Judge Brett Kavanaugh at the hearings on Thursday. Image from CNN broadcast

By Colleen O’Connor

Thursday’s testimony by Judge Brett Kavanaugh and Dr. Christine Blasey Ford shook Washington. Here are five takeaways:

1. Joe Biden will never be the Democratic nominee for President in 2020

Despite his current “I wish I had done more” apologies for the brutal Anita Hill/Clarence Thomas hearings, his standing is falling. Just watch the many references to the Democratic Chair (Biden); the Democratic majority on the Senate Judiciary Committee; and the Wednesday night re-run of the entire Hill hearings fiasco to see how cowardly he was. A searing memory.

2. Kevin de Leon should withdraw from his Senate campaign against Dianne Feinstein

He should preferably hold a press conference to endorse Feinstein, and wholeheartedly applaud her. The masterful orchestration of the Ford allegations—with her wrenching, credible testimony—might just derail the nomination of Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court. The Democrats started with nothing but a prayer. Feinstein and her office have delivered a veritable novena of alleluias.

3. The #MeToo movement just hit critical mass

Even Steve Bannon, Trump’s campaign strategist, has acknowledged that this movement is the most powerful in history. The Democrats should expand their map of winnable House seats and go all-in for the Senate. Rarely has a group of Republican men so disgraced themselves as at this hearing. And rarely have there been better “poster boys” for term limits. They couldn’t even trust themselves to ask the questions, but hid behind the proverbial “woman’s skirts.”

4. President Trump should push all the levers to get Kavanaugh to withdraw his nomination

Use any excuse. “I supported him, but I wanted to stop the circus and so he could start healing his family.” Blame it on the Democrats. If he doesn’t take this exit, the repercussions will not only be devastating to the Republicans in the fall, but for Trump himself, come January and thereafter.

5. Kavanaugh’s alpha-male, hyper-aggressive tone did not serve him well

Nor did his emotional—near meltdown testimony. They only emphasized the personality type capable of such the alleged sexual attack.

Obviously, striving for the Clarence Thomas “this is a high-tech lynching” moment that cowered the Democrats (along with the overnight polling) into caving on Anita Hill, Kavanaugh may have pummeled his own best chances.

A choir boy he is not. And he proved it — despite his invocations of the “Jesuit” Catholic school and the “Catholic girls” schools nearby. The rage was overdone.

And his constant sniffling only reinforced an odd lack of self-control.

But, it was rage Trump wanted: “Deny. Deny. Deny.”

His defense was selective: “As my calendars show. His father and a football game. No FBI investigation. No other witness—including his friend, Mark Judge, called to testify.

Perhaps, the best explanation is that Kavanaugh was so drunk he had no memory of the event. Ford, however, was so terrified she remembers not just the cruelty of the attack, but the viciousness of the laughter that followed.

Kavanaugh’s forward march to the Supreme Court will probably rest—just as with Justice Thomas—on overnight polling and the courage—or lack thereof, among Senators.


Colleen O’Connor is a native San Diegan and a retired college professor.

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