Ricochet is the best place on the internet to discuss the issues of the day, either through commenting on posts or writing your own for our active and dynamic community in a fully moderated environment. In addition, the Ricochet Audio Network offers over 50 original podcasts with new episodes released every day.
Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s opening statement before the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday ranked third among the four most riveting live television events of my lifetime; just behind the Challenger disaster in 1986 and the collapse of the Twin Towers on 9/11, and just ahead of the New England Patriots legendary and improbable comeback against the Atlanta Falcons in Superbowl LI.
Kavanaugh’s statement and subsequent testimony were remarkable for a number of reasons, including his passionate self-defense and his fearless calling out of the Senate Democrats who created and sustained this circus.
Most people seem to have expected Kavanaugh to offer up a meek defense in a respectful tone while maintaining his studious temperament. Instead, he took the fight directly to his enemies. The Kavanaugh Counteroffensive was totally surprising and extraordinarily effective.
This confirmation process has become a national disgrace. The constitution gives the Senate an important role in the confirmation process, but you have replaced advice and consent with search and destroy. Since my nomination in July there’s been a frenzy on the left to come up with something, anything to block my confirmation.
Shortly after I was nominated, the Democratic Senate leader said he would, quote, “oppose me with everything he’s got.” A Democratic Senator on this committee publicly referred to me as “evil.” Evil. Think about that word, and said that those who supported me were, quote, “complicit in evil.” Another Democratic senator on this committee said, quote, “Judge Kavanaugh is your worst nightmare.” A former head of the National Democratic Committee said, quote, “Judge Kavanaugh will threaten the lives of millions of Americans for decades to come.”
I understand the passions of the moment, but I would say to those senators, your words have millions of Americans listen carefully to you given comments like those, is it any surprise that people have been willing to do anything to make any physical threat against my family, to send any violent e-mail to my wife, to make any kind of allegations against me and against my friends, to blow me up and take me down.
For decades to come I fear the country will reap the whirlwind. The behavior of several of the Democratic members of this committee at my hearing a few weeks ago was an embarrassment, but at least it was a good old-fashioned attempt at working. Those efforts didn’t work. When I did at least okay enough at the hearings that it looked like I might actually get confirmed a new tactic was needed. Some of you were lying in wait and had it ready.
Wow! Has any witness at any hearing before any committee of the United States Senate ever called out a group of Senators so directly and so devastatingly? He pulled no punches in calling out the entire Democratic side of the committee. He exposed their rank partisanship and utter lack of good faith. He carpet-bombed them.
But then he went further. Judge Kavanaugh needlessly associated himself with President Trump and called out the Clintons by name.
This whole two-week effort has been a calculated and orchestrated political hit, fueled with apparent pent-up anger about president Trump and the 2016 election, fear that has been unfairly stoked about my judicial record. Revenge on behalf of the Clintons and millions of dollars in money from outside left-wing opposition groups. This is a circus. The consequences will extend long past my nomination. The consequences will be with us for decades.
These are not the comments of a man who thinks his nomination still has a chance. Reminding everyone of his ties to President Trump when the swing votes on which the nomination hang are held by Senators Flake, Murkowski, Collins, and Corker — no friends of Donald Trump to be sure — is not a strategy calculated to secure those votes.
Nor is calling out the Clintons and tying them to the radical fringe of the left-wing a strategy to secure votes. It was a parting shot at the greatest con artists and grifters in politics, around whom the left has repeatedly and shamelessly circled the wagons.
Based on Judge Kavanaugh’s tone, demeanor, the totality of his statement, and these quotes, in particular, it appears to me that his mission was not to save his nomination. In all likelihood, he believed that he was done — that at least two feckless Republican Senators would defect and hang him out to dry.
In the face of what appeared to be certain defeat, Kavanaugh refused to “go gentle into that good night.” He decided that if he must go down, he would go down in a blaze of glory to defend his honor, his reputation, and his good name. His refusal to withdraw from the process at that point was not about having his nomination confirmed, it was about shaming Democrats and forcing them to cast a shameful vote in committee and then on the floor of the Senate.
The Kavanaugh Counteroffensive achieved its aims with devastating effect and as a matter of collateral damage likely destroyed the “coordinated and well-funded effort” to destroy his nomination. Because he opted to go down in a blaze of glory, Kavanaugh probably won’t go down at all.