Sunday, 7 October 2018

What Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh means for America

SHARE
Judge Kavanaugh was confirmed in the most bitter battle anyone can remember by a majority in the Senate of 50-48.

The U.S. Supreme Court has a conservative majority for the first time since the 1930s, when Franklin D. Roosevelt threatened to pack the Court with 6 extra judges to make sure Democratic legislation was not struck down.

Previous Republican presidents often either nominated judges who turned out not to be conservative (Eisenhower nominated the former Republican Governor of California Earl Warren who turned out to be very liberal) or had their choices rejected by a Democrat controlled Senate (Reagan's choice, Robert Bork, for example).

Dan Rather, the TV anchorman who succeeded Walter Cronkite as the personification of

Middle America, took it very badly. I found his reaction below funny when I read it, funnier in fact than anything since Paul Krugman's drawn-out agony on Twitter following Donald Trump's victory, but on reflection it is very unkind to laugh. He expresses deep, sincere and high-minded feelings which he shares with a lot of nice, small c conservative, liberal Americans. 

He talks about the need for identity politics, whereas identity politics are disastrous.


For most women and many men it’s a bitter, devastating loss. Which makes it all the sweeter for the old bulls, and for the forces of power, privilege and money everywhere. A sense that the nation’s climate of justice has taken another turn toward dark clouds rises. The age-old question for the country of whether we prioritize power, privilege and money over justice takes on renewed importance. 

So I talk to the wife—the good, gentle wife—who is furious and deeply disappointed. Talk to my daughter—the lion-hearted eldest child—whose first words are, “Can we, will we survive this?” I answer, “Of course we can, and if we have the will and the spirit, we will not only, survive we will thrive. Eventually. But if, and only if, we are “get-up fighters.” Strong as she usually is, she doesn’t seem convinced. 

So, I take a walk, to be alone with my thoughts and reminders to stay steady. Among the thoughts that emerge are these: 

Cut through the clouds of the present, consider the long river of history, and one can see this as a breakthrough moment for women. To paraphrase the daughter who recently said in another context, "women have never had a better moment to be heard in politics, to make a difference.” That is, if they—and those of us men who support them—seize the moment (if they don’t miss the moment as Senator Collins has.)

In fact, he is wrong - a large number of women, especially white women, have swung to the Republicans as a result of the hearings. They feel sorry and angry for Judge Kavanaugh. He could be their husband, son or brother.


The Republicans at the 2016 elections become the party of the white working and lower middle classes and the Democrats the party of ethnic minorities and feminists plus much of the elite. Trump's voters nevertheless had en masse above average incomes so the Republicans have not lost the well to do.

This is an obvious, logical reaction to Donald Trump. It spells doom for the Democrats, even if or especially if they win control of the House next month, as they probably will.

If they do they will make a very painfully divided America much more painfully divided.

On reflection, I do not believe Dr Ford and do believe the Judge, though I think much less of him since I read Ambrose Evans-Pritchard's claim that he suppressed evidence to protect the Clintons, in the investigation into the death of Vince Foster. 

Of course I might be wrong but I think dark forces have been unleashed, as with Anita Hill's allegations against Clarence Thomas. Abortion is at the heart of it. I think hysteria over abortion rights have much to do with the allegations and who knows what things in Dr Ford's life. 

Abortion is where politics becomes very personal - it becomes about sex, about life and death and about religion. This is visceral.

Oddly enough, Brett Kavanaugh's nomination was welcomed when President Trump announced it, because he was a moderate. Catholics complained that he was not pro life enough. He is going to be more conservative now after what he has been through, just as Clarence Thomas has been all these years. 


Donald Trump, for once, was trying to avoid acrimony, but he has shown once more that he knows very well how to turn acrimony to his advantage. Mocking Dr Ford's testimony stoked up his base and triggered his opponents whose predictable reaction then stoked up his base all over again.

It might even keep the House Republican next month, though a month is a long time in politics.

Of course America has been as badly divided many times before now. Only twice did it lead to civil war. 

Of course there are very good existential reasons for the current divisions. 

And of course the Democrats cannot win if they cannot win enough white men.

The falling number of whites in the electorate is indirectly much of the the reason why Donald Trump won and the reason why the 'far right' candidate is likely to win the Brazilian presidential election, but the USA, unlike Brazil, still has a white majority. 


