27 Dec 2018 @realDonaldTrump: This isn’t about the Wall, everybody knows that a Wall will work perfectly (In Israel the Wall works 99.9%). This is only about the Dems not letting Donald Trump & the Republicans have a win. They may have the 10 Senate votes, but we have the issue, Border Security. 2020!
Me: You mean where they have shoot to kill orders?
@DaveSteffenhage : Every time you shoot its shoot to stop the threat. This usually winds up being a kill. Don’t kid yourself.
@DaveSteffenhage Ok, let’s get something clear, border agents as well as IDF are in a very dangerous job. Ask them. It’s not political to them it’s daily reality. You want them protected? They both need a nice big wall.
Me: I didn’t realize you’ve been to the border; I’ve worked on the border and talked to many agents, I think I know a thing or two about it:
@DaveSteffenhage: Now I’m surprised, you use phrases like shoot to kill but your involved in border security? You seem to be in Favor of illegal migration with all the risks it poses to both illegals and border agents yet your involved in border security? This doesn’t make sense.
Me: No, I haven’t worked in border security, I’ve worked along the border. I ran immersion workshops to bring border agents, migrant service organizations, and others together to discuss border security and safety.
Me: Most of the people on the American side of the border want high tech not low tech.
Me: For example there’s a strip of fence near El Paso where there is a physical barrier but there’s less high tech; I have personally witnessed people just going under the fence through a storm drain into the United States. We need high tech and increased people + foreign aid
@DaveSteffenhage: I’m in favor of using all tools necessary to stop illegal border crossing. It doesn’t sound like you are. The border agents questioned in the survey below want a border wall as well as high tech tools.
Me: That feels like an unfair dig. If you aren’t going to take me at my word, there’s little reason to go back and forth. It’s also unclear whether you read the article you posted; it says agents want a wall as part of a system in strategic locations.
Me: If you think I’m in favor of illegal migration then either I’m not expressing myself clearly or you’re projecting what you think I believe on to me. I am opposed to illegal migration. But I’ve been to the border, I’ve interviewed agents, and I would say 70% are against the Wall.
@DaveSteffenhage: Yes I did read it and I agree with the findings. I think a wall at strategic locations as well as other barriers be they electronic or physical will work. I wasn’t saying you were being dishonest, just that you didn’t ask that many agents. The survey was of 600
Me: The section of the border I worked along is primarily rural, and those agents wanted hi tech when I interviewed them, but clearly in hi traffic areas a physical wall makes more sense. There’s no one size fits all.
@DaveSteffenhage: I know one thing for sure, border agents are sick of drug traffickers and human traffickers having it so easy. Ever seen a rape tree while on the border? It’s time to use every means necessary. That includes building walls.
Me: I believe in using wall at strategic locations like the border agents survey said, but not building a total wall just for the sake of building a wall. In rural areas, hi tech and manpower are more important as the border sheriffs and others have said.
@DaveSteffenhage: Exactly. The fight now is purely political. The democrats won’t allow any funding of a wall at all. Placing politics above national security. I guarantee the next president will do nothing. Especially if it’s a democrat. It needs to happen now.
Me: I’m glad you agree that the fight is purely political and that the supposition of a “wall” is relative, I just wish Trump understood what you understand: that as the agents’ survey states of “adding a ‘wall system’ in strategic locations” but not necessarily everywhere.
@DaveSteffenhage: Are you fucking kidding me? Your calling me a racist? I’ve NEVER said a damn thing that’s racist! I’m in favor of border security at both borders! Take it back fucking NOW!
Me: Why is it a wall in the south and “border security” in the north?
@DaveSteffenhage: Calling someone racist nowadays can lose them their jobs, reputation, friends. That’s why leftists call people racist every chance they get. It ends the debate when they know they aren’t winning. I don’t want to lose my job or reputation so I’m out.
For the record, I didn’t get an opportunity to clarify, I was blocked before I received the notification/message. This is a person that I’ve debated on Twitter for 6 months or so and who uses the words ‘Democrat,’ ‘Hillary,’ ‘liberal,’ leftist,’ dossier,’ and ‘FBI’ as if the terms are swear words. In other threads, my patriotism is questioned as is my commitment to stop drug dealers and rape. Even in this thread as you can see I was essentially called a liar. Perhaps I went too far at the end, perhaps not. However, the ‘take my ball and go home mentality’ with the ‘getting the last word’ is frustrating when people want to make declarative statements but become offended when the declarative statements are made to or at their expense.
