democrats = good and Republicans = evil.

        • gluonspring
          Posted October 4, 2018 at 9:57 am | Permalink

          I think it was not good for Reid to eliminate filibuster. A reasonable response from Republicans would be tit-for-tat. Tit-for-tat, a stable outcome, would be eliminating the filibuster for a similar level position. Not even holding hearings for a nominee is a HUGE escalation. Eliminating filibuster for SCOTUS and *every* other nominee is a HUGE escalation. Doing these two HUGE escalations one after the other is a breathtaking wrong.

          It’s also telling that filling available vacancies = “pack the courts” in your view. Is Trump “packing the courts” with his nominees now? This is the absurdities that the GOP asks us to believe.

          As for Reid’s threats, I believe they were in response to Republican threats to block *any* Clinton nominee. Blocking any nominee a priori is illegitimate and calls for a response. In any case, threatening to assault someone is not the same crime as actually assaulting someone. The GOP actually did the deed whereas Reid was making a threat. As for what Reid would have done, we don’t know. Probably Reid would have done it if Rs followed through on their threat to block *any* Clinton nominee, but who knows for sure? We know for sure what the GOP did.

          • gluonspring
            Posted October 4, 2018 at 10:03 am | Permalink

            Meant to say:

            “Not even holding hearings for a SCOTUS nominee is a HUGE escalation.”

          • mordacious1
            Posted October 4, 2018 at 10:09 am | Permalink

            I said “pack the court” because many of these federal judgeships were left over from GW’s administration. They couldn’t fill these seats, because they needed the higher percentage of votes, until Reid got involved. Reid changed the rules of the game with idea that Hillary was a shoe in. That backfired. Sometimes you roll the dice and lose.

            • gluonspring
              Posted October 4, 2018 at 10:18 am | Permalink

              It was foolish, and maybe wrong, of him, no doubt.

              Still, someone scratches your car, you burn their house down = not proportional. I think that’s where we are.

    • jay salhi
      Posted October 3, 2018 at 8:34 am | Permalink


      Do you have a crystal ball? If the Dems take the Senate they can keep the seat open for 2 years and if they win the White House in 2020, they can appoint a liberal.

      However, if the Republicans keep the Senate and pick up a seat or two, then any alternative to Kavanaugh appointed by Trump will be much more conservative. Indeed, Trump will appoint the most conservative female judge he can find.

      So it is a risky strategy. The Republicans took that risk with Garland and got lucky but they beat the odds because Trump was not favored to win. The Democrats are not favored to win the Senate. Maybe they’ll beat the odds too but wouldn’t count on it.

      • gluonspring
        Posted October 4, 2018 at 10:15 am | Permalink

        How conservative is Kavanaugh?

        The above article suggests that there might not be much space to right of Kavanaugh among the available pool of judges. And given his long career as a partisan operative, and the partisan chip-on-the-shoulder revealed in the hearings, I think there is zero chance Trump would find a more partisan nominee.

        I think the risk Dems face here of getting something worse is quite small.

  32. Jay Salhi
    Posted October 3, 2018 at 3:04 am | Permalink

    For a site frequented by skeptics, both Prof. Coyne’s post and the comments here are disappointing. Even if we use the lowest burden of proof standard (preponderance of evidence or 51%), Ford has not come close to satisfying that burden of proof:

    1. She has selectively put evidence into the public domain regarding her therapy notes while refusing to release the notes to the Committee. You can release the notes or you can claim privacy but you can’t (in any fair proceeding) selectively cherry pick.

    2. None of the named attendees at the party corroborate her story.

    3. There are serious gaps in memory. She can tell us she is sure she only had one beer and can draw a floor plan of the house but can’t tell us whose house is was (only a few people attended the party, it had to be one of them), how she got there or how she got home.

    4. Her story is not consistent. It has gone from 4 male attackers in her late teens to 1 attacker and 1 bystander when she was 15.

    5. She lied about her fear of flying and (likely about her claustrophobia) and tried to blame them on the attack. She flies frequently.

    6. Her “Two door story” as the reason for setting off her memory in 2012 has some problems. The work was completed at least one year earlier and the door was for a second apartment that they rented out (in violation of building code). The second door did not provide her with an emergency exit in the event of attack. Something she managed to live without for 30+ years.

    7. Her ex boyfriend of 6 years says she coached a friend about taking a polygraph (contradicting her testimony), that she never had any fear of flying or signs of claustrophobia.

