The court and all its jesters

After three years of acrimony, hard feelings and fear that this separation would ultimately end in divorce, all it took were multiple accusations of sexual assault and misconduct against altar boy, carpool dad and living embodiment of the D.C. elite Brett Kavanaugh to finally reunite #NeverTrump conservatives and MAGA World. Now, can’t we just leave the poor guy alone?


Only three people know whether the alleged assault that Dr. Christine Blasey Ford described during her testimony last Thursday is actually true, and one of them is quarantined in a Delaware beach house reading “Superman” comics. The punch lines write themselves. 


In keeping with tradition after a momentous political event of this nature, Kavanaugh’s supporters have seized upon GOP Senator and onetime #NeverTrumper Lindsey Graham’s unbridled rage, looked up every synonym for the “B” and “C” words they can find while repeatedly insisting that Dr. Ford is a pathological liar, and conceded—as they did when they coalesced behind the current president—that they really don’t care about personal shortcomings as long as they get a majority that clears a path to overturn Roe v. Wade.


And Democrats have made it quite apparent that their long game is to stall this for as long as possible, reclaim the Senate in the midterm election (just like they were going to win the presidency two years ago and finally appoint Merrick Garland) and bury Kavanaugh once and for all as a tribute to the Goddess of Politics Hillary Clinton, whose loss had everything to do with Russian Facebook trolls and absolutely nothing to do with the fact that she was too arrogant to campaign in crucial blue-collar swing states like Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Iowa in the run-up to November 8, 2016.


Plenty of other valid criticisms of the Supreme Court nominee had been aired—that he was obsessed with the death of Vince Foster and the conspiracy theories surrounding it, that he was heavily involved in the Ken Starr investigation of Bill Clinton and wrote of sending a message to the former president about his immorality, that he likely possessed hacked and stolen information during his time as a Bush appointee and that his mysterious six-figure “baseball ticket” debts suddenly disappeared—but those details were unlikely to have any meaningful sway on the vote and certainly would not grind the entire process to a screeching halt.


Dr. Ford held her own on the stand, and Judge Kavanaugh unequivocally denied that anything untoward happened while screaming the words “farce,” “mockery” and “outrage” between heavy gasps. Mark Judge was nowhere to be found, and Donald Trump Jr. was busy utilizing all of the best memes at his disposal. We were right back at square one with no smoking gun, no new evidence and nothing to sway anyone from previously held positions. Even the supposed Democratic panacea of an FBI investigation would leave us to decide between the accounts of two individuals—one of whom is lying—about events that may or may not have transpired 35 years ago.


The most vocal #NeverTrump Republican Senator, Jeff Flake publicly proclaimed he’d vote yes on Kavanaugh and cemented his legacy as the man liberals will curse every morning, afternoon and evening until they croak—that is, until he changed course again upon being harangued by a gaggle of protesters and asked that the FBI get one more week to drag this circus on and absolve Congress of responsibility for whatever ends up happening.


But nevertheless, the judge likely now has his lifetime appointment, and he’ll rule the way conservatives—both those who gleefully embrace President Trump’s combative culture war mindset (best summarized by Travis Bickle’s plea to Charles Palantine in “Taxi Driver”— “The President should just clean up this whole mess here and flush it down the toilet”) and those who held their noses and voted for him in spite of it—want him to, because when you get down to the particulars, their differences are confined to style much more than substance.  


Conservatism, once on the verge of a cataclysmic fracture between the National Review globalists and the Breitbart nationalists, is experiencing a unifying moment, and if I were to place bets, I’d wager that this bizarre spectacle will actually help the Republican party in November. Without an automatic game changer like 9/11, the financial collapse of 2008 or a declared war to rally his supporters around, President Trump has done a better job than any of his predecessors in constantly engaging and firing up the base, and even his most avowed detractors could admit that.


Dr. Ford will (hopefully) be allowed to return to private life if she so chooses, or maybe she’ll use her newfound platform to serve as an advocate for victims. That’s up to her. Judge Kavanaugh, an avatar of the “Swamp” that Trump campaigned against, may face personal discomfort and rejection, but these allegations will fade away as public outrage finds a new target. Clarence Thomas is still on the court 27 years later.


Children—and adults—will continually be taught to believe women, but only if the man they’re accusing has disagreeable political opinions—and, if that tactic fails, to resort to Whataboutism.


And the world will keep spinning, for now at least. After the great Garland fiasco of 2016, we should’ve known this would be a bloodbath, but even so, it was difficult to predict the level of pure vitriol Kavanaugh would have to endure to ensure that the right wing in this country could finally get its rubber stamp.


All’s fair in love and Supreme Court nominations, I suppose.