Lindsey Graham, who has been described as one of Trump’s closest supporters in the US Senate said, “ I have not found one person, national security-wise, who believes it’s a good idea to remove the 2,200 troops, which was a small footprint, that was a bulwark against Iran expansion and insurance policy against the rise of ISIS. There was a widespread belief that ISIS has not been defeated. They’ve been hurt.”
“I have known 11 Prime Ministers and 7 of them were adulterers”
~Prime Minister William Gladstone~
~The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland~
T.H. White, an American political journalist who covered the six presidential elections from 1960 to 1980 famously once said he only knew of three Presidential candidates who were faithful to their wives: Harry Truman, George Romney, and Jimmy Carter.
While it’s easy to either throw all the presidents under the bus or to blindly defend all of them (or at least our favorites), they are all individuals. Many owned slaves and having sexual relations with slaves was not uncommon. Also, many grew up in times when prostitution was legal. The Reynolds Affair, The Petticoat Affair and the infamous womanizing of Ben Franklin show that the Federal Period of American history had as much sexual scandal as our more modern era.
And we’re not even talking about pre-marital affairs…. Or how about the social acceptance or non-acceptance of age differences?
Grover Cleveland, at age 49, married one of his best friends’ daughter who was 21?? 28 years difference? And if you think that’s bad, Tyler and his second wife were 30 years apart….
GW Sally Fairfax*
GW Venus (Mother of West Ford)*
GW Lavenia Vanderweaver*
GW Mary Gibbons*
Adams (hahahahah, ya, right!)
TJ Sally Hemmings
TJ Maria Cosway*
Adams Alleged to have ‘pimped’ for Czar Alexander*
Jackson Rachel Donelson (technicality)
Harrison A slave (named “Dilsia” or mother of “Dilsia”)*
Tyler Lydia Ann Taylor mother of John Dunjee Taylor*
Pierce Jane Means Appleton?
Buchanan Sen. William R. King*
Lincoln Ann Rutledge? Hannah Armstrong? Matilda
Johnson At age 18, married a 16-year-old Eliza McCardle
Grant Madly in love with Julia!
Garfield Lucia Calhoun
Cleveland Maria Halpin
Cleveland Francis Folsom?
TR Edith Kermit Carow?
Wilson Mary Peck
Harding Nan Britton
Harding Carrie Fulton Phillips
FBR Lucy Mercer, etc., etc., etc….
IKE Kay Summersby
JFK Angie Dickenson
JFK Marlene Dietrich
JFK Gunilla Von Post
JFK Gene Tierney
JFK Pamela Turnure
JFK Marilyn Monroe
JFK Judith Campbell
JFK Ellen Rometsch
JFK Mary Pinchot Meyer
JFK Mimi Beardsley
JFK Mimi Alford
JFK Judith Campbell Exner
JFK Blaze Starr
JFK Fiddle and Faddle
LBJ Alice Glass
LBJ Madeline Brown
LBJ Helen G. Douglas
Nixon Marianna Liu*
Ford Ellen Rometsch
Carter (“I have lusted in my heart many times”)
Reagan Nancy Davis (while married to Jane Wyman)
Bush Jennifer Fitzgerald*
Clinton Paula Jones
Clinton Gennifer Flowers
Clinton Monica Lewinski
But it goes beyond consensual heterosexual relationships, as I mentioned already, there is the issue of non-consensual, whether it be the infamous quote by Donald Trump to Billy Bush, Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemmings or Bill Clinton and his relationships, specifically Monica Lewinski.
Washington, Harrison, and Taylor too are believed to have had sexual relations with their slaves….
GW Venus (Mother of West Ford)
Harrison A slave (named “Dilsia” or mother of “Dilsia”)
Tyler Lydia Ann Taylor (mother of John Dunjee Taylor)
Isn’t it interesting that Gary Hart’s career was ended over consensual sex, and Bill Clinton won the presidency in the very next election? Womanizing is ok, just don’t tell me about it, oh wait, now I know, that’s horrible in 1988 and I guess its ok in 1992 and 2016?
Think of all the social stigmas that have been used to judge people over time, and we all may have different opinions as to whether those were or are legitimate reasons for supporting or not supporting a political candidate. The presumed gay relationship between James Buchanan and VP William King
Deficiencies that may have actually impacted the execution of the office of the President like Grant’s alcoholism or W’s dry drunk syndrome.
