This is not a post about whether Ford or Kavanaugh is right. Barring some really specific evidence, all we are going to have are gut feelings about who is being honest. She seems to have clearly been traumatized; he seems sincerely indignant. I would love to see something definitive emerge so hard facts can confirm or deny their accounts.
- The Democrats could have addressed this much earlier, and much more quietly (which is what Ford was hoping for). The Republicans knew this was coming for months, and could have made moves to address it as well. I suspect both sides like the fireworks for the sake of the upcoming election.
- Republicans are complaining about stalling after stalling for a year with Obama's attempted selection to the Supreme Court, and man who judged almost identically to Kavanaugh and of whom Kavanaugh spoke very highly.
- Many people are noting how sitting Democratic senators handled the witnesses against Bill Clinton very differently than they are handling the witnesses against Kavanaugh.
- A bunch of willing witness are being ignored by the FBI, I assume because they have been limited in the scope of the investigation.
- Even the report from the prosecutor hired by Republicans (even though this wasn’t a trial) smells suspicious.
And thus the game is played.
- His yearbook prominently displays his boasts concerning drinking and sexual prowess. Even if he was blustering about the sex part, it seems clear that he wanted to be viewed as having all those things be a part of his life.
- Renate Dolphin is mortified about what he – and thirteen of his friends - suggested about her (so much so she withdrew her initial endorsement of him). Or, as she put it: “I don’t know what ‘Renate Alumnus’ actually means. I can’t begin to comprehend what goes through the minds of 17-year-old boys who write such things, but the insinuation is horrible, hurtful and simply untrue. I pray their daughters are never treated this way.”
- Some of his friends – friends to whom Kavanugh gave a shout out in a speech in 2015 - wrote in their yearbooks about ‘Killer Qs” and “151”, a reference to quaaludes and grain alcohol - which multiple sources have confirmed were often used by his peers to spike punch bowls from which the high school girls at the party drank. In that speech, Kavanaugh also noted, “What happens at Georgetown Prep stays at Georgetown Prep. That’s been a good thing for all of us, I think.”
- The New York Times published a handwritten letter from Kavanaugh circa 1983. I encourage you to read it if you want an unscrubbed look at who he was. He is not how he portrayed himself in front of the Senate. He does not write the kind of letter that one would expect from someone committed to purity or sobriety.
- His college roommates and others close to him describe his excessive drinking and the belligerent attitude it brought out of him. There is a least one incident on official record: The cops were called on Kavanaugh and Chris Dudley for a bar fight in 1985 when Kavanaugh threw the contents of his drinking glass into the face of another man, an action which started a brawl. This aggressiveness after drinking seems to have continued until at least 2001. In 2014, he regaled an audience with numerous tales of hard drinking between him and his buddies while at Yale.
- The stories that are now circulating about the culture in which he moved in both prep high school and college reveal an alcohol-saturated, sexually charged, frat-based moral and social ecosystem in which he was clearly comfortable. More than a thousand women who attended Holton-Arms, the girl’s school from which Ford graduated, have signed a letter that describes the alleged assault as “all too consistent with stories we heard and lived while attending Holton. Many of us are survivors ourselves.”
- Former classmates are starting to call BS very publically on his professed choirboy image.
- He clerked for Judge Kozinski – a relationship Kozinski described as “the most intense and mutually dependent one outside of marriage, parenthood, or a love affair.” Kozinski was notorious for his lechery and crudeness. Kavanaugh insists he knew nothing about this, but read the article. It’s frankly impossible that he did not know.
Now, observations about the formative moral and social ecosystem in which he was raised and stories about the lives of his bacchanalian peers (such as Mark Judge) do not necessarily mean that all of this should be applied to Kavanaugh or that Ford is telling the truth about that particular incident.
His unsavory track record in high school and college has brought him to a place where, under oath in a Senate hearing, he feels the need to offer false exculpatory statements, an action which may well cost him the nomination. In addition, his character and reputation have been bared to the world in a way that I can't help but think is humiliating (and I can't imagine what his family is going through).
Brett Kavanaugh may well be a good man today. I don’t know him. He has plenty of people who speak admirably of him from all eras of his life. But who he was on his better days and who he is as an adult do not erase the legacy of the foolishness he sowed as a young man.
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