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What Did We Learn from the Brett Kavanaugh Confirmation?: Podcast

On the market for political combat and the lack of interest in the Afghanistan War

||| Emily Molli/NurPhoto/Sipa USA/NewscomEmily Molli/NurPhoto/Sipa USA/NewscomThe bruising fight over the narrow confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh is not going away. Republicans are gloating, Democrats are trial-ballooning impeachment and re-thinking the American structure of government, and both sides are claiming increases in voter enthusiasm. Just maybe, argue Katherine Mangu-Ward, Peter Suderman, Nick Gillespie, and yours truly in the Monday editor-roundtable edition of the Reason Podcast, this is the market for political combat at work.

Besides chewing over the many post-confirmation arguments, the quartet also discusses the 17th anniversary of the Afghanistan War and other grim policy fails that few can hear under all that shrieking. Also: Scooters!

Subscribe, rate, and review our podcast at iTunes. Listen at SoundCloud below:

Audio production by Ian Keyser.

'Two in The Back' by Blue Dot Sessions is licensed under CC BY NC 4.0

Relevant links from the show:

"The Senate Votes to Confirm Brett Kavanaugh," by Zuri Davis

"Brett Kavanaugh Will Be Confirmed, and Liberals Should Blame Michael Avenatti," by Robby Soave

"Jeff Flake and the Hated—Yet Vital—Libertarian Center," by Matt Welch

"The Case Against Court-Packing Revisited," by Ilya Somin

"Your Vote Doesn't Count," by Katherine Mangu-Ward

"Immigrant Girl Will Be Deported Because Adoptive Father Missed Deadline While Serving in Afghanistan," by Nick Gillespie

"Worldwide Refugee Population Hits All-Time High, U.S. Intake Reaches All-Time Low," by Matt Welch

"In Afghanistan, We Persist in Futility," by Steve Chapman

"Another Grim Report About the Afghanistan War. Is There Anyone Who Cares?" by Ed Krayewski

Don't miss a single Reason Podcast! (Archive here.)

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Photo Credit: Emily Molli/NurPhoto/Sipa USA/Newscom

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Bronze Khopesh||

    I learned that no amount of mentally undressing Feinstein, Klobachur or Blasley-Ford would lead to an erection.

  • Eddy||

    No trigger warning?

  • Dillinger||

    Swetnick?

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    We learned that Ford's accusations were so credible, they are denouncing their own witnesses.

  • Bubba Jones||

    And Ford declines to participate in any further investigation.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    I don't necessarily blame her for that. She had her shot, she took it, it missed. She made the cover of time, and I suspect there will be some possible speaking fees in her near future. Even for Ford, what good would it do?

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    She's set now. She will be a celebrity for all the bitter man hating dyke feminazis out there that hold 'The SCUM Manifesto' as their bible.

  • Weigel's Cock Ring||

    Like Elizabeth Nolan Brown, to name one example.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Whos elizabeth nolan brown?

  • ||

    That implies that she had an interest in taking down Kavanaugh. I'm not even sure that was true. It sure seemed like she was looking for others to determine consequences. She acted more like she was just unburdening her own emotional trauma, consequences be damned. That's not even a bad thing. It just means there wasn't necessarily a consequential intent to her actions.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    That implies that she had an interest in taking down Kavanaugh. I'm not even sure that was true.

    I believe that was the most likely scenario given the accusations and the paucity of her own witnesses and credible testimony.

  • BigT||

    Right. She agreed to 6 weeks of coaching by lawyers and a day of 'grilling' for jollies.

    So naive you are.

  • ||

    She acted more like she was just unburdening her own emotional trauma, consequences be damned. That's not even a bad thing.

    People taking definitive or decisive action without regard or responsibility for those actions constitutes a moral hazard in my book.