And then there are the issues that have been used to derail political careers that are hard to understand such as Thomas Eagleton who had to drop out of the 1972 race because he received electrotherapy for depression… oh, but untreated depression like Nixon’s melancholy moodiness and presumed bouts of depression is ok….
And, speaking of 1972, Edmund Muskie had to drop out because he cried…. And then we wind up with John Boehner as the 53rd Speaker of the House lol
Douglas Ginsburg and so many others who lost their careers or the momentum of their careers because of drug use… then Bill Clinton famously says he didn’t inhale, and we wind up with a wider acceptance of marijuana use by politicians… Clinton, W, and Obama…
I mean heck, Bill Clinton essentially dodged the draft and even went to Russia during the Vietnam War and was elected President… just like W avoided Vietnam by joining the OK Air National Guard, then barely ever showed up.
Obama and the racist lying birther movement that Donald Trump enflamed…
The presidents of the United States have a collective history of owning slaves, Non-consensual sex, alcoholism, drug use, and draft dodging, and almost George Wallacesque use of racist rhetoric… and the losers? Some of them cried and sought treatment for mental health…
So, you know, if someone ever asks you if walking into a pot shop or grabbing a beer will derail your future political career, just remind them, heck, it might even increase your chances these days….
We’ve all heard the Aesop’s Fables of TheHare and the Tortoise, TheAnt and the Grasshopper, and TheMouse and the Lion, but have you heard of TheNurse and the Wolf (Photo Credit Milo Winter, 1919)?
“Be quiet now,” said an old Nurse to a child sitting on her lap. “If you make that noise again I will throw you to the Wolf.” Now it chanced that a Wolf was passing close under the window as this was said. So he crouched down by the side of the house and waited. “I am in good luck to-day,” thought he. “It is sure to cry soon, and a daintier morsel I haven’t had for many a long day.” So he waited, and he waited, and he waited, till at last the child began to cry, and the Wolf came forward before the window, and looked up to the Nurse, wagging his tail. But all the Nurse did was to shut down the window and call for help, and the dogs of the house came rushing out.
“Ah,” said the Wolf as he galloped away, “Enemies promises were made to be broken.”
“He [The President] shall have Power [sic], by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate to make Treaties, provided two-thirds of the Senators present Concur.”
(U.S. Constitution, Article II, § 2, clause 2)
And what, after all, is a treaty anyway?
A trea·ty /ˈtrēdē/ is a noun, meaning a formally concluded and ratified agreement between countries. Synonyms include an agreement, settlement, pact, deal, entente, concordat, accord, protocol, convention, contract, covenant, bargain, pledge.
In Goldwater v. Carter, several Republican members of Congress challenged the constitutionality of then-president Jimmy Carter’s unilateral termination of a defense treaty. The senators were Barry Goldwater (R-AZ), Strom Thurmond (R-SC), Carl Curtis (R-NE), Jake Garn (R-UT), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Jesse A. Helms (R-NC), Gordon Humphrey (R-NH), Representative Robert Bauman (R-MD), Representative Steve Symms (R-ID), Representative Larry McDonald (R-GA), Representative Robert Daniel Jr. (R-VA), Representative Bob Stump (R-AZ), Representative Eldon Rudd (R-AZ), Representative John Ashbrook (R-OH, and George Hansen (R-ID).
The case went before the U.S. Supreme Court and was never heard; a majority of six Justices ruled that the case should be dismissed without hearing an oral argument, holding that “The issue at hand … was essentially a political question and could not be reviewed by the court, as Congress had not issued a formal opposition.”
Justice William Brennan dissented, “The issue of decision-making authority must be resolved as a matter of constitutional law, not political discretion; accordingly, it falls within the competence of the courts”.
As a result, presently, there is no official Supreme Court ruling on whether the President has the power to break a treaty without the approval of Congress.
Complicating the issue even more, in 1987, President Reagan presented to Congress a proposed nuclear cooperation “agreement” with Japan. More than one-third of the Senate voted in opposition to the pact. Nevertheless, this U.S.-Japan Pact was enforced, in violation of the Article II treaty clause which had prevailed since 1787.
The federal courts also declined to interfere when President George W. Bush unilaterally withdrew the United States from the ABM Treaty in 2002, six months after giving the required notice of intent.
George W. Bush also withdrew the United States from the UN Small Weapons Ban and the Kyoto Agreement. And, while Bill Clinton signed the Rome Statute to create the ICC, the Bush Administration withdrew from the Rome Statute as well. One of his advisors? A man named John Bolton.
