Democrats Misplayed the Kavanaugh Confirmation. But It May Help Them Win an Election.

by Pitt Griffin on October 21, 2018 · 0 comments

in Election 2018, Politics

I believe that Dr. Christine Blasey Ford was held down as a 15-year-old by a drunken 17-year-old Brett Kavanaugh while his friend, Mark Judge, watched sniggering. I say this because I want the reader to know that I am on Ford’s side and that no way should Brett Kavanaugh sit on the Supreme Court. Bearing that in mind let me explain how the Republicans won the Kavanaugh confirmation battle.

In short, the GOP reduced the process to an attempted-rape trial – and insisted there was not enough evidence for a conviction. They didn’t convince any Democrats, but they gave Flake, Collins, and Manchin enough cover to vote ‘yes’. And they gave the Trump zealots and conservative media the narrative to paper over Kavanaugh’s other disqualify flaws — his consistent lying, his self-revealed partisanship, and his fragile temperament. 

Republicans kept repeating the memes “due process” and “presumption of innocence”. The Democrats then fought back on the ground Republicans chose. It’s hard to litigate a sex crime 36 years old – especially as the victim freely admitted there was much she couldn’t remember. But the Democrats didn’t do enough to change the narrative.

Republicans could have their cake and eat it. They could agree that Ford had been attacked while denying that Kavanaugh was the attacker. And as they controlled the scope of the FBI investigation, Democrats should have known it wasn’t going to provide anything useful for their cause.

With his weepy, shrill, emotional rebuttal testimony in the Senate, Kavanaugh himself gave Democrats the strategy they should have pursued. They should have questioned Brett’s mental stability, his lack of self-control, and his absence of gravitas. They should have attacked him as a weak man, a man who lacked the maturity to do the job.

They should have contrasted the video of a calm Brett saying judges should be above partisan politics and with an angry Brett spewing conspiracy theories.

They should have asked him if he still drank too much. Moderate drinkers don’t repeatedly express their love of beer. They should have asked what his favorite brand was. They could have asked when he last had ‘too much’. The answers don’t matter, what counts is the focus on alcohol would have solidified the image of Kavanaugh as a drunk. 

They should have rammed the “lady does protest too much” meme — that people who tell the truth don’t go into ornate, wordy and loud denials, they just say “I didn’t do it”. They could have used the “toddler caught in a lie” image.

Police interrogators know well that liars elaborate — that by adding all kinds of details the dishonest man thinks he adds solidity to pure wind. As Joe Navarro,  a founding member of the FBI’s elite Behavioral Analysis Unit, said: “ Liars want to convince rather than just convey as most honest people do.”

They could have kept highlighting Kavanaugh’s weeping on national TV — and cast assertions on his masculinity. They should have asked if Brett always cried when he was stressed – and then followed up by wondering if he was too hormonal for the job. They should have noted the irony that Kavanaugh was displaying the behavior that conservative men say disqualify women from positions of responsibility. And they should have asked why conservative men are so shrill and whiny.

I believe that Kavanaugh is an attempted rapist. But by making that the main focus of the resistance to his nomination the Democrats played into Republican hands. 

There is good news though. While it may not have been the best strategy during the nomination fight, it will provide an impetus for a blue wave in November. But Democrats must focus on that and not talk about investigations until after the election, which will only energize the Trump zealots. God forbid the Republicans keep the House because Democrats put the cart before the horse. 

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