Return of the cigar

Helaine Olen at the Post warns us that Kavanaugh is not the folksy nice guy he pretends to be.

Now that a second woman, Deborah Ramirez, has stepped forward to accuse a drunk, teenaged Brett Kavanaugh of gross sexual misconduct, The Post’s weekend piecerecounting the behind-the-scenes prep he’s undergoing to prepare him for his expected testimony later this week in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee takes on even more resonance.

In short, Kavanaugh wasn’t interested in answering questions about his past:

But Kavanaugh grew frustrated when it came to questions that dug into his private life, particularly his drinking habits and his sexual proclivities, according to three people familiar with the preparations, who requested anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. He declined to answer some questions altogether, saying they were too personal, these people said.

And yet – and yet – in the view of the Brett Kavanaugh of twenty years ago, no question was “too personal” for Bill Clinton.

Kavanaugh not only thought Clinton needed to be questioned about his relations with Lewinsky; he also wanted Clinton to be interrogated in the most detailed and specific way possible. He drew up a memo with a series of 10 sexually explicit questions about Clinton’s relationship with Lewinsky. He claimed he wanted to establish Clinton had no defense for his “pattern of behavior.” As a result, “[the] idea of going easy on him at the questioning is thus abhorrent to me,” Kavanaugh wrote in the summer of 1998.

To say that the questions Kavanaugh came up with for Clinton were prurient doesn’t do justice to the gross invasiveness and detail he sought. These queries are of the sort that are even now uncomfortable to write out and list in a family newspaper, or discuss in mixed company. Sexual proclivities? “If Monica Lewinsky says you inserted a cigar into her vagina while you were in the Oval Office area, would she be lying?” and “If Monica Lewinsky says that you masturbated into a trashcan in your secretary’s office, would she [be] lying?”

Note that this was about two adults doing consensual things; it was not about non-consensual assault.

The allegations made by Christine Blasey Ford and now Kavanaugh’s Yale classmate Ramirez do not, like Lewinsky and Clinton, involve two consenting adults. They are, instead, accusations of serious, nonconsensual sexual misconduct. They raise questions much more legitimate than the questions Kavanaugh would have had Clinton answer. They indicate, to use Kavanaugh’s own words, a possible “pattern of behavior.”

Of violent, abusive, mean behavior – the penis in the face item that Ramirez reports was used to mock her afterwards; Kavanaugh was a young bully. He may have improved since then but I bet there are plenty of good lawyers who were never young bullies.

But 20 years later, it turns out there was a purpose and need for those questions for Clinton — just not one Kavanaugh or anyone else could have imagined at the time. Thanks to their existence, we can say with certainty that Kavanaugh is not just the nice, aw-shucks guy he would have us think.

The questions Kavanaugh wanted to ask of Clinton — long before anyone went public with allegations against him — are clear proof there is a side to Kavanaugh that many of his defenders, both male and female, do not want to acknowledge. Now that he faces not one, but two accusations of misconduct, he deserves every question that comes his way, no matter how invasive.

But but but girls’ basketball.

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