Kavanaugh supporters: Do you think he lied?

Neil Gorsuch pretty much breezed right through.

So you’re arguing that the Republican viewpoint is that it’s best to die on this hill because there’s no guarantee that any nominee would be less prone to untruth?

The first three are still based on decades old memories that will have altered with recall over the years. His answers about yearbook comments, his group’s slang usage and his drinking habits are likely all only loosely based on the reality but may well be exactly how he remembers events. Who knows. Distant memories jjust aren’t reliable evidence for assessing fact or veracity.

The last is really an assertion about a letter that he didn’t write. I’d call that one probably not lying but ignorant of specifics and put on the spot. Assessing whether he had read the whole thing and developed a legal opinion about whether perjury was in play is hard.

Sure, it’s possible that someone will be nominated and nothing scandalous or disqualifying will be discovered about them before the confirmation. Whether the Republicans should choose to die on this hill is up to them. In a sense, it makes them look worse to cling to Kavanaugh as if to say “we won’t find anyone better.” My argument is that we can’t assume they have an easy way out by just nominating someone squeaky clean in Kavanaugh’s place.

Just a couple of recent high-profile examples that come to mind:

Harry Reid lied about Mitt Romney’s taxes. He’s still not sorry.

James Clapper’s perjury, and why DC made men don’t get charged for lying to Congress:

This is a fair point. Short of someone confessing to lying, or something like an email or recorded conversation where they acknowledge it, it would be very difficult to prove conclusively.

I may come back with some more after I mull this whole thing over some more.

I don’t think we have discussed this too much in the other threads, but this is one of the most obvious lies. Why are you leaning toward him telling the truth here? His story doesn’t even make sense.

I agree about James Clapper. I cannot believe he got away with that.

I don’t think Harry Reid counts – Senators lying to each other seems different than someone testifying under oath to Congress. But, we can agree to disagree on that.

Is the lying disqualifying? In an ideal world I would hope perjury was treated seriously. Practically speaking, especially concerning sexual or other activity as a teen or 20 years past I think this is one of those things that people who are in the situation Kavanaugh is in, the behavior we would like to see is vastly different than the behavior the person on the hot seat thinks the court of public opinion wants to see.

In this age of mass media and social media we aren’t seeing performances for people who want to dispassionately dissect an issue and figure out optimal solutions or suitable candidates or nominees. It’s a world of memes and emotions and how to manipulate those for one’s benefit is still a work in progress.

So, to make a that answer a bit shorter. Ideally yes it should be disqualifying, I think politicians and others in positions of power should behave much better and that includes being honest and not acting like a belligerent ass in the senate.

I’d like to see 6-3 conservative court. But there has to be a better nominee at this point. I’d be willing for Trump to renominate Garland in order to mend fences that I think need mending.

Thanks for this thoughtful response. If I read it correctly, I think you’re saying that is should be disqualifying. But, in this social media nightmare that we find ourselves in, it may not be. I also read this as saying you personally would rather have someone else nominated at this point, so you’re (at least) leaning towards this being disqualifying.

And with that, I sign off for the night. I may not be able to respond much tomorrow (month end always brings tons of work), but I’ll be reading the responses I’m sure. I appreciate the mostly civil tone so far!


One of the things he said in his testimony on Thursday particularly rankled me. I think that it’s, at best, highly (and intentionally) deceptive, and, at worst, a flat-out lie.

As I noted last night in the main Kavanaugh thread, when asked about drinking when he was in high school, he said (source):

Note that he didn’t say “some seniors” – he said “the seniors,” pretty clearly wanting to make it seem like his, and his friends’, drinking as seniors wasn’t that big of a deal.

The thing is:

  1. Yes, the drinking age in Maryland was 18 at one point. It went up to 21 as of July 1, 1982. Kavanaugh and his friends were in the Class of 1983, meaning that, as they started their senior year of high school in August or September of 1982, at which point, the drinking age in Maryland was not 18 – it was 21. And, I will guarantee you that a bunch of high schoolers who loved drinking beer, as Kavanaugh and his friends admittedly did, were going to be very aware of this change, because it meant that the legal drinking age was being raised just before they reached it.

  2. When the drinking age was raised to 21, Kavanaugh was still 17 (and seven months away from his 18th birthday), and the odds are very high that the vast majority of his classmates were still under 18, as well. In my experience, unless they’ve been held back for some reason (and, as I understand it, the practice of “redshirting” wasn’t nearly as common 40+ years ago as it is now) most U.S. students are age 17 as they start their senior years of high school, and then turn 18 sometime during that school year (or during the summer afterwards).

In short, Kavanaugh lied (or, charitably, gave misleading answers):

  • The drinking age was not 18 when Kavanaugh was a senior.
  • The odds are high that most of the members of his class were not of legal drinking age during their senior year.

