Kavanaugh’s role in galvanizing the right

John Podhoretz writes for Commentary about the role Judge Brett Kavanaugh played in saving his Supreme Court nomination.

At 12:30 in the afternoon on September 27, I don’t think there were many serious political thinkers or activists on the Right who thought Brett Kavanaugh would survive that morning’s testimony by his accuser, Christine Blasey Ford.

Eight days later … Kavanaugh all but secured his appointment. The question is, how did this happen. The answer is: Kavanaugh happened.

In his unprecedented speech following Ford’s testimony, Kavanaugh not only blasted the process but made no pretense when it came to those who had manipulated it—liberal groups, people angry with Donald Trump, people wanting to take revenge for the Clintons. The speech electrified the right. There is no other word for it.

It was this very speech that caused so much tut-tutting and concern about Kavanaugh’s judicial temperament among the very people who were already opposing him for any and every reason—and among those who instinctively feel the need to beg for mercy and seek absolution any time anything a conservative says or does puts liberals in high dudgeon. But everything that triggered those people turned Kavanaugh into what he had not been before—a cause.

The idea he was attempting to convey was that the career-destroying and reputation-destroying forces that been activated against him were singing from an old hymnal. They were seeking to ruin him to deny the views he might have shared with conservative Republicans their place on the Court. They wished to invalidate conservative views through any means necessary, including the deployment of a horrific charge made without any supporting evidence.

Mitch Kokai / Senior Political Analyst

Mitch Kokai is senior political analyst for the John Locke Foundation. He joined JLF in December 2005 as director of communications. That followed more than four years as chie...

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