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Republican Sen. Jeff Flake may have become a momentary hero for Democrats hoping to block Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, but Sen. Lindsey Graham has cinched the role as Jiminy Cricket of the U.S. Senate.

Kathleen Parker mug

kathleen parker

Never one to shy away from cameras or fall short on quotable one-liners, Graham came out swinging during Senate Judiciary Committee hearings Thursday and Friday. Fearing no consequence, apparently, he railed against his Democratic colleagues with righteous outrage and said what was obviously true.

Somebody had to do it.

Flake, who seems committed to living up to his name, bucked his fellow Republicans at the last minute Friday. After voting to advance Kavanaugh to the full Senate, Flake requested a one-week delay to give the FBI time to conduct its own investigation of allegations that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted Christine Blasey Ford when the two were at a party more than 30 years ago. Earlier in the day, Flake had said he would vote for Kavanaugh, but that was before he was confronted (and, apparently, intimidated) by women on an elevator who said they were assault victims and that he was “telling all women that they don’t matter.”

But back to Graham, who is far more entertaining even — or especially — when he’s mad. The usually congenial senator showed up at Thursday’s hearing with Moral Outrage on his arm and Truth as his chaperone.

Love him or not — and who doesn’t love Jiminy Cricket? — Graham said in a very loud non-whisper what every sensible, fair-minded person was surely thinking: The hearings that ultimately brought both Kavanaugh and Ford to tears were driven by a partisan quest for power without regard for the human collateral damage.

Railing at the Democratic side of the hearing room, Graham nearly shouted, “Boy, y’all want power. God I hope you never get it.”

The only thing worse than Republicans with absolute power is Democrats with absolute power, right? It is true, however, that the pitiable spectacle of first Ford and then Kavanaugh showed that Senate Democrats were willing to martyr their own best witness against Kavanaugh to delay confirmation and, assuming they win the Senate in the midterm elections, block Donald Trump from appointing any more conservatives to the high court.

Graham’s passionate commentary was, thus, a rallying cry to Republican voters, whose intensity has been flickering next to highly motivated Democrats, especially women. By Friday, he was calmer and more relaxed, perhaps because he believed Flake was onboard. He spelled out the reasons Ford’s story wasn’t compelling enough to keep Kavanaugh off the bench — no supporting evidence or testimony, not even a time or place.

Yes, her testimony was heartbreaking and seemed sincere. She plainly has suffered. Kavanaugh, too, has suffered immensely. Nearly losing control throughout his emotional statement, he was as credible as his accuser. Riveted by the proceedings, I felt at times I should look away rather than play voyeur to the humiliation of two fine people — stripped of dignity and emotionally exposed before the world.

While many were horrified by Graham’s anger, I found it as cleansing and refreshing as a dip in the River Jordan. His points, meanwhile, were compelling.

Point 1: Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., sat on Ford’s July letter alleging the sexual assault until the eve of a scheduled committee vote on Kavanaugh. If she hadn’t, there would have been ample time to investigate the claim and conduct interviews, which Grassley did as soon as he knew of the letter in late September.

Point 2: If not for a leak that was likely from the Democratic side, Ford’s anonymity, which she deeply wanted, could have been preserved. But this wouldn’t have served the Democrats’ seeming strategy of delay or their apparent hope for an emotion-packed display.

Kavanaugh’s suffering was epic. By all accounts, he has lived his adult life as a model citizen, an exemplary husband and father, a beloved teacher and coach and an admired judge. Yet, our esteemed senators found it necessary to parse inscriptions in his high school year book. Read yours lately?

With apologies for any nicknames that may ensue, Graham is a necessary voice, the human truth-o-meter and translator who shouts the truth from the rooftops, then ambles amiably over to the cameras, smiles and jokes with the very people he savaged, and tries to find his ol’ buddy Flake, who, Graham said, “wrastled” with how to vote, and maybe give him a little hug on his way back to obscurity.

Long may Sen. Cricket’s flag wave.

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Washington Post columnist Kathleen Parker can be reached at kathleenparker@washpost.com.

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(21) comments

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Cassandra2

Nope. Confirmed by the narrowest margin in recent history. His lies will come back to haunt him.

new2Lax

I can not wait for Trumps next candidate replacing Ruth Bader Ginsburg, what a spectacle that should be. I'm pretty sure the Biden Rule will not be adhered to as the Democrats saw fit to bring up Merrick Garland as a candidate with in the last year of Obama's Presidency. This will give the Trump Administration the nod to also dispense with the idea. These things usually come back to bite you in the end, thanks again Harry Reid and Joe Biden for clearing the way. None of this could have happened without their help.

martian2

there is no biden rule, that is a made up term by the extreme right wing. Biden doesn't make the rules, he may have opinions but so what. You think after the election and the democrats take over the senate that any Trump nominee will get an easy ride to the Sc. Think again.

Cassandra2

Facts don't matter to the Newt, Martian. The wingnuts only deal in paranoid fantasy and lies.

Jobaba

It seems that Ms. Parker missed, as many have, the anger presented about point#1. people were to invested in the emotion rather than what Graham said. His anger was directed at the way the entire event unfolded. Spittle flying, sweated brow, loud voice. Except for one thing. No one cares. It happened exactly the way it happened. Raging about it does nothing to change that. After both testimonies what are we to do about the way it unfolded? Throw them both out and vote? No, Graham was appealing to trump's base for his own reasons. People mayhap listen better to what actual words mean, and in Graham's case, they meant very little. Good show tho...