    It is quite possible that Ford could be lying about certain things and still telling the truth about Kavanaugh. But in terms of evidence, her case is very thin.

    • Posted October 3, 2018 at 6:46 am | Permalink

      This wasn’t a trial, it was a job interview. This is not about whether Kavanaugh should go to prison or even pay damages. This was about whether he should be appointed to the US Supreme Court. One assumes that this job demands the highest standards of integrity (but who knows? I would have said that about POTUS three years ago). In any sane world, the appointing committee would say “thank you very much, but no thank you” and move on to the next candidate.

      • Historian
        Posted October 3, 2018 at 7:34 am | Permalink

        The points that Jay makes can be found on right wing sites. Do these people genuinely not understand what a confirmation hearing is all about? Here are some questions I would ask these folks. Suppose a prestigious hospital wanted to hire a new chief of surgery. Would it hire a candidate who has been the subject of a number of complaints from patients, including sexual misconduct, although he has never been formally sanctioned by a medical board? Would it risk its reputation by hiring this candidate? I think not. Such is the case with Kavanaugh.

        • jay salhi
          Posted October 3, 2018 at 8:22 am | Permalink

          It is impossible to disprove a negative. If you are going to lower the burden of proof that low, anyone can kill any nominee at any time with an accusation unsupported by any evidence other than the word of the accuser.

          The fact that right wing sites are the only ones that are skeptical of Ford’s story does not reflect well on liberals. Her story does not withstand critical scrutiny.

          For the record, I don’t want Kavanaugh confirmed but I’m concerned about the bigger picture here.

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted October 3, 2018 at 11:17 am | Permalink

            Your point being what, that any woman who’s been abused or attacked by a man who’s up for confirmation by the US senate should just STFU?

            Unless maybe she’s got a splooge-stained dress to back up her story?

            • jay salhi
              Posted October 3, 2018 at 11:26 pm | Permalink

              We don’t even have any evidence that the two were ever in a room together. The evidence Ford has selectively put into the public domain does not support her claim. And her story keeps changing.

              Supposedly she kept this story secret for 30 years but then it came out in couples therapy following an argument with her husband about a second door. The timeline of the second door does not match (it was added more than two year earlier) nor doe the purpose for which the door was used (rental premises within the home)nor does the floor plan. The door did not give her a second point of exit to calm her fears and if she was really so tramuatized that she needed another door why were they renting part of their home out to strangers?

              Her timeline for the attack (until late July 2018) was late teens. If that’s the case, then Kavanaugh was not the attacker. She changed the story to age 15, summer of 1982 at the end of July. She says she suffered academically at UNC because of the attack but she did not suffer in high school, which supports her ealier recollection of an attack in her late teens.

              One can go on and on. She lied about fear of flying. She claimed not to know the Committee was willing to travel to California to acoommodate her (fake) fear of flying when it was communicated to her lawyers, all over the news and Greasley tweeted on Sept. 21 that the Committee was willing to come to her.

              We have gone way behind merely taking Ford’s accusations seriously. She has been given every benefit of the doubt, she has been presumed to be telling the truth and anyone who dares to ask questions is disrespecting an assault victim.

              Not a single Democratic Senator bothered to question Kavanaugh about Ford. Did you know her? How many times did you meet? Did you ever attend parties together? Were you ever in a room together with no one (or only a few people)around? Such questions are irrelevant when guilt is assumed at the outset.

              • Posted October 4, 2018 at 12:47 am | Permalink

                You’re sniping at testimony which everyone, including Fox News, found highly credible, in the effort to defend a pathological liar who’s been caught perjuring himself before the Senate 30 times.

                Seriously, what motivates you to such deviousness?

              • Posted October 4, 2018 at 12:48 am | Permalink

                Wait, don’t bother answering, sockpuppet.

          • Posted October 3, 2018 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

            I repeat Jay: This was a job interview, not a trial. This is not about proving anything, it’s about finding a suitable person to do the job.

            • Yudi
              Posted October 3, 2018 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

              Well, I don’t think it matters whether it’s a trial or is a job interview. I think the role of the hiring committee here is to get to the truth. The truth does seem to be very elusive in this case. One approach might be to say, screw it, let’s move on to the next candidate, I don’t have a good feeling about this candidate (this is your sane world scenario). Another way would be to assume innocence tentatively and try to prove guilt. While this second approach might have its flaws, it also seems the one most in line with the constitution, one that seems to have served America pretty well.