That white majority, men and women, can make things impossible for the Democrats if the Democrats become the party of minorities, feminists and the internationalised Ivy League educated elite. 

The wiser Democrats know this, but not how to prevent it.

32 comments:

  1. “The deeper secret that dared not speak its name was that liberalism had converted itself from a public doctrine, proclaimed and defended in public, into a covert doctrine, whose ends are articulated and imposed only through the courts." Hadley Arkes, political scientist and the Edward N. Ney Professor of Jurisprudence and American Institutions emeritus at Amherst

    ReplyDelete
  2. This is why they don’t want a wall and to let refugees into our country. To build their voting block. CA. Is trying to pass a law to allow illegals to vote. They are losing the white middle class votes. They have also infiltrated our schools and universities to raise the next generation of Democrats. Their not taught how to think, but what to think.

    ReplyDelete
  3. It has become hard to know who and what to believe. Those on the opposite side of the senate are adamant that Kavanaugh is guilty, but it seems that is driven by partisan loyalty and distaste for Trump rather than the facts. Then there is the campaign by Planned Parenthood, which many say is what really lies behind the attempt to topple Kavanaugh. Would that it were easier to understand what is going on!

    ReplyDelete

  4. These sordid proceedings leave me with the feeling that Ford impersonates the stereotype of the other woman only too well; hers is a very small party.

    I expect that this Court will have much to say about politics that calls itself Justice, and keep on doing as much politics as it is expected.

    I am not saying that I am dissapointed, of course.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I agree with much of this although I will suspend judgement on the damage done to the Dems until November. As it happens I believe Dr Ford. The question is whether that behaviour is enough to de-bar you from being on the Supreme Court.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There are no official qualifications for becoming a Supreme Court justice. The Constitution spells out age, citizenship and residency requirements for becoming president of the United States or a member of Congress but mentions no rules for joining the nation's highest court.

      Delete
  6. Ruth Dudley Edwards commented: Agree or disagree, this blog by Paul Wood is very good indeed I certainly think he's on the button when he says "Abortion is at the heart of it." If forced to say which of them I believed, my instinct is that something nasty happened to her a long time ago and she's convinced herself it was him because she's caught up in the hysteria. I also think she over-reacted. It was a pity that women didn't stand up enough for themselves when men behaved badly (I was hopeless too), but resilience is to be encouraged, not over-sensitivity. I also think he's probably playing down his drinking at that time, but he was 17, for heaven's sake.

    ReplyDelete
  7. You're counting the 1776 conflict as one of those two civil wars? Or the 1812 conflict?
    Mark Griffith

    ReplyDelete
  8. Paul, you've got almost everything wrong.
    In November the Dems will have a landslide victory over the Reps. They'll take the House & the Senate, and next year they'll impeach Donald J. Moron Trump.
    Mark my words: - Coming November elections, the Reps will be crushed.
    And when they have the White House and the Congress, the Dems will add 4 more judges 2 the Supreme Court, to get they revenge for the ugly politics the Reps are practicing.
    Don't get me wrong, I'm neither a Republican nor a Democtat.
    I'm an independent.
    They both lie, Republicans and Democrats... only, that... the Democrats' lies are more decent and less ugly than the Republicans'.

    Be well...

    Liviu 'Livio' G.

    ReplyDelete
  9. If somebody needs Republican lunacy they could access Fox News website or attend Trump's rallies.

    I don't want to offend you, but your post belongs on Fox News. It is superficial, slightly offensive and reminds me of Sarah Palin or Donald Trump in terms of knowledge of the history of US.

    Maybe Sean Hannity needs a side kick - your paragraph qualifies you for that, since it is so oblivious to the facts : "Previous Republican presidents either nominated judges who turned out not to be conservative (Eisenhower nominated the former Republican Governor of California Earl Warren who turned out to be very liberal) or had their choices rejected by a Democrat controlled Senate (Reagan's choice, Robert Bork, for example)."

    You know that Scalia was nominated by Reagan, right ? Or that Thomas was nominated by Bush, correct ?


    Republican Party and its voters have more to do with Fascism than democracy since 2008. This comes from a Romanian guy that cried when he heard years ago Reagan's speech about tearing down the Berlin Wall. What I have seen since the election of Obama it has been pure hysteria of fascists that continues to this day.

