It is an academic question as to whether Brett Kavanaugh actually wrote all of his opening remarks. It is the stuff historians look at.
Whether he had help or not doesn’t absolve him from the partisanship and paranoia in the words, even if they were uttered in a calm voice they’d have been disqualifying. He said the words, no matter how he said them he must take ownership of this.
It is, well, just plain weird that the White House decided he should write a very limited mea culpa in the Wall Street Journal after there was so much criticism of the tenor of his words.
He was reading a prepared text. What the hell was he issuing his modified mea culpa for? The way he read the words?
I am convinced that the Kavanaugh opening statement, with all the drama, histrionics and tears, was if not in part written by Bill Shine at least he rehearsed with the help of the man who has the conscience of a garden slug.
Former Fox News co-president Bill Shine is the White House assistant to the president and deputy chief of staff for communications. This might explain why at times Kavanaugh sounded like a cross between Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, and Jeannie Pirro.
Shine was the high-profile executive who was ousted at the cable network, following allegations that he covered up incidents of sexual harassment against anchor Bill O’Reilly and former chief Roger Ailes. This is what Variety wrote about his pending exit from Fox News at the time:
And when rumors first emerged of Shine’s exit, anchor Sean Hannity went on a tweet storm defending him, and threatening if it were true, it would be “the total end of FNC as we know it.” He not only suggested he, too, might leave the network, but also suggested that he, too, might take legal action, tweeting: “A lot of time with an army of attorneys. Topics include: libel, slander, defamation, tortious interference. Stay tuned.”
This sounds like something Bill Shine would write:
When it was needed, this allegation was unleashed and publicly deployed over Dr. Ford’s wishes. And then — and then as no doubt was expected — if not planned — came a long series of false last-minute smears designed to scare me and drive me out of the process before any hearing occurred.
Crazy stuff. Gangs, illegitimate children, fights on boats in Rhode Island. All nonsense, reported breathlessly and often uncritically by the media.
This has destroyed my family and my good name. A good name built up through decades of very hard work and public service at the highest levels of the American government.
This whole two-week effort has been a calculated and orchestrated political hit, fueled with apparent pent-up anger about President Trump and the 2016 election. Fear that has been unfairly stoked about my judicial record. Revenge on behalf of the Clintons. and millions of dollars in money from outside left-wing opposition groups.
The more levelheaded material was probably prepared by Kavanaugh himself, perhaps with the help of White House Counsel Dan McGahn. (We can judge McGhan’s ethics by the story which broke late last night in the NY Times that he told Trump that a full FBI investigation would be disastrous for Kavanaugh’s nomination. He made sure that the FBI investigation was severely limited from the start. So much for a quest for the truth.)
I assume Shine and McGahn told Kavanaugh not to deviate one word from the prepared text.
We’ll probably never know how much of the statement Kavanaugh wrote himself and how much was written for him. Like I wrote, it only matters from an academic standpoint.
The statement was a pure Trumpian example of “the best defense is an aggressive offense” with the more lies the better.
It would have been reckless not to have practiced reading his statement many times in advance with so much hinging on it. I do not buy that the rage he expressed was spontaneous. It was all a show for the Republicans and Trump.
I bet he was videotaped and practiced his facial expressions and outrage.
As acting, this performance would be called scenery chewing. Brando and DeNiro could get away with with. With the Republicans Kavanaugh got away with it too.
This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.