The Kavanaugh Hoodie - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
The Kavanaugh Hoodie

Back in the days when The American Spectator offered chic apparel, I had an attractive “hoodie,” which I wore on the tennis courts of Georgetown* to both hoots and applause, until I noticed the label that read “made in China,” which caused me pangs of remorse and I put it away. You know one-child policy, slave labor, the Peng case. What are going to do, free trade, fair trade; you can, as an educated consumer, pick and choose. *(READ MORE from Roger Kaplan on the Georgetown Courts: Coronavirus Diaries: Court Closings)

The design half-mocked, half-defended Judge, soon-to-be-Justice Brett Kavanagh, who was under assault from the mob — just what the law is supposed to replace — due to allegations that as a teenager (he was by now in his 40s) he had partied like the Georgetown Prep boy that he was, when he was a Georgetown Prep boy.

As to the Kavanaugh hoodie, my thinking is, why not redesign it, this time with the inscribed message “I like beer — and babies.”

Georgetown Prep is physically not in Georgetown; Kavanaugh was alleged not only to have beer-partied, which he never denied, but to have assaulted drunken females who were shown to have never been present at parties he went to with his buddies. The attacks and slanders were even more mendacious, indeed libelous, if less heinous and cruel, than the character-assassination that Judge Clarence Thomas was subjected to in the early 1990s when G.W.H. Bush nominated him to the Court.

The garment was half-mocking because it made a reference to the Prince Hal side of prep school life (“I like beer”), which mind you is as American as apple pie and not a specialty of prep schools or of American schools, just spend an evening bar-hopping with some young Englishmen, or young Aussies, and see for yourself, and to us at TAS it was friendly mocking, the kind that says he’s one of us and we love him for it and trust him the better for the man’s job now at hand. It inscribed, sports team style, his name on the back and the beer slogan on the chest, with the name of the journal on the arm; this was a design flaw, the TAS name should have been on the chest and the beer cheer on the arm, but what-ho, chaps, let’s laugh a bit and support our man.

Mind, in passing, it was a difference between G.W.H. Bush and Ronald Reagan that whereas the former — with help from Senator John Danforth — stood by his nominee, the former turned his eyes away from Robert Bork when he was subjected to this sort of thing a few years before. Observe too that this is a traditional Democratic Party attitude toward the judiciary, going back at least to the attempted murder by Democratic Party Ku Kluxers of the famous Reconstruction era North Carolina Judge Albion Tourgée, who had declared war against the Klan — a war which, by the way, he won, within the limits of his jurisdiction; eventually he returned to Ohio and we know what followed.

However, my point about Reagan is that notwithstanding his firm integrity and insistence on principle, he did have a certain risk-avoidance side, which came out starkly when Islamic terrorists, in attacks on the U.S. Embassy and a Marines barracks in April and November 1983 in Beirut, killed over 300 servicemen and civilians. Reagan decided not to retaliate. What-if’s are vain exercises, but — especially considering the successful Eisenhower show of force in an earlier Lebanon crisis — who is to say what future disasters we might have avoided had the Marines (as well as French paratroopers nearby who also were attacked, resulting in some 60 KIA) been ordered to be more prepared to defend their position preemptively and if the reaction to the sneak attack had been a sustained campaign to eradicate the terrorists and their sponsors, who at the time were the Soviet-armed Syrian Alawite regime of the Assad clan, which is still there and is still Soviet, or Russian, -armed.

Of course, that was the hitch, the risk of war with the Soviets — at least that is the conventional lesson they teach in strategy school.

But I digress. What I was getting at was, Reagan had a certain reluctance to go to the front; he sometimes let his subordinates, Marine Lt. Col. Ollie North or State Department official Elliott Abrams, for example, take the heat. Sometimes the responsibilities of command require suppression of loyalty. Prince Hal became King Henry, and then he let the axe fall where it must. And yet — and yet, one cannot help but brood.

However, as to the Kavanaugh hoodie, my thinking is, why not re-design it (and get it redesigned and manufactured in Texas), this time with the inscribed message “I like beer — and babies.” (Or use the name Alito and the slogan, “I like wine.”) There is a risk of being badly misunderstood, because admittedly the line borders on bad taste. But there is bad taste and worse taste. What is at issue here are men, Kavanaugh and Alito, who are fundamentally, morally, judicially, opposed to killing babies — in America, in China, anywhere, and who appreciate alcoholic beverages, which belong in the heritage of Western civilization. No equivalence is suggested as between liking beer and wine and protecting babies, and there are drinkers whom you would not want near your babies. Neither Samuel Alito nor Brett Kavanaugh is one of these.

On the other hand, the people who oppose Justice Kavanaugh, who oppose Justice Alito, Justice Thomas, Justice Barrett, these people who are acting like a mob arguably far, far more dangerous than the idiots who rioted at the Capitol on that ill-fated January day, these people, whether misguided (give them the benefit of the doubt) and merely mindless, or (it is not beyond doubt) wicked**, are a threat to American constitutional democracy and all it represents, however short it falls of its promise and in its function, all it means for our way of life and, presumptuous as it may sound to say so, for peace on earth.

**(See the excellent reminder of the left’s attacks on the Court by Mollie Hemingway and Carrie Severino in the Federalist, May 6.)

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