••• The International Writers Magazine: Reality Check USA
I Love Politics
The Unraveling of Judge Kavanaugh & The Heinous Beauty of our Human Experiment
I love politics.
Always have. It is my grand flaw. I am mostly angry, somewhat dazzled by art, music and certainly the written word, I love to drink gin, smoke cigars, read until I pass out, love women (especially my wife, Erin and my daughter, Scarlet) and I love politics.
I would not have spent five minutes of my time on the subject much less the past 20 years penning this column or the prior 15 years as a freelancer, deriving pleasure and inspiration from its most heinous and glorious gifts. Whether Watergate or Iran/Contra, Monica Lewinsky, the 2000 election being tossed into a constitutional crisis, the intrigue and fistfights over health care and illegal wars and the kneejerk spastic reaction to 9/11 or even the more mundane bloodbaths over budgets and, my favorite, social issues. All of it is sadomasochistic thrill ride for me.
You see, I understand politics. I get what happens to people when they are in the midst of them and what it does to their brains and their nether regions and how it can at once titillate and mutilate. It always baffles me when people don’t get it. It’s like golfers or sexual deviants. They get it. You might not. But they really get it.
But nothing is more seductive than the every-once-in-awhile moment when political desperation kicks in – when politicians become like cornered animals and toss decorum, principle, almost everything they supposedly stood for or believed in and torch it in a self-immolated public bonfire. That is what the nation witnessed yesterday on Capitol Hill when Republican and Democratic senators put on the show of shows. Shouting and crying – citizens bearing their souls, righteous grandstanding, contemptuous lawyers, families paraded out like human billboards, staged interruptions and sweet-lord-jesus-there’s-a-fire speechifying – it had it all. And while it blessedly proved we are as fucked up a nation as can possibly be imagined that fancies itself “free’, I do not agree with these third-grade assessments about how it has lowered our public discourse and disgraced the “world’s greatest deliberative body”. That kind of hyperbole seems downright goofy when considering it happened in the same room as the McCarthy Hearings or the fact that a man who left a woman to drown in the car he ran into a Massachusetts lake was allowed to work there for nearly half a century.
Nevertheless, what happened yesterday was an education in both political mastery/buffoonery that reveals a great deal about the putrid, horrifying and wonderfully disgusting aspects of America.
And so, Judge Brett Kavanaugh, as conservative and politically motivated judge as we have seen being considered for a lifetime appointment to the highest court in the land, appointed by the way, by an accidental criminal game show host man-child president, had all but been confirmed for some weeks, as he should, when the majority (and this is part of the putrid, horrifying and wonderfully disgusting aspects) is sitting with the power and therefore the right to confirm him. I only mention the “putrid” part because the previous president had appointed his nominee during his last year in office and the GOP-led senate decided to ignore the constitution and not even put that individual up for a vote for ten months and then when the last judge was up for a vote, they changed the procedure from overwhelming majority to mere majority to ram him through.
You see, Republicans have been fighting to swing the Supreme Court in their favor for decades. This, like health care for Democrats in 2009, which many of these same Republicans rightfully decried as a political disaster, has been a slow and deliberate slog to try and dominate the courts in the hopes to overturn marriage equality and Roe v Wade and defend corporations and banks and gun manufacturers and whatever defies the majority will of the people. This is what elections – gerrymandering, fear-mongering and electoral colleges – add up to. Elections, it should be mentioned, Democrats have been losing pretty consistently for the past dozen years or so on the local and legislative level.
The idea that a woman may or may not have been sexually assaulted by a judicial nominee is a speed bump to all this. FBI investigations? Witnesses? Search for truth? This is a kind of game and the people in it mere players. This is what politics is and has always been – from Washington’s crushing of the Whiskey Rebellion to Jackson’s Native American death march to Lincoln’s bribing of senators to LBJ’s and GW Bush’s phony intelligence – it is an immutable law, like physics and an AP reporter refusing to pick up a check. When Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, charmingly nervous and intellectually elastic, came forth with 36 year-old allegations, Democrats saw a golden opportunity and that left Republicans, hemorrhaging educated women voters of all races, to have to have a hearing. But the very fact that there is a committee vote to confirm Kavanaugh after that fiasco as I write this proves there was little point to any of it, but to perform the duties of politics. *Vote progresses to confirmation with Senator Jeff Flake's blessing 09/28/18.
