Ford / Kavanaugh: And Then The Circus Came To Town

In my previous piece concerning the confirmation hearing mess we have been living with I stated that I did not hold an opinion as to whether or not I believed Dr. Ford’s accusations against Mr. Kavanaugh were true. As I’m writing this shortly after having finished the previous article (Ford / Kavanaugh: Like It Was Yesterday) that hasn’t changed. There are, however a number of side issues involved here that have left me with no shortage of firmly held positions, awash in that unpleasant blend of righteous indignation and gastric distress which usually indicates the participation of elected officials. The staggering level of pig headed stupidity and cynical myopia from the legislative all-stars would be bad enough but we’ve also been blessed with some mind-numbing ugliness from some of the louder voices of the private sector as well. It’s been a real delight to learn, once again, that the well of human idiocy is truly bottomless. Being fifty-five years old I would have to defy the established parameters of gerontology to create a comprehensive list of all of this bullshit so I thought I would just try and highlight a few instances, that while probably on anybody’s greatest hits list, struck me as interesting for their self-destructive quality as much as anything else.

In the spirit of saluting the office and not the person I would be remiss if I didn’t lead off with Donald Trump. If you’ve read my work before you may have noticed that my empathy for Trump supporters does not extend to the point where I have much good to say about the man himself. His behavior at a campaign rally in Southhaven Mississippi on October 2nd is a perfect example of what I’m talking about. In instances of the kind we have seen over the last few weeks, wherein more than one accuser comes forward, public opinion and the resulting momentum will have a tendency to corelate with the plausibility of the ensuing accusations. In this regard things were rolling his way. The second (Deborah Ramirez) and third (Julie Swetnick) women to level allegations at Kavanaugh were, to say the least, not upgrades in terms of corroboration. If, as it seems, the need to gloat childishly was irresistible for the President when he attended the above mentioned event, he could have easily done so at their expense without referring to Professor Ford at all. If he’d wanted to score a few points and actually come off as dignified (this is the science fiction part of the piece) he could’ve focused on their more outlandish claims and shoehorned in a word or two about how Ford’s story was shaky on details but she was still a credible witness; a statement he’d uttered himself just a few days prior. Instead we got what we got. In a time less debased than this one this faux pas would still be a top five subject of discussion. The chattering classes would have ginned up a series of algorithms to attempt to estimate the exact damage he caused to Republican electoral fortunes next month. The debate would be about the extent of the fallout, not whether or not it would occur. And they’d be right. Instead he was bailed out less than forty-eight hours later.

A week ago Jackson Cosko was, for most of us, a figure of pristine anonymity. Not so much, now. On October 3rd, U.S. Capitol Police arrested this inflamed rectum of a human being for the making public of restricted personal information (doxing) of several Republican members of the Senate. According to early reports he had been engaging in the behavior for at least a week prior to getting caught. His resume lists Sheila Jackson Lee (Democratic senator, Texas), Maggie Hassan (Democratic senator, New Hampshire), Barbara Boxer (Democratic senator, California), and Dianne Feinstein (Democratic senator, California) thus eliminating any confusion concerning his party loyalty. Before I eviscerate Mr. Cosko I need to take a moment to ask a question of the younger and almost certainly more computer savvy readers of this blog. What, exactly, is wrong with you people? Don’t take that the wrong way. I’m not moralizing (yet), and if I were I would not be doing so on a generational basis. I don’t think that perfidious behavior skews strongly in any particular age demographic. I am simply trying to understand how a group that is so fully immersed in the workings of a technology can still be so obtuse as to the likelihood that their keyboard shenanigans are going to be noticed and prosecuted in short order. Is it a case of familiarity breeding a laziness that presents as contempt? Just wondering. Back to the distal part of the large intestine that is the focus of this paragraph. Granted the timing of his ascendance in the public eye is just a function of good or bad luck, depending on who you root for. The underlying act, and the delusional state it must have required to think that he would successfully pull it off are evidence of a human whose powers of higher reason got flushed down the same toilet as his moral compass. All of that is, to me, obviously true but not my primary point. More than anything else the episode leaves me bewildered as to what the A+ outcome of this antic was supposed to be. Even if he had been successful in evading detection, in what way was this going to lead any partisan gain that lasted longer than ten minutes and went deeper than an inch. The Republican members of the senate have already been experiencing widespread public opprobrium bordering on, if not leaking into, physical menace. Posting their personal information online only created a focal point for Republican voters and served as living specimen of the  escalation of behavior they’d already been warning of. If next month’s blue wave turns into a red tide, this imbecile will have his fingerprints all over it. If it wasn’t for his well established Democratic work history I’d have to give some credence to the notion that he was really a Republican plant. As it is I imagine he’s just an example  of Occam’s razor. To quote the wisest cartoon rabbit to have ever been drawn, “what a maroon”.

Choosing someone to close out this trifecta of cognitive myopia was not terribly difficult. Really, where, relative to this national embarrassment, would we be without Dianne Feinstein? If you’ve read this far I’m guessing that a detailed recap of her involvement isn’t necessary. The entire fiasco is also Byzantine enough to resist a strictly linear review. As best as I can understand Senator Feinstein received a letter from Dr. Ford in mid-July stating that thirty-six years ago she had been sexually assaulted by Kavanaugh at a party. Ford requested that her privacy be respected. The senator then sat on the letter for six weeks. Unless I missed something, none of that is in dispute. After that, things begin to take a page from The Usual Suspects. At this point I am happy to admit that there is no way I have the fortitude to sift through the ocean of misinformation and self-serving crap that follows. Can I really know if the eventual leak of the letter came from Feinstein’s office or Ford’s “beach friends”? It’s possible, but relative to what I’m driving at, not important. What does matter is that Dr. Ford’s desire to remain out of the public sphere could have been honored without waiting a month and a half to begin to look in to the veracity of her story. Had the letter been shared within the confines of the committee an investigation could have commenced in a timely fashion allowing for a thorough process without thrusting Ford into the limelight. Seeing as how she didn’t go public with her claims until the news about the letter had already leaked I think she might have appreciated that. Which leaves me with no benign interpretation of the senator’s behavior. If her claims denying having leaked the letter can be proven false she has essentially perjured herself, regardless of whatever legal hairsplitting might be available to her defense. That’s ugly. However it is not as outrageous a sample of political subterfuge as we might hope for. If she was in some way instrumental to the leak, what we end up with is a high profile manifestation of unfortunately typical,  elected official bullshit. If her claims can actually be verified then this would be a great time for her to head out to track and try her hand at picking a quinella, as the timing of the third party would be incalculably lucky for what has been the Democratic party’s agenda regarding Kavanaugh since the day he was nominated. What disturbs me the most is an issue I have not seen raised so far. If Senator Feinstein truly believed the letter verbatim, and her office had no connection to it’s public acknowledgement, then what exactly was the plan, in the event that Dr. Ford never went public? Aside from everything I’ve just written my real question is, what would have happened to that letter if anything had befallen the senator in the six weeks that she had the letter and did nothing about it? I realize that she was not, literally, the only person who knew of it’s contents but supposing the night before all of this exploded Feinstein’s eighty-four year old body had decided to throw her a curveball, as is not uncommon in the octogenarian world. If she was in any way incapacitated and Kavanaugh had been confirmed during that period then she would have, by virtue of her own cynical machinations have been at least partly responsible for the swearing in as an associate U.S. Supreme Court Justice a man that she very much believed to be a sexual predator. If that isn’t a bold print case of essentially working for the other team, then no such thing exists.

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