    I get what you're saying, she didn't have malicious intent, but libertarianism's not about the intentions. Kinda the opposite.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    Dropping it IS her best hope of avoiding perjury charges. Best to just bank her pay for the accusation, and fade into comfortable obscurity.

  • OpenBordersLiberal-tarian||

    She passed a lie detector test and asked for an FBI investigation. If you know this and still continue to doubt her, you might be a misogynist.

    #BelieveWomen

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    Lie detector tests are useless either way. I know this is a joke account, but I feel the need to reiterate this every time it is mentioned, simply because it is such an awful and pervasive belief.

  • Res ipsa loquitur||

    Nonsense, lie detectors are 100% accurate 12 % of the time.

  • DrZ||

    I am sorry, but 71% of all statistics are made up on the spot and your 12% has a more than 95% chance of being made up.

  • Curmudgeon44||

    So maybe truth serum would convince the haters.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Never before has political discourse been so, well, coarse.

  • Eddy||

    One of Reason's truly superior videos.

  • mamabug||

    That and 'how to ban guns in 5 easy steps' are my go-to's.

  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    What this confirmation fiasco has taught me is that we are most definitely in an anything goes winner takes all it's all about my tribe we have to win at any cost devolution. That and some elements of our population are more hysteric than at any time since trials by ordeal [that were supposed to have been replaced with jury trials by papal edict in 1215] and public executions by burning at the stake.

    I suppose concepts like innocent until proven guilty, due process, and substantial and corroborating evidence are just so not social justice oriented. I mean people are just feeling raped by all of this!

  • BigT||

    'social' justice. Needs the modifier because it's not justice.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    How so?

  • Woody Chip Hurrrrr?||

    This idea of impeaching Kavanaugh or packing the Supreme Court have got to be some of the worst Democratic brainstorms in recent memory, right along with how they nuked the filibuster for short term gain and pretended to be surprised when it bit them in the ass just a short while later.

    Go for it, bozoes. At least the politics will be entertaining.

  • Eddy||

    Future headline: The Supreme Court rules 112-94 that the constitutional "right to party" may be subject to "reasonable limitations" by limiting the volume at which fraternities play their dance music at night.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    Finally, I am ready to fight for my rights.

  • DiegoF||

    Court packing, children voting, felon voting (which I support, to be sure), Puerto Rico statehood...the Democrats will do it all--and get away with it all--if they ever get their hands on both houses and the presidency in the future for even two years. (Not to mention assault weapons ban, ban on personal firearms transfers, no fly no buy, etc., which hardly anyone doubts.) Well, the kids and felons voting are coming to all blue states no matter what...

    These current histrionics serve a longer purpose than it seems. They are there to whip all Democrats and "concerned centrists" up into such a frenzy about the existential dangerousness and ingenious ruthlessness of the Republicans that they drop all scruples and misgivings about the propriety of such measures. Why should they worry about damage to our political heritage if the Republicans have ensured that there is none left standing to defend? This is an emergency crisis situation, they have made sure of it, so anything goes on our part. We progs did not start this war! But we will finish it!

    I pray to God you all are right that the Democrats are not the natural governing party of this country, with their opponents just waiting out the demographic clock. But you're not.

  • John||

    Hispanics and blacks are not going to remain solidly Democratic forever anymore than the white working class did.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Democrats lost in 1860 and they started the civil war.

    Same trend is happening again.

    Nevevr ignore history as it gives students of it great insight into the future mistakes of the past.

  • John C. Randolph||

    Oh, they were surprised alright. They were certain Hillary was going to be the president, because everyone in their echo chamber told them so.

    -jcr

  • Pro Libertate||

    What we learned, Matt, is that we can't tell fiction from fact. Not in today's political and journalistic climate.

    As far as any structural debate goes, I'd rather go more minarchy than less, which, in U.S. terms, means restoring constitutional government. I was hoping a more libertarian justice to help that along, but baby steps, right?

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    I'd rather go more minarchy than less, which, in U.S. terms, means restoring constitutional government.

