Andrew Levine in Counterpunch:
In his appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee last week, Brett Kavanaugh put on a prodigious display of vacuity and mendacity. Kavanaugh is the retrograde jurist picked by Donald Trump to fill the Supreme Court vacancy that arose when the Court’s “swing vote,” Anthony Kennedy, retired. His politics is god awful, but that is hardly news. It was a sure thing that Trump would nominate someone with god-awful politics. Because he knows little and cares less about the judicial system, except when it impinges on his financial shenanigans, and because, as part of his pact with “conservatives” Trump outsourced judicial appointments to the Federalist Society, anyone he would nominate was bound to come with god-awful politics. At least, this particular god-awful jurist is well schooled, well spoken (in the way that lawyers are), and intelligent enough to talk like a lawyer or judge, while dissembling shamelessly and saying nothing of substance. That puts him leagues ahead of Trump. It also puts him head and shoulders above the average Republican. But let’s not praise him too much on that account; much the same could be said of Ted Cruz. Because politically the two of them are so much alike, it is instructive to compare Kavanaugh with that villainous Texas Senator.
Cruz is perhaps the most detested legislator in Washington. It has been said of him that “loathsome” attaches to his name in the way that, in the Iliad, “fleet footed” attached to the name of Achilles. On the other hand, Kavanaugh is said to be a nice guy. As much or more than his qualifications, the GOP public relations line on him focuses on what a fine, husband, father, neighbor, and colleague he is. Perhaps he really is. But why should anyone who doesn’t have to live with or otherwise deal with him on a personal basis care? Could it be that his handlers don’t want anyone to think of him in the same frame as Cruz or, for that matter, the president who put his name forward? Niceness marks a clear difference between him and them.