Brett Kavanaugh insisted to the Senate judiciary committee that he is “a good man.” He says so, and so do his friends.
Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee relied on a traditional defense: the myth that “a good man” by mainstream society’s standard accounting is incapable of committing sexual assault, as he has been accused of by Christine Blasey Ford.
Unfortunately, often times “good men” are still very much men. The culture that supports sexual misconduct reinforces the fact that much of the way we have socialized men is at fault.
Within any boys’ club—male Republican federal judges and US senators included—it would be is no surprise to observe a tendency to see accusations only through that lens. It’s using the wrong defense for the wrong crime. Witness some of history’s most revered men and their often criminal relations with women.
The lack of a formal FBI investigation means that we may be fated to remain unsure about whether Kavanaugh is “a good man” or not. Here are some of the ways he tried to build his narrative around that designation today (Sept . 27):
“This has destroyed my family and my good name. A good name built up through decades of very hard work and public service at the highest levels of the American government.”
“One of those women friends from college, a self-described liberal and feminist sent me a text last night that said, quote, ‘Deep breaths. You’re a good man. A good man. Good man.’ “
“No one can question your efforts and your coordinated and well-funded effort to destroy my good name and destroy my family will not drive me out.”
“One of my former women students, a Democrat, testified to this committee that I was an even-handed professor who treats people fairly and with respect.”
Supporters ran with the narrative as well. “I think that every woman who’s ever known Brett Kavanaugh has vouched for him being a good guy, everybody that I know that’s worked with him says he’s a fine man,” Sen. Lindsey Graham told CBS ahead of the hearing Thursday. “I don’t think he’s a Bill Cosby, I think he’s a good decent guy,” said Graham.
And ahead of the hearing, Donald Trump offered his friendly assessment of Kavanaugh’s moral stature: “if she (Ford) shows up and makes a credible showing, that will be very interesting and we’ll have to make a decision. But I can only say this: He is such an outstanding man.”