Saturday, September 29, 2018

Yes there is something more to say about Brett Kavanaugh and the US Supreme Court ... by gimleteye

David Brock
Too few are reading what David Brock has to say about the Brett Kavanaugh nomination. "The American ppl are now seeing the Kavanaugh I knew. 3 weeks ago he said of judges, “we stay out of politics”. Now these victims accounts/testimony are an “orchestrated political hit” and traced back to anti trump sentiment or revenge for Clinton’s. Case closed. Withdraw."

That's a recent Tweet from Brock who detailed his case against Kavanaugh, based on first hand experience, in an OPED at NBC News.

Brock was a die-hard member in the class of whip smart young Republicans who came of age in the first term of George W. Bush Jr. led by Karl Rove. Bush didn't actually call Rove "Rasputin". He called him, Turd Blossom because Rove relished shaping hard right outcomes from political shitstorms.

One of Rove's most audacious plans: support and cultivate young, ultra-conservative lawyers and prep them for appointment to the federal bench. The Federalist Society was their farm team. (Read this 2005 report from the LA Times, for more.) That is exactly how Kavanaugh pushed and was pushed forward.

Karl Rove with Brett Kavanaugh

Later, Brock fled the conservative camp and founded a progressive media center. His first-hand perspective is invaluable insight into the professionalism of the radical right.

Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee and some newspaper OPEDs noted how Kavanaugh's indignation at this week's hearing was "intemperate." Indeed, Kavanaugh's monologue veered deeply into partisan territory. It was an extraordinary choice for him to make, pitting himself so clearly against Democrats, and discomforting to anyone contemplating that the role of the United States Supreme Court in an independent judiciary.

Bill Kristol, the conservative pundit who also takes direct aim at the disappearance of conservative values under the Trump Republican Party -- even to the point of urging Republicans to vote Democrat this November -- tweeted yesterday: "If I had to vote today, I think I’d be a No. This may be unfair to Kavanaugh; and it sets a bad precedent re unverified allegations. But given where we are, wouldn’t a future Court with a different constitutionalist justice be healthier for the nation—and for constitutionalism?"

Kristol and Brock get to the heart of the matter: the US Constitution is not served by intemperate ideologues whose partisanship is wrapped in the cloak of "originalism"; the belief that contemporary legal challenges should be guided exclusively by the US Constitution, exactly as the framers wrote it in the 18th century.

Donald Trump had many choices to nominate to the Supreme Court who could have passed through more easily, like Gorsuch. He chose Kavanaugh as a deliberate way to link his political fortunes to the the hard right turn of the GOP, fomented by funders like the Kochs and their billionaire network that adopted the Federalist Society as their own, to further their own interests.

The question of character -- what experiences shaped Brett Kavanaugh's choices to take a partisan warpath in last week's hearing -- will not be exposed by a FBI investigation lasting exactly one week, but depending on the outcome an answer could come into focus if the Republican majority in the Senate permits it.

Read David Brock's OPED, below.

"I knew Brett Kavanaugh during his years as a Republican operative. Don't let him sit on the Supreme Court. We were part of a close circle of cynical hard-right operatives being groomed for much bigger things."
Sep.07.2018 / 1:25 PM EDT
David Brock

I used to know Brett Kavanaugh pretty well. And, when I think of Brett now, in the midst of his hearings for a lifetime appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court, all I can think of is the old "Aesop's Fables" adage: "A man is known by the company he keeps."

And that's why I want to tell any senator who cares about our democracy: Vote no.

Twenty years ago, when I was a conservative movement stalwart, I got to know Brett Kavanaugh both professionally and personally.

Brett actually makes a cameo appearance in my memoir of my time in the GOP, "Blinded By The Right." I describe him at a party full of zealous young conservatives gathered to watch President Bill Clinton's 1998 State of the Union address — just weeks after the story of his affair with a White House intern had broken. When the TV camera panned to Hillary Clinton, I saw Brett — at the time a key lieutenant of Ken Starr, the independent counsel investigating various Clinton scandals — mouth the word "bitch."

But there's a lot more to know about Kavanaugh than just his Pavlovian response to Hillary's image. Brett and I were part of a close circle of cold, cynical and ambitious hard-right operatives being groomed by GOP elders for much bigger roles in politics, government and media. And it’s those controversial associations that should give members of the Senate and the American public serious pause.

