The utter desperation of Brett Kavanaugh is evidence of the effort Republicans have invested in him.

If Brett Kavanaugh had bought network time to sell himself to the American people, I would not be as disappointed as I am today.

Sitting for a Monday evening interview on Fox News—the network which serves as Trump’s Chief-of Staff and legal advisor—Kavanaugh has now erased what was becoming a very blurry line between running for political office and standing for a seat on the Supreme Court.

There’s no more line: he’s running for office. As a Republican.

And his desperation—all the favors he owes to all the people who got him there and all the secrets he’s been able to hide—scares me as much as any policy tendencies he’s shown. He will not withdraw; he can’t. Too many millions of dollars and too many conservative think-tank hours have been utilized to get him this far. McConnell knows it. He owes people a confirmation. So does Graham. The pressure is on.

Kavanaugh has been either circumspect or cunning about his past—the word choice is up to you: that much was evidenced by a sea of almost laughably evasive responses to committee questions; but the Fox appearance, his robotic comments and passionless defense, were awful to witness. As Jeff Greenfield pointed out in Politico, this was Kavanaugh’s “Checkers speech,”

It didn’t work for Nixon; it shouldn’t work for Kavanaugh.

I haven’t even mentioned the charges of sexual misconduct, but though that has everybody charged up, it’s just a piece of a larger picture which the Republicans don’t want assembled but apparently will be anyway. And yes, I do fear the nomination of someone even further right than Kavanaugh, but we can fight only one battle at a time.

In normal times, in light of the events of the past week, Brett Kavanaugh would have been dismissed outright. Instead a professional woman with a sterling reputation is receiving death threats, and the woman whom the Republicans have hired to question her remains anonymous purportedly for the same reason—all to protect a tremendously unpopular nominee.

These aren’t normal times. We can’t make believe they are.

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