I didn’t think Brett Kavanaugh was going to be able to overcome Christine Ford’s testimony this morning, but I believe he has done it. He was raw and human and utterly convincing in his claim that he is not guilty of these allegations, and has been bullied by the Democrats.

“I’m never going to get my reputation back,” he just said, in dialogue with Sen. Cornyn. And it’s true. I was in a taxi listening to his opening statement on the radio, and he very nearly brought me to tears, thinking of what he has been through. My driver said, “That happened to me too.” He said he was falsely accused by a woman who said he sexually attacked her at a wedding reception. Driver said that he confronted the woman by phone, with his wife listening in, and the accuser admitted that he hadn’t touched her. The driver said that he has wanted to fight for his reputation, because the accuser spread the lie far and wide. He said that he’s afraid if he continues to contest it, it will just spread the lie farther.

“I can’t walk in the fruit market in my neighborhood without wondering if people are pointing at me saying, ‘You know what he did,'” the man said.

The driver said that it’s terrifying to think of what a groundless accusation of sexual abuse can do to a man’s reputation. He was emotional about it in a way that felt gritty and real. The meaningful aspect of his testimony was his passion — same as Ford’s testimony, actually. He has been close to tears, and made people feel the pain he and his family have endured as his reputation has been destroyed. Remember, we have no more facts this afternoon than we had before either one testified. This is all theater.

Sen. Lindsey Graham made a hell of a statement about the travesty of this process. I can’t wait until somebody puts that video online so I can share it with you. I wanted to stand up and cheer. And later, when Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse actually interrogated Kavanaugh on slang in his yearbook about puking and farting, I thought, “Is this actually what we’ve come to in this country?” Yes, it is.

(I think Kavanaugh made a mistake in challenging Sen. Klobuchar on whether or not she’s gotten blackout drunk. He was right to apologize to her for that.)

I’m writing this from a hotel room, and will be leaving for a dinner soon, so this is real quick. On NBC just now, Chuck Todd said that non-political people watching that are thinking “This is the Washington I wanted to burn down.” Yes, that is exactly right. Exactly right.

I believe that Christine Ford believes she’s telling the truth. I believe that Brett Kavanaugh believes he’s telling the truth. How do we decide? In the end, we have to go on the evidence — and there is no evidence at all that Ford is telling the truth, and there is meaningful evidence that she is not.

However this vote goes for Kavanaugh, I don’t know how they put the pieces back together in Washington. Todd again: “It’s like watching a divorce.” This is true also:

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UPDATE: Here’s Graham:

UPDATE.2: Reader Annie:

I want to say Graham’s anger was needed and important. I want to be glad Kavanaugh is defending himself with vigor, even if he was not my choice for justice and someone who is too pro-business for my taste. I want to be glad there is a hearing to get into this, to address these accusations, after so much defamation and stalling.

But I can’t be glad. What I see on my social media, from friends and family, is deranged hatred. There is nothing Kavanaugh can say that could change their minds: he is guilty because he is a white man from a privileged background. We have elevated victimhood to a privileged position, and everyone wants to identify with Dr. Ford. There have been all too real abuses and evils committed in this country. I should know. But what we should be doing is getting to the root of the mass breakdown in trust, the deranged behavior of our youth, the reason why we feel its an actively good thing to murder our unborn children.

We won’t. It’s just hate. The man got angry and defended himself after being called a gang rapist: well, that’s because he’s entitled. Because the patriarchy. Because #believewomen. Because male tears. Because imagine being a sexual assault victim, isn’t that worse? (I don’t know, I was a sexual assault victim, and that experience didn’t destroy my reputation and drag my family and name into the mud before the entire country so that seems pretty bad too.)

We lost a shared symbolic order, a shared sense of community and respect for civic process. It was probably destiny, considering the crimes on which this nation was founded. Judge Kavanaugh’s pro-corporate rulings have helped contribute to that fracturing. Diane Feinstein’s blood lust, dishonesty, and disregard for the sanctity of human life have also contributed to that fracturing. But we are all going to suffer in the coming breakdown. My children will suffer in the coming breakdown.

I want out as fast as possible.