Sunday, September 30, 2018

Entitlement, Thy Name Is Kavanaugh

SCOTUS Nominee Brett Kavanaugh
If Brett Kavanaugh had actually answered questions, I would be more inclined to listen to what he had to say. But he yelled, pulled faces, and prevaricated.The director in me wanted to know who coached this guy. No one goes through that range of emotions unless they're in improv class. The more he ranted, the less I believed him...that's a mother of sons talking. I recognized those sounds as the same kind that came out of 8-year old mouths. If Ziggy were alive, he woulda wanted to take out the ol' truth'o'meter and make Kavanaugh grab the ends. The director in me would not have hired him as a actor. Too unpredictable. Too capricious. Too cocky...and not in a good way. He just doesn't listen or take direction well. Someone needs to talk him off the stage. Fast.

There were some pretty scary things that have come out in the last few weeks about this guy. And I don't mean his sexual history, either. There were things he said that were overtly untrue. Statements that were easily proven to be false. Add to that his political partiality as demonstrated during his tenure with Ken Starr's prosecution of Clinton's impeachment, and this time in the Bush II White House and suddenly you really don't have evidence of a man who has the temperament to sit on the bench of the highest court of the land to render fair and impartial justice. There is more than just a sense of a closed mind coming from this guy; there was something else I could put name to.

The American Bar Association, in reviewing their qualification rating, published a report that downgraded him from Well Qualified to Qualified. Here's the link to the document. Read it; it's worth the time to see what his colleagues and peers have to say about this guy. The word sanctimonious, came up...and suddenly I had a toehold in understanding at least some of my objection to the guy.

There was a hint of what was to come during the first confirmation hearings, an underlying belligerence bubbling right below the surface, as if he could not understand why he was being subjected to what was tantamount to a job interview for a job that was already his. He didn't get the part about how his answers might make or break this entitlement. Without realizing it, he set the stage for his incredibly bad behavior during the questioning by Rachel Mitchell. No, he behaved as if the decision was already made and he was entitled to this promotion. The anger, the venom, vituperative snarling at questioners all made for great TV drama, but did nothing to convince a whole lotta people this guy is fit for the job. If the display of anger won't disqualify him automatically from SCOTUS, his lies most certainly should. 

One relatively minor lie stands out for me, as if it's a dog-whistle to look for other inconsistencies, and that was the line about getting into Yale. At the Judiciary Committee hearing last week, he stated: 
I have no connections there. I got there by busting my tail.
Except his grandfather, Edward Everett Kavanaugh attended Yale. In 2011, the New York Times did a story about this practice:
Admissions offices have long defended legacy consideration as merely a tiebreaker among equally high-qualified applicants. But among legacy applicants for Princeton’s class of 2015, 33 percent of those offered a spot were the children of alumni. Harvard generally admits 30 percent, and Yale says it admits 20 percent to 25 percent. For all three, the overall rate is in the single digits.
No one is discounting the idea that he had the smarts for Yale, but he had to know his grandfather was an alum, and so did Yale. Why lie about it? Did he think it would be overlooked and/or ignored? Such a simple, little fib...but it speaks volumes for the man's character.

#15 James Buchanan
#29 Warren G. Harding

Character. That's the whole shebang in a nutshell, isn't it? Leaders are supposed to be leaders because they display character. We like to delude ourselves into thinking all our past presidents were men of character, of high moral standing, of ethics, and of inner fortitude. That's the stuff that's supposed to distinguish a leader from a follower. Theoretically. But it's not always true. One can look to pro-slavery President James Buchanan who practically laid the groundwork for the Civil War while believing the SCOTUS ruling on Dred Scott would resolve the issue once and for all.  Or more recently, Warren Harding whose administration owned the Teapot Dome Scandal

Not exactly guys we look up to these days for some pretty obvious reason.

Which means that if you have an administration with questionable morals and ethics, you need a Supreme Court with an abundance of them to keep the administration from running off the rails. Hiring a guy for a job that is a job-for-life who displays that kind of terrifying anger proves unequivocally he is not the guy for this job. 

If you do not know where your elected officials sit on the issue of confirming Kavanaugh, please find out. As a voter, your voice counts at this juncture. If you want him in that seat, tell your congress persons. If not use the power of your constituent status to let her/him know how you feel. 

The power of millions of angry women has been awakened. Ignore us at your own peril.

The Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week
Scenery occasionally needs changing, just like a dirty diaper.


  1. I worry that he is a decoy. I get the feeling that if he’s confirmed- it’s a win for the old boy network. If he isn’t - no biggie. They have an ultra conservative, anti-choice woman in the wings who was on the original list. They can say, “All right. He’s someone you can’t accuse of sexual assault. Kavanaugh is expendable.