And now, in the Age of Trump? Paris Accord, Iran Agreement, and this week the INF Treaty.
The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (or formally Treaty Between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on the Elimination of Their Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles) is a 1987 arms control agreement between the United States and the Soviet Union (and later its successor state the Russian Federation). Signed in Washington, D.C. by President Ronald Reagan and General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev on December 8, 1987, the treaty was ratified by the United States Senate on May 27, 1988, and came into force on 1 June 1, 1988.
The vote? 93-5 (Senators Jesse Helms of North Carolina, Gordon J. Humphrey of New Hampshire, Steve Symms of Idaho, and Malcolm Wallop of Wyoming; Senator Ernest F. Hollings of South Carolina was the lone Democrat to oppose the accord. And Orrin Hatch voted for the treaty, sued the president when Carter withdrew from the Sino-American Mutual Defense Treaty, and now sits silently as Trump withdraws from a treaty that Senator Hatch himself voted in favor of. Just as silently as Hatch sat as President Bush 43 withdrew from treaty after treaty.
Apparently, Senator Hatch only cares about Article II of the Constitution when it’s a Democratic president?
And Trump. The guy whose book is entitled the Art of the Deal seems to be better abridging deals, not making them.
Trade talks with China…
Negotiations with North Korea…
Who would want to make a deal with the current US President? Clearly, this Wolf “believes that Enemies promises,” as well as promises and treaties with friends, “were made to be broken.”
It is selective and hypocritical for so-called originalists to ignore the continued attacks on Article II, Section II of the US Constitution. If 2/3 of Senators present ratify a treaty, why is it not equally logical that 2/3’s of Senators present must withdraw the US government from an international treaty. The same section of the Constitution gives the president the authority to appoint judges to the Supreme Court; if the US President can withdraw from a ratified treaty, then would that not also infer that a US President can withdraw the appointment of a judge to the Supreme Court as well? Is that the chaos that our Founding Father’s envisioned?
Stop appeasing the arbitrary whims of Donald Trump and his National Security Advisor John Bolton, protect the Constitution, protect our treaty obligations. How can America be the shining beacon of the hill, if we have become Aesop’s Nurse, or worse, the Boy Who Cried Wolf.
In Nevada, in perhaps one of the most closely watched Senate races, Democratic Congresswoman Jacky Rosen is now leading Republican incumbent Dean Heller in the polls:
CNN* 9/25 – 9/29 693 LV 4.6 47 43 Rosen +4
Gravis 9/11 – 9/12 700 LV 3.7 47 45 Rosen +2
Suffolk* 9/5 – 9/10 500 LV 4.4 42 41 Rosen +1
[Of course, that makes me wonder why Heller wasn’t invited into the meetings with Collins, Murkowski, and Flake; or why he wasn’t more targeted by the liberal media, activists, and Senators. Heller is hardly the most conservative and ideological member of the GOP Caucus: according to Senate Report Cards, Heller is the 36th most conservative U.S. Senator out of a possible 52/53 (the ranking was conducted before Sen. McCain’s death; McCain was ranked 45th).]
To Democrats, Mitch McConnell’s insistence on a procedural vote on Friday 10/5/18 and his pre-announcement of that vote before the supplemental FBI investigation was even concluded, smacks of political disdain for the investigatory process and a rush to judgment (after all, the final vote was essentially a straight party vote).
To Republicans, Brett Kavanaugh is a victim of slander, liberal conspiracies, and collusion between the female accusers… Each incident seemingly brought to light at the last possible moment in an apparent and orchestrated attempt to slow down the process to get the final floor vote closer and closer to the November midterms. Yet, in terms of optics, the all White-Male Republican members of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee voted to send the nomination of a fellow White-Male to the floor for a full vote. It looks like almost everything Republican have accused Democrats of regarding race warfare and identity politics.
Optics for Democrats
The Democrats look bipolar at best:
First and foremost, the Senate Democrats lost. In particular, Diane Feinstein (CA-D) seems to have lost political points with her GOP colleagues. [And soon-to-be Governor Garvin Newsom is waiting in the wings; he needs Feinstein to hang on, just a little bit longer before he runs for her (lifetime) seat.]
I don’t remember the Senate Democrats fighting for Merrick Garland this aggressively? But, of course, most pundits thought the Hillary Clinton would become the 45th U.S. President so that the fight wasn’t necessarily worth the Senate Democrats’ political capital.
