Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Slow Down There, Foks

I did not intend this week to blog about the political prospects of any of the 763 Democrats considering running for President, nor about the Baltimore Ravens' quarterback controversy.  However, a recent New Yorker chat with Minnesota Democrat and Senate Judiciary Committee member Amy Klobuchar included a question beginning "your response to Kavanaugh was so straightforward, unpersonalized. A different kind of politics than we're used to."

In November, an impressed Will Bunch maintained that Klobuchar is "absolutely right on the politics." He also waxed enthusiastic because the senator is from the Midwest- where, as he noted, the last Democratic presidential nominee unacceptably faltered.  Additionally, Klobuchar is in the mold of "center-left women who promised liberal-but-not-radical reforms to health care and education" who ran impressively well on November 6, as did she.

There was no mention that the last Democratic presidential nominee, who flopped while an odds-on favorite to win election, is a center-left woman who promised liberal-but-not-radical reforms to health care and education.

 But never mind.   While an argument can be made that Klobuchar, as an inoffensive woman (unlike, say, Hillary Clinton or Kamala Harris) who is not an inveterate free-trader is a solid prospect, objectivity flew out the window when Bunch argued

Klobuchar got something of a political break — even if America didn't — when she found herself facing off in the Senate Judiciary Committee with embattled jurist Brett Kavanaugh, who tried to bully the Minnesotan. When Klobuchar mentioned her father's struggles with alcohol and pressed the nominee on his own alleged drinking problem, Kavanaugh bizarrely tried to throw shade back on her, saying "I think you've probably had beers, senator," and asking her if she'd blacked out. Klobuchar responded with dignity and grace ("I have no drinking problem, Judge") while staying on course with tough questioning. The moment made Klobuchar a star, if not yet a superstar.

It also raised Klobuchar’s media profile....

It did raise the Senator's profile, though the party's last nominee may not agree that widespread name recognition is key to being elected President. Moreover, she recognizes that responding to your opponent "with dignity and grace" may even be a hindrance.

Nonetheless, Senator Klobuchar once a prosecutor in Hennepin County, Minnesota, did respond with dignity and grace- especially if "dignity and grace" is spelled "being owned."

Kavanaugh (below) states "I provided material that's still redacted about the situation with the second-year roommate and I don't really want to repeat that in a public hearing." Klobuchar nods her head in agreement with a candidate she opposed. Kavanaugh, seizing on an opportunity to show his human side, smiles and tells a brief story about a roommate, after which Klobuchar smiles again.

"So there's never been a case." Klobuchar asked, "where you drank so much that you didn't remember what happened the night before or part of what happened." That is a sharp contrast to "tough questioning." Not surprisingly, with the "question" framed more as a statement, Kavanaugh agreed with Klobuchar that he has no drinking problem.

The nominee did not "bizarrely" try "to throw shade back on her." He successfully threw shade upon her, in so doing turning the issue back to her. For that brief moment- which concluded her time- the interviewer and the interviewee switched roles. Kavanaugh took over the interview.

In classic prosecutorial style, the Senator had led the witness- except in this case, she led him into an answer he wanted to give, one which undermined the Democratic argument against the nominee. It's an ideal outcome for a witness aiming to control the interview, and Klobuchar got served.

Bunch is not alone in romanticizing Amy Klobuchar's conversation with the judge, which may increase the Senator's odds of ending up on the national ticket in 2020. However, while in her brief time with Bart O'Kavanaugh she elevated her profile, she also enhanced (however marginally) the image of an undesirable nominee for the US Supreme Court.

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