Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Will GOPlins let the truth out about what happened at Georgetown Prep

Silly question. Not when the stakes involve their SCOTUS pick. Instead, they are bashing the accuser once again.

A quote from a playwright runs alongside the family photos on Mark Judge’s page in his high school yearbook: “Certain women should be struck regularly, like gongs.”

Avi Selk at the Washington Post writes much more about What the man accused of being part of Kavanaugh’s alleged sexual assault had to say about women’s sexuality.

One of the interesting themes in reports about Mark Judge’s days at Georgetown Prep (and beyond) is repentance. You already know this background:

Judge’s yearbook entry appears one page before the bio of his classmate at Georgetown Preparatory School, federal judge and Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh. Both men graduated in 1983 — a year after they allegedly locked a girl inside a bedroom at a house party, where she says a drunken Kavanaugh pinned her to a bed and tried to strip her while a similarly drunken Judge watched and laughed.

Both men have denied the accusation, which Christine Blasey Ford went public with this week in The Washington Post. A lawyer for Judge said in a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee that he has “no memory of this alleged incident.” Judge previously told the New York Times that such behavior would be wildly out of character for the Catholic-raised-and-educated boys who went to Georgetown Prep in the early ’80s.

What Judge has written in his career as a journalist and author is another matter.

For example:

In two memoirs, Judge depicted his high school as a nest of debauchery where students attended “masturbation class,” “lusted after girls” from nearby Catholic schools and drank themselves into stupors at parties. He has since renounced that lifestyle and refashioned himself as a conservative moralist — albeit one who has written about “the wonderful beauty of uncontrollable male passion.”

Well, hmmmm. Maybe Brett Kavanaugh would welcome a defense from someone other than Mark Judge. How about a distinguished long-term U. S. Senator like Orin Hatch? Steve Benen (MSNBC/MaddowB log) weighs in: Orrin Hatch defends Kavanaugh in the least persuasive way possible.

Hatch, you see, is defending Kavanaugh as one of the Republican voices targeting Kavanaugh’s accuser.

The retiring Utah Republican told Capitol Hill reporters yesterday, for example, in refence to Christine Blasey Ford’s allegations, that Kavanaugh didn’t even attend the party. Since Ford hasn’t gone into any details about the event, it’s difficult to know how the judge, or his GOP ally in the Senate, could say this with any certainty.

Hatch added that Ford must be “mixed up,” evidently because Kavanaugh says so.

… As The New Republic’s Jeet Heer wrote, “So Hatch’s position is: Ford is mistaken because Kavanaugh wasn’t at a party that Ford didn’t really describe but it wouldn’t matter if Ford were telling the truth because Kavanaugh is a good man. The philosopher Jacques Derrida described this type of thinking as ‘kettle logic’: the making of contradictory arguments with no regard for internal coherence.”

It also touches on something we discussed yesterday: the idea that Kavanaugh’s alleged violence toward Ford doesn’t matter because it happened decades ago, and as Hatch put it, what matters is “who the judge is today.”

It’s obviously a debatable point, which could be at the center of a spirited discussion – if that were Kavanaugh’s defense. But it’s not. The conservative jurist isn’t saying he made a horrible mistake as a high-school student, learned from it, and is a better person now; he’s saying his accuser is lying and her corroborating evidence should be ignored.

Orrin Hatch is comfortable with both claims simultaneously – Kavanaugh didn’t attack Ford, and even if he did, Kavanaugh shouldn’t be held accountable for his actions now – but that doesn’t mean everyone else should be so cavalier about the revelations.

OK. Let’s pick another U. S. Senator who we would assume want truth out because of his position on the Judiciary Committee.

Judd Legum at observes:

The announcement from the Republican-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee was titled: “Judiciary Committee to Hear from Kavanaugh, Ford in Public Hearing.” The press release said the hearing would provide an opportunity “to give these recent allegations a full airing.”

But on Tuesday, Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) admitted that the hearing was scheduled without securing a commitment from Ford to appear. When Ford didn’t immediately respond to emails, Grassley just scheduled it anyway.

Does anyone think that Ford and her allegations will get a fair shake from the Republican senators? Perhaps.

There are several members of the Republican caucus, including Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), and Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), who have said they want to hear from Ford before moving forward. If those Senators aren’t on board with confirming Kavanaugh without an investigation or testimony from Ford, Republicans don’t have the votes to proceed.

Would she get a faire shake from the President? Nope. “Trump says he won’t reopen the FBI investigation.”

[Instead] Trump also painted Kavanaugh as a victim. “I feel so badly for him that he’s going through this, to be honest with you… This is not a man who deserves this.”

Ford, meanwhile, has been receiving death threats and has been forced into hiding, according to the New York Times.

A video surfaced on Tuesday from a 2015 speech by Kavanaugh that has new resonance in light of Ford’s allegations. “What happens at Georgetown Prep, stays at Georgetown Prep. That’s been a good thing for all of us,” Kavanaugh told an audience at Columbus School of Law.

If you are trying to assess who is lying and who is telling the truth, one thing to pay attention to is who is seeking a full airing of all relevant facts and who is encouraging people to quickly reach summary conclusions.

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