Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Please Support CounterPunch’s Annual Fund Drive
We don’t run corporate ads. We don’t shake our readers down for money every month or every quarter like some other sites out there. We only ask you once a year, but when we ask we mean it. So, please, help as much as you can. We provide our site for free to all, but the bandwidth we pay to do so doesn’t come cheap. All contributions are tax-deductible.
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Why Conservatives (Still) Like Kavanaugh

Senator Collins should be proud of herself. She will now potentially go down in history as the woman who made the overthrow of Roe v. Wade possible — despite her allegedly pro-choice views.

Her name will go down in the annals of self-hating women along with the likes of Phyllis Schlafly and Laura Ingraham. Swing-vote Senators Jeff Flake and Joe Manchin will likely emerge unscathed, given that men are rarely held responsible for contributing to women’s oppression. Kavanaugh’s successful confirmation is case in point.

It may be tempting to fall into dismay, to grow red in the face, to wonder how this could have happened — how could these educated people so brazenly fall for the (bad) acting of Judge Kavanaugh and doubt Dr. Ford, who even Fox News’s Chris Wallace called “extremely credible”? Moreover, how could they ignore retired Justice John Paul Stephen’s argument that Kavanaugh, even if innocent of sexual assault and drunken disorderly conduct, is still unfit to hold the gavel due to the hyper-partisanship he displayed after Dr. Ford’s testimony? These are important questions, but I believe they miss the larger truth.

The truth is that it’s irrelevant whether conservatives believe Dr. Ford: they simply do not care. They don’t care about Ford or any other outsider to their cause. They do not operate based on principles of justice — at least not the same principles of justice that liberals are familiar with. They are not concerned with a careful examination of the evidence when doing so might challenge their worldview. George Lakoff made similar claims several years ago. He explained why liberals fail to win elections, along with the hearts and minds of conservatives. Yet Democrats and liberals continue to operate in a vacuum and continue to lose winnable battles.

As painful as it was for liberals to watch Kavanaugh’s emotional display — complete with nostalgic sobbing, conspiratorial accusations, and awkward, self-righteous anger — conservative viewers likely empathized with him even more. In Arlie Russell Hochschild’s recent book, Strangers in Their Own Land, she demonstrates how conservatives “identify up” with those who are more privileged. They also do not like being told by over-zealous liberals that they should feel something for the little guy (read poor people, immigrants, sexual assault survivors, etc.). Bottom line: conservatives see in Judge Kavanaugh someone they admire while they see in Dr. Ford an obstacle to their own, in this case vicarious, success. Therefore, it is not Orwellian doublespeak to claim that both Ford and Kavanaugh were credible witnesses in the Sept. 28 Senate hearing; nor is it cause to dredge up dubious theories of mistaken identity. Both witnesses can be credible at the same time but in different ways: Ford is credible due to her temperament, professionalism, and consistency while Kavanaugh is credible due to his success and his loyalty to conservative causes. Oh, and it also helps that he’s a white man.

If there is one major takeaway for liberals — other than to keep fighting and avoid despair — it is increased awareness of how conservatives view this unprecedented fight for a Supreme Court majority. For the Left, it’s about what is just. It’s about empowering the disempowered, and, in the same vein, it’s about placing checks on power and privilege. For the Right, it’s about tribal loyalty. It’s about winning. Kavanaugh may not be perfect, but he’s their guy. They must protect him from those who would impede his progress, and, by extension, their own progress and that of their families and communities — as they see it. Justice for those outside their allegiances is not a compelling enough reason to be disloyal.

Susan Collins is a Republican who answers to her conservative base. This, to me, best explains her vote. History will be the ultimate judge.

More articles by:
October 16, 2018
Gregory Elich
Diplomatic Deadlock: Can U.S.-North Korea Diplomacy Survive Maximum Pressure?
Rob Seimetz
Talking About Death While In Decadence
Kent Paterson
Fifty Years of Mexican October
Robert Fantina
Trump, Iran and Sanctions
Greg Macdougall
Indigenous Suicide in Canada
Kenneth Surin
On Reading the Diaries of Tony Benn, Britain’s Greatest Labour Politician
Andrew Bacevich
Unsolicited Advice for an Undeclared Presidential Candidate: a Letter to Elizabeth Warren
Thomas Knapp
Facebook Meddles in the 2018 Midterm Elections
Muhammad Othman
Khashoggi and Demetracopoulos
Gerry Brown
Lies, Damn Lies & Statistics: How the US Weaponizes Them to Accuse  China of Debt Trap Diplomacy
Christian Ingo Lenz Dunker – Peter Lehman
The Brazilian Presidential Elections and “The Rules of The Game”
Robert Fisk
What a Forgotten Shipwreck in the Irish Sea Can Tell Us About Brexit
Martin Billheimer
Here Cochise Everywhere
David Swanson
Humanitarian Bombs
Dean Baker
The Federal Reserve is Not a Church
October 15, 2018
Rob Urie
Climate Crisis is Upon Us
Conn Hallinan
Syria’s Chessboard
Patrick Cockburn
The Saudi Atrocities in Yemen are a Worse Story Than the Disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi
Sheldon Richman
Trump’s Middle East Delusions Persist
Justin T. McPhee
Uberrima Fides? Witness K, East Timor and the Economy of Espionage
Tom Gill
Spain’s Left Turn?
Jeff Cohen
Few Democrats Offer Alternatives to War-Weary Voters
Dean Baker
Corporate Debt Scares
Gary Leupp
The Khashoggi Affair and and the Anti-Iran Axis
Russell Mokhiber
Sarah Chayes Calls on West Virginians to Write In No More Manchins
Clark T. Scott
Acclimated Behaviorisms
Kary Love
Evolution of Religion
Colin Todhunter
From GM Potatoes to Glyphosate: Regulatory Delinquency and Toxic Agriculture
Binoy Kampmark
Evacuating Nauru: Médecins Sans Frontières and Australia’s Refugee Dilemma
Marvin Kitman
The Kitman Plan for Peace in the Middle East: Two Proposals
Weekend Edition
October 12, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Becky Grant
My History with Alexander Cockburn and The Financial Future of CounterPunch
Paul Street
For Popular Sovereignty, Beyond Absurdity
Nick Pemberton
The Colonial Pantsuit: What We Didn’t Want to Know About Africa
Jeffrey St. Clair
The Summer of No Return
Jeff Halper
Choices Made: From Zionist Settler Colonialism to Decolonization
Gary Leupp
The Khashoggi Incident: Trump’s Special Relationship With the Saudi Monarchy
Andrew Levine
Democrats: Boost, Knock, Enthuse
Barbara Kantz
The Deportation Crisis: Report From Long Island
Doug Johnson
Nate Silver and 538’s Measurable 3.5% Democratic Bias and the 2018 House Race
Gwen Carr
This Stops Today: Seeking Justice for My Son Eric Garner
Robert Hunziker
Peak Carbon Emissions By 2020, or Else!
Arshad Khan
Is There Hope on a World Warming at 1.5 Degrees Celsius?
David Rosen
Packing the Supreme Court in the 21stCentury
Brian Cloughley
Trump’s Threats of Death and Destruction
Joel A. Harrison
The Case for a Non-Profit Single-Payer Healthcare System
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail