It is a mistake to think the anti-Brett Kavanaugh forces are acting cynically. I believe almost all his antagonists honestly thought his views should have disqualified him, leading many of them to oppose his nomination minutes after it was announced.
That was long before they almost all became honestly convinced he had sexually assaulted someone, which then led them to believe further charges of his involvement in sexual acts.
Which was before they became honestly convinced he perjured himself in an answer about the meaning of the word “boofing.”
Which was congruent in time with their belief that Kavanaugh perjured himself when he testified he hadn’t known about a charge against him when he had clearly testified 15 minutes earlier that he did — a contradiction that is no contradiction in fact because the phrasing of both sets of questions was different and entirely ambiguous.
Tomorrow they will be honestly convinced of something else that they will say should self-evidently deny him a seat.
I believe in their conviction. I do not share it. I think they are being ridiculous, hair-splitting, ungenerous and unjust. But I do not believe they are being dishonest.
The problem for the anti-Kavanaugh forces is this: When you believe that any and every charge levied against a person with whom you disagree ideologically is true — and give credence to any and every charge, including one that he was a recruiter for a mob committing gang rapes — your ability to argue strenuously for your belief that he should be hanged for any individual supposed wrong is likely to generate a certain degree of skepticism among those who do not share your ideological passions.
I am a conservative, and so perhaps you can dismiss me on the grounds that I am ideologically inclined to give Kavanaugh the benefit of the doubt.
Yet I think I have a record of being fair in this regard. In 1998, a mere few days after Lewinsky-gate, I wrote an editorial for this newspaper saying that if all this matter came down to was sex, Clinton should not be impeached. In 2011, I lost donors and subscribers to Commentary, the magazine I edit, because I spoke heatedly against Donald Trump’s birtherism claims against Barack Obama.
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I hold no brief for Kavanaugh. I don’t know him. I’ve read several of his opinions, and they seem fine or better than fine, but they didn’t seize me the way some of Neil Gorsuch’s writings did, or the way Sam Alito’s did when he was nominated.
He seemed a safe and dull choice to me, like a B. It’s hard to rally behind a B. Had he gone down for some reason in the confirmation hearings I would have considered fair or just or proper, I wouldn’t have mourned.
In no way did I expect that his fate would engage my passions in the way it has, and that’s largely due to the astounding injustice of the attacks on him.
An accusation of sexual assault nearly four decades ago with no witnesses, stated and restated in ways that change the year and the number of people in the vicinity, is greeted as though it were holy writ.
A second accusation of sexual exposure came from someone who said she spent six days “assessing her memories” before deciding Kavanaugh had done it.
Then a third accusation, patently absurd on its face, was issued by someone who went before a camera on Monday, named a few contemporaneous witnesses who were long dead, and changed her story twice during the interview.
In all these cases, most professional media and political people assumed the merit of most of these charges because they don’t like the accused.
Now, as the lack of evidence in the sexual charges begins to take its toll, they are grasping at the idea that some literally sophomoric language in Kavanaugh’s yearbook should be disqualifying because he refused to acknowledge its gross meaning — thus leading to claims of “perjury.”
Let me say this, and now I’ll be honest in talking to you Inspector Javerts, you who wish to convict over a loaf of bread.
First, you can never prove Kavanaugh didn’t think boofing meant flatulence, because you cannot go inside his head.
And second, if indeed he knowingly lied about the meaning of the term “boofing,” he should not be denied confirmation to the Supreme Court. Because it was an entry in his yearbook. His high-school yearbook. His. High. School. Yearbook. And he would have lied about it because he was ashamed.
Like I say, I think you’re honest. Inspector Javert was honest, too. Is that the company you wish to keep?
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