Bob Schwartz

The Trump/Cosby/Weinstein Analysis Becomes the Kavanaugh Analysis: Individual Incidents or Pattern of Behavior or Bad Character. Or All of the Above.

We’ve been learning the hard way how it works when people of power, prestige or celebrity are accused of bad things. Individual and isolated incidents are denied or covered up. Even if there is a smattering of proof, this keeps the focus away from the more important issues of patterns of behavior or bad character. In fact, when you bolster with endorsements of “good character”, the impact of the individual incidents is softened, and a pattern of behavior becomes unthinkable.

We have reached the point in the Brett Kavanaugh consideration where individual incidents are being set aside or shot down, just as evidence of a pattern of behavior or bad character is creeping in. That evidence isn’t even new. His high school drinking and debauchery buddy Mark Judge has written in his memoir about drunken exploits with his thinly disguised pal “Bart O’Kavanagh”. Judge will not be questioned, and merely says that he was given to frequent alcoholic blackouts (in high school and for years to come), and so he has no memory of the particular incident. Which begs the question of whether he and Kavanaugh engaged in a pattern of drunken and drugged exploitation of young women—something Judge no doubt remembers, even in an alcoholic haze.

It took years—decades—for the sordid past to catch up with Cosby, Weinstein, and others. Astonishingly, the sordid past still hasn’t caught up with Trump. If you ask Republicans, we have literally days to decide whether Kavanaugh has the character to serve on the Supreme Court. There is evidence that he does not, and it is something that can be determined only by a true due diligence review of the individual incidents, of a pattern of behavior and of character. There is no need to rush to judgment, and every reason to pause.

“That’s Pride F***in’ Wit Ya”: Rod Rosenstein Could Never Figure Out Whether to Follow Self-Interest, Duty or Conscience

All public servants in the Trump era—from Senators and cabinet members on down—have three possible paths to follow:

Follow your self-interest
Follow your duty, to job and to country
Follow your conscience

Many of the highest level people in the government have taken the easy path of least resistance and most gain, and have chosen self-interest, even as they try to disguise it as duty or conscience. But a number of people, many of whom finally left the government—voluntarily or not—have had to wrestle with these choices.

Whatever is happening to Rod Rosenstein, a good public servant, he never seemed to be able to figure out exactly how to be a good public servant in such strange times. He knew he owed a duty to his office and to his country, which meant a duty to his president, but that came in conflict with his conscience.

I have previously cited the movie Pulp Fiction on the question of expedience, and I repeat it here.

At this point in the movie bad boss Marsellus Wallace (Ving Rhames) is convincing aging boxer Butch Coolidge (Bruce Willis) to take a dive:

I think you’re gonna find ­ when all this shit is over and done ­ I think you’re gonna find yourself one smilin’ motherfucker. Thing is Butch, right now you got ability. But painful as it may be, ability don’t last. Now that’s a hard motherfuckin’ fact of life, but it’s a fact of life your ass is gonna hafta git realistic about. This business is filled to the brim with unrealistic motherfuckers who thought their ass aged like wine. Besides, even if you went all the way, what would you be? Feather-weight champion of the world. Who gives a shit? I doubt you can even get a credit card based on that.

Now the night of the fight, you may fell a slight sting, that’s pride fuckin’ wit ya. Fuck pride! Pride only hurts, it never helps. Fight through that shit. ‘Cause a year from now, when you’re kickin’ it in the Caribbean you’re gonna say, “Marsellus Wallace was right.”

Note: For those who haven’t seen Pulp Fiction (why not?), in the end Marsellus Wallace gets his, in the spirit of Quentin Tarantino’s sense of rough and uncertain justice.