The Farce of the Kavanaugh Hearings

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By John Zmirak, The Stream, September 28, 2018

John ZmirakLike much of America, I suspended all other business to watch the Ford/Kavanaugh hearings on TV. And I agree with every other American on the one issue that unites us: They were terrible.

Whomever you think is telling the truth. Whichever party you cleave to. Whatever you think the Senate should do. This was a three-ring circus, without the elephants, where the clowns were all creepy and the acrobats fell from the trapeze, to crash on the floor and die. As the day ended, we all emerged from the tent, blinking our eyes and asking each other: What on earth was that?  And even more: How do we go on from here?

First let me complain about the Republicans. I don’t know whose idea it was to get that prosecutor from Arizona to question Christine Ford. Could someone please ferret that out? Because whoever he is, he should lose his job in politics.

The first half of the hearings were a consummate waste of time. Each of the GOP senators might as well have kept his five minutes of time, and used it to read aloud from the Yellow Pages.

Whatever county in Arizona has Rachel Mitchell for a prosecutor … I wouldn’t want to be an innocent defendant there. Not if she handles sex crime complaints the way she did Christine Ford’s.

Mitchell showed almost no interest in highlighting the serious inconsistencies in Christine Ford’s story. Or the fact that every witness she cited denies seeing anything. Or the political or financial motives Ford could have for blaming Kavanaugh as the man who molested her in high school. Ford’s passionate feminist politics never got a mention. Nor her potential financial interest in the abortion pill company, Corcept Technologies, where she worked for six long years. Does Ford have any stock vested there? We’ll never know. Because Mitchell didn’t ask.

Does that sound too harsh? Sorry, but those are the kinds of questions you ask people who make last-minute, unsubstantiated accusations that could destroy a man’s good name and career.

The Last Strands of Spaghetti, Sliding Down the Wall

I stand by what I said a few days ago: The Republican senators should have asked Ford serious, probing questions — even at the risk of looking like big old meanies. They should have saved the last questions for outside questioner Juanita Broaddrick. That’s the woman who made prompt, corroborated, attested rape charges against Bill Clinton 30 years ago, which went ignored.

A political stunt, you say? You bet. What part of this whole confirmation process was not a political stunt, mostly pulled by the Democrats? Mainstream media should have been forced to explain who Ms. Broaddrick is, and why she was present. Millions of Americans would at last know that she exists.

Instead, we got a series of questions that sounded like Mr. Rogers asking a very small, sniffling boy how he skinned his knee … and would he like some ice cream? What flavor? Any sprinkles?

By the time Ford’s testimony and the questions were over, I was halfway convinced that the Republicans had intentionally given up on Kavanaugh. “Do they know something we don’t?” I found myself wondering. “Have they just thrown this guy under the bus, getting ready for Trump to withdraw him and nominate someone else?”

A Chilling Power Grab

Most of the Republicans redeemed themselves in the question period. Lindsey Graham most of all, especially with the line that ought to go down in the annals of U.S. politics. “Boy, y’all want power. God, I hope you never get it. …”

Watch Graham in action. He was great:

And the Democrats made it abundantly clear how right Graham was. Remember, folks, this is the same party that has proved itself willing to:

  • Hijack the FBI to spy on an opposing presidential campaign, on the slimmest of suspicions, derived from a “garbage pail” dossier, funded by Hillary Clinton.

  • Use the DOJ to deep-six serious criminal charges against Mrs. Clinton, to avoid hurting her chances.

  • Try to nullify a national election with a long series of bogus claims, ranging from alleged Russian hacks of U.S. voting machines to imaginary Russian “collusion.”

  • Ignore Senator Dianne Feinstein’s long-time employment of a Chinese spy, even though she served on committees crucial to national security.

Were we really surprised that Senator Feinstein would purposely sit on Ms. Ford’s highly dubious accusations — saving them as Hail Mary pass, till it was too late for the FBI to investigate them, without delaying the nomination vote indefinitely?

That she and the other Democrats intentionally obstructed the Judiciary Committee’s attempts to investigate these uncorroborated claims?

