Obtuse to the Point of Dishonesty

I’ve been listening with interest to ACB’s confirmation hearings not only for the entertaining legal back-and-forth, but because my state senator — up for re-election this fall — is chairing the proceedings.

I did not come into the hearings planning to vote for Graham. However, nothing in what I have heard from him (full disclosure: I’ve listened to perhaps as much as 50% of the last three days’ hearings, but nowhere close to the entirety) has been objectionable. You may or may not care for his politics or his pushing through a nominee so close to an election, especially in light of his previous pledge not to do so (see: “integrity” below), but his behavior in the hearings themselves has been anodyne.

Meanwhile, separately, as part of my internal debate on how to vote in the senate race, I’ve of course had doubts about Jaime Harrison, Graham’s opponent, but primarily due to my usual objection to the Democratic platform: I think that protecting human lives is important, so running on a platform that openly supports the direct killing of innocent persons is a bit of a buzzkill for me. Still, I know many people who are in favor of legalized abortion for understandable (though mistaken) reasons, and so I didn’t automatically assume he lacked integrity based on that policy position alone.

Today, though, he proved that indeed he is not a person who cares about the truth.

I listened, live, to the exchange between Senator Graham and Judge Barrett which Harrison claims is proof that Graham spoke favorably of segregation. No listener fluent in the English language could mistake Graham’s plain meaning. He was in no way saying that he himself thought segregation was good. His point, very clear from the context and the plain meaning of the exchange, was that returning to segregation is so unthinkable that there is no chance the Supreme Court will be asked to revisit Brown vs. Board of Education.

None of this means that Senator Graham is a desirable candidate. But Harrison’s determination to willfully misunderstand the exchange tells us that in fact Harrison is just fine with lying about someone if it suits his purposes.

Not a good feature in a senator, and not a good feature in anybody. Don’t be like this. Insist on supporting your point of view with the truth.

Fox in the snow, yawning with it's tongue curled.

Fox photo via Wikimedia, CC 4.0. Hot tip: Subscribing to @hourlyfox on Twitter was one of the smartest things I’ve ever done. I would be sympathetic if that were the only account you followed at all.