    I'm not sure Kavanaugh moves us in that direction.

    However, it was very hard to get a read of where he stands on key libertarian issues through the hysterical wailing and blizzard of believable, credible accusations.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Re Kavanaugh, me, either. I think he might be a wash, probably better than Kennedy, anyway. Kavanaugh does appear to want to reel back in Chevron deference, which could be a big deal. We'll see.

  • Ryan Frank||

    My read is Kavanaugh is good on almost everything except the 4th amendment. Which really sucks, but I'm rather more worried about the 1st and 2nd amendments at the moment. You never really know though, who the fuck would've thought that Roberts would be the one that saved Obamacare for instance.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I'd love to see a serious constitutionalist added to the Court, next time.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    And at the end of the day, he is just one of nine justices.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    When I was a kid we had nine justices on the SC. Now we have... 90 justices.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    #bluetsunami

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    As time went on I found myself having to remind myself that I don't actually care if Kavanaugh was confirmed since I was pretty iffy on what I knew from his beliefs anyway.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    I'm angry that I was quietly rooting for his confirmation (well, towards the end) merely because I felt it was going to send a message to the absolutely awful way this whole thing was handled. It's the exact wrong thing to do, but it was my emotional reaction to a lynch mob.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    I question what message was ultimately sent anyway. I'm not certain any lesson was learned here, by anyone who could use that lesson.

    I go to my Facebook, and I go to twitter, and I see nothing but absolute certainly that a serial rapist (serial, somehow they're confidant that he's out celebrating his confirmation with a rapin') has been put on the SC. And I can certainly say I would be pretty dang pissed if that's what I believe just happened.

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    There's never a lesson for them, because they are never wrong.

  • Bubba Jones||

    I prefer Trump to Hillary.

    I prefer Kavanaugh to whomever the Democrats want this week.

    If these accusations had been leveled in July and Trump had replaced him with someone else from the short list, I would have shrugged. I might even have been happy. e.g. I wasn't sad when W had to withdraw Harriet Miers.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    That's true: You don't need to like the guy being strung up to be glad the lynch mob was unsuccessful.

    I'd have preferred somebody else, but getting somebody else at the price of letting this tactic work was just going to be too expensive going forward.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Yeah, I was more appalled at the process than worried about this confirmation. Me? I'd have withdrawn Kavanaugh, and asked Janice Rogers Brown to serve a short term. To punish the left for going nuclear over a fairly middle-of-the-road nominee.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Couldn't let the progtards have their way. They need to learn a lesson here. Now it's time to punish them at the ballot box.

  • Pro Libertate||

    No, I suppose not, but a black female SCOTUS justice, who is a true libertarian, would've chapped some asses.

  • Cyto||

    He shoulda nominated me.

    I'd be the most reliable Justice ever.

    I would pretty much be "no, that's unconstitutional", played on an endless loop.

    Because of the 9th and 10th amendments, I'd be whacking down pretty much everything the feds do. I'd introduce a new test for the courts. Call it the "Cyto Test". It is real simple:

    "Does the constitution grant the power to do this to the federal government."

    If the constitution doesn't explicitly authorize it... they can't do it!

    Goodbye to just about the entire federal government.

  • damikesc||

    However, it was very hard to get a read of where he stands on key libertarian issues through the hysterical wailing and blizzard of believable, credible accusations.

    I still don't get that.

    Nobody can explain what, precisely, made them credible.

  • Pro Libertate||

    With a functional, watchdog media, this would've been laughed off: "Yeah, nice try, guys."

  • esteve7||

    We learned how despicable and desperate the Democrats are, how evil social justice is, and why these people must be stopped.

  • HGW xx/7||

    ^This x1000^

    And, now, here comes jeff with his false equivalence a la pizzagate.

  • Echo Chamber||

    "Elections have consequences".