              What I think Jay is pointing out is that nobody seems to have any doubts about Dr. Ford’s testimony, nor does anybody seem to be interested in thinking through it.

      • Posted October 27, 2018 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

        I remember Mark Twain’s “Running for Governor”.

    • rickflick
      Posted October 3, 2018 at 10:20 am | Permalink

      All these points of discrepancy should be able to be resolved by the FBI investigation. No conclusions should be drawn without further information.

    • Posted October 4, 2018 at 12:40 am | Permalink

      1. She has selectively put evidence into the public domain regarding her therapy notes while refusing to release the notes to the Committee. You can release the notes or you can claim privacy but you can’t (in any fair proceeding) selectively cherry pick.

      She’s under no obligation to share every detail of her marriage therapy sessions.

      In contrast, tens of thousands of pages of documents from the career of the nominee remain unreleased.

      2. None of the named attendees at the party corroborate her story.

      Specious: nor do any refute it. They simply don’t remember, unsurprising as nothing happened to them that night.

      NB: the known details of July 1, 1982 “[brew]skis” get-together, including the guests in attendance, do corroborate Blasey-Ford’s account.

      3. There are serious gaps in memory. She can tell us she is sure she only had one beer and can draw a floor plan of the house but can’t tell us whose house is was (only a few people attended the party, it had to be one of them), how she got there or how she got home.

      You comment at a science-centric site, yet clearly know nothing about how memories work, especially those of traumatic events.

      4. Her story is not consistent. It has gone from 4 male attackers in her late teens to 1 attacker and 1 bystander when she was 15.

      No, it didn’t.

      5. She lied about her fear of flying and (likely about her claustrophobia) and tried to blame them on the attack. She flies frequently.

      You clearly have no idea how phobias work. I also suffer from claustrophobia, and her behavior makes perfect sense to me.

      See response to #5

      7. Her ex boyfriend of 6 years says she coached a friend about taking a polygraph (contradicting her testimony), that she never had any fear of flying or signs of claustrophobia.

      1) His motivations are highly suspect; 2) the friend, and FBI agent, has issued a sworn affidavit denying any coaching.

      Now, it’s quite possible that Blasey-Ford could be lying about these things. And Deborah Ramirez is lying about her things. And all the Yale classmates lying about remembering what Ramirez describes. And all of BK’s classmates lying about his heavy alcohol abuse & belligerent behavior while drunk. And the police lying about BK’s bar fight. The FBI agent lying about polygraph coaching. Oh, and yet more Yale classmates lying about BK pressing them to deny Ramirez’ story, months before BK swore under oath he’d ever heard about Ramirez’ story. Yep, that’s gotta be it, a vast conspiracy.

      • rickflick
        Posted October 4, 2018 at 8:28 am | Permalink

        It would be good if everyone had your analytical skills. There’d be so much less empty debate. Let’s get logic and critical thinking taught in the schools.

    • Kelly
      Posted October 4, 2018 at 9:43 am | Permalink

      I also do not believe that Ford’s testimony satisfied even the lowest bar for declaring Kavanaugh guilty of sexual assault. Here is an excellent article regarding memory and also one from a left-leaning source which is nice to see: https://quillette.com/2018/10/04/on-the-fallibility-of-memory-and-the-importance-of-evidence/

      • Posted October 4, 2018 at 10:38 am | Permalink

        Sorry for the repetition but Kavanaugh’s nomination process is not a criminal trial.

        • Kelly
          Posted October 4, 2018 at 11:25 am | Permalink

          I assume when people say “it’s not a criminal trial, it’s a job interview” that they mean the bar is lowered in terms of evidence that he is guilty. For many people these days the bar has been lowered to simply, “believe her” and I think that won’t work out well for anyone in the long run.

          • Posted October 4, 2018 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

            I haven’t heard anyone on here spout the “believe her” nonsense. We all admit that Ford could be lying. It seems unlikely but her case is far from proven.

            Kavanaugh’s nomination should be denied based on his reaction to the accusations at his hearing, his lying under oath, and his repeating of political conspiracy theories. We don’t need to prove Ford’s accusation. We just need to conclude that he failed his job interview.

            • Posted October 4, 2018 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

              Paul, I agree wholeheartedly but will wager dollars to donuts he will be confirmed.

