Compare and Contrast

This polarization in American life, so similar to the vicious divide that led to the Civil War, has been escalating for the last thirty years as the fucking Koch Brothers and their accursed ilk get closer to their eventual reward — and toward their mad political goal of limitless liberty for everyone, even if it means the destruction of the planet itself.   You have as much liberty as you can afford to buy, what could be more American than that?   The petulant, immature man they have as president now doesn’t have to be asked to do their bidding.   He has the same interest in unfettered liberty they do. He too was born with $400,000,000 worth of liberty.

Was there a time when there was still a bit of decency left in American bare knuckles politics?   You can argue that during the start of Reagan’s term there was still some, a little bipartisan recognition that some compromise is sometimes a good thing.   Look what happened to Reagan’s Supreme Court pick Douglas Ginsburg and let’s contrast it to the recent confirmation, by the slimmest margin since 1881, of partisan team player and conservative Republican party insider Brett “Justice” Kavanaugh.   The following summary is from Wikipedia:

On October 29, 1987, President Reagan nominated Ginsburg to the Supreme Court of the United States to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Lewis Powell,[1][2] which had been announced on June 26.[14] Ginsburg, age 41, was chosen after the United States Senate, controlled by Democrats, had voted down the nomination of Judge Robert Bork after a bruising confirmation battle which ended with a 42–58 vote on October 23.[15]

Ginsburg’s nomination collapsed for entirely different reasons from Bork’s rejection, as he almost immediately came under some fire when NPR‘s Nina Totenberg[16] revealed that Ginsburg had used marijuana “on a few occasions” during his student days in the 1960s and while an assistant professor at Harvard in the 1970s. It was Ginsburg’s continued use of marijuana after graduation and as a professor that made his actions more serious in the minds of many senators and members of the public.[17] Ginsburg was also accused of a financial conflict of interest during his work in the Reagan Administration, but a Department of Justice investigation under the Ethics in Government Act found that allegation baseless in a February 1988 report.[18] [1]

Due to the allegations, Ginsburg withdrew his name from consideration on November 7,[4][5] and remained on the Court of Appeals, serving as chief judge for most of the 2000s. Anthony Kennedy was then nominated on November 11 and confirmed in early February 1988 as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.[19][20]

In contrast, here is the essence of Brett Kavanaugh’s indignant, winning response to allegations of drunken sexual impropriety.  He characterized the testimony of Christine Blasey Ford, who had accused him of drunkenly locking her in a room, lying on top of her, groping her and trying to remove her clothes during a high school party as nothing more than part of:

“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.”

Ginsburg, confronted with the unseemly fact that he liked marijuana, an illegal drug particularly reviled by conservatives (many of whom stated at the time that they’d still support his nomination), withdrew his name from consideration for the Supreme Court and remained on the federal bench until he retired many years later.   Kavanaugh, confronted with allegations of bad conduct and bad character, had a dedicated team working hard to make those allegations go away.

We have the burnt kettle calling the pot black here.   Kavanaugh, in fact, engaged in a calculated and orchestrated public relations campaign to save his good name and his lifelong dream of unappealable judicial power.   The night before his hearing he appeared on Fox News with his family, portraying himself as a God-fearing life-long choir boy.   He wrote an op ed in the Wall Street journal defending himself against the left wing smear campaign.   When, after Blasey Ford testified credibly and his confirmation seemed to be in doubt, he came back snarling, snorting and swinging, fueled by apparent pent-up anger over the fucking liberal conspiracy against good men like him.   His judicial record, and his record at Dubya Bush’s White House, both redacted by about 90%, were carefully hidden from the Senate Committee and the public.   His hatred of the Clintons and all they stand for, stemming from his diligent work as a partisan assistant to Independent Counsel Ken Starr, had been bolstered by millions of dollars in money from outside right-wing opposition groups and fellow extreme right travelers.  He freely admitted that he has always liked beer, even as he raged and resisted any real investigation into the allegations against him.

Rage in a man is now considered a good thing in a political confrontation, if you rage on behalf of Justice and Liberty and have the votes behind you to get your way.   Clearly Kavanaugh did that, and won his appointment, albeit by the slimmest margin in 137 years.  Much has been lost since the appearance of impropriety standard was clear to everyone and innocent men sought to clear their names rather than rage incoherently against their accusers.  

I know it may be far down the list of things to be investigated in this most corrupt of administrations, but I’d love to see that lying fuck subpoenaed to testify before the House Judiciary Committee, confronted with his plainly untruthful testimony in confirmation hearings going back to when Dubya first put loyal Brett on the federal bench.

[1]   Note that Ginsburg was found innocent of the financial conflict of interest months after he withdrew his name from consideration for the Supreme Court.