    That'll be a reliable boomerang for many election cycles to come

  • DiegoF||

    I should have put this here to bitch about, not in the previous thread.

  • LynchPin1477||

    I learned you're either with us or against us for all possible values of us.

  • OpenBordersLiberal-tarian||

    Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation proves what I've been saying ever since I started posting here: libertarians must vote Democrat. Because the alternative is so much worse.

    Think about what a terrible nominee Kavanaugh was even before Dr. Ford courageously stepped forward. According to CNN legal expert Jeffrey Toobin, our new Supreme Court will create an America in which access to abortion care is reduced or even eliminated, African American students are shut out of top colleges, and LGBTQ+ folks cannot get service at places of business. What serious libertarian finds that acceptable?

    But if Hillary Clinton hadn't been cheated out of the Presidency, we'd have at least one, possibly two more libertarian-friendly justices in the mold of RBG. Justices who didn't skip the law school class where they teach you about SUPER-PRECEDENTS like Roe v. Wade. Justices who realize the only precedents that should be overturned are the truly bad ones, like Heller.

    If you call yourself a libertarian and the past few weeks haven't convinced you to help create the #BlueTsunami next month, there's no hope for you.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    A Tsunami, huh? That's don't usually travel deep east out of the Pacific.

  • OpenBordersLiberal-tarian||

    I was predicting a mere #BlueWave weeks ago when I was only confident the Democrats would win the House. Now that I've seen how energized my progressive friends are because of this Kavanaugh outrage, I believe Democrats will win the Senate as well. So I've upgraded to the #BlueTsunami hashtag.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    So you think that the mid-west and east coast won't be affected much?

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    "Now that I've seen how energized my progressive friends are because of this Kavanaugh outrage,""

    Let me guess, they already live in a blue state.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    To really show everyone how awesome democrats are, you should all have a national day of rioting to show off your anger against that rapist Kavanaugh. I'm sure democrat poll numbers will skyrocket..

  • HGW xx/7||

    * applause * you pretty much hit every D talking point in one post. Solid A!

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Still too much. It's like watching an Aaron Sorkin production. If you hit every talking point, that's your cue that it's not for real.

  • DiegoF||

    Still seem to be fooling enough HnRers.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I'd take it up a few notches. Go way beyond progressive talking points--think "A Modest Proposal."

  • SIV||

    in the mold of RBG.

    Gold

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    Those are some solid 3-points. Those are the immigrants I want to import here.

  • John||

    And about that blue wave...

    http://twitchy.com/gregp-3534/.....the-house/

    All the Democrats had to do was not be crazy.

  • WhatAboutBob||

    There will be no blue wave in November. Democrats will lie, cheat and resort to violence to win. Normal people are being repulsed by that.

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    Being the party of the president usually loses the first midterm after their election, a blue wave would be normal for this election. If it happens, they will think it's a big win, but history says no. Now if they fail to get a blue wave, that will be bad news for them because they couldn't get the normal change over in the first mid term.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Democrats wont win and it they will excuse it away.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    I think they blew any chances they had of taking the Senate, but that was a long shot anyway. It still looks like they're going to take control of the House, but by a narrower margin than they would have before this fiasco.

    If they fail to take either chamber, expect utter insanity. Cities burning, multiple assassination attempts on Republican members of Congress and Supreme court Justices.

    Actually, scratch that, we can probably expect the assassination attempts even if they do take the House.

  • Bluwater||

    Okay, just checking back.... and yes, 2 days later this is still the funniest and least self-aware posts of the week. Right up there with Rachel Dolezal who still thinks she's black.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    We also learned that Linda Sarsour can gargle my balls.

  • DiegoF||

    Probably not part of a halal diet. But one of her greatest secrets is that she is almost certainly actually not that religiously pious.

  • Colossal Douchebag||

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    Partisan politics has no shame with how low they will go.