Call it Kavanaugh's cabal: There was his colleague on the Starr investigation, Alex Azar, now the Secretary of Health and Human Services. Mark Paoletta is now chief counsel to Vice President Mike Pence; House anti-Clinton gumshoe Barbara Comstock is now a Republican member of Congress. Future Fox News personalities Laura Ingraham and Tucker Carlson were there with Ann Coulter, now a best-selling author, and internet provocateur Matt Drudge.

At one time or another, each of them partied at my Georgetown townhouse amid much booze and a thick air of cigar smoke.

In a rough division of labor, Kavanaugh played the role of lawyer — one of the sharp young minds recruited by the Federalist Society to infiltrate the federal judiciary with true believers. Through that network, Kavanaugh was mentored by D.C. Appeals Court Judge Laurence Silberman, known among his colleagues for planting leaks in the press for partisan advantage.

When, as I came to know, Kavanaugh took on the role of designated leaker to the press of sensitive information from Starr's operation, we all laughed that Larry had taught him well. (Of course, that sort of political opportunism by a prosecutor is at best unethical, if not illegal.)

Another compatriot was George Conway (now Kellyanne's husband), who led a secretive group of right-wing lawyers — we called them "the elves" — who worked behind the scenes directing the litigation team of Paula Jones, who had sued Clinton for sexual harassment. I knew then that information was flowing quietly from the Jones team via Conway to Starr's office — and also that Conway's go-to man was none other than Brett Kavanaugh.

That critical flow of inside information allowed Starr, in effect, to set a perjury trap for Clinton, laying the foundation for a crazed national political crisis and an unjust impeachment over a consensual affair.

But the cabal's godfather was Ted Olson, the then-future solicitor general for George W. Bush and now a sainted figure of the GOP establishment (and of some liberals for his role in legalizing same-sex marriage). Olson had a largely hidden role as a consigliere to the "Arkansas Project" — a multi-million dollar dirt-digging operation on the Clintons, funded by the eccentric right-wing billionaire Richard Mellon Scaife and run through The American Spectator magazine, where I worked at the time.

Both Ted and Brett had what one could only be called an unhealthy obsession with the Clintons — especially Hillary. While Ted was pushing through the Arkansas Project conspiracy theories claiming that Clinton White House lawyer and Hillary friend Vincent Foster was murdered (he committed suicide), Brett was costing taxpayers millions by pedaling the same garbage at Starr's office.

A detailed analysis of Kavanaugh's own notes from the Starr Investigation reveals he was cherry-picking random bits of information from the Starr investigation — as well as the multiple previous investigations — attempting vainly to legitimize wild right-wing conspiracies. For years he chased down each one of them without regard to the emotional cost to Foster’s family and friends, or even common decency.
Kavanaugh was not a dispassionate finder of fact but rather an engineer of a political smear campaign. And after decades of that, he expects people to believe he's changed his stripes.

Like millions of Americans this week, I tuned into Kavanaugh's hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee with great interest. In his opening statement and subsequent testimony, Kavanaugh presented himself as a "neutral and impartial arbiter" of the law. Judges, he said, were not players but akin to umpires — objectively calling balls and strikes. Again and again, he stressed his "independence" from partisan political influences.

But I don't need to see any documents to tell you who Kavanaugh is — because I've known him for years. And I'll leave it to all the lawyers to parse Kavanaugh's views on everything from privacy rights to gun rights. But I can promise you that any pretense of simply being a fair arbiter of the constitutionality of any policy regardless of politics is simply a pretense. He made up his mind nearly a generation ago — and, if he's confirmed, he'll have nearly two generations to impose it upon the rest of us.


Anonymous said...

Excellent piece. Thank you for sharing.

Sitting on Bull said...

No fan of BK but Brock's a Medai attention grabbing whore.
The whole process has been shameful. Committee could have turned a lot of rs and Cons off to BK by bringing up his involvement with crafting patriot act, but they were to busy with I Spartacus crap and high school drinking habits.
Oh Well..........

Anonymous said...

He knows it's over.

Anonymous said...

Too bad Rubio doesn't read...