Or that Feinstein would hurl at Kavanaugh charges that even the New York Times wouldn’t print (the Debbie Ramirez story)? That porn-lawyer Michael Avenatti dredged up from the fever swamps of fantasy, of Catholic schoolboys running a rape gang for years, undetected?

Are we shocked that, having stonewalled a real investigation for months, the Democrats would insist on launching an FBI probe now, to drag things out so that more anonymous or outrageous charges could crawl out from the fever swamps of pro-choice America? Each of them would require a fresh investigation, of course, so the confirmation hearings could literally drag on for months, fed by reckless and partisan media that have abandoned their one-time standards.

Give Us Barabbas!

Again and again, the Democrats bayed for Mark Judge to testify, though he’d already said clearly and under penalty of perjury all he has to say: He didn’t see or take part in any such events. This confirms Al Perrotta’s theory, floated here at the Stream: Whatever happened to Ms. Ford, it had nothing to do with Brett Kavanaugh. But the partisans who helped her piece together her story leaned on Judge’s ill-advised memoir to craft it. As Al wrote:

Of course Judge will deny it (since it didn’t happen). But you can prove that he’s an unreliable witness — since he admitted in print to (at least) drunken sexual intentions. Plus he cops to the fact that his memory is unreliable, since he was sometimes blind drunk.

So his denial will do Kavanaugh little good; it might even hurt him. No way Mark Judge will testify, and be torn apart by senators prepped with quotations from his book.

No wonder the Democrats (who know exactly how the story was concocted, and how it was meant to unfold, destroying Kavanaugh) fumed and sputtered at Judge’s wise decision to avoid testifying. They did everything but stamp their feet like Rumpelstiltskin. The Republicans wisely denied them the use of their secret weapon: a vicious attack on a penitent, recovering alcoholic for the gaps in his memory. Into those blank spaces they wished to shove Brett Kavanaugh’s good name (and Judge’s). All in a grab for power over our nation’s highest court.

End This Show Trial Now

Kavanaugh’s testimony was clear and confident, impassioned and persuasive. There is no good reason to believe Ford’s account over his. In fact, since the witnesses she herself named all contradict her, and there is not one scintilla of evidence to support her charges, it would be a travesty to believe them. And a deadly, chilling precedent.

Make no mistake, this hearing didn’t mimic a real court of law. What it seemed more like was a show trial, of the kind that leftists run on campuses all across America, railroading falsely accused students on flimsy evidence. Or the back room decisions of a social media monopoly, deciding whom to silence. Or the proceedings of some “human rights” commission deciding which Christian business to bankrupt. If we let this show trial end in a politicized conviction, let them toss Brett Kavanaugh onto the ash heap of history, our country faces a bleak and dangerous future.


John Zmirak is a Senior Editor of The Stream, and author of the new Politically Incorrect Guide to Catholicism. He received his B.A. from Yale University in 1986, then his M.F.A. in screenwriting and fiction and his Ph.D. in English in 1996 from Louisiana State University. His focus was the English Renaissance, and the novels of Walker Percy. He taught composition at LSU and screenwriting at Tulane University, and has written screenplays for and with director Ronald Maxwell (Gods & Generals and Gettysburg). He was elected alternate delegate to the 1996 Republican Convention, representing Pat Buchanan.

He has been Press Secretary to pro-life Louisiana Governor Mike Foster, and a reporter and editor at Success magazine and Investor’s Business Daily, among other publications. His essays, poems, and other works have appeared in First Things, The Weekly Standard, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, USA Today, FrontPage Magazine, The American Conservative, The South Carolina Review, Modern Age, The Intercollegiate Review, Commonweal, and The National Catholic Register, among other venues. He is a fellow of Citizens of the American Republic. He has contributed to American Conservatism: An Encyclopedia and The Encyclopedia of Catholic Social Thought. From 2000-2004 he served as Senior Editor of Faith & Family magazine and a reporter at The National Catholic Register. During 2012 he was editor of Crisis.

He is author, co-author, or editor of twelve books, including Wilhelm Ropke: Swiss Localist, Global Economist, The Grand Inquisitor (graphic novel) and The Race to Save Our Century. He was editor of the Intercollegiate Studies Institute’s guide to higher education, Choosing the Right College and, for ten years, and is also editor of Disorientation: How to Go to College Without Losing Your Mind.