    Ok, I've know that for year. This just reinforced it.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "Democrats are trial-ballooning impeachment"

    If that's what the Democrats do, they haven't learned anything from the Kavanaugh hearings--and they haven't learned anything from Donald Trump winning in 2016 either.

    Use impeaching Kavanaugh as a campaign issue, and maybe they'll learn something from the primaries. That's about the only way the Democrats can blow taking the House at this point.

    As I mentioned earlier today, 538 saw their chances of taking the House drop by some ten percentage points since the beginning of last week. To whatever extent that's legitimate, it's hard to spin that loss in public support as anything but Kavnaugh related. If I'm a Democrat running in Ohio right now, I'm sending a note to Dianne Feinstein telling her to go fuck herself.

    One of the problems with being a Democrat these days is that because they're a party that's largely confined to their own strongholds, the powers that be aren't making it easy for the marginal seats in swing states. No, feminists storming Washington DC to protest against propriety and constitutional norms doesn't necessarily make people who might have voted Republican go vote for Democrats instead. Quite the opposite, actually.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    and they haven't learned anything from Donald Trump winning in 2016 either.

    that's been demonstrated with ringing clarity for the last two years.

  • WhatAboutBob||

    What did we learn?

    The left will do anything to win, rule of law be damned.

  • Tony||

    What did the left win?

  • Rockabilly||

    Tony.

    What did the left win?

    The stupid prize

  • Cynical Asshole||

    What Did We Learn from the Brett Kavanaugh Confirmation?

    That we're LITERALLY one SCOTUS justice away from The Handmaid's Tale? /sarc

  • Tony||

    We learned that rape doesn't matter to Republicans, and even when they win they will still whine about how unfair they were treated.

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    First you would have to show one happened.

  • Tony||

    He forced himself on Ford when she was 15 to the point where she feared for her life. It happened.

  • HGW xx/7||

    Well, that settles it!

    If only the Stalinist show trials in Eastern Europe had used such consice arguments. Would have saved a lot of Ostmarks for the same number of deaths.

    I enjoy your wit, Tony, but this just lazy.

  • Cyto||

    No, that's funny. "I thought he might accidentally kill me" is probably the most hysterical (ooh, trigger word!) of her claims.

    You could picture a lot of things being plausible, but getting to "feared for my life" from that description is a pretty tough sell. Heck, jumping from "aggressive and inappropriate horseplay with sexual content" to "attempted rape" is a pretty big leap, sans any dislodged or damaged clothing, mussed hair or physical harm. Assault is one thing, but discerning intent from that scenario? Yeah, that's a big jump.

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    ""It happened""

    You were there?

    Was stupid is how you think your belief equates to fact.

    Her "witnesses" didn't support her claim.

  • wreckinball||

    Maybe he was. Maybe he attacked Ford.

    Quick call Avenatti

  • Sevo||

    Tony|10.8.18 @ 5:17PM|#
    "He forced himself on Ford when she was 15 to the point where she feared for her life. It happened."

    Do you actually think your lies-as-statements mean anything to anyone here, shitbag?

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    He is pathetic. Maybe he thinks he knows a rape victim when sees one, like those young teenage boys he sodomizes.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Tony, ypu fprce yourself on us every day. Buttplugger is scared shitless that his rectum will get more stretched by your head going straight up his ass.

    Obamam had to leave office because of your ability to squeeze your entire head up his ass.

  • geo1113||

    You are correct. It doesn't matter to Republicans when their daughters, wives, mothers and sisters are raped. They actually enjoy when that happens!!!!!

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    No silly, you're thinking of democrats.

    https://tinyurl.com/y89wgvj8

  • damikesc||

    Believing the women led to lynchings.

    They were ALSO done by Democrats.

  • Tony||

    You people really are getting stupider by the day.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Oh Ztomy, I just can't wait for you morons to show us how violent you really are, so we can finally have you all put to sleep.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    +1

  • Tony||

    Is that a vote in favor of genocide?

