Judge Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court was approved on an 11-10 party-line vote Friday in the Senate Judiciary Committee. Yet his confirmation is not assured.
Sen. Jeff Flake, Republican of Arizona, has demanded and gotten as the price of his vote on the floor, a weeklong delay. And the GOP Senate has agreed to Democrat demands for a new FBI investigation of all credible charges of sexual abuse against the judge.
Astonishing. With a quarter century in public service, Kavanaugh has undergone six FBI field investigations. They turned up nothing like the charges of sexual misconduct leveled against him these last two weeks.
In his 30 hours of public testimony before the judiciary committee prior to Thursday, no senator had raised an issue of a sexual misconduct.
But if Brett Kavanaugh is elevated to the Supreme Court, it will be because, in his final appearance, he tore up the script assigned to him. He set aside his judicial demeanor to fight for his good name with the passion and righteous rage of the innocent and good man he believes himself to be.
He turned an inquisition into his character and conduct as a teenager into a blazing indictment of the Democratic minority for what they were doing to his reputation and his family.
Rather than play the role of penitent, Kavanaugh did what Clarence Thomas did 30 years before. He attacked the character, conduct, and motives of his Democratic accusers.
And did the judge not speak the truth? With few exceptions, all four dozen Senate Democrats are determined to defeat him, even if that requires them to destroy him.
They rejected Brett Kavanaugh the day he was nominated.
Why? Because the judge is a conservative and a Catholic, hence an unreliable vote to sustain Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that discovered hidden in the Constitution a woman's right to abort her unborn child.
The verdict on the judge came down in the hearts and minds of his enemies the moment that he was named. They had him convicted, before they met him. And once his fate was decided, the only remaining issues were where to find the dirt to bury him with, and how to make it look like they had given Kavanaugh a fair hearing.
Contrast how Kavanaugh, who has served his country with distinction for decades, was treated Thursday, and how Dr. Christine Blasey Ford was treated.
Ford was greeted with courtly courtesy by Chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley. No Republican senator asked her a question. Rachel Mitchell, a prosecutor of sex crimes brought in from Arizona, quizzed her as though she were a 15-year-old girl who had just been attacked, not a 51-year-old woman whose uncorroborated accusations were designed not only to defeat a Supreme Court nomination but to destroy the career, family, and future of a federal judge.
After each five-minutes of polite questioning by Mitchell, Democratic senators took turns lauding Ford's courage, bravery, and heroism in agreeing to appear.
Ford's testimony as to what she says happened in 1982 did seem credible and compelling. Yet, to allow her accusation of attempted rape to stand without tough and thorough cross-examination, given the stakes involved, was a dereliction of Senate duty.
Consider. Ford does not recall how she got to the party where the alleged assault took place. She does not know where the party was held. She does now recall how she got home.
None of the other four she said were at the party recall being there. Her best friend, whom she apparently left behind as the lone woman in a house with a pair of drunken rapists, does not recall any such party. Nor does she recall ever having met Kavanaugh.
Consider the other charges leveled against Kavanaugh in the last two weeks: Exposing himself in the face of a freshman girl in a dorm at Yale. Participating in a series of at least 10 parties in high school where planned gang rapes of drunken and drugged women were a regular feature, with the boys lining up outside bedrooms.
In six FBI background investigations of Kavanaugh, interviewing countless friends and contemporaries from high school days, none of this wild and criminal misconduct of the early '80s was mentioned.
"This is the most unethical sham since I've been in politics," said Sen. Lindsey Graham, "I hope that the American people will see through this charade."
They had best do so. For what is being done to Kavanaugh is, if Democrats take control of Congress in November, a harbinger of what is to come. The assault on Kavanaugh, converting a man known for his integrity into a youthful Jack the Ripper in 10 days, is the playbook for what is planned for Trump.
The Kavanaugh lynching is a dress rehearsal for the impeachment of Donald Trump. And the best way to fight impeachment is the way the judge fought Thursday.
In defending yourself, go after your malevolent accusers as well.
Patrick Buchanan has been an adviser to three presidents, a two-time candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, and the nominee for the Reform Party in 2000. He was also a founding member of "The McLaughlin Group," which began on NBC, and CNN's "Capital Gang" and "Crossfire." His latest book is: "The Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose From Defeat to Create the New Majority." For more of his reports, Go Here Now.