This is something I wrote in another Kavanaugh thread re memory:
Honestly memory, in this case, plays very little role. If you believe that Ford

  1. Is telling the truth
  2. Has, and had at the time, a reasonable definition of sexual assault
  3. Came to the conclusion she was sexually assaulted at the time of the event.
  4. Saw her attacker clearly

Then you really can’t make claims about the potential effect of memory. Details may change, but the fact that “Kavanaugh sexually assaulted me” is not one of them

I’ve always believed that liberals should choose to read at least one source of right-wing commentary regularly because it’s smart to know what the other guys are thinking. In the past week many right wingers have written columns that directly answer your question. Here’s one, you can find many more if you want to. If you read what they are actually writing, you would not be able to honestly say that their goal is “creating distrust” or “putting those uppity women in their places”. Their basic argument (which is not mine) goes like this:

  1. Brett Kavanaugh has been around, has been serving on the Circuit Court since 2012, has been part of Washington establishment institutions more much longer, and in all that time prior to two weeks ago there had never been so much as a rumor of him committing sexual assault. Among people who know him well and have spend a lot of time around him, scores testify to his good character and none think that he is a sex criminal. He has been through FBI background checks multiple times and nothing whatsoever against him has ever come up. And when he was first nominated this summer, the liberal media went into their usual hysterical attempt to attack his character, and all that they could find is that he once bought a lot of baseball tickets. So putting that all together, the evidence is overwhelming that he is innocent.
  2. Diane Feinstein had the letter in July but chose to keep it from the committee and the public until September. She refuses to say why. There is only one plausible explanation why, which is that she didn’t care about the committee knowing the truth. She only cared about trying to delay the confirmation vote in a last-ditch attempt to block Kavanaugh’s nomination. It’s a purely political maneuver.
  3. So if the Republicans fold yet again, they would be giving Feinstein what she wants and encouraging more such maneuvers in the future. Therefore they should instead hold the vote and confirm Kavanaugh.

Especially because the woman in question already made clear that Kavanaugh’s explanation is bullshit.

Apparently Flake said on 60 Minutes tonight that if it is shown that Kavanaugh lied under oath, then the nomination is dead. We shall see.

When I was young and a Democrat, I was, for all intents and purposes, taught that lying by high officials doesn’t matter.

When I was in middle school and high school, Bill Clinton was President. Jennifer Flowers said that she had an affair with him. Paula Jones sued him for sexual harassment. Kathleen Willey accused him of sexual assault in the White House. The story of his affair with Monica Lewinsky went public. Other women accused him or rape or sexual assault. Bill Clinton said it was all false and he’d never had sex or done anything with any of them. Later he acknowledged the affairs with Flowers and Lewinsky were true and reached a settlement with Jones.

But for a long time, he lied about all of it. Repeatedly. He lied under oath, when called to testify in the Paula Jones case. Then he lied to a grand jury investigating that lie. He went on TV and looked straight at the camera and lied to the whole country. When Congress began impeachment proceedings, the House Judiciary Committee sent Clinton 81 questions to answer as part of their investigation. He lied in his responses.

The party line on this from every Democrat, from Clinton himself through Congress and the media down to my friends and family, could be summarized like this: “Bill Clinton was elected to be President and he does a good job at that. I don’t approve of what he does in the bedroom but it’s irrelevant to his job as President and lying about it, even under oath, is also ok.” Republicans disagreed, of course, and the house of Representatives impeached Clinton for perjury and obstruction of justice. The Senate found him not guilty on a mainly party-line vote.

So it seems that 20 years ago, the Democrats thought that lying about sex under oath by the President of the United States was no big deal, while the Republicans that it was a big enough deal to merit impeachment. Today in the Kavanaugh case, each party holds the opposite position of what it held then. If in 2038, some Democrat tells some minor league lies about sex under oath, the Democrats will revert to saying that it doesn’t matter and the Republicans will be shocked, shocked! and demand an investigation for perjury. Politics is not a good career for those with consistent moral principles.

That explanation is, I think, covered under the first “advantage” mentioned: its divisiveness, putting what is perceived by them as maneuvering and an attempt at payback for Merrick Garland’s treatment, in its place.

And to clarify - I do not think most Senate Republicans have as their goal creating distrust of all of America’s governing institutions, having the FBI and the Judiciary join Congress and the Presidency in broad disrespect. I don’t even think it is Trump’s explicit goal so much as it his tactic to accomplish his goals. It is of course Putin’s explicit goal but that is other threads … It is however the result and one that GOP leadership is willing to accept and embrace as a price of achieving other ends.

Chad Ludington’s Statement on Kavanaugh’s Drinking and Senate Testimony

In addition, it’s hard to believe Kavanugh began his drinking career in the summer of 1982, at the ripe old age of 17. If his beer habit started when he was younger, then him focusing on his senior year is extra disingenuous.

Lance, your link isn’t right – it creates a new reply to another thread on the SDMB.

Damn it…

Chad Ludington’s Statement on Kavanaugh’s Drinking and Senate Testimony

Pretty sure that he did not admit to wrongdoing in any of the settlements. It was (like so many of the things he did in the last 2 or so years of his Presidency), to help his wife with her political career, in this case putting the scandal to rest.