Donald Trump has past baggage with women that is objectionable. Of course, I think if you dig through most straight men’s pasts, you could find something to not like. Donald Trump isn’t like most other guys though- he’s unrepentant to the core. We heard it on the Access Hollywood tapes. We hear it in the language he uses about women, in the present tense. We see it in his NDA’s and payouts to mistresses. Donald Trump was, is, and will be a misogynist old man. He’s 70, he’s not going to change. The man talks (present tense) about wanting to sleep with his daughter. He is who he is, he’s not evolving, he’s just bad.
Of course, what makes this worse is that he was elected President over the first female nominee of a major party in U.S. history, with less votes than her. What compounds that is that he’s putting pro-life judges on the bench at a break-neck pace. It’s pretty hard for some women to take that an avowed misogynist, who won over a qualified woman on a technicality, is putting judges on the bench to restrict their rights. It makes some folks blood boil.
Enter Brett Kavanaugh, maybe the worst nominee to the high court that I’ve seen in my life. With all due respect to Doug Ginsburg, Robert Bork, and Harriet Miers, all of them needed 60 votes, and all of them either showed some intellect, or likability in their confirmation. Kavanaugh is a wet blanket in an air conditioned room, he’s not even a sympathetic figure.
Kavanaugh’s confirmation has been a display of America’s worst politics. Chairman Chuck Grassley made a mockery of the process from the start, marking tens of thousands of pages of documents “committee confidential,” denying Americans the right to see emails where he said the government had “no compelling interest” in combatting racism, or that Roe v. Wade really isn’t settled law. Couple this with Kavanaugh doing the normal, new age nominee routine of stonewalling the answers on questions about executive power, the environment, labor, guns, Roe v. Wade, and more. He appears to be hiding something from us.
Of course, Kavanaugh is. Like most conservative nominees, he hides his answer on Roe behind calling it “settled law”- while nominees like RBG, Sotomayor, and Kagan clearly stated their support. Kavanaugh’s history of honesty (or lack thereof) makes this answer look good though. During his nomination hearing to the DC Circuit Court, Kavanaugh seems to have perjured himself in saying he did not work on the nomination of Justice Pryor to the DC Circuit while working in the White House, when he in fact did. Is it any wonder Grassley tried to argue that Kavanaugh’s time as White House Staff Secretary wasn’t all that important to this nomination? Is it any wonder that no one believes Kavanaugh saying he didn’t recall discussing the Mueller probe with Trump’s lawyers?
All of this leads to why questions persist over Kavanaugh’s personal finances. From his appointment to the bench, through 2016, Kavanaugh listed $60-200,000 in personal debt on his disclosure forms. Kavanaugh said he ran up this debt on Nationals tickets and home improvements. That’s a lot for baseball tickets. The White House said he floated the money for some friends, but Kavanaugh said he gave “no loans.” In 2017, Kavanaugh suddenly had no debt on his forms. For a man with an expensive country club membership, two kids in an elite private school, and lots of expensive baseball tickets, living on a (albeit good, but not great) government salary, you wonder how? It doesn’t add up. Nor does his explanation of his debt. Could he be a gambling addict? Could he have a wealthy “sugar daddy” helping his finances and pulling his strings? How do we know either way- the man isn’t transparent and honest.
Now that we have established the lies and evasiveness of Brett Kavanaugh, let’s address the elephant in the room here- the accusation that he attempted to rape Christine Blasey Ford while he was a 17 year old high school student. We could debate the importance of this matter to the nomination, or that it happened years ago, or that he’s a changed man, or that this is an attempt to destroy his life, if in fact Kavanaugh admitted that some form of the events alleged ever happened. Kavanaugh says categorically that nothing like the accusations ever happened at all, leaving little wiggle room for any forgiveness or discussion of the germane nature of the allegation. Ford isn’t asking for forgiveness, context, or review of his life- he says it didn’t happen. Now if it is in any way, shape, or form shown to be true, it’s all true. If Kavanaugh did a tenth of what she alleges, he’s a liar. He will not only have harmed this woman, he will have denied her the dignity and benefit of the doubt with his lies. The hypocrisy shown by some of his defenders, that he deserves the benefit of the doubt that they would deny to Ford and others will be even more stinging.
I actually believe Kavanaugh deserves a fair and thorough investigation. I believe that with every accusation. If he’s innocent, we should know that. If he’s guilty, we should know exactly what he’s guilty of, and to what degree. Context, intent, and outcomes do matter, whether in a criminal case, or the nomination of a judge. The problem Kavanaugh has is that no one believes that’s happening here. No one believes *his defenders* want an investigation. They want to attack the accuser, shame her story, and approve him. Once again, Grassley’s Committee is hiding the full truth from the public.
So here we have a nominee that is shrouded in secrecy and doubt, put forward for a lifetime appointment by Donald Trump. He could change the rights of women forever, and there are real questions about who he is, now and then. He’s being put forward by someone who makes it clear how he feels about women. This nomination fight isn’t just about Kavanaugh, but really whether we’re going to treat women as equal citizens- in the future.