Nor do I remember the Senate Democrats attacking Neil Gorsuch this aggressively? Of course, Gorsuch’s nomination didn’t change the net math of the political alignment of the U.S. Supreme Court, and the Gorsuch nomination process occurred 15 months before Kavanaugh’s nomination process began, almost 19 months before the next election.
Which brings me to my next point: There are two ways to interpret the political theater of the past month or so, and the two lenses are not necessarily mutually exclusive.
First, there is the moral line of thinking. As mentioned in the previous commentary on the Kavanaugh nomination, three successful career-driven women accused Kavanaugh of various sexual inappropriateness, from attempted rape to sexual harassment.
Secondly, there is the political line of thinking. Democrats can be political and moral, just as easily as either party can be political and immoral.
To Democrats, this is an example of why Gorsuch was treated differently; no allegations were made against Justice Gorsuch, whereas allegations were made against Kavanaugh. “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire” argument necessitated further hearings and, at the insistence of Republican Jeff Flake of Arizona, a supplementary FBI investigation.
[To Republicans, the Kavanaugh nomination was treated differently because of the calendar. Each incident seemingly brought to light at the last possible moment in an apparent and orchestrated attempt to slow down the process to get the final floor vote closer and closer to the November midterms.]
There is a Difference between Partisanship and Political Ideology
Of course, the partisan division of the Senate is 51-47(2), so within the context of the exercised nuclear option in 2017 and party cohesion, the Democrats were always going to lose. A lot of their political strategy was based upon the new Gang of Six and the tightness of the calendar.
But disturbing to me was the rhetoric from Republican Senators and the President that identifying the allegations, calls for supplementary hearings, and supplemental investigations… Senate Republicans and the Trump Administration blamed it all on “The Democrats.” I don’t remember the same ire being directed at the Republican members of the Gang of Six?
Even more disturbing, was Justice Kavanaugh’s usage of the phrase, “The Democrats.”
As I said in earlier podcast, this nomination was always about the new (temporary) Gang of Six: Susan Collins (ME-R), Lisa Murkowski (AK-R), and Jeff Flake (AZ-R), and to a lesser extent, Joe Manchin (WV-D), Heidi Heitkamp (ND-D), Joe Donnelly (IN-D). [And, the Gang of Six, didn’t invite Donnelly or Heitkamp to that secret meeting last week, did they?] Heitkamp is likely going down in the November election, Manchin may save his seat, but leave many wondering, why he is a Democrat again? Essentially Manchin and Murkowski swapped votes; the Kavanaugh confirmation belongs to Susan Collins (ME-R).
And, again, in Nevada, in perhaps one of the most closely watched Senate races, Democratic Congresswoman Jacky Rosen is now leading Republican incumbent Dean Heller in the polls. Why was this not more of an issue in the Kavanaugh proceedings?
The Future of Brett Kavanaugh
Pyrrhic victory? For many Democrats, he is now forever tainted. He is the Clarence Thomas of the 21st century. Does he, Kavanaugh, care? Does he attempt a remake of his image? Or does Kavanaugh, as Bethany Mandel (editor of Ricochet) suggests, become more radicalized himself in terms of cases of due process and the presumption of innocence?
In my Op-Ed in the Providence Journal on July 26, 2018, I definitively stated that Kavanaugh was qualified to be confirmed as an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court. I firmly believe the President of the United States has the right to nominate his person to the Court. Barack Obama had that right, and Donald Trump has that right too. But that was before the sexual accusations and the apparent perjury before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, as well as the woefully inappropriate display of temperament, particularly toward Amy Klobuchar (MI-D) and Sheldon Whitehouse (RI-D).
Even more disturbing than the rhetoric from President Trump and many Republican Senators who used the phrase “The Democrats” as a swear and explain-it-all for all the evils in the Universe, however, was Justice Kavanaugh’s usage of the phrase, “The Democrats.” The veil of judicial apolitical independence and nonpartisan neutrality continues to be shredded.
