‘Hardball’: ‘Belligerent’ Kavanaugh Is a Possible ‘Criminal’ Lacking ‘Temperament’ to Be a Justice

As predicted, MSNBC’s Hardball offered plenty of liberal pontificating following Thursday’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearings with host Chris Matthews and his A-Block panel calling Supreme Court pick Brett Kavanaugh a “belligerent,” unsympathetic Jekyll and Hyde who “may...be a criminal” but remained temperamentally unfit to be on the Court.

Matthews was locked and loaded, bloviating that “Kavanaugh’s defense...doesn’t seem...like a real defense” when he could be an “aggressive,” “belligerent drunk” who has a “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde problem” along with being a potential “criminal” who was “uncomfortable” answering any probing questions.

 

 

Legal analyst Cynthia Alksne ripped Kavanaugh for his “tantrum,” illustrating “that he doesn't have the temperament to be a Supreme Court justice.”

Alksne added:

And he also showed that...he can be an angry and belligerent person...And it just felt like, oh, well, that is what he's like and angry and belligerent when he's drunk. Can you imagine if a woman came into the Senate chamber and screamed and hollered at senators like that and interrupted them and was that rude? She’d be taken out in a straight jacket. Because it’s Judge Kavanaugh, he got away with it. I thought it was shocking.

She doubled down moments later, claiming that “he really hurt his credibility by dancing around and trying to avoid responding to the question about an FBI investigation” which “damage[d] his credibility beyond repair for me.”

The Root’s Jason Johnson came next, lashing out at Kavanaugh as a “terrible liar” (click “expand”):

I don't know how they'll vote on this at end but I will say this. For your regular citizens, right, who were just catching this tonight because they haven't been watching it all day, they see a guy who’s supposed to be on the Supreme Court who is yelling arguing and screaming who tried to say that his whole high school experience was American pie, but everything we’ve heard about him is Porky’s and Animal House. Just the drinking, the boozing. That whole story about Renate alumni? Nobody buys that who went to high school. He sounded like a terrible liar. 

Matthews responded by taking aim at....Democrats? Yep, Matthews did, wondering “why there wasn't more questioning of his belligerence and his drinking” plus “the gang raping and all that colorful information we’ve been getting for the last few days” about “a culture of this kind of behavior.”

Then there was Johnson and Matthews going after the emotional state of Kavanaugh and Senator Lindsey Graham (S.C.) (click “expand”):

MATTHEWS: What did you think of Lindsey Graham's cri de guerre? I mean, his call to war. I mean, Jason, it was personal with this guy. He went — he was accusing all of the Democrats of being bad guys, bad women, the whole thing. 

JOHNSON: Right and then he's like I've been ambushed. Look, I didn't buy that. And I thought it was over the top just like his crying at the beginning.

MATTHEWS: But it was personal, though. 

JOHNSON: It was personal, but —

MATTHEWS: Why did he do it? What his emotion? What was his motive? 

JOHNSON: His emotion is, one, he wanted to make sure he's in there with Donald Trump. He wants to make sure that he’s defending what his boss wants and then, two, the only way this could work is if you try to make it more personal than Dr. Ford. 

(....)

MATTHEWS: I think there’s some Invasion of the Body Snatchers here in the Republican Party. Some of this behavior is frightening. They’re so afraid of the guy that who controls 90 percent of Republican voters. 

Without evidence, Alksne and Matthews labeled Kavanaugh as someone who was probably an angry drunk (click “expand”): 

MATTHEWS: [E]verybody knows what a bad drunk is. Anybody who has been out on a social case, you bump into people who don't know how to hold their booze. They don't get happy and friendly and tell funny jokes, they get mean and he knows what that meant and he didn't want the question because he didn't want the answer.

(....)

ALKSNE: Yeah. Anyway, it’s an interesting question about whether or not he could have been so drunk and he and his buddy were so drunk that they don’t — this incident was of so little moment to them that even though she remembers it for all time, he doesn't even remember and that seems, to me, to be sort of where this incident probably happened, that they were so drunk, they don't remember. 

“He denied ever drinking too much to excess and never being blackening out, never being forgetful of something, never being in a party the whole junior year. Junior is doing nothing but jock stuff and going to stuff with his father,” Matthews added.

Alksne claimed that Kavanaugh falsely asserted that the other alleged witnesses at the party backed him up when they didn’t, but what she ignored was how they didn’t back Dr. Christine Blasey Ford up at all.

Clearly not having watched Matthews disparage the Court a few months ago, Alksne argued Kavanaugh has damaged the Court’s credibility:

[I]f this guy is on the Supreme Court and he said something else, he's injured the Supreme Court in a huge way...The whole Supreme Court is being injured here by this. It’s sort of the last institution that anybody had any respect for and now, it's going to be dragged through the mud. Thank you. Brett Kavanaugh. 