    I am an independent voter - but I saw the accused sex offender Al Franked resign from the Senate at the vigorous call of his Democrat colleagues. We have now a president accused sex offender, two Supreme Court justices that are accused sex offenders (Thomas and our frat boy "Devil's Triangle" Brett) - both nominated by Republican presidents, plus a former candidate (Roy Moore) accused of underage sex, but embraced by the Party of Trump.

    And call me old fashion - I believe any day somebody who takes a lie detector test. Your frat boy Brett seems to agree with this :

    https://abovethelaw.com/2018/09/remember-that-time-brett-kavanaugh-said-polygraphs-are-important-in-making-hiring-decisions/?rf=1

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I did not mean Republican presidents only nominated judges that turned out to be conservative but I corrected it to make my meaning clear by adding the word often. We all remember what happened to Justice Thomas.

      Delete
    2. 'I am an independent voter'

      BS

      Delete
    3. Unbeliever Toma (Toma Necredinciosul)...
      What would you call someone that has voted Republican for over 20 years, and only once Democrat... and who believes that Reagan and Obama, are the best American modern presidents?
      I assume you're one of those 'Bible belt' supporters... also, called... 'the 3-G guys', that stands for 'God, guns... and, gullible'... that are lacking, the most elementary common sense.
      By the way, I'm wondering... - why do they keep calling it, COMMON sense...!?
      It's not common, at all.

      Delete
    4. Why it is BS the fact that I am an independent voter ? I don't have any allegiance to any party - but the Republican Party of the last 10 years has been a disgrace in my opinion. At this point I would vote any times for a candidate that shows mental sanity, respect for the environment, believes in science, does not show hatred towards the other party or the press, and raises taxes for the rich to balance the budget. I think John McCain would have fit the bill.

      Delete
    5. I am aware of what happened to Thomas.

      I was not in USA back then - but this article, like many others, do not suggest that Thomas was innocent. I am not seeing he was guilty - no criminal investigation took place. But the multiple allegations seemed credible.

      How we know Clarence Thomas did it?

      https://www.salon.com/2010/10/27/anita_hill_clarence_thomas/

      Delete
    6. David in Belgrade10 October 2018 at 13:47

      @Anon 23:56
      OMG - John McCain!

      Delete
    7. Anon, do you mean the traitor who used his injuries from the fact that he crashed his plane to pretend he was tortured by the Vietcong when he was actually collaborating with the communists?

      McCain the man who did nothing his entire political career but shill for constant wars and open borders?

      A man who flew to Syria to meet with the ISIS butchers and leaders, and posed for a photo-op with them? You call that sane? I would say the only sane cells in McCain’s brain were the cancer cells.

      Delete
    8. Anon, do you mean the traitor who used his injuries from the fact that he crashed his plane to pretend he was tortured by the Vietcong when he was actually collaborating with the communists?

      McCain the man who did nothing his entire political career but shill for constant wars and open borders?

      A man who flew to Syria to meet with the ISIS butchers and leaders, and posed for a photo-op with them? You call that sane? I would say the only sane cells in McCain’s brain were the cancer cells.

      Delete
  10. There are so many such false allegations like these ones these days - was Dr. Christine Blasey Ford's story one of them? https://www.thepostathens.com/article/2018/10/anna-ayers-student-senate-ohio-university-death-threat

    ReplyDelete
  11. An American friend wrote this and posted it on Facebook:

