As we are coming to a merciful end to the Brett Kavanaugh saga, I couldn't help but be struck at the degree to which his fate and the fate of Bill Clinton are somehow perversely intertwined. Kavanaugh's introduction to the world of Republican politics was as a member of the team Ken Starr assembled to investigate President Clinton. And while some concentrated on the Whitewater scandal and others looked at the way the President handled the White House travel department, Brett Kavanaugh salivated at the prospect of digging into the President's sex life. Conspiracy nuts may have creamed themselves when probing into the Vince Foster "murder", but Brett Kavanaugh was particularly excited about how Bill Clinton carried on a salacious sexual affair with Monica Lewinsky.
This all comes to mind, of course, because the first intimations that Brett Kavanaugh was something less than an ideal candidate for the Supreme Court arose from the accusations of Christine Blasey Ford about Brett Kavanaugh's own sexual proclivities. The idea that the Senate might actually confirm an accused sexual predator to the Supreme Court does seem more than a bit unseemly. The problem with the Ford accusations, however, is that they took place a LONG time ago, calling into question the accuracy of Dr. Ford's memory and that they lack corroboration. No police report was filed and Dr. Ford kept the horror of that evening so long ago to herself. Now I understand the reasons behind Dr. Ford's reticence but there are those who cite it as a good and proper reason NOT to take her story seriously.
But then something amazing took place. The Senate Judiciary Committee decided, however reluctantly, to dig deeper in Dr. Ford's story and thus it brought Christine Blasey Ford and Brett Kavanaugh into the hearing room to hear further testimony. And here's the amazing thing. Dr. Ford seemed to be entirely credible. There were no histrionics or over exaggerations. She basically stuck to the facts and relayed information as calmly and objectively as she possibly could. Brett Kavanaugh, on the other hand, went entirely bonkers. More importantly, in an effort to allay any doubts or suspicions about his conduct that evening, Judge Kavanaugh was forced to testify about his drinking habits, as Dr. Ford testified that the good judge was extremely inebriated at the time of the incident. Once that door was opened and we had the opportunity to examine the details of Brett Kavanaugh's life as a privileged and wealthy young man, we began to see an unfortunate aspect of his character. He lied. He took an oath to speak the truth but it must have struck him that if he told the truth, the whole truth, and nothing BUT the truth, that his pathway to a lifetime's tenure as a Supreme Court justice might be blocked. So he lied.
So how does this have anything to do with Bill Clinton, you might well ask? Well, while I basically defended President Clinton at the time, essentially saying that the President's infidelity was nobody's business but his own and that of his aggrieved spouse, when it was revealed that he had committed perjury before a grand jury, that was not only enough to impeach him, it was a sufficiently high crime and misdemeanor to remove him from office. Well, I'm a firm believer that if it's sauce for the goose it surely must be sauce for the gander. If committing perjury under oath is sufficiently serious to remove a President of the United States from office, then surely committing perjury before a Congressional committee while under oath is sufficiently serious to preclude Brett Kavanaugh's ascension to the Supreme Court.
I can understand why a Republican senator might be somewhat reluctant to vote against Judge Kavanaugh's confirmation based on a thirty-six year old story that cannot be factually corroborated. As entirely credible as Dr. Ford's testimony may have been, and it was, there's that overlay of doubt and hesitancy about relying on somewhat shaky testimony to bar someone from a Supreme Court appointment. But Judge Kavanaugh's lies were all too blatant and apparent. And lies are black and white. Was Judge Kavanaugh a problem drinker as a young man? He testified under oath that he wasn't, but many of his friends and colleagues have been more than willing to state otherwise. When you stack up the testimony of a man who desperately wants to sit on the Supreme Court to the point that he's willing to lie against that of an alarming number of his friends and colleagues who remember a much different Brett Kavanaugh than the portrait the good judge painted of himself, well you get the picture of a serial perjurer. And that's not the kind of character we should want on our Supreme Court.
This has nothing to do with politics. President Trump can nominate another equally qualified jurist to sit to the Supreme Court, one who is just as dependably Republican and just as dependably conservative. But to place an accused sexual assaulter and a demonstrated perjurer on the Supreme Court, that will besmirch the reputation of the Court and the opinions it hands down for at least a generation to come. I will not live to see it but many of you who read this blog will have to live with it. Are you willing to take such an impetuous gamble with such a vital institution? I would sincerely hope NOT!
Filed under: Politics