"We're seeing a 53-year-old man facing a consequence for the first time," someone just tweeted. "This is a man for the Supreme Court? One who is nearly in tears of self pity?" said someone else. "Can you imagine Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg ever giving this kind of hysterical, frantic and raging testimony? This guy is crazy," remarked someone else. "It's like he's eulogizing the patriarchy," said another.
I have never seen a grown man get so emotional about quarterbacks and calendars.
And beer—don't forget the beer. Right after his jaw-dropping opening statement, Rachel Mitchell, the attorney representing Republican senators, asked him about his drinking, and Judge Kavanaugh said he drank beer but never to excess. "What do you consider to be too many beers?" Mitchell asked him. "I don't know," Kavanaugh replied.
As for his opening statement, you can watch the full video of it here:
Early on, he took pains to explain he wrote the statement all by himself, just yesterday. He nearly broke down when testifying about what he'd overheard his 10-year-old daughter saying during her prayers. "My daughter said we should pray for the woman," Kavanaugh said, and then he found himself moved to tears by her extraordinary insight, as if it had never occurred to him to pray for her.
"That's a lot of wisdom for a 10-year-old," he added, as if to underscore that he hadn't had this same level of wisdom or empathy within himself.
The whole thrust of his argument—his belligerent, conspiracy-minded argument—is that Democrats set all this up and Democrats sprung Dr. Ford out of thin air to rob him of what he believes he is entitled to. Why Democrats didn't invent women out of thin air to go after Neil Gorsuch he doesn't say, although of course it is on the mind of any rational person watching Mr. Kavanaugh's meltdown.
"You sewed the wind, for decades to come, you will reap the whirlwind," Judge Kavanaugh said, invoking the Bible to threaten future retribution on the people who are standing in the way of the goal he probably had in mind back when he was keeping those immaculate, really just beautiful—god they're pristine!—calendars. (Not as good as his dad's calendars! But still good!)
But his insistence on going partisan—that that's the only possible explanation—is perhaps the most disqualifying aspect of his opening statement. As Ezra Klein points out:
By seeing Ford's claim as a coordinated Democratic smear and not a serious allegation that, even if he believes it wrong, others needed to take seriously, Kavanaugh has built a fury at Democrats that makes it hard to believe he could do the job of Supreme Court Justice fairly.
— Ezra Klein (@ezraklein) September 27, 2018
Here are some more reactions:
"You may say no, but I won't give up, ever" was probably not a great strategy for Brett to go with
— Dana Schwartz (@DanaSchwartzzz) September 27, 2018
Note, Dr Ford did not use her sons as emotional props.
— Joy Katz (@Joy_Katz) September 27, 2018
Here is Kavanaugh joking with friends, at age 36, about how he exploded in rage at them at a party but he doesn’t remember. pic.twitter.com/VLa0t2ySkl
— Amanda Marcotte (@AmandaMarcotte) September 27, 2018
If Dr. Ford cried this much, she'd been dismissed as unstable.
— Camille Dodero (@camilledodero) September 27, 2018
This is like a Father's Day card had a psychotic break.
— Rachel Shukert (@RachelShukert) September 27, 2018
He is a human sneer. And honest-to-god scary.— Emily Nussbaum (@emilynussbaum) September 27, 2018