What a Bleeping Bleep

Trump Maladministration

I don’t know that the “limited investigation” will be anything but a paper shuffle, but my sense of things is that the more time it takes to confirm Brett Kavanaugh, the less likely it is he will be confirmed. David Atkins wrote,

Senator Jeff Flake’s decision to to stall the confirmation vote of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh by a week while the FBI conducts a limited inquiry to the assault allegations may turn out to be a mere speed bump on the road to Kavanaugh’s confirmation. Given the nominee’s brazen lies under oath on matters small and large, it is also possible that a week will be more than enough time for a combination of journalistic and law enforcement inquiries to expose Kavanaugh as too patently unfit for even this hyperpartisan Republican Senate to force through.

Either way, in the current political environment a week is an ocean of time, giving Republican Senators like Flake, Murkowski, Collins and others ample opportunity to consider just how history will view them, and just how low the Republican Party will sink under their guidance.

My suspicions are that the biggest reason McConnell et al. agreed to the investigation is that he didn’t have the votes. But if that’s so, will another week make any difference? Or will a perfunctory investigation provide a fig leaf of an excuse to do the wrong thing for the likes of Susan Collins?

At Axios, Jim VandeHei writes that the whole mess reveals a massive miscalculation on the Republicans’ part:

The big picture: He and Republicans had an epic failure of imagination. They were forced reluctantly and publicly into what should have been a fairly easy-to-anticipate moderate compromise: agree to a vote after a quick FBI probe. Instead of looking hungry for truth, Kavanaugh heads into the week looking fearful of findings.

There’s a reason for this miscalculation:

Republicans, from the earliest days of the allegations, were overly confident they could just jam this through, several people involved the process tell us.

They thought he would be better defending himself — and that Dr. Ford would seem less credible.

Republicans treated this like a bare-knuckles political fight. They calculated a Fox News appearance, a Trump endorsement, a headstrong Mitch McConnell, a fired-up base, a fast vote would hold the party together.

According to Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns at the New York Times, the Republicans are still approaching the nomination as a bare-knuckles political fight.

By agreeing to delay Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh’s nomination in the short term, President Trump and Senate Republicans are making two long-term bets: that a drawn-out confirmation battle will secure a conservative majority on the Supreme Court, and that the fight will give them a better chance of keeping control of the Senate in the midterm elections.

With that Senate majority squarely in mind, Republicans are also making a concession to stark political realities. Party leaders have concluded that supporting Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination, in the face of sexual assault accusations against him, will all but ensure that Republicans lose control of the House in November even as their fortunes may improve in some tough Senate races. …

… Republicans, particularly the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, appear to be gambling that their majority in the House is already in tatters, and that it is worth trading for a legacy-making appointment to the Supreme Court and the chance to retain their 51-to-49 Senate majority.

Among other challenged Democrats they’re probably thinking of Claire McCaskill, who has said she will vote no on the nomination. But I’m not sure this mess is hurting McCaskill here. The people who are knee-jerk anti-McCaskill voters are knee-jerk anti-McCaskill voters with or without Kavanaugh. But there are a lot of suburban women in this state who may be ambivalent about McCaskill but are probably furious about Kavanaugh, and there are a lot of rural women who have been mistreated by men in them thar hills.

Meanwhile, even the bleeping Jesuits have withdrawn support for Kavanaugh.

See also Charles Pierce, In Plain Terms, Judge Brett Kavanaugh Lies About Everything and Jamelle Bouie, A Justice Kavanaugh Will Be a Pyrrhic Victory for the GOP.

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22 Comments

22 Comments

  1. doug  •  Sep 29, 2018 @6:36 pm

    Thirty-six years ago a drunken Brett Kavanaugh tried to rape a 15-year old girl. He didn't care what injury he would do to an innocent soul. Karma works at different speeds and delivers justice in different ways, but I think it's a law of nature. (With apologies to Maha  in advance for poorly expressing it.)

    This week Karma caught up with Judge Kavanaugh. Dr. Ford didn't do it to Brett – like Wil-E-Coyote, Kavanaugh did it to himself.  (The cartoon character is always the victim of his own aggression against the Road Runner.) The Karmic justice fell on Kavanaugh like a boulder.

