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The Senate Judiciary Horror Picture Show

The Halloween horror came early this year, in the last week of September.

Not to worry, fright fans, the show’s not over.

Last week, former Secret Service special agent and Fox News contributor Dan Bongino, usually a man with a ready take and points to make, signed off on a Friday cable interview exhausted, almost at a loss for words. Appearing on "Fox News Sunday," Wall Street Journal editorial board member Kimberley Strassel was similarly appalled by the Democrat assertion that since Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee is not a criminal trial but a “job interview,” the presumption of innocence does not apply.

On the same show, Brit Hume, a long-game diviner of the political winds, absolutely bristled at the newly articulated reality of Democrat accusation: guilty until proven innocent. And the accused must prove that innocence.

By the time Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings came to an end, virtually every stripe of right-leaning pundit was raising the cross of alarm against what the Democrats are doing to President Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court.

Sometimes-Trumpers are throwing reservations to the wind. Ben Shapiro, never one to hold fire when his needle of presidential assessment moves down, spoke staunchly post-hearings about the unfolding injustice; his oppositional loyalty became the die-hard conviction of a trench fighter when the precepts of fairness and the rights of the accused become so alarmingly threatened by the corrosive machinations of the left.

Consensus clear. The conservative pundit class, and those on the Senate Judiciary Committee—save maybe three—realized that the nation is staring across the polished surfaces of the media desks and immemorial wood table-tops of the Senate hearing room at the maw of unqualified totalitarian evil.

Senator Lindsey Graham, a political tactician who would reach out to Democratic Socialist Kamala Harris if it was possible to deal with her kind, said to the ghoulish Democrats sitting across from him, “Boy, y'all want power. I hope you never get it.” A startling statement from an old warrior known for his willingness to bury hatchets and find a way forward.

He has looked into the face of ruthlessness, felt the singe of the torched ethics advanced by the senatorial fellows and madams opposite him on the aisle.

In the docket for this job interview, Judge Kavanaugh, a jurisprudential stand-in for a late-1600s Salem woman accused of witchery. The accused must survive multiple dunks in the river. If she drowns, perhaps she was not a witch.  Kavanaugh is repeatedly dunked in the river of deceit and hypocrisy. If he survives, he is yet condemned. His denial itself becomes evidence to fuel the stake fire.

Everybody talks about the “credible witness" (radio host Mark Levin nailed this on his Monday show as I was writing this, credit due). Christine Blasey Ford is somehow credible because she is “obviously a woman who has been sexually abused/assaulted.”   The obligatory #MeToo qualifier everyone has to mouth prior to offering analysis.

Will anyone characterize this broken woman as the Democrats’ conjured ghost, materialized out of phantom memory, vomiting spectral allegations that cannot be verified?

Kavanaugh's other accusers have gotten their moments of obligatory belief, and those moments are fleeting: Deborah Ramirez, who will soon find the FBI knocking on her door to probe further her accusations of indecent exposure, and the demonstrably troubled Julie Swetnick, whose Dantean allegations cannot be directly addressed even by shameless Democrat inquisitors.

Judge Kavanaugh’s remarkable daughter should pray for all three.

In Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s novel Cancer Ward, a broad and devastating metaphor for the horrors of Soviet Russia and the Great Purge of the Stalin-era police state, some patients have more to worry about than the tumors eating away their bodies. There is news of a great thaw, known as the Khrushchev Thaw, and mass releases of political prisoners by new apparatchiks, the inheritors of bureaucratic regimes within regimes.

Some of the afflicted on the ward have borne false witness against friends, neighbors, and associates, in fealty to or fear of the extant totalitarian powers needed from them to condemn and destroy. Now those false accusers worry that the released will vengefully seek them out, even on their deathbeds. Other patients who acquiesced or failed to resist Stalin's tyranny agonize about what the Great Thaw will mean for them. Everybody on the ward, and, metaphorically, in the country, is afraid.

There is no great thaw on the horizon for the American people. Our divisions are as set in stone as was Stalin’s mass-murdering reign. We can only hope for a return at some future time to the prevalence of Judaeo-Christian ethics and the Founders’ vision of a free republic moored by the tenets of fairness, justice, the presumption of innocence, and the equitable application of the law.

But the right-leaning pundit class and the most equanimous and moderate of the GOP elite saw something beyond the pale staring them down during the Kavanaugh hearings. It scared them.