By the way, this isn’t just a senator saying this. This is the former attorney general of North Dakota pronouncing on the likely truth or falsity of a rape charge based on body language, like she’s the D-block guest on “The O’Reilly Factor.”
“It’s something I do,” she said, “We communicate not only with words, but with our body language and demeanor.”
“I saw somebody who was very angry, who was very nervous, and I saw rage that a lot of people said, ‘well of course you’re going to see rage he’s being falsely accused,’ but it is at all times you’re to acquit yourself with a demeanor that’s becoming of the court,” Heitkamp said.
With regard to his demeanor, Heitkamp said the final straw was the way Kavanaugh went after her Democratic colleague from Minnesota, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, when he asked her if she had ever blacked out drunk after she had asked him the same question.
“When someone shows you who they are, believe them,” Heitkamp said.
It’s true that Kavanaugh didn’t demonstrate a “judicial temperament” during his testimony. It’s also true that he wasn’t in a judicial role at the time. He wasn’t the arbiter, he was the accused. Granting the fact that members of Congress aren’t held to the same standards of decorum as judges (whether they should be is a separate, and interesting, question), does Heitkamp think her Democratic colleagues approached Kavanaugh in the spirit of basic fairness, if not necessarily strict judicial impartiality? What sort of vibe did she get during the past few weeks from Senator Spartacus, say? Having most Democrats oppose him within hours of his nomination, then getting called “evil” by Booker in July, then getting smeared as a gang-rapist, then being quizzed by Klobuchar on whether he’s an alcoholic on national TV might reasonably affect his “demeanor.” If a Democrat on the Committee had asked Kavanaugh if his wife’s a whore and Kavanaugh had yelled at him, Heitkamp apparently would view that as a demerit on the nominee rather than his questioner.
I don’t know how else to understand the clip below except as an admission that she’s resigned to losing. It’s one thing to vote against Kavanaugh when you represent a very red state, it’s another to admit on camera that you did it for the exceptionally goofy reason that you didn’t like his face when you watched him speak with the sound off. It’s a ready-made attack ad for Kevin Cramer. Say this for much her, I guess: When you’ve got zippo by way of corroborating evidence of the claims against him, on what else can you base your opposition except something as gassy as body language? Be grateful none of the Democrats on the Committee asked to feel his head for bumps.