Wally Cleaver Pledges Animal House

that dog won't hunt

Paul Waldman, What Brett Kavanaugh should have said

Kavanaugh’s Fox News interview risks contributing to a credibility gap: “The Supreme Court nominee’s memory of himself is very different from his portrayal in a yearbook. That could undercut his denials about bigger things.”

As the day wears on, it becomes clearer with each hour how big is the gap between Kavanaugh’s portrayal of himself as Wally Cleaver and the reality of the Animal House environment which he chose for himself in high school and college.

He is supposed to be a great jurist. A great jurist would know that if there are some really bad facts, and if those really bad facts can be proved beyond peradventure of doubt, you cannot get away with mindlessly repetitious denials.

What you have to do instead is to admit that which your adversary can prove anyway, do your best to explain it away, minimize the badness of it, express remorse for the provably bad stuff you did, and deny the really bad claims that your adversary can’t actually prove.

In other words, you have a choice between a defense that has some grounding in reality and a defense based on convincing folks to believe six impossible things before breakfast.

The former course would not demonstrate good character, but it would show good judgment. Choosing the unmoored-from-reality approach to advocacy is evidence either of stupidity or it is evidence of terror born of desperation.

Could be evidence of both.

From everything that we have reason to believe thus far, stupidity wins the day as an explanation. Waldman, for example, does a good job of showing how Kavanaugh should have handled himself, without denying a lot of things that are easily proved to be true.

But lurking about in the undergrowth are Avenatti, his thus far elusive clients, and their nascent claims about “pulling trains.”

So it’s probably best not to rule out terror born of desperation as the main thought running through Brett Kavanaugh’s great judicial mind.

river in Egypt

Twelve Reasons Why


A neoconservative offers eight reasons to despise Ted Cruz. Bret Stephens writes,

Because he’s like a serpent covered in Vaseline. Because he treats the American people like two-bit suckers in 10-gallon hats. Because he sucks up to the guy who insulted his wife — by retweet, no less. Because of his phony piety and even phonier principles. Because I see him as the spiritual love child of the 1980s televangelist Jimmy Swaggart and Jack Nicholson’s character in “The Shining.” Because his ethics are purely situational. Because he makes Donald Trump look like a human being by comparison. Because “New York values.” Because his fellow politicians detest him, and that’s just among Republicans. Because he never got over being the smartest kid in eighth grade. Because he’s conniving enough to try to put one over you, but not perceptive enough to realize that you see right through him. Because he’s the type of man who would sell his family into slavery if that’s what it took to get elected. And that he would use said slavery as a sob story to get himself re-elected.

Plowing Through the Minefield, Fortified by Dutch Courage

A web site just offered me the opportunity to “View President Trump Live at the United Nations.” Concerned for my sanity, I declined.

Meanwhile, Eugene Robinson wins today’s prize for Best Mixed Metaphor of the Day: Republicans are going to ‘plow right through’ a minefield.

Good show, Gene!

And this from one of Kavanaugh’s Yale roommates:


Here’s a thought, Brett. And I expect your old buddy Jimmy would agree. Before your big day on Thursday, how about fortifying yourself with a big dose of Dutch courage?


Good Morning, Judge Kavanaugh, Hope You’re Having a Good Day

purity ring

Seven points stand out to me this morning.

One, it seems very clear that young Brett Kavanaugh chose to associate himself closely, both in high school and in college, with people who drank a lot and acted boorishly, at the very least. There is lots of evidence, but here is one prime example: Kavanaugh’s Yearbook Page Is ‘Horrible, Hurtful’ to a Woman It Named.

Two, with no proper investigation and presentation of evidence having been made, we cannot form a reasoned judgment about what specific acts Kavanaugh did or did not do in the context of that drunken, misogynistic culture.

Of course, any of us can go ahead and state a conclusion anyway, but such a conclusion would not be sound or well informed.

Three, the Republicans appear to be scared shitless of any such investigation.

There is every reason to suppose that their abject terror over the prospect of a full investigation is well placed.

Four, Kavanaugh’s claims of extended virginity are, in my estimation, consistent with the company he kept. Constrained by his religion from just finding a willing girl and hopping in bed, he may have taken his frustrations out in drink and bad company.

Five, being too clever by half, is seldom a successful tactic. Republicans could not, at one and the same time, be fair to Kavanaugh’s accusers and roll over them. They could not, at one and the same time, appease the rabid anti-abortionist crowd and satisfy the suburban educated women whom they are losing in droves.

So they have had to choose, and they have chosen to steamroller the process and appease the anti-abortionists.

Six, Republicans have chosen the wrong damn hill to die on. See point five, supra.

Seven, Michael Avenatti, Esquire, has chosen to tease us with extraordinarily powerful accusations, from thus far unnamed witnesses. Democrats are right to right to be wary, as long as it’s still a tease.

But Michael Avenatti, Esquire, is not a bullshit artist.

shoes dropping

Michael Avenatti Has a Few Questions …

… That He Thinks the Senate Judiciary Committee Should Ask Judge Kavanaugh:

  1. Did you every target one or more women for sex or rape at a house party? Did you ever assist Mark Judge or others in doing so?
  2. Did you ever attend a house party during which a woman was gang raped or used for sex by multiple men?
  3. Did you ever witness a line of men outside a bedroom at any house party where you understood a woman was in the bedroom being raped or taken advantage of?
  4. Did you ever participate in any sexual conduct with a woman at a house party whom you understood to be intoxicated or under the influence of drugs?
  5. Did you ever communicate with Mark Judge or anyone else about your participation in a “train” involving an intoxicated woman?
  6. Did you ever object or attempt to prevent one or more men from participating in the rape, or taking advantage, of a woman at any house party?


You Can Tell a Man Who Boozes by the Company He Chooses

Michelle Goldberg writes,

From Georgetown Prep, Kavanaugh went to Yale. There he joined the fraternity Delta Kappa Epsilon, or DKE, which was, according to The Yale Daily News, “notorious for disrespecting women.” (Long after Kavanaugh graduated, the fraternity, once headed by George W. Bush, was banned from campus after video emerged of pledges chanting, “No Means Yes! Yes Means Anal!”) Kavanaugh was also a member of an all-male secret society called Truth and Courage, which had an obscene nickname affirming its dedication to womanizing.

As we learn in another article, the nickname for this club of fine young Christian gentlemen was Tit and Clit.