Forget for a moment the performative anger. Forget the entitlement. Forget the insane conspiracies. Forget that he blamed the Clinton’s for his trouble. Forget, even just for a moment, that he’s at best a horned-up sex pest who combines that entitlement with a deep dismissal of women.
Can you imagine, in your wildest dreams, Brett Kavanaugh coming up with an interesting or original legal theory? Can you imagine him having a nuanced look at a case? Can you imagine him focusing his penetrating insight into an undiscovered part of a case brought before him?
Of course not. Even if he were the bland basketball dad he portrayed himself as, there’s nothing in his record that says much of anything at all. And, of course, we can’t separate everything in the first paragraph from the totality of his absurdity.
All of it: the casual cruelty, the water-carrying for the conservative movement, the belief that getting into Yale based only on his attending one of the country’s most elite prep schools, the mocking laughter, the sheer shock and genuine horror that he could be held accountable for his actions: all of it is what makes up our elites.
Kavanaugh has put a glaring spotlight on the essential mediocrity of our ruling class, of the true elites that run this country. Not literature professors from Oberlin or Rachel Maddow or even Meryl Streep, but the ensconsed royalty who glide from position to position. Where they go varies a bit on personality and desire, but if you had the urge, as did Kavanaugh, you could float your way through the right wing and come to see the Supreme Court as your birthright.
What we see is that when you combine access to everything without the need to earn it, self-protection and cognitive dissonance makes it impossible for you to accept any dissent. This is very true when it comes from lower people, like reporters or Senators, and is especially, always true when it comes to women who don’t exist to please.
This is cruel, yes. It is viscous. It is a brackish burbling from our poisoned aristocracy. But what all that comes from, and what it creates, is a string of mediocre nobodies. They look in the mirror and see wealth and power, and instead of staring at weak chins and praising the accident of fate that gave them this unceasing fortune, they convince themselves they’ve earned it. They tell themselves they deserve it.
They’ve always been around, of course. And they’ve been bipartisan. But for the last 40 years, the Republican Party has mercilessly elevated these cruel nobodies, these unreflective wealth-mongers, these weird quasi-men who combine bootlicking with boot-stomping. Trump, obviously, is the ultimate triumph of unearned wealth and power, of the monstrous warping solipsistic power of unreflective privilege. But he’s also sui generis, a dark malevolent black hole, with his own terrible gravity.
Kavanaugh is different. There are a million of him. This has been remarked on before, usually (by me as well) in exasperation at the GOP, who could have nominated one of the same fascist-headed bullies who wasn’t a dogging pervert. Maybe he won’t get on. Maybe this week’s delay will clarify minds around this depthless goon who truly believes that any criticism of his character could only come from a vast conspiracy and not, say, the righteous consequences of a life spent harming others. Maybe they will end up finding another one, who will rule exactly the same, with the exact same lack of creativity, and the exact same hostility toward workers and immigrants and the environment and, above all, women.
They’ll find someone else. But really, that there are a million of these guys to begin with is the most damning indictment of our country available.