Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Loose Lips Sink Ships

Friends, my latest article analyzes the recent bombshell developments in the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation battle.  How should Republicans respond to the Christine Blasey Ford allegations?  Will Kavanaugh ultimately prevail and join the Supreme Court?  Read on and find out!

In Defense of Brett Kavanaugh, Republicans Shouldn't Descend to Democrats' Level

With some glee, Democrats are celebrating what they presume is the demise of President Trump's nominee to be the next Justice of the Supreme Court, Brett Kavanaugh. The allegations made against Kavanaugh by Professor Christine Blasey Ford are indeed serious, but in the end they will fail to deflect Kavanaugh from his path towards confirmation. Kavanaugh will soon be on the court – and Republicans should, in the meantime, avoiding overreacting to the political gamesmanship in which Democrats are engaged, and most of all they should not smear Professor Ford, whose motives are ultimately as unknowable as the events which transpired on that fateful day in 1982.

In opposing the Kavanaugh nomination, leftists and Democrats have shown a willingness to use inflated rhetoric, false and misleading claims, ruthless character assassination, and disingenuous tactics of delay and obfuscation. In short, liberals seem to believe that the complexion of the Supreme Court is so important that they should stop at nothing to defeat the nomination of Kavanaugh. The way in which Democratic Senators talked down to Kavanaugh and twisted his record and his past remarks during his confirmation hearings was a new low point for decorum and respect in the United States Congress. Commentators have been saying for a long time that Americans' commitment to democratic norms and civil discourse has eroded to a dangerous degree, and the fight over Kavanaugh has been an obvious case in point. Democrats spoke early in the process of their desire to “bork” Kavanaugh (referring to their successful campaign to defeat Reagan's pick for the high court, Robert Bork, in 1987), but in truth Brett Kavanaugh has been handled much more roughly than Bork ever was. He has been put through the proverbial ringer.

The latest Democratic efforts to derail Kavanaugh, by weaponizing a vague and unverifiable claim of sexual assault from his teenage years, is a fitting capstone to what has been a truly grueling and repugnant confirmation process. The question now becomes, though, will Republicans respond in kind? Will they, fearing for their grip on the Supreme Court if Kavanaugh is defeated and Democrats take control of the Senate in 2019, overreact and lash out at Professor Ford? Will they attempt to discredit Ford by questioning her motives, her veracity, or even her sanity? My view is that this would be a serious mistake, as well unfair to Ford herself.

Talking heads in the media, and millions of Americans sitting in their living rooms, will naturally want to get to the bottom of what, if anything, happened between Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford 36 years ago. The truth, unfortunately, is that we can scrutinize their claims as much as we like, but we will never know the answer. A polygraph test cannot resolve the issue, because such tests are unreliable, and in addition recollections can be wrong, even if sincere. 

In the end, therefore, Senators, and the American people, will face a simple question: should Brett Kavanaugh's sterling record and reputation be ignored, because he might have behaved improperly towards Professor Ford, or is he, in the best traditions of American justice, innocent until proven guilty, and therefore deserving of confirmation? Much as some in the #MeToo movement might wish it were otherwise, this is still a country of laws, and one in which evidence matters. One cannot destroy a man simply by accusing him of wrongdoing. The election of President Trump in 2016 proved that, beyond any shadow of a doubt.

Republicans and conservatives, therefore, should have confidence that, going forward, Brett Kavanaugh, unless he suddenly admits guilt in the Ford matter, will be our next Supreme Court Justice. Frankly, the motives, veracity, and sanity of Professor Ford are irrelevant. Even if she were the most credible witness in the history of Senate hearings, her performance, no matter how compelling, should not be – cannot be – sufficient to end the career of Brett Kavanaugh. It is only facts that can accomplish that, not suppositions or posturing, and in this case the facts – the evidence – supporting the allegations are very thin indeed. Thus, we must in all fairness conclude that Kavanaugh is innocent.

On the other hand, Republicans face real danger. If they were to treat Professor Ford with, well, the same savagery and contempt that has been inflicted on Brett Kavanaugh, there is a possibility that public sympathy for the Judge would evaporate, and the whole affair could turn into an ugly mess. 

