Brett Kavanaugh says his life has been "destroyed" by the allegations against him during the nominating process to the Supreme Court. I feel for him, but whatever happens as a result of Thursday's hearings he'll be fine. Rich, powerful men have his back.
But I feel more for his accuser, Christine Blasey Ford — whose life, too, has been a nightmare since she went public with her allegation that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were teens.
Thursday's hearing, during which Ford remained composed and Kavanaugh repeatedly yelled and stonewalled, should have us asking, "Really? Brett Kavanaugh is the best we can do? Out of hundreds of potential candidates, THIS guy is the cream of the crop?"
I believe Ford. I do not believe Kavanaugh, and I think many others don't, either. What sealed it for me was his refusal to agree to cooperating with a potential FBI investigation into Ford's allegations. As I watched him yell, bluster, and portray himself as a victim, I kept thinking of the statements I wanted to hear from him that could have redeemed him as a Supreme Court candidate — and a man:
No. 1. As a young man, I was a stupid, blackout drunk. In my prep-school circle, too many of us behaved like idiots. Worse, we goaded each other on, especially when it came to the girls we felt so awkward around. Personally, my boorish behavior persisted when I got to Yale.
No. 2. To get an idea of what those years were like, read the memoir Wasted: Tales of a GenX Drunk by my dear childhood friend Mark Judge. I am embarrassed to say that he paints an accurate picture of the culture we both grew up in: privileged, entitled, and hyper-male.
No. 3. I honestly have no memory of many of the youthful parties where I drank to incoherence. So I cannot say that I assaulted Dr. Ford at that long-ago party in the way she alleges. But here's the thing: I can't say I didn't, either. Admitting this fills me with shame.
No. 4. It has been devastating to hear Dr. Ford describe the impact of the sexual assault she said I perpetrated. What she has gone through since then is awful and unfair. I hope to God it was not me who hurt her.
No. 5. As I got older, I cleaned up my act. My drinking calmed down, my social circle expanded to include more men and women from different backgrounds. Their influence on me was good, I built a solid legal career, and I'm proud of the many cases I've presided over as a judge in the Washington, D.C., U.S. Court of Appeals.
No. 6. I recognize that the justices of the Supreme Court must be beyond moral reproach, including even a whiff of impropriety. Given my crazy early days, I don't want to bring that whiff to a tenure on the Supreme Court.
No. 7. So I'm pulling my name from the nomination process. Don't feel bad for me. It's not like I'm being denied some right that every American is entitled to. This is a lifetime appointment that a rare few get to hold. I've not been convicted of anything. I've failed an interview for a job whose hiring requirements are rightfully the most stringent in the country. I accept that.
No. 8. Still, it's painful for me to withdraw. I very much wanted to serve as a SCOTUS justice. So much so that I lied when I have said I'd never drunk to the point of incoherence or memory loss. This was wrong. I let my ego trump transparency.
No. 9. I get to return to a job that I love. I get to look my daughters in the eye and have them know that their dad is a good man and, like all of us, that he has flaws. But I hope they'll see that the character of any man or woman is not dependent on whether they screw up but on whether they own it and learn from it.
No. 10. In the end, I want the American people to think of well of me. But I want even more for my own daughters to think well of me. I'm doing this for them, and for the young women they'll soon be.