The obvious contradiction at the heart of Brett Kavanaugh's drinking defense

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh needs two things to be true in order for his past acknowledged drinkin...

Posted: Oct 3, 2018 10:46 AM
Updated: Oct 3, 2018 10:46 AM

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh needs two things to be true in order for his past acknowledged drinking to be non-problematic as it relates to the allegations of sexual assault and sexually inappropriate behavior leveled at him by Christine Blasey Ford and Deborah Ramirez:

1) He drank regularly in high school and college, at times to excess.

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2) None of those times -- NONE -- did he ever forget anything he had said or done. Not. Once.

This is a position of necessity for Kavanaugh. Given what we know about his past -- and eyewitness testimony from his friends and acquaintances -- it would be impossible for him to pretend he never drank. And so, he has leaned into the idea; "I like beer," he repeated ad nauseam during his testimony in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee last Thursday.

And/But: Because of the accusations leveled by Ford and Ramirez -- among others -- Kavanaugh simply cannot open the door even a teeny tiny little bit to the idea that he may not remember every single thing he said or did during and after he drank. If he did, then the next obvious question would be: "Then how can you say for certain this assault didn't happen during one of those times?" And Kavanaugh would have no answer. And his nomination would be DOA.

Asked by Rachel Mitchell, the prosecutor brought in by Senate Republicans to ask questions of Ford and Kavanaugh, whether he had ever "passed out" after drinking, the judge said this: "I — passed out would be — no, but I've gone to sleep, but — but I've never blacked out. That's the — that's the — the allegation, and that — that — that's wrong."

Pressed on the issue of blacking out by Democratic Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Kavanaugh was strident in his response: "It's — you're asking about, you know, blackout. I don't know. Have you?"

On Tuesday night, The New York Times reported on a 1983 letter in which Kavanaugh wrote that the first guests to arrive at a beach house where they planned to spend the week should "warn the neighbors that we're loud, obnoxious drunks with prolific pukers among us." Through his lawyers, Kavanaugh said that he wrote the note to organize "Beach Week" that summer, according to the Times, and a Justice Department spokeswoman said, "It seems The New York Times is committed to embarrassing Judge Kavanaugh with three-decade-old stories of adolescent drinking."

What Kavanaugh's stance on his drinking -- I did it but I never forgot anything ever -- overlooks is common sense. And normal human experience. Anyone who has ever had too much to drink can tell you that it is impossible for them to say they remember every single thing they said or did while under the influence.

The common sense response Kavanaugh might give then is this: Yes, when I was in high school and college, I occasionally drank too much. And on a very limited number of occasions I drank so much that I struggled to remember every detail of the previous night. But I can assure you that the allegations made by Mrs. Ford and Mrs. Ramirez are not the sort of thing I -- or anyone -- would forget.

The Point: Politics is not a world in which common sense rules. And so, we are left with Kavanaugh being forced to fight like hell over a position that 99.9% of college attendees know is ludicrous.

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