Oh, those who don’t “get it” will predictably accuse this space, aptly titled Reality Check, of cynicism again, but come on, who was under the impression any of this was real? I guess it was as real as Johnny Cochran’s brilliant defense of O.J. Simpson by making it about LA cops. LA cops were racist and corrupt, but O.J. Simpson also killed two people. O.J. got off. And this is where we ended up yesterday. Kavanaugh probably sexually assaulted women, as did Donald J. Trump, but he will be on the Supreme Court, appointed by President Trump. Politics.
For the record, I believe Dr. Ford. She had no motive to come forward and lie. She was absolutely exploited by Democrats, but the idea that she was a conspiratorial tool as Kavanaugh shouted in his creepy snot-filled, cry-fest (excellent job coached by the Breitbart crowd to play angry and get Senator Lindsey Graham, angling for a job in the Department of Defense, to wake up), is asinine. Sitting on national television in the glare of that horde of miscreants had no pay off for Ford. Being Supreme Court Justice for life does. Kavanaugh had every reason to lie his ass off, as his friend and purported culprit, Mark Judge, who said he has no recollection of events, had to. What do you expect him to do, admit to assisting in a sexual assault?
Dr. Ford gets nothing out of this deal other than death threats, grief and ignominy. Kavanaugh gets to be on the Supreme Court. Again, he has every reason to lie. She has none. Plus, and this is important, not once, when asked about a half-dozen times if his impassioned plea to clear his name would benefit from a full non-politically tainted investigation – something you would need to do to make absolutely certain you are not a criminal, and something Dr. Ford agreed to – he declined to answer even no. Kavanaugh is hiding something. She is not. That’s what you get from that. You demand an investigation when you spend a half hour screaming and crying like a mental patient – to clear your name and reveal this woman as a fraud. I get being pissed, as Kavanaugh clearly was, but I do not get not wanting clear evidence that I was not guilty. The rest is pure political theater to get a gig from politicians. Period.
And why did Republicans choose a woman prosecutor to ask questions of Dr. Ford? To save political blowback. Why did they steamroll her once Kavanaugh showed up? To gain political points.
I love politics.
Speaking of which, I have been asked for weeks now if the two women/moderate Republican senators, Lisa Ann Murkowski and Susan Collins, from Alaska and Maine respectively, or Democratic West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin would scuttle this vote by denying Kavanaugh his seat. I do not. Makes no political sense. As I write this the American Bar Association has called for an investigation of this alleged crime and several outlets, including the leading Jesuit periodical (Kavanaugh was attending a Jesuit high school, Georgetown Prep when this all supposedly went down), have rescinded their support for the candidate. However, these people are living in the real world of consequences and conscience and ideological purity. This has zero to do with politics. Those things are actually a detriment to the artform. It makes no political sense for any of those senators to vote no on Kavanaugh. For Republicans, the fallout would be disastrous at the polls in November, as the deluge of Democratic fervor would be exacerbated by GOP voters staying home (the same thing that killed Hillary Clinton in 2016, as crestfallen Bernie Sanders’ backers refused to cast a vote for her). And with an election so close in a “Red State”, why would Munchin risk his hide? For principle? Law? Guts?
What makes politics such a wonderfully damaging subject to dive into – here, week after week – is what it reveals about the core of our nation, of every nation. How much shit would Senators Ted Cruz and Lindsey Graham eat, both personally and professionally eviscerated by this president, to get a politically motivated Supreme Court judge seated? A lot of shit. They wallowed in it yesterday, as did the Democrats in a desperate attempt to give a flying fart about a wronged woman, when so many of them defended Bill Clinton over and over again.
Brett Kavanaugh said this yesterday, in a desperate attempt to achieve his goal and make this all about politics: “This whole two-week effort has been a calculated and orchestrated political hit, fueled with apparent pent-up anger about President Trump and the 2016 election. Fear that has been unfairly stoked about my judicial record. Revenge on behalf of the Clintons. and millions of dollars in money from outside left-wing opposition groups.”
None of that statement has a thing to do with law or the Supreme Court or defending one’s self. That is a political attack on the opposition. Politics. Plain and simple. That could have been written by FDR or Hitler.
And that is why I love politics.
May Benjamin Disraeli have mercy on my soul.
© James Campion 09/28/2018
James Campion is the Managing Editor of The Reality Check News & Information Desk and the author of “Deep Tank Jersey”, “Fear No Art”, “Trailing Jesus”, "Midnight For Cinderella" and “Y”. and his new book, “Shout It Out Loud – The Story of KISS’s Destroyer and the Making of an American Icon”.
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