    I make no prediction that the nomination is doomed. The honor of the position on the Supreme Court is beyond Kavanaugh's reach, even if the Senate confirms him. The honor is gone forever. I suspect the women on the court will shun Kavanaugh even if the gets to sit up front in a robe. My secret hope is that Ginsburg would accidentally refer to him as "Judge Rapist" … and sincerely apologize. 

    I'd like it if the FBI finds irrefutable evidence of Kavanaugh's past deeds but it's a long shot at best. They can't clear him of an attack he's guilty of  (unless you doubt Ford's 100% certainty that it was Kavanaugh) but the FBI can't prove the attack either. Other offenses may have witnesses and the FBI has a target "era" to search. This will be the longest week of Kavanaugh's life and I'm not sure he can stand the strain of remembering (or half-remembering) drunken antics that hundreds of FBI agents will be hunting to find. THIS is hell week, Brett.

    Here's the worst part that may push Kavanaugh into withdrawing. IF any of his misdeeds surface, there's no reason for Kavanaugh to expect advance warning. An FBI report that establishes his character as a sloppy, vulgar drunk at Yale will become public knowledge if it's delivered to 100 members of the Senate. I give it a 50% chance that Kavanaugh will fold before the report is delivered. 

    I welcome Maha's critique of my interpretation of Karma, but the only way for Kavanaugh to take the Karmic lesson and grow in future incarnations is to acknowledge the injury he did to Dr. Ford and others. I could actually respect him if he did that and withdrew – he'd still be a conservative I disagree with, but he'd be rehabilitated in my view. He's not capable of that, based on his angry testimony. That's OK – Karma isn't done yet.

  2. doug  •  Sep 29, 2018 @6:38 pm

    WTF? Twit filtered? I didn't even swear.

  3. Billikin  •  Sep 29, 2018 @7:45 pm

    The hearing on Thursday may have delivered a blow to the Republicans, because they did not look too good. They might have done better to let their lawyer do all the talking. But I don't think that a brief FBI investigation followed by a hearing and vote would have been good for Kavanaugh. In addition to telling cosmetic lies about such things as boofing, Kavanaugh is running scared.

    Scared of what? The questions he avoids answering have to do with his alcohol consumption, and about passing out or being so drunk that he has memory loss. Why does he avoid answering them? Because he knows that if he lies under oath to the Senate, he is toast. And if he tells the truth, he either admits to alcoholic memory loss, or to heavy enough alcohol consumption that memory loss is likely. And if he cannot maintain the claim of a clear memory, there goes his defense to the assault charge. (Even if it was not sexual assault, it was physical assault.) Dr. Ford seems credible when she describes the attack, and Kavanaugh seems credible when he denies it. Both facts are consistent with memory loss. 

    When asked about the level of his drinking, Kavanaugh repeatedly responded by talking about his academic and sports achievements, as though he was too busy to abuse alcohol. Well, I went to an Ivy League school, too, and there were guys there whose motto was, Work Hard, Play Hard. Kavanaugh may well have been one of those, getting shitfaced to unwind after hitting the books. An investigation focusing on his alcohol use could have unearthed his heavy drinking and boofing. I think that's what he was afraid of, and still is. And given his testimony, that's going to be one focus of the current investigation.

  4. Swami  •  Sep 29, 2018 @11:19 pm

    And given his testimony, that's going to be one focus of the current investigation.

    Billikin…I'm hearing that Trump has limited the scope of the investigation to just the allegations of sexual assault. The FBI can't interview his Yale classmates to probe his excessive drinking or his behavior when he does drink.. That kinda tells you where their biggest fear lies. Kavanaugh is afraid of being exposed as an alki.

     When Klobachar asked him what he meant when he said that sometimes he drank to much, he answered by saying, "whatever it says on the charts". There are no charts..they might have a charts of the legal limit of blood alcohol for driving, but that doesn't answer the question. Common sense would dictate to anybody who's ever drank to excess that they've lost control of their mental state in varying degrees according to the effects of alcohol on their brain.

    It takes one to know one…and I think Kavanaugh is exhibiting strong alcoholic tendencies.

     About 40 years ago I remember seeing a cartoon in the Grapevine Magazine that kinda summed up an alcoholic trait that can even be seen being employed in Kavanaugh's testimony.