              • Posted October 4, 2018 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

                I wouldn’t take that bet. I suspect he’ll be confirmed also. The donut does sound good though.

                It is amazing that even with the ABA and 650+ law professors telling them not to confirm, they will do it anyway. If they do it, we need to make them pay for it.

  33. Posted October 3, 2018 at 6:00 am | Permalink

    I dont know how things work in the US, but I have some experience of vetting of ambassadors in the UK (I knew one).
    Before they are appointed the UK equivalonet of the FBI vets them–interviews friends, family, schoolmates etc. Partly this is to assess charcater, partly to find out if there are skeletons in the closet.
    This happened to the ex-ambassador to Uzbekistan (whom I knew) and they pretty quikcly ferretted out his numerous affairs. He wondered if this would diqualify him. “Oh, no”, came the reply, from the sober-suited men who called round from the ministry, “Usually its about little boys”
    Lot’s of food for thought here–but a key one is that officials get tested to see of they are compromised, or blackmailable. This seems utterly obvious in terms of security yet somehow didn’t happen with Trump, and only happened with Kavanaugh in public.

    • Posted October 4, 2018 at 11:29 am | Permalink

      I asked American friends what sort of legal procedure enforces the laws surrounding presidential hopefuls (e.g., if somehow someone under the required age was running). I was told at the time – perhaps wrongly – that the only recourse if such a candidate actually won would be to have Congress impeach them.

  34. Posted October 3, 2018 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    Not many comments here addressed the question put forth in the title of this post. I will say yes. For Trump’s base, there is clearly nothing that he or his cronies can do to cause them to desert. Although some Trump voters may have second thoughts, this whole circus only strengthens the base’s perception of reality. This particular travesty demonstrates that privileged white guys are persecuted even though they are scum.

  35. Yudi
    Posted October 3, 2018 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    I agree with commenter Jay that many right wing analyses are generally more critical and skeptical, and dare I say, “evidence-based” (or more accurately, based on the lack of evidence, because evidence does seem to be very very thin).

    “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence” – a fairly accurate and useful skeptics maxim. Swetnick’s allegation must be taken seriously, and investigated. What she’s claiming is also extraordinary in that many people queued up in a “train” while taking part in her rape. Where are all these other people? Did they all become very good men after high school, never again getting caught in more sex crimes.

    While it’s unlikely that one high school sex offender (as Kav is alleged to be) becomes a model man after leaving high school, it’s much much more unlikely that all those alleged gang-rapists in the “train” become model citizens (or atleast never get caught over a period of some 30 years).

    Of course, absence of evidence doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. But this also makes it somewhat likely that Swetnick’s accusation is a distraction, or just part of a smear campaign. The second accusation in the New Yorker also didn’t have any corroborating evidence.

    Of course, it could be that Kavanaugh is lying, Ford is right that Kavanaugh was her attacker, and this smear campaign was just thrown in by the democrats for good measure. Who knows? It still largely seems to be a case of “he said, she said”.

    But I’m really surprised by how so much of the liberal press refuses to even consider that Kavanaugh might be innocent. It seems pretty mean and irresponsible to smear Kavanaugh on so little evidence if he’s actually innocent.

    Just really surprised by the lack of any critical analyses by most of the liberal media.

    • Posted October 3, 2018 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

      The Dems have not smeared Kavanaugh and the liberal press have constantly wondered aloud whether Kavanaugh might be innocent. Sure, it would be terrible to support Ford against Kavanaugh if he’s innocent. However, we can’t fail to investigate Ford’s accusations just because of that possibility.

  36. rickflick
    Posted October 4, 2018 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    The news is not looking good. Susan Collins and Jeff Flake are reported to be saying they find nothing too bad in the FBI report.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted October 4, 2018 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

      The FBI “investigation” may have found the only thing the Trump White House directed it to find — 51 votes to confirm.

  37. Posted October 7, 2018 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

    Hopefully this has exposed more people to something I recognized a long time ago. The more religious you are, the more hateful, spiteful, and close minded you become. They know Ford was telling the truth, they just didn’t care. And the GOP is fully in the pockets of special interests including Russia. As they shut down access to the democratic process to deepen their minority rule (GOP does not represent majority), the majority will be without democratic means to influence change. This eventually leads us to only one option, and law enforcement and military will be faced with a tough choice.

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