To see the relevant transcript from MSNBC’s Hardball on September 27, click “expand.”

MSNBC’s Hardball
September 27, 2018
7:12 p.m. Eastern

CHRIS MATTHEWS: This question of Kavanaugh's defense, it doesn't seem to me like a real defense. He had this global defense. I never did anything. But when asked about being a belligerent drunk which really is the issue of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde problem of this guy, if it’s real. The idea that when he drinks too much he's a bad guy. He’s aggressive. He may even be a criminal in — to that extent, assault. He didn't like that question. He didn't really answer it. And my question is, he seemed more angry at the fact that this old stuff is being brought up than he was indignant that anyone would accuse him of this stuff because I heard a guy defending his resume. I didn't hear a really guy showing indigent emotions that anybody would say he would behave like this. He seemed uncomfortable and seemed to be hedging. Your thoughts. You're the expert. 

CYNTHIA ALKSNE: Well, I had a couple of thoughts about him. First, I thought he basically had a tantrum and showed that he doesn't have the temperament to be a Supreme Court justice and he also showed that his — he can be an angry and belligerent person and it — 

MATTHEWS: Yes. 

ALKSNE: And it just felt like, oh, well, that is what he's like and angry and belligerent when he's drunk. Can you imagine if a woman came into the Senate chamber and screamed and hollered at senators like that and interrupted them and was that rude? She’d be taken out in a straight jacket. Because it’s Judge Kavanaugh, he got away with it. I thought it was shocking. The other thing that is amazing — 

MATTHEWS: Well, I don't think he got away with it. Because you were watching. 

(....)

7:15 p.m. Eastern

MATTHEWS: Well back to you, Cynthia, how would you describe that public personality you just saw from the judge? Cynthia? 

ALKSNE: Oh. I would describe that as a person who does not have the temperament to be a Supreme Court judge — justice and additionally he really hurt his credibility by dancing around and trying to avoid responding to the question about an FBI investigation and the way he would say, “oh, they're just 302s” or just this and that, we all know those of us in the law enforcement community and so does he that when the FBI would go to interview Mark Judge, that would be a critical interview and no such thing has occurred. And according to this victim, Mark Judge was in the room. He is a critical witness. There is no excuse that he hasn't been called and the way that judge was constantly trying to get away from responding to that damages his credibility beyond repair for me. 

MATTHEWS: Yeah. I know both sides are politicians. You aren’t going to tell me the Democrats aren't being Democrats tonight. But I want to ask this question, what is the rush? Jason?

JASON JOHNSON: Well, the rush is because —

MATTHEWS: They don't have a case for a rush. 

JOHNSON: — no. None at all. They just don't want more of the allegations to come out. 

MATTHEWS: So they want to stop the clock.

JOHNSON: They want to stop the clock. They push this through as fast as they can. What I found is this. Look, if you were a Republican and you were hoping and praying that he wouldn't absolutely implode, you might feel slightly more comfortable after what you saw today. 

MATTHEWS: We just heard that Senator Flake is saying he doesn't know how he will vote, but if they lose him and the two women, it’s over. 

JOHNSON: Exactly. And that’s —

MATTHEWS: Or one of the women. 

JOHNSON: — pretty much what they're facing right now and I don't know how they'll vote on this at end but I will say this. For your regular citizens, right, who were just catching this tonight because they haven't been watching it all day, they see a guy who’s supposed to be on the Supreme Court who is yelling arguing and screaming who tried to say that his whole high school experience was American pie, but everything we’ve heard about him is Porky’s and Animal House. Just the drinking, the boozing. That whole story about Renate alumni? Nobody buys that who went to high school. He sounded like a terrible liar. 

MATTHEWS: You know, I wondered why — I think the Democrats were Johnny one notes and they say FBI and I always say be coherent. They were coherent. Every said the same thing. Let’s go to the FBI. Good move, but I wonder why there wasn't more questioning of his belligerence and his drinking. They all talk about the gang raping and all that colorful information we’ve been getting for the last few days, they didn't really get into that and say was there a culture of this kind of behavior. Did you go to a so-called party where this behavior was going on?

SHANNON PETTYPIECE: Well, I think these committee hearings often turn to the debate over process and the talking past each other and this insider conversation about an FBI investigation when people don't care about that. They’re interested in this person's character. But I think the Democrats, it seemed, got a little nervous about him looking like the victim. I think he was following a playbook that is often followed when people are accused either rightfully or wrongfully of deny, attack, and become the victim. We saw it with Clarence Thomas, we saw it with Bill Clinton. It is something that Donald Trump mimics all of the time. So if he -- 

MATTHEWS: You're right. 