     The cartoon went as followed. The wife asks her husband how he would like his breakfast eggs. He says he wants one egg scrambled and one egg fried. She prepares the eggs according to his directions and places them in front him. He looks at the eggs and then looks at his wife, and he's says…You scrambled the wrong one. 

     

  5. Stella  •  Sep 30, 2018 @6:55 am

    Methinks the dishonorable BooHoo Brett needs a therapy session with Dick Cheney for a lesson on how to brazen his way through this trauma.

  6. Tom_b  •  Sep 30, 2018 @9:08 am

    The FBI already looks bad in that they screwed up Kavanaugh’s vetting process. They look worse because they did not take the initiative to start talking to witnesses as soon a Ford’s story broke. If they do a half-“asked” job now, they will find themselves in hot water.

  7. uncledad  •  Sep 30, 2018 @10:46 am

    "Kavanaugh may well have been one of those, getting shitfaced to unwind after hitting the books"

    Possible, but my college a experience (not Ivy league I went to an Indiana State School) was that none of the Frat Boys studied at all. They all had “files” on every class handed down from the previous year. They knew the tests, report work, everything. I doubt Yale was much different. I'm sure once he got into law school he had to work but I would think his first couple years at Yale were a breeze. What I saw on the stand last Thursday was a man that had been thoroughly coached but even the extensive coaching couldn't hide a man who has two problems, he's a drunk and he can't seem to tell the truth!

  8. csm  •  Sep 30, 2018 @12:12 pm

    I don’t expect much from the FBI investigation, limited in scope as it is.  The limits are designed to “uncover” only evidence that shows what we already know.  Only.  And we already know enough right now for the right decision to be to reject Kavanaugh; we knew enough to go in that direction with Kavanaugh’s testimony even before Ford came forward.  It’s not his policy positions; it’s his extreme partisanship, demeanor and temperament, and already proven lies. 

    The republicans thought they could ram this through, with good reason.  They’ve gotten away with stealing a supreme court pick, a devastating war based on lies that spawned ISIS; theft of two presidencies (2001, 2016) the last one with the help of a foreign power.  The party is thoroughly corrupt.  They want Kavanaugh on the court as a legal backstop as bad as Trump does.  The thought that Kavanaugh would give these people a crises of conscience, even in the age of #MeToo doesn’t make sense.

    Hemmed in by a base that is aptly described as insane, and a president loved by them, the republicans are too afraid to do right even if it occurred to them.  But it doesn’t because the only real thing that matters to them is power; the power to install and maintain a corporate oligarchy, the power to return America to reigning white supremacy and patriarchy, and keeping the party in position to deliver it.  Nothing else matters.

  9. csm  •  Sep 30, 2018 @12:31 pm

    One other point: in light of where we are now, its no wonder the republicans tried to hide all that documentation.  The assumption is the bulk of it has to do with legal decisions, opinions etc.  But who's to say that what remains hidden doesn't include documentation to support some of what we're finding out now?  A real investigation would make that available to the FBI, just as a serious confirmation process would have made it available to all members of the judiciary committee.

  10. grannyeagle  •  Sep 30, 2018 @4:31 pm

    I've wondered what the current justices think of Kavanaugh and how they will treat them if he does get affirmed.  I've also wondered what his wife thinks.  She would know him better than anyone.  She could be like Tammy Wynette and standing by her man or it is just possible he has changed though I doubt it.  His behavior on Thursday does not support that view.  The really sad thing is that I see his two daughters as victims.  I'm sure he loves them and wants to protect them but it bothered me when he said that his 10yo said she wanted to pray for the woman.  Exposing a 10yo to this mess is abuse in my opinion.

    As for Karma, it may not have come yet although it will eventually.  As Edgar Cayce said:  "We are always meeting ourselves".

    If Kavanaugh does not get confirmed, his behavior is predictable.  He will drink more and more, get angrier and angrier and I feel sorry for anyone who could be affected by that.  As the world turns.

  11. paradoctor  •  Sep 30, 2018 @4:50 pm

    I say, plan pessimistically. So I say the probe will confirm more of his predation, privilege and perjuries; but that he will be confirmed anyhow. Then the House and maybe the Senate will turn blue, but the silver lining is always smaller than the cloud. Once on the Court, Justice Rapist will pen some curious opinions. The damage will last decades…

    … unless he is impeached. That's what a blue wave is good for.

