First came Christine Blasey Ford. In plain language, she described how Kavanaugh and his buddy tried to rape her, and all the while they were laughing. Her testimony was all the more powerful because of the clear emotional impact it had on her.
“I was pushed onto the bed and Brett got on top of me,” she said. “He began running his hands over my body and grinding his hips into me. I yelled, hoping someone downstairs might hear me, and tried to get away from him, but his weight was heavy. Brett groped me and tried to take off my clothes.”
“To what degree of certainty are you that it was Judge Kavanaugh?” she was asked. “100%,” she replied.
An experimental psychologist, she explained how some parts of a powerful emotional experience are burned into the brain: “the level of norepinephrine and epinephrine in the brain that sort of, as you know, encodes ― that neurotransmitter encodes memories into the hippocampus, and so the trauma-related experience then is kind of locked there whereas other details kind of drift.”
She also made clear her extreme reluctance to come forward, in fact to even discuss what had happened with those closest to her for many years. When she got through, it was hard to see how Kavanaugh’s nomination could survive her powerful testimony.
Dog and Pony Show
Then the dog and pony show got started.
He and his fellow Republican politicians shouted and raged. He taunted and outright lied. It was all part of a show to try to obliterate the memory of what Blasey Ford had said and to portray himself, the perpetrator, as the victim. It was a drive to shore up his base, pure and simple.
“I like beer. Do you like beer, senator, or not? What do you like to drink? Senator, what do you think, like to drink?” he taunted Senator Amy Klobuchar, whose father is an alcoholic. This was part of his harassment of the opposition. It was also part of his consistent attempt to portray himself as just an ordinary guy – drinks beer, works out, plays football and basketball. As we pointed out in our previous article, he’s anything but “ordinary”. Rather, he’s from the entitled elite. And that’s the exact word that should be kept in mind: These people think that they’re entitled by birth, and he was furious that what he thinks he’s entitled to might be slipping away.
What he was doing with his talk about liking beer, working out, and playing football and basketball, was playing on the jock culture. This culture has a large element of bullying and picking on and abusing those perceived to be less powerful. That includes women and, where possible, people of color. For the elite like Kavanaugh, it also means ordinary working class people (again where possible). This jock culture mentality is the psychological basis for so much of Trumpism.
Attack on Blasey Ford
One little trick the male defenders of sexual molestation pulled is to have a woman question Blasey Ford, and to do it in the most neutral tones. They couldn’t say to her face that she was either insane or lying, that she was part of a “far left” plot, but that was the effect of what they were saying. Republican hatchet man Kavanaugh – he of the Bush stolen election and Starr Committee fame – got it started. “This whole two-week effort has been a calculated and orchestrated political hit fueled with apparent pent-up anger about President Trump and the 2016 election, fear that has been unfairly stoked about my judicial record, revenge on behalf of the Clintons, and millions of dollars in money from outside, left-wing opposition groups,” he nearly shouted.
There is no escaping that Blasey Ford must have been part of this hit job, if such a hit job happened. Oh, yes, that’s why she had insisted to her husband that they have two front doors installed when they were having their house remodeled. (She insisted because of PTSD-like condition resulting from the Kavanaugh sexual attack.)
“This is a circus,” he said.
Far right Senator Lindsay Graham piled on. “What you want to do is destroy this guy’s life,” he raged. Who was it that “destroyed” Kavanaugh’s life? It would have to have been Blasey Ford, but he wouldn’t dare say that to her face because the optics would be too bad. So he pretended to be directing his comments purely at the Democrats on the committee. But there’s no way around the fact that if such a plot existed, Blasey Ford must have been part of that plot.
In other words, this was another case of blame the victim/survivor.
The Democrats repeatedly tried to get Kavanaugh to reply to whether or not he would support having an FBI investigation of the charges against him. The good politician that he is, time and again he evaded the question. Finally, in a telling moment, in response to Senator Dick Durbin, after being asked repeatedly and after repeated evasions, he simply sat back and smiled at Durbin when the latter asked him, “Judge Kavanaugh, will you support and FBI investigation right now?”
There were several points at which Kavanaugh outright lied. For example, he had written about “Devil’s triangle” in his yearbook. Under questioning, he claimed that was a drinking game. It is not. It refers to three person sex – two men and a woman – exactly what Blasey Ford says was done to her. He lied about what “Renate alumnius” meant.
Lynn Brookes, Kavanaugh College Classmate: “He is a blatant liar.”
The reason for this rush to judgement was made clear in a telephone interview Chris Cuomo conducted on his show “Cuomo Prime Time.” He talked by phone with Yale classmate and fellow athlete of Kavanaugh, Lynn Brookes. “I drank to excess many nights with Brett Kavanaugh,” she said. “It is about the truth. Lying is never good. It always comes with consequences…. He (Kavanaugh) is a blatant liar…. I am a Republican.”
Normalizing Sexual Predation
This whole Republican “circus” has been an attempt to normalize sexual predation, just as Trump has normalized racist attacks with his claim that there are “some good people” among the attackers.
It must be admitted, though, that the Democrats on the committee lost several opportunities. One of the most powerful would have been to question him about his time in Delta Kappa Epsilon (DKE) fraternity. This frat had the reputation for being heavy partiers and also harassers of women. His frat “brothers” were photographed parading around campus with a flag made of women’s panties and bras. After he graduated, DKE was barred from Yale because of its even more blatant harassment of women, including advocating rape by chanting “no means yes”.
Also, there was the issue of Kavanaugh’s calendar. He made much of the calendar he presented, with all his events written in. Supposedly, it showed that he was busy nearly every night during the months that Blasey Ford said she was attacked. One problem, though: He could as easily have written things in a day or two after the fact as he could have simply left things out.
There is another issue where Kavanaugh outright lied: That is where he said that all three of those that Ford named as having been there denied that this party took place. That is simply untrue Kavanaugh knows it’s untrue; they simply said that they don’t remember it. As a lawyer, Kavanaugh knows the difference. (In fact, Ford’s former friend Leland Keyser said that she believes Ford.) Why didn’t the Democrats take Kavanaugh up on that?
Why did they not raise these points? Is DKE too prestigious to attack? And as for the calendar: Think what they would be saying: That a sitting judge is engaged in a blatant cover-up and perjury. This does not look good for the system they are defending.
We will leave the last words for Christine Blasey Ford: “I am terrified,” she said in her opening remarks. If that is true for a woman from a fairly wealthy background, one who has a PhD and is an established professor at a prestigious university, think of how an ordinary working class woman would feel. That is what this whole charade was designed to do in part: shut women up and protect the sexual harassers and predators, including the Predator-in-Chief.
And along the way, get a judge appointed who is a far right political operative and hatchet man, one who is guaranteed to protect the money laundering Trump while advancing the overall attack on all working class people.
A real Trifecta.
Update: Under immense pressure, and aware that they were losing all credibility, especially from many women voters, the Republicans have agreed to postpone the vote for one week to allow the FBI to investigate “all credible claims” that have been made so far. This is a cover. It’s possible that the FBI will be able to uncover decisive proof in the one week allotted to them, but it’s also possible that they won’t, no matter how guilty Kavanaugh is. In that case, the Republicans have a cover to push the nomination through.