    "First let me say that I am center right for those that only know me socially. I used to be a Republican until they chose trump as the candidate for president.
    Whether you support abortion rights or not Roe v Wade is a joke. A left wing take over by judicial fiat what could not be supported democratically. The left politicalized the supreme court to become a super legislative body for things that couldn't be enacted through the legislative process.
    Still the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh is a terrible decision.
    First I think he did it. This was not an accusation of date rape. It was not 2 drunk kids making out and the guy pushing it too far. This was a girl being pushed into a room against her will and being held down.
    I have a daughter. I believe her.
    As a man I was accused once of something I didn't do. Not with the public consequences of a supreme court hearing. But still unpleasant for me.
    But I believe her.
    Honestly I think he was too drunk to remember. But she wasn't.
    And here is the thing. I want a center right justice. Someone who won't pretend that abortion or gay marriage is actually a right in the constitution. But also someone who doesn't believe that the president can be a crook and pardon himself. (Which btw I am pretty sure he is)
    And look not every conservative is accused sexual misconduct. For all the hate of president Bush no one came forward with accusations of sexual misconduct. For all the hate of president Obama no one came forward with accusations of sexual misconduct.
    No one accused Neil Gorsuch of sexual misconduct.
    Honestly the accusations can't be proved. We don't know if he did it.
    But we are absolutely certain he lied about drinking in high school and college.
    Bill Clinton was impeached for lying about sex.
    Brett Kavanaugh lied about drinking. We all know that.
    Brett Kavanaughs testimony was unhinged partisan. It should have disqualified him.
    I want a conservative justice who will apply the constitution. I don't want a partisan hack.
    And I don't want a justice where the evidence suggests he is guilty of sexual assault.
    So for my conservative friends- why? It wasn't like a choice between him and a liberal.
    It was a choice between him and a conservative without a credible charge of sexual assault and an unhinged testimony before the Senate."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your friend suffers from Trump Derangement Syndrome.

      "Trump Derangement Syndrome is a term applied to describe liberals and progressives responding to statements and political actions by Trump in a manner verging on the irrational..."
      Wiki

      Delete
    2. I don't think so. I see nothing irrational in what he said. Maybe you are suffering from Trump Derangement Syndrome. But I am sure he is influenced by his dislike of Donald Trump. Another American conservative diplomat friend said much the same. I think American politics is very tribal. It will be interesting to see what effect a third party candidate has in 2020.
      The diplomat says:

      Judiciously setting aside party affiliation, one can only regret the damage being done to the institution of justice in this appointment in spite of ethically disqualifying factors. As a conservative and pretty strict constructionist, I am ashamed of the Trumpification of this seat that undermines a majority of the country’s faith in the court’s integrity and impartial determination of justice. I can only hope that Judge Kavanaugh’s regrets are sufficient to seek to restore faith via a lifetime of clearly impartial judgments.I am and always have been a Conservative Republican. Trump has never been a real Conservative and he effectively carried out a hostile takeover of the Republican Party, damaging it for decades to come.

      I’m a Restorationist now as there is so much we need to restore in our country now - morals, decency, political parties, our stature in the world, etc. I cannot believe how much damage has been done and yet people are really deceived into supporting Trump no matter what he says or does.

      Delete
    3. 'I see nothing irrational in what he said.'

      First let me say... I used to be a Republican until they chose trump...
      First I think he did it. This was not an accusation of date rape.
      I have a daughter. I believe her.
      As a man... I was accused once of something I didn't do.
      But I believe her.
      And here is the thing. I want a center right justice... who doesn't believe that the president can be a crook and pardon himself. (Which btw I am pretty sure he is)
      And look not every conservative is accused sexual misconduct.
      For all the hate of president Obama ... no one came forward with accusations of sexual misconduct.
      No one accused Neil Gorsuch of sexual misconduct.

      Honestly the accusations can't be proved. We don't know if he did it.
      And I don't want a justice where the evidence suggests he is guilty of sexual assault.

      Delete
    4. It's the end of the world as we know it
      It's the end of the world as we know it
      It's the end of the world as we know it
      And I feel fine...

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JsxavPANO8s

      Delete
  12. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  13. 'It will be interesting to see what effect a third party candidate has in 2020.'
    Yesss! Ralph Nader! Brilliant!

    Trump didn’t come out of nowhere. Bush and
    Obama led the way. Writing as a Washington, DC, activist and people’s advocate for over fifty years―someone who has saved more lives and caused more impactful legislation to be enacted than almost any sitting president or legislator—Nader shows how Trump’s crimes and misdemeanors followed the path of no resistance of the Obama, Bush and
    Clinton regimes, which ushered in the extreme rise of corporate power and the abandonment of the poor and middle classes.
    To the Ramparts: How Bush and Obama Paved the Way for the Trump Presidency, and Why It Isn't Too Late to Reverse Course by Ralph Nader

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nader is a bore and the man who gave America President George W. Bush and indirectly is responsible for all the things President Bush 2 did.

      Delete