    I myself have a hand-drawn IMPEACH TRUMP sign on my car; and have prepared an IMPEACH PENCE sign for after they take Trump out of the Oval Office in a strait-jacket. Be prepared. Well, if K is confirmed, then up goes an IMPEACH KAVANAUGH sign. 

    Maybe my pessimistic planning is unneeded. Maybe K or the R's have sufficient shame, and common sense, to withdraw. But that would require honor among thieves.

  12. doug  •  Sep 30, 2018 @6:08 pm

    Kellyanne Conway reports she was sexually assaulted. My guess is that she attended a convention of depraved blind men.

  13. maha  •  Sep 30, 2018 @6:25 pm

    doug — Maybe they were just Republicans.

  14. Swami  •  Sep 30, 2018 @6:28 pm

     I'm sure he loves them and wants to protect them but it bothered me when he said that his 10yo said she wanted to pray for the woman.  Exposing a 10yo to this mess is abuse in my opinion.

    Exactly grannyeagle,  Either he's lying to evoke sympathy or he's intentionally subjected his child to a emotional burden well beyond her years. A 10 year old wouldn't pursue an interest in the supreme court nomination process of their own volition. I highly suspect that Kavanaugh just used his daughter as an emotional prop to further his own interests. It's Trump 101.

  15. doug  •  Sep 30, 2018 @6:41 pm

    BTW, has anyone asked Kellyanne Conway if she filed a police report? While the information should be confidential, I think we're entitled to know for a fact that she called the police since that's a sticking point for conservatives.

  16. uncledad  •  Sep 30, 2018 @7:19 pm

    Exposing a 10yo to this mess is abuse in my opinion.

    Abuse yes, abuse and more. Any Father, much less one asking to sit on the supreme court that would put his 10 year old child into the national spotlight, an argument he has defined as a hit job, well what does that say about him? Could he be any worse than that? I think Trump may have found the one supreme court nominee that is a bigger piece of sH#t than he is!

  17. paradoctor  •  Oct 1, 2018 @1:14 am

    Be kind to Kellyanne Conway, this time. She's lied about so much else, but I don't know what she'd gain by lying about this, so maybe she's telling the truth, this time.

     

  18. Stella  •  Oct 1, 2018 @1:22 pm

    Golly gee – if I was ever that "vehement" it would be called "aggressive,"  or maybe "shrill."

  19. aj  •  Oct 1, 2018 @4:36 pm

    Maybe he had already had a few beers before the appearance. After all, his school friends describe an angry belligerent drunk

     

    It seems he has 2 faces : choir boy judge and vengeful political operative. 

  20. doug  •  Oct 1, 2018 @4:51 pm

    paradoctor – I didn't say Conway lied, but I disagree that she'd not gain by such a claim. The argument is that "I'm a victim just like Ford, but I support Kavanaugh." By extension, she hopes weak-minded Republican women will identify with her and the GOP express confirmation. 

    The GOP knows they are bleeding women voters, and they are trying to stem the loss at least enough to save the majority in the Senate. 

    I have no numbers to back me up, but I think confirming Kavanaugh will put the Senate in play – GOP fundamentalists will be celebrating the repeal of Roe v Wade and see no reason for engagement. (Some Republicans think the success of  confirming Judge Rapist will energize the base. I think they will stay home.) My opinion is that voters will be enraged if the GOP confirms Kavanaugh and the results will be devastating for the GOP in November. My guess is that it's a win-lose or a lose-win because if Kavanaugh is defeated, that won't stoke the rage that puts the Senate in play.  

    The FBI "investigation" is losing legitimacy. A House investigation of exactly what limits were placed on the FBI, when and by whom should be the first step of opening hearings and investigation of Judge Kavanaugh with an eye on collecting enough evidence, if it's there. to open impeachment in 2021. 

  21. Tom_b  •  Oct 1, 2018 @9:49 pm

    Doug, it’ll be all about angry women. Most republican voters aren’t even aware a Supreme Court seat is open.

  22. Swami  •  Oct 5, 2018 @4:54 pm

    Or will a perfunctory investigation provide a fig leaf of an excuse to do the wrong thing for the likes of Susan Collins?

    Well, we finally got the answer!