Brett Kavanaugh is one very angry man.
His exchanges in the Senate confirmation hearing were those of a tortured and embittered soul who feels he has been wronged by forces out to get him for the worst of motives. He was, at various moments of the meeting, and in varying degrees, mostly at the extreme end of the scale, partisan, belligerent, sneering and downright rude. He may feel that he has been wronged, but the senators questioning him were doing a job on behalf of the electors, not to mention the Constitution, and his job was to answer them.
Instead, at times, he often turned the tables on his questioners and demanded answers of them. Asked if he had ever blacked out after drinking alcohol he responded to one of his interlocutors in a sneering tone, “Have you?” In response to another questioner on the alcohol issue, he snapped, “I like beer. Do you?”
During another exchange, he railed against an alleged left-wing conspiracy, which he said was orchestrated, calculated and an ‘act of revenge’ on behalf of the Clintons. Who or what did the orchestrating and calculating he failed to reveal. Paranoia rules in Washington DC these days – but does the condition have to be transferred to the bench of the Supreme Court?
On the basis of Kavanaugh’s testimony – but not, I hasten to add, on his guilt or innocence on charges of sexual assault, on which I have nothing useful to contribute – I would say that his behaviour was that of a man coming to the end of his tether. So tightly wound was he that I thought that any moment he might unravel altogether. One commentator called him ‘unhinged’. I would not argue with that.
His supporters would say that he has endured much that would send any man to the edge, if not over it. But should a prospective Supreme Court justice be such a man? Paranoia is rife in American politics right now, but surely a man who aspires to sit in judgement in the highest court in the land should be speaking in reasonable, measured and understated tones, whatever the provocation. There was nothing reasonable, measured or understated about Brett Kavanaugh.
Frankly, I found him a little scary. And that was when he did not have a few drinks inside him. Or am I, in that respect, assuming too much?
There is no knowing what the cobbled-together FBI investigation will come up with over the following week. Not much more than is already known, I suspect.
So my guess is that Kavanaugh will be confirmed. His temperament already has been.
It is far from reassuring.