PETTYPIECE: — came off looking like a victim and they came off attacking this man with his daughter and his wife and his mom in the front row, how is that going to make them look [INAUDIBLE]

MATTHEWS: What did you think of Lindsey Graham's cri de guerre? I mean, his call to war. I mean, Jason, it was personal with this guy. He went — he was accusing all of the Democrats of being bad guys, bad women, the whole thing. 

JOHNSON: Right and then he's like I've been ambushed. Look, I didn't buy that. And I thought it was over the top just like his crying at the beginning.

MATTHEWS: But it was personal, though. 

JOHNSON: It was personal, but —

MATTHEWS: Why did he do it? What his emotion? What was his motive? 

JOHNSON: His emotion is, one, he wanted to make sure he's in there with Donald Trump. He wants to make sure that he’s defending what his boss wants and then, two, the only way this could work is if you try to make it more personal than Dr. Ford. 

PETTYPIECE: And the White House clearly liked it. I don't know if he was performing to an audience of one but Sarah Sanders tweeted about instantly and so did Donald Trump Jr. 

MATTHEWS: I think there’s some Invasion of the Body Snatchers here in the Republican Party. Some of this behavior is frightening. They’re so afraid of the guy that who controls 90 percent of Republican voters. Kavanaugh —

PETTYPIECE: And with McCain gone too, I think there is a bit of a different tone. 

JOHNSON: Yeah.

MATTHEWS: A change of reality. When he was asked about drinking habits, let's watch. 

(....)

7:19 p.m. Eastern

MATTHEWS: Here we go. Cynthia, you're the expert and it looked like that — I said this before, that's the question he didn't like and everybody knows what a bad drunk is. Anybody who has been out on a social case, you bump into people who don't know how to hold their booze. they don't get happy and friendly and tell funny jokes, they get mean and he knows what that meant and he didn't want the question because he didn't want the answer.

ALKSNE: Right. He does know and he knows that his roommate from college said he was a mean drunk. 

MATTHEWS: Because he said he didn't like his roommate from freshman year. 

ALKSNE: He didn't. Oh, of course he didn’t because —

MATTHEWS: In all fairness, you don't get to pick your freshman year roommate. Let’s get that straight. And we all know that story. How many first year students have the same roommates the second year in their sophomore year? So — I can get that part.

ALKSNE: I loved my freshman year roommate. 

MATTHEWS: Well, okay. You're lucky. But go ahead. 

ALKSNE: Yeah. Anyway, it’s an interesting question about whether or not he could have been so drunk and he and his buddy were so drunk that they don’t — this incident was of so little moment to them that even though she remembers it for all time, he doesn't even remember and that seems, to me, to be sort of where this incident probably happened, that they were so drunk, they don't remember. 

MATTHEWS: But he remembers not remembering. 

ALKSNE: He remembers that he was never there —

MATTHEWS: He knew he drank so much — right.

ALKSNE: — even though he doesn't know what date is. 

MATTHEWS: Okay. That — that’s my problem. I'm going back to everybody here because I'll start with you, though. You're the expert, global denial. He denied ever drinking too much to excess and never being blackening out, never being forgetful of something, never being in a party the whole junior year. Junior is doing nothing but jock stuff and going to stuff with his father and — 

ALKSNE: And going to church. 

MATTHEWS: — working his butt off and — yeah. He denied going out that whole summer. 

ALKSNE: That’s right. How — how can convenient.

MATTHEWS: It’s a global defense.

ALKSNE: He also says constantly that the four witnesses back him up. They do not. That just is not true. Two people — the two of the women who were downstairs don't have any memory of this either way and why would they, because they were not upstairs when it happened. And Mark Judge is the third person and he was in the room and is a co-perp. Why would he say he remembered it? So he constantly repeated that as if as some point we're all going to be stupid to believe it. He also went on and own about his year book but it was so innocent and we love this woman whose name begins with R. who I refuse to say her name because it’s obnoxious —

MATTHEWS: I agree.

ALKSNE: — the way he treated her and they — he expects us to believe that. He thinks we're dumb. If he just says it, we'll agree and it’s insulting that he does that and it’s insulting that the Republicans don't have any desire to find out the truth and to have this guy, Mark Judge interviewed. It is critical to deciding whether or not this guy should be on the Supreme Court and here is what is going to happen. At some point Mark Judge cannot continue to hideout at the beach with his comic books. At some point, someone’s will find out what happened and if this guy is on the Supreme Court and he said something else, he's injured the Supreme Court in a huge way. 

MATTHEWS: Yeah.

ALKSNE: The whole Supreme Court is being injured here by this. It’s sort of the last institution that anybody had any respect for and now, it's going to be dragged through the mud. Thank you. Brett Kavanaugh. 

MATTHEWS: Well, I think we have our counter plans here. The Democrats want to take all of the time they could get to show this guy's deficiencies and the Republicans want to have a quick call tomorrow as fast as they could get one.

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