Friday, September 28, 2018

He Said/She Said



I watched almost all of the Ford/Kavanaugh hearing yesterday. How could I not? High political drama, right there on my laptop.


My politics are no secret. I was opposed to Kavanaugh before Dr. Ford and the other accusers came forward. I don't believe he would be an impartial judge. I fear that he would abet an undoing of Roe v. Wade, and I cringe at the possibility that he would allow the President* to pardon himself in the event of conviction for wrong-doing. Judge Kavanaugh has been groomed by the Right for years and he is completely their creature.


 Yes, the whole show was politicized by both sides. I believe Dr. Ford's statement to the effect that she just wanted her senator to know this about Kavanaugh's past before  he was nominated. I believe that she wanted to stay anonymous -- this process can't have been fun for her. If Feinstein employed delaying tactics due to Ford's desire for anonymity, they pale in comparison to the delaying tactics employed by Mitch McConnell et al re Merrick Garland.

I was impressed with Dr. Ford's demeanor and seeming candor. She sounded completely believable to me, including her admission of the things she didn't remember. I felt that she answered the questions put to her without straying from the subject. Her polygraph test and her willingness to participate in an FBI investigation would seem to indicate that she is telling the truth. 

But the Republicans fear a shift in power after the midterms and are desperate for this confirmation. They will surely resist an FBI investigation that would only delay things -- and possibly not make anything clearer. 

Judge Kavanaugh, unlike Dr. Ford, was evasive. More than that, he was arrogant, combative, and rude. He was most at home reciting his exemplary achievements but seemed annoyed at being put through this questioning (especially from the 'female assistant' employed by the committee.) He was also visibly nervous. And quite political himself, jabbing a finger at the Democrats on the committee, haranguing them and suggesting a conspiracy to get even with him for his part in the investigation of the Clintons. If I'd known nothing about him, I would have decided that his temperament showed him unfit for the judiciary. And some say women are too emotional for high office.

None of which 'proves' anything. 

There were two lines of questioning I thought particularly irrelevant. One was the matter of his yearbook page. Having served as advisor to the yearbook staff at a prep school, I know that things get put under people's pictures, whether maliciously or as an inside joke, and that this is a flimsy guide to character.

The other was the famous hand-annotated calendar from 1982. I have no problem believing that this calendar is real. I do have a problem seeing it as proof that Judge Kavanaugh didn't attend the gathering Dr. Ford describes. Who in his right mind would detail a gathering at which he had behaved as badly as Dr. Ford alleges? On the contrary, who, if he had been there and done that, might not jot down some other event, just in case there were repercussions, in case the girl told someone the next day?

I think I'm approaching this as a reader and writer of mysteries. As I said, nothing is proven -- but I can see the various possibilities. . . either Dr. Ford is an accomplished actress and bald-faced liar, or she is 'mixed up' and the event happened but it wasn't Kavanaugh. Or she is telling the truth.

And either Kavanaugh is the person he says he is, fighting to defend his reputation and the chance for the promotion of a lifetime -- or he's willing to lie about these incidents so far in the past that they seem almost to have been someone else. Surely, he may tell himself, all those years of good conduct, all those accolades and awards and endorsements and years of church-going outweigh one drunken moment when nothing really happened . . . he didn't even manage to get her clothes off. . . surely, he may tell himself, some things are worth lying about, need to be lied about. The end justifies the means . . .

Possibilities . . .

My husband suggested that in the absence of concrete evidence, it might be as well to look at cui bono -- who benefits? Who benefits from lying? Dr. Ford, whose life has been upturned and who has received death threats? Or Judge Kavanaugh who sees a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court nearly in the palm of his hand?

He said. She said.



12 comments:

Anvilcloud said...

As good a combination of summary and opinion as we can find anywhere IMO. That Americans have politicized their judiciary is beyond me.

Vicki Lane said...

Alas. There was a time when I had respect for judges.

Barbee' said...

Our government in Washington has become more and more a soap opera.

dannie said...

I agree with your assessment completely. I kept telling myself I had to listen and be fair. It was easy to follow and understand Dr. Ford. I was appalled by the way Mr. Kavanaugh handled himself and regardless of the content of his delivery, I felt he was definitely not conducting himself like someone I would trust to be a Supreme
Court Judge.

Barbara Rogers said...

A great demonstration of character was seen by all, and when the GOP puts Kavanaugh on the court, which they will (in my humble opinion) this whole thing will be remembered for the next nomination. The Tea Party rhetoric continues to be insidious in solicitation of support, while having no real meaning, just eliciting emotional triggers.

KarenB said...

That was a thoughtful analysis; thank you, Vicki. The right is desperate to confirm him as he is the only conservative leaning judge who has explicitly stated that a sitting president cannot be indicted. He has also indicated that he will support an amendment that would allow a president to pardon people convicted in state courts, not just federal courts. Given how the investigation by Mueller is handing off criminal evidence to state courts, that is a huge incentive to the current administration to have Kavanaugh confirmed.

It is extremely unfortunate that the nomination and confirmation process for the Supreme Court has become so incredibly politicized. That is one institution that needs to be a non-partisan as possible in order to function properly.

NCmountainwoman said...

If I had seen nothing beyond Kavanaugh's opening tirade, I would have concluded that he was not fit to be the judge that he is. And certainly not fit to sit on the highest court in the land.

Unknown said...

Very thoughtful and very good, Vicki!

Cyranetta said...

What is particularly dispiriting about Kavanagh's bombastic opening statement was how it mirrored Trump's typical approach in its mix of bullying, self-pity and paranoia. It's bad enough that the Supreme Court will be moved closer to a denial of civil rights and due process because of his political alignment, but his Trumpian attitude will have an equally poisonous effect.

The procedure was full of he said/she said contrasts: Lindsay Graham/Chuck Grassley vs. Kamala Harris/Amy Klobuchar.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Excellent post. And excellent question: "Who benefits?" I was glad to see that finally the vote has been delayed a week and the FBI is going to investigate. Let's hope they are quick on their feet. (I suspect they are.) The GOP has become such a circus in the worst sense of the word.

Bernadette Wood said...

OMG Vicki this gives me chills. I felt exactly the same way as I watched these hearings. I felt she was telling her truth with as much accuracy as she could remember. I had tears in my eyes as I listened, I thought she was so brave and the only thing she had to gain was peace at telling her story giving other women courage to tell their own. Kavannaugh on the other hand was so angry and
bitter that I couldn't visualize him sitting on any court let alone the Supreme Court. Oh Vicki I pray they can stop him, the people are doing their their part, let's hope the Senators do theirs.

katy gilmore said...

Boy it doesn't seem he said she said to me. It's she said and he lies - or was so ashamed and/or drunk that he's "forgotten" what happened. Ford was absolutely credible - he was not to be believed, on things big and little. Not to mention judicial temperament not even in the room during his infantile tantrum (that smacked of he doth protest too much). If so innocent, why on earth not beg for an FBI investigation?