It literally sounded like a broken record. When Brett Kavanaugh gave an interview to Fox News last night, it was ostensibly for the sake of public relations. He was supposed to come off as believable, human, perhaps even a sympathetic victim. Instead he came across more like a robot stuck on repeat. His repeated use of the same handful of terse phrases wasn’t just the stuff of video memes. It also gave away his real problem – and why he can’t survive this process.
Immediately after the interview, Palmer Report documented some of the phrases that Kavanaugh had kept using over and over again. Late last night, Lawrence O’Donnell used his show to string the repeated phrases together, and the result sounded like a glitch in the matrix. But then this evening Chris Matthews crystallized what was wrong here when he played some of the repeated phrases and concluded that “this guy is really lawyered up.”
Kavanaugh’s attorneys should have given him more phrases to work with, through they surely weren’t expecting him to keep repeating the handful of phrases ad nauseum. The interview was even more of a debacle than it needed to be. But the reality here is that there was no way Kavanaugh could have come across as particularly genuine or human, because he had to limit himself to saying things that his criminal defense attorneys signed off on. It’s a reminder that Kavanaugh is trying to win the next battle while losing this one.
Based on how thoroughly he’s relying on his criminal defense team, Brett Kavanaugh clearly fears that he’s going to end up on criminal trial for one or more of the sexual assault accusations that’s being made against him. He’s not willing to risk legally incriminating himself for the sake of trying to bolster his sinking nomination. So he ended up giving a non-human interview last night, making it failed PR stunt. He’ll do the same during his testimony on Thursday. Kavanaugh can’t survive this nomination battle because it’s no longer his primary concern; prison is.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report