The Future of the US Supreme Court
Sad and partisan… Pathetic. This is the ugliness of the so-called nuclear option which both parties had been threatening for years…
Specifically, the political mess of the Kavanaugh Nomination was created on April 7, 2017, when the Republican-led U.S. Senate exercised the “nuclear option” but its roots lay in the blocking of Merrick Garland’s nomination to the Supreme Court. That’s a fact, not ideological blame. [Neither party is innocent: Majority Leader Mike Mansfield (MT-D) eliminated the ability to halt all proceedings with the introduction of the “two-track system” and, in 1975, Mansfield revised the Senate cloture rule so that three-fifths of sworn senators (60 votes out of 100) could limit debate, except for changing Senate rules which still requires a two-thirds majority of those present and voting to invoke cloture. On January 25, 2013, Harry Reid (NV-D) changed the Senate rules to prohibit a filibuster on a motion to begin consideration of a bill. No, neither party is innocent, but the GOP desperation to hold on to a 5-4 majority in terms of Merrick Garland, and the even more eager, gluttonous desire to move the court to a solid 5-4 regardless of the cost is the most acute reason that we’ve arrived at this point. In the past three decades, there have only been two nominations which were confirmed by a Senate Majority of the opposite party:
In 1990, the Democrat-led Senate Judiciary Committee reported Republican-nominated Souter out the committee by a vote of 14–3, the Senate confirmed the nomination by a vote of 90–9.
106. In the 1991 Thomas’ confirmation process, the Democrat-led Judiciary Committee split 7–7 on September 27, sending the nomination to the full Senate without a recommendation. Republican-nominated Thomas was confirmed by a 52–48 vote by the Democrat-controlled US Senate on October 15, 1991, the narrowest margin for approval in more than a century. The final floor vote was: 41 Republicans and 11 Democrats voted to confirm while 46 Democrats and two Republicans voted to reject the nomination.
Both times Democrats confirmed Republican nominees and, in the case of one of those nominations, it could have been filibustered but was not. This is what fuels Democrat ire and accusations of hypocrisy.
In my podcast on September 15, 2018, I think I made the point, though it is worth reiterating: Eleven justices have been appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court since O’Connor, with a twelfth confirmation and appointment imminent: Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy, David Souter, Clarence Thomas, RBG, Stephen Breyer, John Roberts, Samuel Alito, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, Neil Gorsuch. Confirmations used to be more unanimous with the exception of Clarance Thomas.
It is also worth noting, that only from 2009–2011 in the 111th Congress did either party have a super-majority. In most other years, the U.S. Senate was split roughly 50-50, plus or minus two to 5 seats. What has happened? We have increasingly politicized the Court, we have nominated more and more ideological candidates to the U.S. Supreme Court instead of nominating people, we’re nominating party. A return to civility in SCOTUS nominations is long overdue.
And the 2018 Midterm Elections
Which is the excited political base(s): The party with the momentum is usually hurt the most in the impending election.
Is it the Blue Wave that cometh?
Or is the upcoming wave For the GOP? By Bryan Dean Wright | Fox News
Look at the language: the language from Trump, Kavanaugh, and McConnell was about “Democrats,” Democrats,” and “Democrats.” This was never about “The Democrats,” yet the Right has continuously framed it about the so-called “Democrats” for political expediency.
The Recap in Politics
The vote on Saturday was 50 GOP in favor (with the noted absence of proud father Steve Daines), 1 GOP against, and one Democrat in favor. Straight party blindness on both sides.
This process, ever since the announcement of Anthony Kennedy’s decision to take senior status, was always about the (temporary) new Gang of Six: Susan Collins (ME-R), Lisa Murkowski (AK-R), and Jeff Flake (AZ-R), and to a lesser extent, Joe Manchin (WV-D), Heidi Heitkamp (ND-D), Joe Donnelly (IN-D). Really it was about the Gang of Four of Susan Collins (ME-R), Lisa Murkowski (AK-R), and Jeff Flake (AZ-R), and Joe Manchin (WV-D). ANd, if you really want to tighten it further, it was always about the two pro-choice Republican women: Susan Collins (ME-R) and Lisa Murkowski (AK-R).
Negative Societal Effects (and hopefully a few positive societal effects as well)
The neotribalism of politics continues… tell me, how many Republicans do you know who believe the accusations against Brett Kavanaugh, or think his apparent perjury regarding alcohol? How many Democrats do you know who believe Brett Kavanaugh is innocent of all the allegations against him and is a victim of partisan games and revenge tactics? Exactly…
Then there is the racial or social status aspect to the debate; if students of all-male Catholic prep schools are just kids and, “boys will be boys” then why do we charge young minority children -or any children- as adults for crimes those children commit?
Then there is the gender aspect of the debate. Honestly, one of the more reassuring details (though to many it seems like a possible hypocritical detail) is that Brett Kavanaugh is the father of two young girls, Liza and Margaret Kavanaugh.
