Anatomy of a Smear

3 mins read

It will come as no surprise to readers that Men of the West stand firmly behind the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the United State Supreme Court. While he’s arguably not the best available choice, Kavanaugh is possibly the best choice any president has made since George HW Bush nominated Clarence Thomas*. The two nominations have a huge event in common: both were seemingly sailing to confirmation until an anonymous allegation of sexual impropriety appeared.  That arising allegation is the larval form of the Democrats’ Hail Mary: last-minute smear.
Last-minute smears hold a place of honor in the Democrats’ panic playbook. It is their preferred nuclear option. But it also takes a familiar pattern that betrays its true form and its ultimate impotence. The immediate purpose of the last-minute smear is to get the candidate to withdraw quietly. Like SJWs getting you to resign rather than be fired, it allows the Democrats to publicly absolve themselves of responsibility.
The smear takes on a certain form that is recognizable once you’ve seen it once.
Step 1: A quiet, anonymous rumor is floated: this candidate did something awful. And it’s anonymous at this point because the accusation is untrue or unprovable. Someone is making it but is not willing to stand behind it. It’s cowardice of the sort that stabs from the shadows. That rumor is passed among enemies and supporters of the candidate to gauge what the reaction will be. At this point, the purpose is to get the candidate to quit. This is also where it’s impotent: if the accused is unafraid of the allegation or is willing to pay the price of defending against it, the risk begins to accrue to the side of the accuser.
Step 2: If the candidate (or usually, his squishy supporters) refuse to go quietly, step two is a public announcement that the candidate did something awful. This was Feinstein’s announcement that she was passing** an anonymous allegation against Kavanaugh to the FBI. It was the Washington Post’s first story that Thomas was being accused of harassment by former co-workers. The obvious goal is the ratchet up pressure on the candidate to withdraw. But a second is less obvious: to set the press on the trail of the accuser.
Step 3: This one the anonymous accuser did not count on. If the first two steps fail, her anonymity will be jettisoned so the process can go forward. The announcement in step 2 is quickly followed by a staffer leak to a favored reporter, and the next thing you know the Washington Post is camped outside Kavanaugh’s surprised accuser’s door. She’s been double-crossed and now must either recant or double down.

This is not a new playbook.

Step 4: The fourth and final step is the show trial, or more likely, the shitshow. If the now-named accuser doubles down, like Anita Hill did, then all the nation watches the hearings and life is never the same again for either of them. If she folds, as it looks like Professor Ford is doing, then the nomination moves forward with Step 4 being a short proxy war between factions. The accuser can slink off to regain some semblance of anonymity. Or a book deal. Her choice.
The last-minute smear is not without cost or risk for the Democrats. It is in our current Step 4 that Kavanaugh’s confirmation is almost assured. For by pulling the last-minute smear, the Democrats have made Kavanaugh’s confirmation all about the smear. All the squishy Republicans lose their nuanced opposition. No one now cares about vague assurance that Roe is settled law. It’s now about whether the Senate is going to punish an obviously innocent man.
When the smear falls apart, squishes lose their fig leaves and will quickly fall in line behind Kavanaugh. We are already seeing Lindsay Graham and at least one Democrat doing exactly that.
If the scheduled Monday hearing is a bust, there’s no more reason to wait on a final vote. The Democrats made it about a high-school party, and they lost***. Until the next time they are on the verge of losing.
* While the jury is still out on Neil Gorsuch, it must be admitted that thus far he is in top-tier contention as well.
After holding it two months for just such an occasion.
*** They were going to lose anyway, which is why they dropped the nuke in the first place. If they had the votes to stop Kavanaugh, you would have never heard of Professor Ford.

El Borak is an historian by training, an IT Director by vocation, and a writer when the mood strikes him. He lives in rural Kansas with his wife of thirty years, where he works to fix the little things.


  1. Interesting analysis sir. This may be another example of the landscape being not actually as it appears to be today. How was it in the Clarence Thomas scandal, as I missed that one. No one other than the talking heads appear to hollering at this one, common folk day to day just shrug and say “meh”.
    Have we reached a fatigue point of sexual allegations, or is this just a case of vastly overplaying a hand? Not many folks will be quick to point the finger at high schoolers and condemn for the rest of their lives…so a shifting paradigm or just a dingle bridge too far?

  2. The last-minute smear is, or has been, effective when combined with the typical response of Cuckservative Republicans to instantly cower and surrender when faced with being accused of anything. President Trump (or anyone with a working set of nuts), is resistant to this tactic.
    However, Kavanaugh’s interview about the issue was pathetic. That made me wonder if he’d be a decent SC judge, more than any absurd accusations from the left from when he was a child, even if they were actually credible.
    Kavanaugh bounced from “indignant bow-tie wearing Republican” trying to defend his honor from gutter trash leftists, to a weak kneed adolescent, whining that he “just wants a fair hearing.”
    One would hope he wouldn’t do that on the SC Bench too.
    In response to leftist/SJW attacks:
    – Never beg for mercy – the left has none, and acting weak only makes them more bloodthirsty.
    – Never plead “your case” – You can’t prove a negative so don’t waste your time.
    – Never ask for reasonableness – The left has none, & couldn’t understand it even if they could hear it.
    If Kavanaugh cares about precedent as much as he claims, he should go back and watch Clarence Thomas’s responses when he was subject to the same crap.
    Judge Thomas didn’t waste time begging for mercy, or pretending the left can be reasoned with, or trying to prove the negative, or trying to convince the left to change their minds.
    He made a forceful statement, completely denying all accusations, and counterattacked the Dems, by noting what a travesty it was for them to push these kinds of character assassination attempts, and damn whether he was confirmed or not.

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