Yesterday’s hearings with Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and Judge Brett Kavanaugh took place while I was off from work, but that fact at least gave me time to watch the proceedings and digest the entire sickening display before having to write about it. Going in, my usual skepticism and jaundiced view of the Beltway circus led me to believe that this was a colossal waste of time. No new information was going to be revealed which hasn’t already been picked through exhaustively. No case for guilt or innocence would be established. It was bread and circuses for the masses waiting to see the gladiators rip each other’s entrails out.

In terms of proving anything definitively, that was certainly the case. That doesn’t mean the entire thing was a waste of time, however. But the value didn’t come from the question and answer sessions with committee members of each party, which were, for the most part, worse than worthless. The Republicans turned over their time to Rachel Mitchell who utterly failed to ask any of the tough questions required and wound up doing more to make Ford’s case than refute it. The Democrats asked virtually zero questions of Ford, using their time instead to praise her bravery and paint her as some sort of modern-day Messiah.

When the time came for questioning of Kavanaugh, the Democrats on the committee had no interest in any lack of evidence or problems with Ford’s story and timeline. They only wanted to impugn Kavanaugh’s character by trying to depict him as a blackout drunk and try to goad him into supporting their call for a pointless FBI investigation. Neither effort hit paydirt.

The real value of these hearings came in the opening statements of the two subjects. Blasey Ford gave a startling performance which even caught me by surprise. By the time she was done, I was ready to concede that either something happened to her all those years ago or she’s an actress who missed her calling and should be up for several Academy Awards. But it was Kavanaugh’s opening remarks which really sealed the deal as far as I was concerned. His presentation was either ignored by most of the media or mocked as being overly “loud” or “defiant.” But that ignores the reality of what we saw.

Brett Kavanaugh took his seat and immediately launched into a raw indictment of his enemies. He was obviously wrought with emotion, stopping frequently to drink water and, at times, looking as if he might begin crying. His outrage at the treatment he and his family have received -also ignored by the media as they wring their hands over Ford’s travails – was on full display. But the most genuine aspect of Kavanaugh’s testimony was how frankly shocked he seemed to be at the crapstorm he has waded into.

Brett Kavanaugh spoke like a man who has suddenly found himself starring in an episode of Black Mirror, having no idea how he got there and seeing few prospects of escaping with his life. When he was originally nominated for a seat on the Supreme Court he obviously expected to face tough questions, particularly from Democrats who would oppose him no matter what. He knew he would be accused of having partisan leanings. His old cases would be scrutinized and questioned. Amateur detectives would be attempting to sniff out how he might vote on questions ranging from abortion to gay marriage.

But never in a million years did Kavanaugh see Christine Blasey Ford coming as the doomsday weapon Democrats would pin their hopes and dreams on. Rather than being accused of being a partisan or even bad judge, Brett Kavanaugh was accused of being a bad person. In the opinion of one committee member, an evil person. And like any normal human being, such attacks wounded him. It was that wounded individual we saw on display yesterday, genuinely hurting from the assaults on his character but refusing to get on his knees and beg or accept the labels applied to him.

I think Brett Kavanaugh did as well as any person could under such circumstances. He was fiery at times, but he’s a man under fire. I disagree with John Ziegler’s conclusion that he may have disqualified himself by acting temperamental or specifically calling out Democrats for their assault on his character. When all of the zoo animals have escaped their pens and the lions are stalking you, you don’t take time out to warn people about the sheep. It is the Democrats who have staged this character assassination and they are the ones who needed to be called out. Brett Kavanaugh did just that.

I don’t know if Kavanaugh will be confirmed or not. (Though there are hints that he may still carry the day.) But whether he’s seated on the Supreme Court or not, Brett Kavanaugh came to Washington to face down those who seek to destroy him and he accounted himself well. Before yesterday I wasn’t entirely sure what, if anything happened with Christine Blasey Ford more than three decades ago and I still don’t know today. But having heard the testimony there is no longer any doubt in my mind about one thing. Brett Kavanaugh is innocent and should be confirmed to the Supreme Court.