While this is unfair, I really have trouble listening to defenses of Kavanaugh by anyone who doesn’t have daughters, especially men without daughters. As my good friend Dana, oh, let’s call her DKD. DKD, a conservative woman with a daughter and a son said to me recently, “As a mother, it scares the s*** out of me that any girl can come forward and make an accusation like that that makes a boy guilty before proven innocent.”
That’s a real concern. How do we protect the women in our lives from predatory males, how do we educate our boys not be predatory males, how do we encourage women who are assaulted to speak up, while at the same time, protect males from fraudulent allegations? My greatest hope was so eloquently written and spoke by Monica Hesse of the Washington Post.
I don’t have the answer to all those questions, but those are the questions we should all be asking right now, regardless of political ideology. And those questions must be asked collectively, or the questions become a reflection of neotribalistic bias, in this case, gender bias or at least gender preference. [Off the top of my head, the only issue of similar complexity, in my opinion, is the question of male paternity rights in the face of a woman’s right to terminate a pregnancy.]
[DKD also asked rhetorically: “As an employer, do I not hire women because it may be ‘risky’ and expose the business to more liability?” But that’s another discussion for another podcast.]
What are we to believe? Who are we to believe?
We will never know the truth about the sexual allegations against Brett Kavanaugh. And it will take a career on the Supreme Court to completely understand his ideology. As I concluded in the July Op-Ed, “Who is the real Brett Kavanaugh? We’ll just have to wait until he’s been confirmed and begins his tenure. Ultimately, we won’t really know until he’s been on the court for 30 years — like his old boss, Anthony Kennedy.”
So… apparently, there was something going on in Washington today?
Any surprises? No… Did we learn anything new? Not really… a minor thing, we learned that Rachel Mitchell was in contact with the Majority Staff of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee last week, and not just a couple of days ago as had been implied… but that’s about it, and that’s relatively minor. So what’s going on? What are we to believe?
So, many people -good people- are asking what the facts are. Less inquisitive people are conversely more partisan and presume to know the facts already of course. But, no, I don’t think any of us know the facts or will ever know the facts. These are the facts, and they are indisputable:
The fact is that Dr. Christine Blasely Ford has accused Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault.
The fact is the allegation is from 36 years ago.
Her details about the party are fuzzy, but her details of the alleged assault are specific.
The fact is that Brett Kavanaugh has categorically denied the allegation.
The fact is that the other person named as being present, Mark Judge has categorically denied the allegation.
The fact is that Mark Judge wrote a book about his cavalier and brazen childhood that seems to corroborate the type of party that Dr. Ford describes.
The fact is that Brett Kavanaugh has admitted to underage drinking and partying. This has been dismissed by sympathetic media under the disclaimer of ‘everybody does it.’
The fact is that Dr. Ford told a therapist of the alleged assault years ago before Brett Kavanaugh was a Supreme Court nominee.
The fact is that the relative location of the party, as described by Dr. Ford, is not near the residences of either Dr. Ford or Judge Kavanaugh.
The fact is that Dr. Ford has taken a polygraph, administered by a former member of the FBI.
The fact is that Brett Kavanaugh has been screened by the FBI six times in his career.
The act is that there are at least 6 Levels of FBI background-checks and that not all background checks are equal.
The fact is that Dr. Christine Blasely Ford is a registered Democrat.
The fact is that Dr. Christine Blasely Ford has put her reputation, anonymity, and (to a degree) her career on the line.
The fact is that Judge Kavanaugh is still a U.S. Circuit Judge on the D.C. Circuit Court, regardless of the outcome of the U.S. Senate vote.
The fact is that, as Judge Kavanaugh stated today, no allegations were raised in her earlier and very public career.
The fact is that the appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court is unlike any other position with the exception of President of the United States.
If I’m sympathetic to Dr. Ford, I came out of the hearing finding her believable and a sympathetic heroine.
I’m adverse to believing Dr. Ford; I came out of the hearing finding her gaps in recollection -of even things within the past two months, to be troubling.
If I’m sympathetic to Judge Kavanaugh, I came out of the hearing finding him believable and tragic hero.
I’m adverse to believing Judge Kavanaugh; I came out of the hearing finding his absolute denials to be, well just a bit too absolute considering the multiple circumstantial accusations.
If I’m sympathetic to Dr. Ford, I found the line of questioning by Rachel Mitchell to be a pathetic avoidance of responsibility by the 11 White Men of the Republican majority in the face of the Democratic minority which includes four women.
