By Jon Keller

BOSTON (CBS) – Did you catch any of the Ford-Kavanagh showdown? I watched every minute of it because, for better or worse, that’s my job. And what I saw was a classic illustration of why just about everyone, across the political spectrum, has little or no respect for the D.C. political culture.

Right off the top, Senate Judiciary Committee chairman, Chuck Grassley made the moment all about partisanship, lashing out at his Democratic colleagues for playing politics with Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s charges against Brett Kavanaugh. Of course they are, but that left Grassley and his fellow Republicans looking foolish when the Democrats and Ford herself hammered them for refusing to compel testimony from an eyewitness to the alleged assault, Mark Judge. It was a stark reminder that in Washington, everyone cares about their political standing but few care about the truth.

Dr. Christine Blasey Ford on Capitol Hill September 27, 2018. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

The Republicans not only emboldened their political adversaries, but also likely infuriated their allies with their foolish format, in which they stayed mute behind the fragmented questioning of an inept female prosecutor, who repeatedly asked questions without knowing the answer in advance that were meatballs for Ford to knock out of the park.

Rachel Mitchell, counsel for Senate Judiciary Committee Republicans, questions Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. (Photo By Tom Williams-Pool/Getty Images)

And then came the judge himself, convincingly outraged and devastated but conspicuously failing to demand the committee do what it should have already done, subpoena Mark Judge and have the FBI investigate.

Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh on Capitol Hill, September 27, 2018. (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

What did we learn from this hearing? That few in Washington have a real clue about why they are held in such universal contempt, and show little sign of getting one.

Your comments are welcome, via email at, or use Twitter, @kelleratlarge.

Jon Keller

Comments (7)
  1. Mark Judge already replied in writing saying he has absolutely no memory of this gathering…bringing him in to testify that he has no memory of this would not help anything?…

    1. Theodore Oule says:

      Sorry, Eddie…I accidentally clicked on “Report comment”. I had no such intention.

      You are on the mark with your comment regarding Mark Judge. A sworn affidavit is the equivalent of sworn testimony and is to be given equal weight in deliberations. In most cases, it deserves more weight as it is infinitely more difficult to take the written word out of context than it is for the oral testimony.

      What Jon was seeking, after decrying the ridiculous theater of this hearing, was just another round of ridiculous theater over which he and his colleagues could wring their hands and opine as if they were serious analysts of monumentally weighty public affairs…

  2. Theodore Oule says:

    Oh, do I agree with your thinking that this whole matter gave crystal clarity to the thoughts that our government has lost its way and that the participants haven’t a clue as to why the voters have such little faith in our representatives and senators.

    The only bright spot was that Massachusetts didn’t have the embarrassment of having one of our senators…either the one who puffed her resume with the claim of Indian heritage or distinguished Third Senator from the great state of Maryland…on the dais trying to run for president or trying to prove show that he is relevant.

    It was also nice not to see the stony face of one guilty of the manslaughter of a young woman…who was not his wife…by leaving her in a wrecked car at the bottom of a tidal creek while he lawyered up to assure his political future.

    This hearing was every bit of the predictable farce that it turned out to be. The underhanded way that Senator Diane Feinstein used to make this a national embarrassment was deliberate, insulting, and beyond excusable. She sandbagged Judge Kavanaugh, clear and simple. But she also proved beyond doubt that she is not worthy of the trust she has been given as Ranking Member of the Judiciary Committee, and dead-set against the basic principles of a functioning democratic institution.

    And, so we are left with a he-said/she-said situation, just as was predicted when this whole political trap was sprung just a sort week ago. We are left scratching our heads as to what, exactly, was accomplished, and just how much damage was done to the processes by which out political institutions operate.

    I would suggest that little changed in the minds of The People, and, just as Harry Reid misread the future when he imposed “the nuclear option”, the Democrats have made their return to power, as they inevitably will in the future, fraught with much more destructive land mines and far stouter barriers to achievement of their political goals.

    As for Judge Kavanaugh’s passion in his own defense? What do you think he was going to do, especially since he knows…believes…thinks…that he is innocent of the charges? Would you, in his shoes, be any more composed?

    I doubt it, Jon. I doubt seriously that there are many men out there that would have taken all of this with the composure and grace with which Bret Kavanaugh has taken these accusations and the zoo-like nature that politicians and journalists, alike, have treated this matter.

  3. Carol Freeman says:

    Au contraire, all the pols in Washington do have a clue about why they are held in universal contempt…they just could not care less.

  4. I am totally disgusted with the Democrats and some of the Republicans as well. I would vote their sorry butts out of office. But, alas, I can only vote out our two Senators, and our representatives, which I intend to do as they approach reelection. Pocahontas, you are #1 on my list for removal at voting time. You are a disgraced to MA and all the voters, some of whom are blind to your actions.