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Supreme court hearing a loss for all

Depending on your news source, the Thursday hearing for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford was either a slam dunk for her or a home run for him.

Some news outlets focused on Ford’s calm, measured disposition and walked away with descriptions like “credible” or “believable.” Some news agencies described Kavanaugh’s remarks as “blistering” or “snapping” back at those questioning him.  Others, however, thought he was forceful, but necessarily so given the accusations.

Some viewers saw a vulnerable woman who has suffered at the hands of Kavanaugh and was brave for coming forward. Others saw someone with a spotty recollection of events that took place three decades ago.

In Kavanaugh, some saw an angry, entitled, dishonest man. Others saw someone overcome with emotions due to the enormity of the accusations unfairly leveled against him.

Both Ford and Kavanaugh choked up during testimony. Both were convincing at times. Both remembered different versions of events. Both failed to remember things about the party in question. There was no way to arrive at concrete truth during this hearing, but everyone knew that coming in.

President Trump liked what he saw Thursday. Trump tweeted that Kavanaugh “showed America exactly why I nominated him.”

There was no consensus takeaway. Like all things these days, your view of the hearing was likely heavily influenced by your political affiliation.

Republicans largely saw a win for Kavanaugh. Democrats largely saw a defeat for him.

But in the end, I think we all come out as losers. America was damaged. The Supreme Court was damaged. Ford was damaged. Kavanaugh was damaged.

It was an ugly process that got even uglier during Thursday’s hearing. At one point, Sen. Lindsey Graham gave a speech decrying the hearing and the process. “You’re looking for a fair process? You came to the wrong town at the wrong time, my friend,” Graham told Kavanaugh. He called the hearing the “most despicable thing” he’s ever seen in politics.

No matter your political affiliation, I think we can all agree with Graham on that point. It was not a fair process. Not for Kavanaugh or Ford. Ford’s allegations deserved an investigation, and there was plenty of time for that when she first brought them to her representative in Congress. But the way her allegations finally saw the light of day didn’t leave time for a thorough investigation — and that was by design.

Ford was manipulated by those who sought only to derail Kavanaugh’s nomination. It doesn’t make her allegations more or less believable, but it sure makes it hard to see them objectively.

Republicans did themselves no favors in the way they arranged the hearing. Five-minute blocks of time are not enough to adequately ask or answer questions. Anyone who watched the hearing could see it was a failure from that standpoint.

Ford’s allegations are serious and worthy of investigation, but they were not treated that way. They were treated as a political Hail Mary, and unfortunately it means we will never know what really happened at that party in the 80s. Republicans and Democrats are both to blame.

Politics will get uglier now (if that’s even possible). Partisan divides will widen. America will continue to fracture. And we all will be worse off.

Contact publisher Luke Horton at luke.horton@dailyleader.com