  • esteve7||

    Democrats really haven't changed their attitude, just their targets.

    They used to support MeToo when it was white women accusing blacks on rape.

    Hell, they still have their own terrorist front group. It used to be the KKK, now it is Antifa.

  • Rockabilly||

    Poor Tony, he's lost in a deranged wilderness of his own making along with fellow comrades in the democrat progressive socialist party.

    Tony, are beta male feminists allowed to wear Handmaid's Tale outfits?

  • wreckinball||

    Tony never lost his mind. He's always been dumb as shit

  • John B. Egan||

    What we learned is that even though 2 out of 3 citizens who had an opinion on Brett said he wasn't qualified, 1700 Law Professors, the ABA, The ACLU, the Council of Churches and his 2 schools, Yale and Harvard all said he should not be appointed, the GOP under McConnell forced him down our throats.... Why? Simple. Brett was groomed by the Koch Brothers and 1% funded Federalist Society for decades to do their work, and just as they told the GOP .. if you want our $400 million a year in campaign funding, you WILL pas Tax cuts, our Kakistocracy came through once again, despite what is acceptable or correct for the 325 million citizens of our nation!

  • Ska||

    Grade A newsletter material right here.

  • Knutsack||

    Did OBL start another account?

  • Dillinger||

    likely not parody.

  • Sevo||

    "...Brett was groomed by the Koch Brothers and 1% funded Federalist Society for decades to do their work, and just as they told the GOP .. !!!!!!!!!"

    Yes, John, those are boogey-men under your bed.
    Check Amazon for the best deals on aluminum foil hats; your's isn't keeping the radiation out anymore, you fucking idiot.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Hey John Egan, Kocktopus gonna gi ya!

    Better run bitch.

  • wreckinball||

    And none of them said anything until the false accusations came out

    Never underestimate the number of dumb fucks there are out there

  • Dillinger||

    i learned a bunch of people don't know what the fuck "credible" means

  • Barnstormer||

    Certainly no one working for Reason.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    I learned that democrats are even stupider and more sociopathic than I ever thought possible.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    They will get worse. Which is only possible for Lefty nutbags.

  • Bronze Khopesh||

    What we havn't learned but should have, is that we should be ashamed as a nation that we now have a Supreme Court justice that has farted.

  • Weigel's Cock Ring||

    We learned that Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi were right: elections really do have consequences!

    I would also say that we've learned that most of the Reason staff is a bunch of jive-ass fugazi libertarians who have replaced due process and the presumption of innocence with "Believe all (leftist) women", but that was already kind apparent before this whole fiasco even started.

  • HGW xx/7||

    We learned that Dana Carvey no longer owns exclusive rights to the Garth Algar persona.

  • Ewood||

    I think something very well may have happened to Ford. I just don't believe it was Kavanaugh. She may have convinced herself it was him, which could be why she passed a polygraph. I do believe he probably flashed a girl or two, while drunk. That and rape are two TOTALLY different things. It could explain why Ford's attorneys won't hand over the evidence(therapy notes, polygraph tapes, etc), because she wasnt sure it was him after all. I wasn't for or against him, just waited for something substantial to prove whether or not he did anything wrong. There just wasn't anything.

  • Sevo||

    She could also have 'passed' the polygraph since it bears no relationship to whether someone it lying or not. You might just as well throw them in a pond to see if they sink.

  • wreckinball||

    She got paid

  • Sevo||

    Pretty sure my take-away is if Trump nominates anyone for anything, the left will go bat-shit crazy trying to prefent confirmation.
    And I'm also pretty sure that the left still does not understand that Trump was elected POTUS and nothing they can do will put that hag in office.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    We learned that Lefties and their apologists are still shitbags.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    The Democratic Party are the bad guys.

  • Tony||

    Definitely not spoken like a propaganda victim. I bet you can't even say why.

  • Michael Ejercito||

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