by Chris Buskirk
Christine Blasey Ford made scurrilous accusations against Brett Kavanaugh for actions she claims occurred nearly 35 years ago when they were both minors. Both Judge Kavanaugh and Mark Judge, who Ford also claims was present have vehemently and categorically denied her claims. The people who know Kavanaugh, as well as decades of evidence of a life lived with dignity and propriety, support him.
Even one of the people Ford claims was a witness denies her claims. Ford says that Leland Keyser was a friend of hers and was at the party in 1982. But Keyser says she has no recollection of the party. Not only that, she denies knowing or ever being in a social situation with Kavanaugh. Keyser’s statement calls into question whether the party occurred at all, which would make Ford’s claims against Kavanaugh entirely false.
Predictably, however, Ford has been joined by Stormy Daniels’ execrable mouthpiece, Michael Avenatti. Now a Yale classmate is making claims about some nudity at a dorm party, which have been questioned or denied by people who were allegedly there. So why are some self-described conservatives signing up to help this circus along?
What’s Different Now
False accusations and smear campaigns against upstanding Supreme Court nominees are nothing new. Democrats destroyed Robert Bork’s reputation in 1987 with a campaign of lies. Republicans said never again. So when Democrats tried it again on Clarence Thomas in 1991, that effort failed.
Today, however, so-called conservatives are helping Democrats destroy Kavanaugh as they seem to miss the point: Democrats aren’t acting in good faith. There is no search for truth—the campaign to derail Kavanaugh’s nomination is just brass-knuckled power politics. Democrats will do and say anything they think will keep Kavanaugh off the bench.
The longer it goes on, the more claims they will gin up until Republicans just can’t take it anymore and slink off in defeat, leaving Democrats in control of the Supreme Court. Remember when Harry Reidadmitted to lying about improprieties in Mitt Romney’s tax returns but justified it saying he “did what was necessary.” The same ethic is at work here.
National Review’s Jim Geraghty not only thinks that Ford’s claims should bar Kavanaugh from the Supreme Court, but he told Caitlin Flanagan of The Atlantic, who wrote she believes Ford despite the lack of evidence, that “it’s hard to see how he could remain a federal judge.” David French agreed that the allegations, if proven, should “mar him for life.” National Review Online Editor Charles C. W. Cooke agreed, adding that he doesn’t think that makes him “irrational or a Stalinist.”
Dennis Prager disagreed and made the commonsense argument that people should be judged based on the entirety of their lives and not for things that occurred in their youth, for which there is no evidence, and which the accused has denied. For that, he earned the opprobrium of French’s wife, Nancy, in a scathing op-ed in the Washington Post. French added that she “is no longer a Republican” because Republicans tell her that “character doesn’t matter” and that “people are disposable.”
Yet, these are the people who represent themselves as “true conservatives.” They’re not and it’s time for actual conservatives to realize it and ignore them. What they really are is self-righteous moralizers and anti-social prigs.
Aiding and Abetting Political Enemies
If the Frenches and the Geraghtys of the world kept their opinions to themselves, the country would be better off. Unfortunately, they are members of a very vocal political suicide cult who falsely claim the conservative mantle yet collaborate with political enemies and work to advance the evidence-free smear of Kavanaugh. The only thing these “conservatives” seem genuinely interested in conserving is the platforms they use to reprimand the rest of us for not living up to their preposterous standards.
For those of us concerned about practical politics and the future of American republicanism, a constitutionalist majority on the Supreme Court is vital to regaining some notion of responsible self-government. It has been the object of two generations of work by actual conservatives. But these hectoring scolds are actively working to seize defeat from the jaws of victory on the basis of a patently obvious, after the buzzer, bad faith smear campaign designed to destroy a man whose entire life—not to mention the testimony of many contemporaries—contradicts the claim.
If they are successful, we will all pay the price.
