Worse Than a Crime

crime blunder

The Readings

McConnell calls opposition to Kavanaugh a ‘great political gift’ to Republicans

Contrary to what you probably thought, this first one is not from The Onion. Nor are the others.

Philip Bump, Senators representing less than half the U.S. are about to confirm a nominee opposed by most Americans

Deanna Paul, When Kavanaugh is confirmed, impeachment could follow. Here’s how.

Emily Atkin, Why Republican Women Defend Brett Kavanaugh

And finally,

Christine Blasey Ford’s Attorneys Reveal Statement From Corroborating Witness

The Lessons

Republican senators have said fie on the National Council of Churches, spit on the American Bar Association, and scorned 2,400 professors of law. Exercising raw, patriarchal power, they are reading themselves out of polite society.

Here are a few thoughts.

One. When you build your political career on a foundation of lies, you are likely, sooner or later, to come to believe much of your own bullshit.

Two. Believing your own bullshit can make you feel better and provide a comforting sense of solidarity with your tribe. But there is a downside: it can lead to blunders.

Three. It’s vital that progressives should continue to develop the evidence about Kavanaugh’s background, but it’s equally vital not to leap to conclusions prematurely. Develop the relevant facts. Then make a reasoned judgment.

Right now, we have some information about what Kavanaugh was doing at his Georgetown house parties and his Yale fraternity. But all the witnesses have not been interviewed. And there is likely a great deal of written evidence in the form of e-mails, texts, and the like. Come 2019, the House Judiciary Committee needs to develop and lay out the evidence.

The full picture will be either (i) pretty bad for Kavanaugh, but one that could be made to look defensible, or it will be (ii) generally horrific and utterly indefensible.

You and I have a strong suspicion about which it will be. But, ladies and germs, there is a very great gulf between a strong suspicion and a reasonable, well founded conclusion.

If our suspicions turn out to be wrong, then so be it. If our suspicions turn out to be right, then we go from there.

Four. Help the Republican women to resolve their cognitive dissonance.

Ms. Atkin, supra, helpfully informs us large numbers of Republican women feel cognitive dissonance over the elevation of a morally unfit conservative judge, and that 69 percent of them have decided to resolve their cognitive dissonance in favor of disbelieving the accuser.

Actually, I find that information reassuring. It suggests that disclosure of the fuller picture could help a lot more Republican women resolve their cognitive dissonance in the other direction.

And it suggests that the Republican patriarchs have already lost 31 percent of their own women. Some political gift, Mitch.

Five. Make the Republican patriarchs defend the manifestly indefensible.

You have to develop the facts before this will work. But as the facts do come out, make McConnell and Cornyn and the whole ghastly lot of them try to defend what has happened.

Plainly, they think that a little attempted rape among high-spirited young conservatives is not a disqualification.

Plainly, they think that false accusations of assault are a much bigger problem than actual assault.

Make ‘em say it.

Frequently.

Forcefully.

With increasing clarity.

If you are a mensch, just grab ‘em down where the hairs are short. Hold on. And keep on squeezing.

by the balls