Brett Kavanaugh’s Awful Character Witness

It’s very unfortunate for Brett Kavanaugh that the only person in the world besides himself and Christine Blasey Ford who might know with certainty what happened in that Montgomery County, Maryland, bedroom 36 years ago is someone the Republicans absolutely do not want to call as a witness. I say this witness might know what happened because Mark Judge may have been too drunk to have remembered the incident the next morning, let alone after three-and-a-half decades have elapsed. Professor Ford, if she testifies, will undoubtedly state again for the record that both Kavanaugh and Judge were extremely drunk that evening. And there’s nothing in Judge’s record to make us doubt this.

In fact, Judge, who is an alcoholic in recovery, wrote a memoir about his teenage and college years back in the mid-1990s called, Wasted: Tales of a Gen X Drunk. He followed that up with another memoir in 2005: God and Man at Georgetown Prep. In the former, he inadequately anonymized Brett Kavanaugh as “Bart O’Kavanaugh” when describing an incident where his friend “puked in someone’s car” and “passed out on his way back from a party.”

It’s clear from the record that Brett Kavanaugh was in the habit of getting highly intoxicated at high school parties. It’s also clear  that Matt Judge had some highly dubious judgment about what makes for an appropriate yearbook quote.

I don’t know anyone who would have used that Noël Coward quote about people striking women regularly like gongs in their yearbook. Do you?

Here’s what Judge’s own brother had to say about him and his Wasted memoir:

Mark claims in his book that we all lived in terror of my father’s drunken outbursts. I can only say that he is right in one thing; my family did come to fear one of its members. As another member of our family commented during one of many meetings about Mark’s behavior, “Mark went to Markland a long time ago.” He still lives there. Sadly for my mother, that still means home. 

And that’s it, that’s the real problem—not alcoholism or a lousy childhood or an abusive father. Mark is a solipsist: spoiled as a child, gazing always inward, unable to recognize any pain but his own.

As you can see, Mark Judge is about the least optimal character witness you could ask for, especially on the subject at hand.  And this probably explains why Lindsey Graham, who serves on the Judiciary Committee, does not think it is necessary to get Mr. Judge under oath.

In politics, you can often tell how weak a hand someone is holding by the tortured arguments they make. And judging by Sen. Lindsey O. Graham’s (R-S.C.) defense Tuesday of his fellow Judiciary Committee Republicans, the GOP isn’t holding much.

The committee is currently planning Monday’s hearing featuring Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and his accuser, Christine Blasey Ford. But Chairman Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) said Tuesday that they would be the only two witnesses, and that has Democrats crying foul.

First on the list of people whose presence would seem important would be Mark Judge. He’s the other person Ford has said was in the room during the alleged assault 35 years ago. He’s an alleged eyewitness who has flatly denied Ford’s account. And yet, per Grassley, he won’t be there.

When The Post’s Seung Min Kim asked Graham on Tuesday whether Judge should be called, Graham demurred.

“No reason to,” Graham responded. “He’s already said what he’s gonna say. I want to hear from her, if she wants to speak, and I want to hear from him.”

The Washington Post‘s Aaron Blake has an obvious response:

This . . . is not really how it works. Judge can deny Ford’s allegations all day long publicly and never be held legally accountable for his words. The only setting in which his denials must be accurate or he risks jail time is if he’s testifying — either in a courtroom or to Congress. Getting him on the record and under oath would both seem to be good as a matter of course and when it comes to bolstering Kavanaugh’s defense.

Indeed, this is the very point of holding hearings, and Graham knows it.

But Graham also knows that if Judge is called as a character witness, the Democrats will want to know about all those nights he and Kavanaugh got black-out drunk and puked in people’s cars. They’ll ask him whether he still thinks that some women should be struck regularly like gongs. They’ll want to ask him about his advocacy for “the wonderful beauty of uncontrollable male passion.”

And none of that is going to be remotely helpful to Kavanaugh’s cause.

Martin Longman

Martin Longman is the web editor for the Washington Monthly and the main blogger at Booman Tribune.