Kavanaugh: Was his display of anger justified?
Brett Kavanaugh may or may not have assaulted Christine Blasey Ford at a high school gathering in 1982, said Greg Weiner in The New York Times, but the “injudicious temperament” he displayed at last week’s hearings should nonetheless doom his nomination. The “eruption of Mount Kavanaugh” began with the judge’s opening statement—a vindictive, spluttering diatribe against a conspiracy of Democrats and “left-wing opposition groups” who blackened his name as payback for President Trump’s election and to get “revenge on behalf of the Clintons.” With sneering sarcasm, Kavanaugh demanded that Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse and Amy Klobuchar share details of their own drinking habits before answering their relevant questions about his high school debauchery. “Veering from fury to sniveling sobs,” Kavanaugh came across as an “angry brat” and entitled, self-pitying frat boy, said Roger Cohen, also in the Times. His falsehood-riddled testimony blurred into one long “primal scream for threatened white male privilege.”
Kavanaugh’s rage was entirely justified, said The Wall Street Journal in an editorial. Days before a vote that would have elevated him to the Supreme Court, the capstone of a distinguished judicial career, Democrats and the media accused him of being a “violent drunk and a gang rapist.” When no actual evidence surfaced to corroborate those claims, liberals turned to this desperate “temperament” argument: Even if he’s innocent, Kavanaugh is disqualified for reacting to outrageous allegations with, well, outrage. Kavanaugh’s passion was “magnificent” and utterly convincing, said Kyle Smith in NationalReview.com. This was clearly an innocent man defending his reputation from smears. Kavanaugh also channeled the anger “simmering just beneath the surface among tens of millions of American men and women” who are sick of the “Democrat-activist-media triangle” routinely destroying conservative lives for political gain.
Only men are considered more credible when they display volcanic anger, said Lili Loofbourow in Slate.com. Only conservatives could find Kavanaugh’s extraordinary tantrum “not just acceptable, but corroborating.” Had the soft-spoken Blasey Ford showed even a hint of anger over what Kavanaugh allegedly did to her, the Right would have read it as proof of her “pathology and brokenness,” and dismissed her accusations as “hysterical.” Kavanaugh actually did himself no favors by dropping his apolitical umpire’s mask, said Laurence Tribe in The New York Times. He not only displayed “a strikingly injudicious temperament” but also revealed himself as a rank partisan with deep “personal animosity toward liberals.” If he’s confirmed, what happens when one of those “left-wing opposition groups” he denounced comes before the Supreme Court? Will he use his new power to take his revenge? “What goes around,” a bitter Kavanaugh said in warning to Democrats, “comes around.”
If Kavanaugh is innocent, he has every right to be indignant, said Charles Sykes in WeeklyStandard.com. “But there are appropriate and inappropriate ways of expressing anger,” especially when you’re applying for a lifetime job refereeing America’s deepest political and cultural disputes. In his partisan rant about Clinton-connected conspiracies, Kavanaugh sounded like Sean Hannity, not Felix Frankfurter. His presence on the Supreme Court will only deepen the growing perception it is no less partisan than Congress or the White House. The image Kavanaugh left of himself “is likely to be indelible, and the damage will last for decades.” ■