No, Republicans must be the adults in the room. They must treat Judge Kavanaugh, and his accuser, with the sort of fairness, circumspection, and respect that has eluded their Democratic colleagues throughout the process. Republican Senators thus far have shown every indication that they intend to do exactly that: they will act responsibly and judiciously, and they will show sensitivity to Professor Ford and allow her to keep her dignity. Americans will thus be left in no doubt about which party is acting in good faith.

The entire bare-knuckles campaign to defeat the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh can be likened to a leftist tantrum, characterized by vitriol as well as futility. The numbers in the Senate, after all, are with Republicans, and thus the truth has always been that, as long as Republicans keep their cool and close ranks to support a solid conservative nominee, nothing and no one can prevent them from confirming a good man like Brett Kavanaugh.

Democrats can fume all they like, but we won in 2016, and we will win again in the next few weeks, as we make Brett Kavanaugh a Justice of the Supreme Court, and, in the process, tilt the Court even further to the (responsible) right.

Dr. Nicholas L. Waddy is an Associate Professor of History at SUNY Alfred and blogs at: He appears weekly on the Newsmaker program on WLEA 1480.

And here's the American Greatness version: 


  1. Dr. Waddy: It is a bitter pill to swallow but you are right in saying that Republicans must refrain from displaying the viciousness which Dems have blithely and presumptuously exercised in this process. Its an onerous reality that due to MSM bias favoring the left, close questioning of this (after all)Professor (who in the course of her academic ascension has endured intellectually sound examination on many occasions, yes?)might well redound negatively for Judge Kavanaugh's (and the real America's) cause. The Professor and her lawyer are apparently confirmed Dem leftist activists and their assertions should be very, very much suspect because of this but Republican Senate Judiciary members must perhaps of necessity, because of the gravity of the situation, act as if the accusers are to be afforded a degree of pleasant deference denied the politically undeserving Judge Kavanaugh. Better that we degrade ourselves at this moment in order to advance a monumental end.

    The bottom line for the real America is this, I think: In order to deny a conservative majority to the court the Schumerites must: derail Judge Kavanaugh's appointment AND win the Senate in 2018 AND defeat between 2019 and 2021 any assuredly conservative nominee of steadfast and still President Trump AND be willing to pay the political price for such intransigence in 2020. Should they defeat Judge Kavanaugh and the GOP retains the Senate this year, the seating of a subsequent and conservative Trump nominee is virtually assured and the Dems will have earned a well deserved reputation as Luddite obstructionists which will ill serve them in 2020.

  2. Dr. Waddy: I read tonight that one of the Professor's ostensible high school classmates( I say that because memoirs of the Professor's high school days have been expressed of late by persons whose classes postdate hers by many years indeed) recalls that there was "talk"of such an incident. Oh my, well, that seals the deal, of course - "high school talk" who can gainsay it?!

  3. Jack, your analysis is spot on -- it will be very, very hard for the Dems to derail Kavanaugh, and, even if they did, it's entirely possible that they wouldn't profit from their coup in the least. If I were Trump I'd turn around and nominate a MORE conservative judge, and if I were the Senate I might well confirm him or her... Truthfully, Kavanaugh was about as "soft" a conservative as the Dems were likely to get out of Trump, so what did they do? They thoroughly disrespected and alienated the man who, in many respects, holds their collective fate in his hands. In that sense, Professor Ford's antics may prove of great historical importance, but their effect will be the opposite of what she intended: to cement conservative dominance of the Supreme Court for a generation or so. Bravo!

    And yes, we conservatives are held to a different standard, given the extent of media bias. We can't afford to be petulant and vindictive. Every sin of ours will be trumpeted to the nth degree -- while leftist missteps are politely ignored. Hey, no one ever said life was fair...

  4. Dr. Waddy: Ditto. I should have added that the Dems MUST also defeat President Trump in 2020 AND retain the Senate that year too. Its all a very tall and unlikely order and we should be of good cheer as we march "as to war", as we MUST in this critical and decisive time.