Frangel45

Article to get a broader view of Kavanaugh. Just being subjected to his hysterics and attitude of entitlement was unnerving. The GOP will ram this confirmation through regardless of what transpires, regardless of any hint of unfitness - I would never want to meet him in a court room - the courts are supposed to be orderly and he would surely have been held in contempt by any judge for his outbursts and bullying.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/oct/01/kavanaugh-clerk-hire-casts-light-on-link-to-judge-forced-to-resign-in-metoo-era?utm_source=esp&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=GU+Today+USA+-+Collections+2017&utm_term=286828&subid=1427059&CMP=GT_US_collection

Cassandra2

Kavanaugh showed through his repeated outbursts that he is temperamentally unfit for the post.

mamasboy

Once again Parker puts her mindless C word mentality on display.

Cassandra2

Gee, mama's boy, that's not sexist or misogynistic at all.

Rick Czeczok

Could all of you just sit back and wait on this? Your statements don't help anything. Stop flaming the fire.....

Cassandra2

Boy, Zerocock, you Russian bots really need to work on your grasp of American English idiom.

oldhomey

Gosh, Ricky, I wasn't aware that you had been so eager for an FBI investigation of these charges. And now, with your fractured circumlocution, you accuse others of jumping to conclusions before the limited investigation is completed? I don't see anybody on this string jumping to conclusions, just restating the facts of the hearings thus far.

oldhomey

This is the most inane column that I have ever seen Ms. Parker write. Lindsey Graham is trying to rush through an ultra-conservative candidate for the POTUS before the mid-terms, just as desperately as he and his fellow GOP senators successfully blocked Merrick Garland two years ago. But Garland was not accused of being an abusive drunk around women, he was simply a moderate Democrat. Are politics involved in this selection process? You bet. But do you ramrod through somebody who is accused of serious character flaws simply because he will be your "guy" on the court? He is a grown man, he has his big boy pants on, he knew that he would be subjected to brutal scrutiny going into this. Was it fair to him? I am guessing, with his refusal to ask for an FBI investigation of the charges, his bizarre paean to beer, his tearful submission of a skrewball calendar from his senior year in high school, yes it was fair to him. Certainly it was no more unfair to him than to hear out Dr. Ford, make a mealy-mouthed declaration that it seemed true but that she probably is mistaken about who the attacker was, then dismiss her and her allegation without a thorough investigation.

Lindsey Graham, who once stood up to Trump, seems now ready to not only accede to anything Trump wants, he is eager to assist him in the battering of American ideals. No longer interested in protecting Jeff Sessions, perhaps he is auditioning as Sessions' replacement.

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Cassandra2

The coo-coo Cougar-bot is at it again!

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Cassandra2

Leave it to the Russian troll Cougar-bot to cheer the suspension of the Constitution and civil rights of American citizens. Even though these comments are all complete nonsense, it shows just how desperate the Cougar-bot and the other Russian trolls are to see the downfall of American society. It's also pretty pathetic that the Cougar-bot has to use fabricated quotes in an attempt to discredit Hillary Clinton. How sad that these agents of destruction cannot gain any traction without resorting to lies.
https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/hillary-clinton-threw-a-tantrum-with-matt-lauer/

johnnybragatti

@ B Butterfield ...amazingly and absolutely exact: "outta the park" !!!
Imagine applying at Walmart, getting an interview and then subsequently crying and raging out, when being asked pertinent questions.
Would you get the job?
Would you deserve to get the job?

B Butterfield

"...he was as credible as his accuser. " You're mistaking anger for credibility. And Feinstein didn't proceed with Ford's allegation, at the latter's request, until it was leaked, most likely by one of the three friends Ford said she told about it. But either way, this is a job interview, not another privilege he has a right to, and he failed miserably. He lied multiple times, he sneered and shouted at his interviewers, and he declared a seething partisan hatred for Democrats and "the left," i.e., over half the country. He does not deserve this job.

And for Lindsey Graham to accuse the Dems of fighting dirty is rich, after the GOP refused to do their job of advise and consent over Obama's nominee for a whole year, not to mention their avowal to oppose him on everything he did from the start.

B Butterfield

And it's really disturbing that the right doesn't even seem to be pretending that they care whether Ford's allegations are true or not, just that the Democrats are trying to stop Kavanaugh from being appointed and therefore must be defeated. We won't likely get definitive proof on this, but the circumstantial evidence all points to the likelihood that Kavanaugh got so drunk (probably on Thursday, July 1) that he assaulted Ford in a black out and can't remember it to this day. Should someone with such a dark cloud of justifiable suspicion be appointed to the Supreme Court, to be one of five old men who'll get to take away a right that applies only to young women?

martian2

I agree butterfield, this is a job interview. a very high profile job that requires a very high profile interview. Kavanaugh's lashing out at the "left wing" and naming the Clintons as part of a conspiracy against him being on the SC shows plainly his unfitness for the job. His demeanor and attitude toward others who question him and his qualifications are reprehensible. He is not entitled to this job, although he may very well feel he is.

A Veteran

Bradly how could any of her friends have leaked the letter when Ford said they did not know about it.Any reasonable person knows that the leak came from Feinstein or her staff ,I think the FBI should investigate this also,do you not agree????Also please cite the multiple times he lied.

martian2

you can start with his assertions that Clintons and a left wing conspiracy brought this upon him. He didn't have any proof of such a statement, but he said it. His characterization of his drinking when in highschool and college was a lie, as many witnesses said otherwise. Feinstein said over and over her and her staff did not leak the letter, but if they did do it, it was not a criminal act so why should the FBI investigate. The drinking age for Kavanaugh in high school was 21, not 18 as he stated. He was an underage drinker from age 17 to 20. Here are lots more lies he told: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/brett-kavanaugh-lies_us_5bb26190e4b027da00d61fcd

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