These are people who must not be allowed to represent the rank-and-file conservatives who backed Trump (none of these commentators did) and who want to effect a constitutional restoration. If you want to see a fair representation of what right-leaning Americans, including women, are thinking about this situation, watch this:
— Ned Ryun (@nedryun) September 22, 2018
Geraghty claims that an alleged awkward encounter at the age of 17 should earn a lifetime ban from the federal bench. This sentiment appears to be shared by many of his colleagues and fellow travelers. What other employment does he believe should be off limits? I wonder if he’s thought it out that far or if he’s just emoting. Should it bar someone from all legal practice? What about insurance sales? Real estate? How about Walmart greeter?
And why? What are the rules? And what other purported sins should bar Americans from public service and even employment? Failing to observe the sabbath? Idolatry? Taking home some Post-It notes from the office? Dining and dashing with college friends? I’d say that it quickly becomes absurd, but they past that point long ago. And I can’t help but wonder if this provisional Committee on Public Virtue could meet say that every action of their own conforms to their quickly evolving standards.
A Cop-Out of a Fig Leaf
These so-called conservatives know no sense of proportion and thus lack basic wisdom. The fact is, they have no standards. Everything is ad hoc, impressionistic, emotional, and most of all driven by a sense of seeking to preserve their own place without regard to the good of others or the country. It is ugly, petty, and graceless.
Their preferred formulation of “if the charges are true, then . . . ” is a way to declare guilt and pronounce a sentence without ever having to seeing a shred of evidence and despite vehement, categorical denials from the accused. It is vulgar and wrong. It is also counter to the standards of French’s own denomination, which teaches that the Ninth Commandment requires the maintaining and promoting of one’s neighbor’s good name. By promoting gossip, smears, and accusations in the most public way he is doing just the opposite, despite his use of the “if . . . then” fig leaf.
Let me show you how this works: “If the Frenches, Charlie Cooke, and Jim Geraghty kick puppies, they should never be allowed to have a dog.” It doesn’t definitively say they kick puppies, but it does leave a distinct odor of wrongdoing and helpfully offers a ready-made punishment.
So let’s try another: “If pundits who claim to be conservatives promote unfounded Democrat smear campaigns, then no one should listen to them.”
Or this one: “If they actively use their platforms to undermine conservative causes, then we should realize they aren’t really conservatives at all and ignore them.”
Remember that these are the very same people—the same “principled conservatives”—who claim to want dignity and propriety in our public officials. But their participation in Kavanaugh’s public defenestration makes it less likely that such people will want to serve. It is a vile spectacle. They are nothing but self-seeking virtue hustlers—the right-wing equivalent of Al Sharpton—who claim virtue while practicing vice.
The real truth is that no one is good enough for them because in their hermetically sealed world, politics isn’t a practical art at all, and it isn’t about improving the country. It’s just a game of fake virtue one-upmanship to see who can be holier than thou. It’s unrealistic, immoral, and dysfunctional. It’s just the flip side of the unrealistic utopian ideology which has made Leftist politics so destructive.
On the Right, we need to reject the hectoring moralizers and two-bit virtue hustlers. Destroying people’s lives and careers without evidence, trafficking in gossip and self-regarding sanctimony should be given no place. Like it or not, the pharisaical pretense of Geraghty, French, and company enables vile bottom feeders like Michael Avenatti who cook up sick conspiracy theories about Brett Kavanaugh in a desperate attempt to keep a constitutionalist off the Supreme Court. Shame on them.
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Chris Buskirk is the Publisher and Editor of American Greatness and the host of The Seth & Chris Show. He was a Publius Fellow at the Claremont Institute. and received a Fellowship from the Earhart Foundation. Chris is a serial entrepreneur who has built and sold businesses in financial services and digital marketing. He is a frequent guest on NPR’s Morning Edition. His writing has appeared in The Washington Post, The Hill, and elsewhere. Connect with Chris on Twitter at @TheChrisBuskirk.