I realize there were a lot of moments from the Brett Kavanaugh and Dr. Christine Blasey Ford hearings that got a second life on cable news channels and late night comedy shows, but there was one exchange that wasn’t that important on the surface but deserves a closer look.
The last person to ask questions of Kavanaugh was Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA). And this is what went down:
KENNEDY: Do you believe in God?
KAVANAUGH: I do.
KENNEDY: I’m gonna give you a last opportunity, right here, right in front of God and country. I want you to look me in the eye. Are Dr. Ford’s allegations true?
KAVANAUGH: They are not accurate as to me. I have not questioned that she might have been sexually assaulted at some point in her life by someone, someplace. But as to me, I’ve never done this. Never. Done this to her, or to anyone else. And I’ve talked to you about what I was doing that summer of 1982, but I’m telling you I’ve never done this to anyone, including her.
KENNEDY: None of these allegations are true?
KENNEDY: No doubt in your mind?
KAVANAUGH: Zero. 100% certain.
KENNEDY: Not even a scintilla?
KAVANAUGH: Not a scintilla. 100% certain, Senator.
KENNEDY: Do you swear to God?
KAVANAUGH: I swear to God.
Kennedy is, like most Republicans, considered a solid “Yes” vote for Kavanaugh.
But this idea that Kavanaugh ought to be believed because he was willing to say these things while swearing to God represents a mindset that needs to be eradicated. People shouldn’t be believed more because they claim to believe in God. It suggests that an atheist in the same position would be a liar.
We also know that Kavanaugh lied under oath about a number of issues the last time around. The whole point of these hearings is to speak honesty under threat of perjury. You’re not supposed to lie, but he did anyway. The idea that bringing God into the mix would make a difference is both superfluous and political.
It doesn’t bring us closer to the truth. It gives Kavanaugh a new way to lie and get away with it in the minds of Republicans.
(While we’re at it, looking Kennedy in the eye doesn’t matter either.)
While we may not know what actually happened the night in question, there is a way to get closer to the truth: an FBI investigation that involves interviews with all the people at that party, including Kavanaugh’s friend Mark Judge. Kavanaugh never agreed to that. And Kennedy, through his gullible questioning, didn’t press him to be investigated. He asked about God, got the answer he wanted, and took it as gospel.
You can’t advise and consent when you’re unwilling to look for the truth. Every Republican on that panel was an embarrassment, but Sen. Kennedy had the audacity to suggest Kavanaugh’s faith was good enough to overcome hours of compelling testimony from Dr. Ford.