We Know Who You Were, and Are, Brett Kavanaugh

By Jamie Stiehm

September 26, 2018 5 min read

WASHINGTON — Crybaby. We know who you were in high school, Brett Kavanaugh, in college, and so on.

The public case against Kavanaugh's character is building, rising like a river. He can't believe this is happening to him, the lucky golden boy. That empty seat on the Supreme Court had his name on it. President Donald Trump said so. He's an advocate for women, he says on Fox News. And then the elite Yalie teared up like a choirboy.

The Senate Judiciary Committee, run by Republican white men, may rescue his rocky nomination at their Thursday hearing. Like Kavanaugh, these Republicans are clubby fraternity men. They want to win, no matter what the truth is about how the Supreme Court nominee has treated women.

That is the crucial point for those that witnessed Anita Hill's testimony at Clarence Thomas's Supreme Court confirmation hearing 27 autumns ago. The same committee treated her poorly, reminding one of the Puritan witch trials, for telling of Thomas's obscene sexual harassment. She told the truth and he got confirmed, 52-48.

Christine Blasey Ford's story of a sexual assault incident, which she is telling at great cost to herself, will not move these men from their stony heights. If that's what Kavanaugh did, they really don't care. It took me a long time to learn that the truth will not set you free in that crowd.

Rural Iowa's cranky, salty Senator Charles Grassley, 85, chairs the committee. He may not have heard of the #MeToo movement. One of Hill's tormentors, Senator Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, has not learned much in 27 years.

A cloud of deja vu is hanging over me — and you, too? People galvanized by the Senate's shabby treatment of Hill in 1991 are bracing to support Dr. Blasey (as she is known professionally) as she faces hostile questions.

Even worse, the Republicans have hired a female lawyer to ask the questions, trying to hide their all-male optics. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., refused to reveal her name, and said the move will ensure the hearing is "respectful."

There are four good Democratic women on the committee, and several men. Just you wait, Judge Kavanaugh, for Sens. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., and Dick Durbin, D-Ill.

We know who Kavanaugh was at a Catholic all-boys prep school. That was his first mistake. Boasts about conquests of one girl were bandied about on his class yearbook's pages. We know this via testimonials and his hard-drinking best friend's book on their "Wasted" years. He was no saint.

When Kavanaugh was young, he was a swaggering piece of work, breathing privilege from every pore. His Yale fraternity was notorious for alcohol, abuse, violence and rowdy parties. The Greek revival on college campuses in the Reagan '80s lost its apple-cheeked '50s innocence, with no adult supervision over dark hazing rituals. They dressed preppie and voted Republican. I saw it happen. Virgins they were not.

We know what Kavanaugh did working for Kenneth Starr, the special prosecutor zealously pursuing President Bill Clinton for an affair that was no crime. A key figure in the investigation, Kavanaugh wanted to rake a popular president, in peace and prosperity, over the coals with the most personal questions. The Starr team ambushed Monica Lewinsky in the worst way, threatening and terrifying her.

We know who he was in 2000, a top Republican party operative on a rampage in Florida to shut down the vote-counting in the election deadlock crisis, decided by a single Supreme Court vote.

We know who he was when he worked in the George W. Bush White House. He was staff secretary in the Oval Office, burnishing his visibility and ambition, working it from every angle. Bush appointed him to the federal bench when he was barely over 40. Several Democratic senators said that Kavanaugh had not been truthful under oath during that process.

We know who Kavanaugh is as a sitting federal judge, with no mercy toward women — at least, no mercy toward a pregnant teenager in federal custody. He issued an order to delay an abortion.

Consider Brett Kavanaugh a party man in every sense. No, he doesn't deserve the benefit of the doubt. The country does.

To find out more about Jamie Stiehm and other Creators Syndicate columnists and cartoonists, visit the Creators.com website.

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