If I’m sympathetic to Judge Kavanaugh, I found the line of questioning by Rachel Mitchell to be an extension of incredible courtesy to a woman alleging sexual assault by a man.
If I’m sympathetic to Judge Kavanaugh, I’m wondering why Senator Feinstein had information about Dr. Ford’s allegation and did not inform the full Judiciary Committee immediately.
If I’m sympathetic to Judge Kavanaugh, I thought his anecdote about his daughter’s prayers was moving. If I’m sympathetic to Dr. Ford, I believe that is an example of pathos, not ethos or logos.
If I’m sympathetic to Dr. Ford, I believe Kavanaugh’s point-by-point refutation of the allegations to Senator Kennedy at the end of the hearing like ‘lawyerese’ and a guilty man’s argument. If I’m sympathetic to Judge Kavanaugh, I thought his point by point response to Senator Kennedy was total and encompassing, sworn before God and Country.
The fact is that the appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court is unlike any other position with the exception of President of the United States.
Tom Eagleton was a successful US Senator, MO State Attorney-General, and Lt. Governor of MO, but when considered for to be the nominee for Vice President of the United States, his use of electrotherapy to combat depression became public, and he withdrew his nomination.
Zoe Baird was a successful lawyer, worked as Attorney-Advisor at the Office of Legal Counsel at the U.S. Department of Justice from 1979 to 1980 and was Associate Counsel to President of the United States Jimmy Carter from 1980 to 1981. Baird had very high profile positions, just as Kavanaugh had as a lawyer in the Ken Starr investigation and later Staff Secretary in the Bush White House. Yet, after being nominated to be US Attorney-General, it came out that Baird had hired illegal immigrants and failed to pay taxes.
President George W. Bush nominated well-known and highly regarded Bernard Kerik to become United States Secretary of Homeland Security, but Kerik withdrew from the nomination, after acknowledging that he had unknowingly hired an undocumented worker as a nanny and housekeeper.
No one accused U.S. Senator Tom Daschle of misconduct for his 18 years in the Senate, but after his nomination to be HHS Secretary in the Obama Administration, Daschle’s’ failure to report and pay income taxes accurately became known, and he withdrew his nomination.
And the list goes on and on… Kimba Wood, Bobby Ray Inman, Hershel W. Gober, Linda Chavez, Andrew Puzder, Ronny Jackson
The fact is that scandals break no matter how many times a candidate or nominee has already been vetted as the candidate or nominee is elevated higher and higher. The argument that Kavanaugh had already been vetted is not a reasonable argument.
I want to make it clear; in my Op-Ed in the Providence Journal July 26, 2018, I definitively stated that Kavanaugh was qualified to be confirmed as an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court. I firmly believe the President of the United States has the right to nominate his person to the Court. Barack Obama had that right, and Donald Trump has that right too.
At this point, however, there is too much of a cloud of suspicion. Kavanaugh ought not be confirmed to the Court at this point. Either a full deep FBI investigation should be authorized, and the vote on confirmation in committee and certainly on the floor of the Senate should be postponed, or the nomination should be withdrawn. I do not recall any accusations against Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch during his nomination process, and that seat would have changed the balance of power in the US Supreme Court. The argument that this is merely a smear campaign or Democrats seeking their pound of flesh is illogical. Is there a political angle to these events, absolutely, just as there was a political angle to the Senate Republicans block of the Merrick Garland nomination. Democratic partisanship does not necessarily mean that Brett Kavanaugh is innocent. The Democrats can be playing partisan games, and Judge Kavanaugh may be guilty of some wrongdoing; the two are not mutually exclusive. The Supreme Court is a privileged, not a right.
The Democratic strategy is not without risks; a different nominee might be another Samuel Alito, not a Harriet Miers. A withdrawal may be an ideological loss for the Republicans as well. A different nominee may be, ironically, another Anthony Kennedy and not a Robert Bork. As I concluded in my Op-Ed, “So, who is the real Brett Kavanaugh?” Well, after the confirmation hearings and today’s extended hearings, I’m not sure any objective person knows. I’m not sure we will ever know. Do we want doubts around another member of the Supreme Court? I’m not comfortable with another Clarence Thomas – Anita Hill situation. I’m not comfortable with 11 men pushing through the confirmation of a man, nominated by a man to fill the seat of a man. The optics and lingering doubts are too much for me, though I do believe that President Trump has the right to nominate a conservative to the Supreme Court of the United States.