    1. I worry about the same thing. But I'm hoping the election will happen before there is a chance to move forward with a new nominee. OR, they could get the message and bring in someone more reasonable. That said, it's still scary stuff.

  2. WP,

    I am quite disappointed that you have gone down the rabbit hole of an “entitlement” argument with regard to BK.

    I listened to the hearings last week and although not surprised by the partisan nature of the process, I found myself frustrated by the lack of understanding (even among senators) around due process.

    There are many reasons that people may either support or disapprove of the candidacy of Brett Kavanaugh. Whether these are political, ideological, lack of diversity, entitlement, background etc. reasonable people may disagree.

    However, this was a hearing about a very serious allegation of sexual assault, which may or may not have been committed 36 years ago. Senators are being asked to vote (unless the subsequent FBI investigation turns up new evidence either way) on “believability”. Essentially, whether you believe the candidate or Dr. Ford. That is utterly and completely irrelevant to this conversation. The idea that we should be voting for a Supreme Court justice, based upon historical wrongs and rights is entirely anthetical to the rule of law.

    Lindsay Graham was correct that if this was being heard in a court of law, it wouldn’t get out of the batter’s box. Now I realize that a senate hearing is not a courtroom, however there was absolutely no evidence to support the claim. No eyewitnesses, no corroboration, (only corroboration of her statements to others, which is hearsay and inadmissible) no DNA, no dates, times, places. If this comes to the fact that he is an entitled male candidate (who may be guilty btw) and we must take the side of Dr. Ford, because she sounds credible, AND because women have been historically oppressed (absolutely true) so ergo she MUST be believed. That is a slippery slope WP, that I am not sure you want to go down?


    1. If you were conducting the interview, would you hire that guy? After he yelled at you?

      I think you misidentified the entitlement issue. It was directed at his disrespectful behavior toward committee members, not the broader entitlement issue. His behavior resembled a kid interviewing at place where his dad knows the CEO. He thinks it’s just a formality.

      Sandwiched between the information in his yearbook and her statements, there is enough to question. And if he was clean, why would he not _want_ the investigation?

    2. This hearing may have brought into question his temperament, (although he has been a high level judge for 12 years) which makes his confirmation questionable. There are other candidates; however the next one in line scares me more, based upon her strong religious advocacy. If she has a clean background and gets confirmed then we all have a bigger issue.

      He was obviously instructed to keep to certain talking points and pushback with some emotion, and I don’t link his responses to entitlement, since he was responding to a criminal allegation. However if this whole allegation is a pack of lies, designed to get a negative reaction from him, then - mission accomplished. The problem is that it doesn’t further the cause of discovering the truth. You essentially could make up any unwarranted allegation about a candidate and then when they react viscerally to it, you say “ah ha” you see they don’t have the temperament to be a judge.

      The whole thing has been handled poorly by both sides, including the ranking Dem, DF, who could have had this dealt with weeks ago.


    3. Ed, Due process is a great thing. In a criminal proceeding, a person is presumed innocent. In a job interview for a lifetime appointment, you have to prove your worthiness. So, we can all agree that unless more comes, we're not going to put him in jail. At the same time, it might also be appropriate to agree that unless he can show that he doesn't lie about the little things, hold partisan judges, etc., he doesn't get to be one of the nine. I'm not even going down the "he's guilty or not" road. I don't know that we'll ever know the answer there.
      You suggest that this was "designed to get a negative reaction from him..." Do you really think that the Democrats on the SJC are so crafty that they figured that a highly respected, long-time circuit court judge would lie about stupid things that don't really matter? Probably not. I find it hard to believe that even the biggest Feinstein sycophants would think that. Instead, I think they were just as surprised as the rest of the world that this seeming example of all that is right in the conservative world would lie about stupid stuff (e..g, "I have a week stomach").
      Regardless of if we learn anymore about the sexual assault allegations, last week's hearing showed the real man, the one behind the mask. He's a partisan who thinks he can act above the truth when it suits him. Are there enough facts to say that Beyond a Reasonable Doubt? No, probably not. Are there enough to say it such that You Are Not the Best Candidate for Our Open Position At This Time? Yep. Pretty sure every HR department would back me on that one.
      POTUS likely can and will appoint another less controversial conservative judge who will rule similarly to Kavanaugh on 99% of cases. That's life and politics. However, that eventuality doesn't mean we need to just let things pass. SCOTUS is a big deal. No one "deserves" to be there.