- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 27, 2018

The beer, the memories, the yearbook, the nicknames, the slang: It was 1983 all over again on Capitol Hill. The coverage of Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh’s appearance at the Senate on Thursday was subject to much interpretation from major news organizations, which fixated on the events all day and into the evening as the event continued and news gave way to analysis.

Things got cultural.

“‘Risky Business’ and Brett Kavanaugh, 35 years later,” noted The New York Times, citing a popular 1983 movie detailing youthful sins when parents are out of town. The newspaper also apologized for launching an online insta-poll themed around the “credibility” of Ms. Ford’s testimony on Thursday. After reader outcry, the survey was yanked.

Things got dramatic.

“I’m from, Kavanaugh’s elitist world. I know how prep-school privilege buries secret,” read an USA Today op-ed, while a news story proclaimed “A tearful and defiant Brett Kavanaugh says he’s innocent.”

Fox News was one of the few news organization which specifically highlighted Judge Kavanaugh when he cited his 10-year-old daughter, who felt it was right for the Kavanaugh family to pray for accuser Christine Blasey Ford. The network also reported on the loyal support Judge Kavanaugh has received from former schoolmates, female co-workers, and others — also noting that the judge both fought back, and abandoned his prepared script to deliver a “blistering opening statement.”

In the bigger picture, the much-awaited Kavanaugh hearing led national Twitter trends throughout Thursday and inspired nonstop, live tweets and blogs offering stream-of-consciousness reactions to the visceral moments unfolding on all broadcast and cable news networks.

Headlines also spoke volumes. A few samples from the volumes which emerged:

“This disgraceful circus” (The Daily Mail); “Kavanaugh’s angry, partisan, Trump-like opening statement” (The New Yorker); “Lindsey Graham explodes in defense of Kavanaugh” (CNBC); “Lindsey Graham erupts at Kavanaugh hearing” (CNN); “Borking explained: Why a failed Supreme Court nomination in 1987 matters” (Vox); and “Kavanaugh goes nuclear” (The Atlantic).

ACROSS THE GREAT DIVIDE

Cautious polls have revealed that the nation is weary of negative politics, amplified non-stop by the 24/7 news media and often shaped by partisan agenda. The jittery world is also watching. America — a role model for many people around the planet — is supposed to be the “united” United States of America.

The controversy over Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh, however, provides the latest evidence that suggests otherwise. “America deadlocks over the ‘case’ against Kavanaugh. America is a nation evenly divided against itself,” says a Rasmussen Reports poll.

“The question is a simple one: Which comes closest to your own view of the current Kavanaugh controversy — that it’s an honest attempt to determine criminal wrongdoing or that it’s a partisan witch hunt?” the Rasmussen survey asked.

It found that 45 percent of likely U.S. voters think it’s an honest effort. Just as many (44 percent) say it’s a witch hunt while 11 percent are undecided in the poll of 1,000 likely voters, which was conducted Monday and Tuesday.

And the details: 81 percent of liberals, 68 percent of Democrats, 21 percent of Republicans and 46 percent of independents deem the Kavanaugh proceedings a good-faith effort. Alternatively, 72 percent of both Republicans and conservatives, 19 percent of Democrats and 43 percent of independents think it’s a partisan witch hunt.

AND THAT’S A WRAP

“Francis is dead.”

And so says fictional U.S. President Claire Underwood regarding her husband Frank Underwood, also a fictional president, now deceased.

This is all according to a new one-minute preview released Thursday by the makers of “House of Cards,” the Netflix political series starring actors Robin Wright and Kevin Spacey, who left the show following accusations of sexual misconduct in 2017. The sixth and final season of the critically praised series begins on Nov. 2. Mr. Spacey initially played the president, Ms. Wright the first lady. Their roles have been reversed in the last eight episodes, and Mr. Spacey’s character is gone.

“The reign of the middle-aged white man is over,” murmurs one unseen character in the preview.

MEANWHILE OVERSEAS

Though negative press distractions and partisan pushback have been a fixture during President Trump’s time in office, he’s done much in the overseas arena.

“Trump has overcome internal resistance and external pressure to deliver an as yet uninterrupted string of foreign-policy successes: North Korea’s ‘Rocket Man’ Kim Jong-un hasn’t launched a rocket in ten months; America’s NATO allies are finally starting to deliver on pledges to increase defense spending toward the 2 percent of GDP target agreed in 2006; Mexico has seemingly come to terms on long-overdue NAFTA reforms; the United States has stayed out of the Arab world’s interminable wars in Syria, Libya and Yemen; and the U.S. embassy in Israel moved to Jerusalem in May without sparking the Third Intifada predicted by Trump’s opponents,” writes The National Interest analyst Salvatore Babones.

“The secret to the Trump team’s success is its embrace of principled realism: in its simplest terms, the faith that America’s goals are just and American power should be exercised to support those goals. Since taking office a year and a half ago, Trump has forcefully applied American power — while avoiding his predecessors’ equation of power with military force. As a result, America is getting its way on the world stage, generally without putting American lives at risk to get it. That’s about as win-win as things come in international relations,” Mr. Babones notes.

POLL DU JOUR

47 percent of Americans support the Trump administration’s plan to cap the number of refugees resettled in the U.S. at 30,000 people; 70 percent of Republicans, 45 percent of independents and 24 percent of Democrats agree.

41 percent overall say the U.S. allows “too many” refugees to settle America; 61 percent of Republicans, 36 percent of independents and 23 percent of Democrats agree.

23 percent overall say the U.S. admits the “right amount”; 17 percent of Republicans, 24 percent of independents and 29 percent of Democrats agree.

21 percent overall don’t know or have no opinion; 16 percent of Republicans, 26 percent of independents and 22 percent of Democrats agree.

15 percent overall say the U.S. admits “not enough” refugees; 5 percent of Republicans, 15 percent of independents and 26 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A Politico/Morning Consult poll of 1,966 registered U.S. voters conducted Sept. 20-23.

• Kindly follow Jennifer Harper on Twitter @HarperBulletin


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