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Dickinson writes: "To listen to many establishment Republicans, the rise of Trumpism is a perversion of the true GOP. But if the confirmation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh revealed one thing, it’s the shared interests of George W. Bush and Donald J. Trump."

Brett Kavanaugh. (photo: Erin Schaff/NYT)
Brett Kavanaugh. (photo: Erin Schaff/NYT)

Brett Kavanaugh, the Bridge Between George W. Bush and Donald Trump

By Tim Dickinson, Rolling Stone

09 October 18

Our new Supreme Court justice has closed the gap between George W. Bush and Donald Trump

o listen to many establishment Republicans, the rise of Trumpism is a perversion of the true GOP. But if the confirmation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh revealed one thing, it’s the shared interests of George W. Bush and Donald J. Trump.

Kavanaugh is the bridge between Dubya and Trump. And he is now the shield on the Supreme Court, installed to protect both presidents — following a confirmation fight won with deceitful Swift Boat tactics that recall the heyday of Karl Rove.

The decision by Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) to throw her support behind Kavanaugh helped reveal the powerful connection between Bush and Trump. Collins is a Bush loyalist; the Bushes have deep ties to Maine through their Kennebunkport compound, and as The Intercept notes, Collins has long been a member of the Bush inner circle. Over the weekend, America learned that W. Bush repeatedly called Collins to lobby her to vote for Kavanaugh.

And her decision to back Trump’s nominee was even praised by Dubya’s ailing father George H.W. Bush:

Why does Kavanaugh matter to the Bushes? To start, the W. Bush presidency flouted the law, repeatedly, and has never been called to account. Recall the failed Supreme Court nomination of Harriet Miers, a top lawyer from the W. Bush administration. Miers was seen, at the time, as a Bush loyalist who might shield the administration’s legacy for a coming generation, including against court cases arising from the administration’s use of torture, black sites and mass surveillance — to say nothing of its march to war in Iraq under false pretenses.

Kavanaugh is Miers 2.0. He is a former Bush lieutenant who was not only a lawyer in the Florida recount of 2000, but inherited the pivotal job of staff secretary to the president from Miers as she rose through the White House ranks.

Legal experts see Kavanaugh as a presidential protector: He has radical views of executive power and privilege and has repeatedly raised doubts about whether presidents are accountable to other branches of government.

This deference to presidential power is also a key reason Kavanaugh won the backing of President Trump — who is in legal jeopardy from the snowballing investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. In his confirmation hearings, Kavanaugh pointedly refused to comment on whether a sitting president must respond to a subpoena or has the power to pardon himself.

Both W. Bush and Trump share an interest in seating a presidential protector on the court. And to win Kavanaugh that seat, the unified Republican machine leaned on Swift-Boating tactics deeply rooted in the Bush years.

CRC Public Relations is infamous for its work on the 2004 campaign, when the firm promoted the “Swift Boat Veterans For Truth,” who viciously slimed the war record of Vietnam war hero John Kerry, helping W. Bush narrowly secure re-election to a second term. The same firm reportedly aided the GOP in seating Kavanaugh.

In the age of #MeToo, attacking Kavanaugh’s accuser directly was a nonstarter. Instead, CRC and top Republicans zeroed in on a different strategy: Accept that Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s experience of assault as a teenager was genuine, but introduce doubt that the assaulter was Kavanaugh.

According to Politico, CRC aided Ed Whelan — a prominent Washington lawyer, former Supreme Court clerk and friend of Kavanaugh’s — in pushing out and almost immediately retracting a wild theory that Ford’s true attacker was a classmate of Kavanaugh’s.

Whelan apologized for having “grievously and carelessly wronged the person I identified.”

But though Whelan withdrew his specific allegation, the toxic theory he and CRC injected into the body politic spread. Just as CRC created a fraudulent counter-narrative to Kerry’s valorous war record, the firm introduced what we now might call “alternative facts” around Kavanaugh’s alleged assault of Ford: She’s not lying, but Kavanaugh didn’t do it.

This narrative became the safe harbor for 50 Republicans and one Democrat. In interviews over the weekend, Collins made clear that she’d swallowed the theory whole. As she told 60 Minutes of Ford: “I believed that a sexual assault had happened to her. What I think she is mistaken about is who the perpetrator was. I do not believe her assailant was Brett Kavanaugh.”

The Trump administration is not a break from the Republican party. Brett Kavanaugh represents and reveals the ruthless through-line of a GOP that cares more about power than either truth or the rule of law.  

Somewhere Karl Rove is smiling.

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+11 # angryspittle 2018-10-09 14:42
There is an active drive to impeach Kavanaugh. I would submit that a more effective method would be to bring charges of perjury against him by the appropriate authorities for huis lying to the committee during his hearings. I believe that would be much more directly effective.
-5 # dquandle 2018-10-09 16:41
"...o Kerry’s valorous war record,"

"war hero John Kerry"

What is this shit???

Kerry was a f-ing war criminal, who committed atrocities, just like the late and utterly vile Senator McGoon.

“[T]he fabled and distinguished chief of naval operations, Admiral Elmo Zumwalt, told me –30 years ago when he was still CNO [chief naval officer in Vietnam] that during his own command of U.S. naval forces in Vietnam, just prior to his anointment as CNO, young Kerry had created great problems for him and the other top brass, by killing so many non-combatant civilians and going after other non-military targets."

and much more on Kerry atrocities from:

and more recently:

"Why did Secretary Kerry’s conscience go untroubled by possible war crimes repercussions when US forces killed at least 42 civilians in an AC-130U gunship attack on a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan a year ago this month?"\
0 # laborequalswealth 2018-10-11 13:07
I agree with you. These guys were pretty much all war criminals - or came back heroin addicts. Or both.
+2 # 2018-10-10 19:11
Yep-- it's so obvious. The T-Rex is much more clumsy in his criminality, but now he's got the consummate professionals working for him. He really needed a new Fixer, once Cohen went down to the felonies. But, now the real pros have it covered, in the nick of time!- (yikes, it's blood-chilling! )- I don't see what the big thrill is-- Power??...whoop ee-doo-da!!-???
+1 # laborequalswealth 2018-10-11 13:05
Once again we can thank useless Demos for Kavanaugh. Why on earth focus on a 3 decade-old incident when there were a TON of reasons Kavanaugh should have been nixed, from his total LACK of experience as a real lawyer to his being a paid political operative of Bush to his nauseating role in the Ken Star Follies.

The only thing the Ford allegations did - and this WAS valuable - was to goad Kavanaugh into exposing his mean-drunk nastiest and political bias to the country.

Anyone else remember when the GOP was shreking that "the issue is character"?
0 # DongiC 2018-10-13 02:02
A careful examination of the record reveals the depravity of both major political parties in enabling Brett Kavanaugh to gain a seat on the Supreme Court. A phony investigation, completely hypocritical speeches by many of the leading principals (Grassley, Hatch, Collins, McConnell, Graham) topped off by a tirade by a truly nasty nominee (Kavanaugh) and what we have is a complete breeakdown of the constitutional process of advise and consent.

This is the government by which we solve the problem of inordinate control by the super wealthy? By which we promote the general welfare of all the people? By which we bring a new birth of freedom to these citizens of the United States? This is making America great again?

Trump and his wretched companions have orchestrated the greatest con job in American History. They have demonstrated that a government of the rich, by the rich, and for the rich, shall not perish from this land. The GOP has become the agent of corruption for all of us. Our Democracy has caught a fatal disease. Can the Progressives save it or will the new aristocrats prevail? Only time will tell.

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