- - Thursday, September 27, 2018

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

The circus continues, without the elephants but with an abundance of monkeys. The U.S. Senate, which long ago surrendered its reputation as “the world’s greatest deliberative body,” settles now for producing the greatest noise, flash and spectacle in town.

Unless the U.S. Senate wants to hear from every woman in America with a grudge against a man, it’s time to shut off the noise and get on with the vote. Every man and woman in the Senate has looked at the evidence, suspect as much of it is, and made up his or her mind about whether the teenage Brett Kavanaugh was the monster Christine Blasey Ford says he was, or that Mrs. Ford means well, and may very well believe her 35-year-old story, but is suffering a recovered bad memory. The truth, as vague and troubled as it may be, is all settled. It’s not a good way to run the railroad or a search for the facts, but it’s all the senators have got. No minds were changed Thursday.

Mrs. Ford had a good day, given the givens. With her high-pitched Marilyn Monroe-voice, she set out again to make her case about why Judge Kavanaugh, though no longer a 17-year-old boy, is not fit to be a justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. She made a persuasive argument that the Supreme Court is no place for a teenager. She did not present a persuasive argument that the distinguished jurist at 51, a faithful husband and loving father, is not qualified to interpret the U.S. Constitution and the law.

She made a convincing case that teenage drinking is not a good idea, an argument that Judge Kavanaugh has no disagreement with. Most men think they’re wiser at 51, their judgment sharper and more mature, than it was at 17.

For his part, Judge Kavanaugh repeated what he has said on other occasions, that Mrs. Ford’s account of a festive party gone bad, that Judge Kavanaugh led her to a bedroom in a strange house — she doesn’t remember who invited her, where the house was, how she got there, or how she got home — and rubbed up against her, tried to take off her clothes and put his hand over her mouth to prevent her crying for help, was not about him. He testified that he was never at the party and had never heard of it until Mrs. Ford, at the request of Democratic senators, including Dianne Feinstein of California, came forward with her story just as the committee was ready to take a vote on Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination.

Whether the Senate approves Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination or not, he has paid a considerable price for the nomination. At the edge of tears, he told the hearing Thursday that his name and his reputation for a sterling character built over many years in Washington, is in tatters. “My name and my family have been permanently destroyed by vicious and false additional accusations.” He rightly called his confirmation proceedings “a disgrace.”

The Democrats, beginning with Ms. Feinstein, knew of Mrs. Ford’s letter outlining her accusations for two months before the senator sprang it. She sat on it through the hearings, where Democrats tried to disqualify Judge Kavanaugh with his record as a judge. Ms. Feinstein even complimented him. It was only after the Democrats could make no case against his judicial qualifications that they turned to making specious claims against his character and integrity.

At the end of the proceedings, his Democratic tormentors on the committee are proud of their work. Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, who earlier called the Kavanaugh nomination “a stain” on the Supreme Court, told Mrs. Ford that he found her testimony “powerful” and “incredible” (though he surely meant to say “credible”).

“You’re a teacher, correct? Well, you have given America an amazing teaching moment, and you may have other moments in the classroom, but you have inspired and enlightened America.”

Thursday was, in fact, a teaching moment. But not in the way Mr. Blumenthal says it was. The lesson that everyone, including the senators and the ladies of #MeToo, will take away from this sordid example of bearing false witness is that it can do great and lasting damage on the wrong man. For shame.

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