Has American political life become permanently … boofed? Rhode Island Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse declared today that he has somehow cracked Brett Kavanaugh’s calendar code to discover the date of Christine Blasey Ford’s victimization at his hands. In the Judiciary Committee meeting, Whitehouse highlighted a calendar entry listing a July 1 party as evidence that “may” corroborate Ford’s testimony:
Sen. Whitehouse, reviewing Judge Kavanaugh's calendar:
"This may, may be powerful corroborating evidence that the assault happened … but with no FBI investigation, we can't tell." pic.twitter.com/HMgQJTmTHF
— NBC Politics (@NBCPolitics) September 28, 2018
“Bart” Kavanaugh? For a man on a fact-finding mission, Whitehouse seems pretty thin on his own grasp. No one is disputing that Kavanaugh, PJ Smyth, and Mark Judge attended parties together, nor that they were drinking at those parties. The calendar doesn’t mention Ford or Leland Keyser, by the way, the fourth person named by Ford, but Whitehouse has a theory about that too. Would you add the name of the woman you’d just sexually assaulted? Er, wut? No one has claimed that Kavanaugh assaulted Keyser, and in fact Keyser has submitted a declaration to the committee that she didn’t attend any party with Kavanaugh in that period.
And don’t people normally put events on a calendar before rather than after they take place?
This is simply more wild speculation without any evidence in an attempt to assassinate Kavanaugh’s character and keep the Supreme Court seat open. Unfortunately, it’s been par for the course in this process, which continues to derail today.
Yesterday’s hearing should not pass out of the spotlight without at least some comment on its absolute nadir provided by Whitehouse. As we await the final vote from the Senate Judiciary Committee on its recommendation for Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination, consider the deeply intellectual review of the nominee’s life work that we all saw yesterday. The only thing missing was a porcelain goddess, which we all needed after this five-minute exchange:
WHITEHOUSE: I’m good. One of the reasons, Mr. Kavanaugh, that we are looking at the yearbook is that it is relatively consistent in time with the events at issue here and because it appears to be your words. Is it, in fact, your words on your yearbook page?
KAVANAUGH: We — we submitted things to the editors and I believe they took them. I don’t know if they changed things or not, but. …
WHITEHOUSE: Let’s look at, “Beach Week Ralph Club — Biggest Contributor,” what does the word Ralph mean in that?
KAVANAUGH: That probably refers to throwing up. I’m known to have a weak stomach and I always have. In fact, the last time I was here, you asked me about having ketchup on spaghetti. I always have had a weak stomach. …
WHITEHOUSE: So the vomiting that you reference in the Ralph Club reference, related to the consumption of alcohol?
To get to that point, Whitehouse then digged deep to pin Kavanaugh down on his judicial inclination toward … beer.
WHITEHOUSE: Did it relate to alcohol? You haven’t answered that.
KAVANAUGH: I like beer. I like beer. I don’t know if you do…
Whitehouse had Kavanaugh on the ropes with that answer! A man who likes beer has a major impediment to sitting on the Supreme Court, which is … that his farts might disturb the other eight justices:
WHITEHOUSE: … Judge, have you — I don’t know if it’s “boufed” or “boofed” — how do you pronounce that?
KAVANAUGH: That refers to flatulence. We were 16.
WHITEHOUSE: OK. And so when your friend Mark Judge said the same — put the same thing in his yearbook page back to you, he had the same meaning? It was flatulence?
KAVANAUGH: I don’t know what he did, but that’s my recollection. We want to talk about flatulence at age 16 on a yearbook page, I’m — I’m game.
Now, one can make the argument that this was a strategy by Whitehouse to set perjury traps for Kavanaugh. If he’s willing to lie about “boofing,” what else is he lying about? But that assumes that a high-school yearbook or teenage drinking is in any way relevant to a judicial confirmation in the first place, and that Kavanaugh’s memory of those indicates anything except the passage of thirty-six years. Nonetheless, Whitehouse is still clinging to this argument:
"I don't believe 'boof' is flatulence." — Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse
— Jennifer Bendery (@jbendery) September 28, 2018
So what? Even if Kavanaugh’s misremembering it and it refers to sex, it still wouldn’t have have anything to do with the allegation that Christine Blasey Ford made. No one disputes that Kavanaugh drank in high school, not even Kavanaugh. No one disputes that he was a teenager with typically immature teenager humor and interests. Whitehouse’s entire line of questioning about the yearbook was designed to suggest that Kavanaugh was a blackout drunk whose lack of memory might account for his inability to recall a sexual assault, despite on-the-record denials from the other three people Ford named that they don’t have any recollection of it either or deny it happened altogether. At best, it’s indirect speculation centering on irrelevancies in order to build a legal hypothesis that’s already contradicted by sworn statements.
Whitehouse wants to keep throwing speculation up against the wall to see if it sticks. The rest of us are under no obligation to provide him a stage for that nonsense, nor to take him seriously. Especially “Bart.”
Update and correction: Earlier, I identified Whitehouse as a senator from Ohio. Of course, Whitehouse is from Rhode Island. Sherrod Brown is from Ohio. My apologies to Ohio, Rhode Island, Senators Whitehouse and Brown, and our readers. I’ve fixed it above.