The Kavanaugh hearing and angry men.
Thursday’s judiciary committee hearing was a study in contrasts whose differences were oddly erased by their result. Christine Blasey Ford seemed terrified but brimmed with good will. The extent of her cooperation is measurable: She went to great lengths to be as painfully precise as she could be, clarifying her comments at every turn. She was considerate of the committee and answered every question, repeatedly going out of her way to offer more than was asked. Her effort to comply under difficult circumstances was unrelenting, even as she downplayed the negative effects of all this on herself and her family. (Asked how her husband and children were doing, she said they were basically “OK.”) She came across as dedicated, responsible, and motivated by a sincere desire to help.
She was called credible by most observers.
Brett Kavanaugh launched his half of the proceedings without an iota of graciousness or respect for the body charged with advancing his confirmation. He began yelling his grievances at the committee. Though this may have been intended in part to be strategic, his demeanor quickly careened away from controlled chaos to just chaos as he attacked the committee’s Democrats in a hissing second person, his mouth curled in a sneer of contempt: “You have tried hard. You’ve given it your all. No one can question your efforts. Your coordinated and well-funded efforts to destroy my good name and destroy my family will not drag me out.” He used phrases like lying in wait. Take me out. So shocking was it to see a judge abandon reason and decorum in order to lob accusations and float conspiracies—at Americans whose offense was requesting that a serious charge against him be investigated—that many watching thought he must be about to withdraw from consideration. But no. He did not admit defeat in a blaze of glory. He denied, he attacked, and he obstructed, all the while making himself the victim of a proceeding he would later repeatedly claim to respect.