But then, so did We Over Here: To appearances, many rational animals had little trouble deciding who to believe.
On Sunday morning, September 30, some of these “rationals” called C-Span's Washington Journal. They believed that Kavanaugh was telling the truth. They didn't believe Blasey Ford.
As we noted last Wednesday and then again Thursday, these callers didn't strike us as being enormously rational. There was no apparent basis on which they could be sure that Blasey Ford's account was false. But they seemed to be callers from the Trump right—and they seemed inclined to express "true belief" in the player who played for their side.
This behavior is less than perfectly rational, but it's extremely common “human” behavior. Indeed, such behavior even occurs Over Here, within our own liberal tribe.
Did Kavanaugh assault Blasey Ford, in the manner she has described, when she was just 15? If you gave us money and told us to bet, we would bet that he did—but we can’t say we’d be sure.
We'd bet that Blasey Ford's account is accurate, but we can't say we know it is. Nor do we agree with what Jennifer Granholm said on CNN's Cuomo Prime Time, four days after Kavanaugh and Blasey Ford testified.
Granholm is very smart. In our view, she's one of the brightest pundits or politicians you'll ever see on TV.
Granholm graduated from Harvard Law School; she was elected governor of Michigan twice. Despite these problems, she's very sharp—but we don't agree with this statement, which came to us, live and direct, from one of our tribe's most dominant scripts over the past few weeks:
GRANHOLM (10/1/18): The part that's so frustrating about this is that we have a woman who gets up there and takes an oath and who comes across to most people as incredibly credible. I'm not sure that's the right thing to say, but as amazingly credible.Let's be fair! In that statement, Granholm described how Blasey Ford "came across to most people." She didn't say how Blasey Ford had seemed to her—to Granholm herself.
That said, we can assume that Granholm was also describing her own view of Blasey Ford's testimony. One day before, on the September 30 State of the Union, she had described Blasey Ford as "the most credible witness we could possibly have."
We definitely don't agree with that statement. Indeed, it strikes us as utterly daft.
Was Blasey Ford "the most credible witness we could possibly have?" That statement strikes us as daft. That doesn't mean that Blasey Ford's allegations were false. But it does mean this:
In our view, Granholm's statement helps show that our tribe exhibited symptoms of true belief in the course of this ugly episode. Those C-Span callers displayed True Belief, but so did we, Over Here.
Was Blasey Ford "the most credible witness we could possibly have?" Perhaps through no fault of Blasey Ford', the assessment is absurd on its face, as anyone can see on perhaps ten seconds' reflection.
We'll proceed to that question tomorrow. For today, let's consider the ugliness of this debate, and the nature of true belief.
In our view, the bulk of the ugliness in this debate came from—who else?—Donald Trump.
At various points in the past several weeks, Trump somehow managed to rein in his demented, disordered instincts. He even said, one day after Blasey Ford testified, that he found her testimony "very compelling" and “very credible.”
To Trump, she seemed like a very fine woman. This was Trump’s fuller statement, from a Rose Garden press event:
TRUMP (9/28/18): I thought her testimony was very compelling, and she looks like a very fine woman to me. A very fine woman.Trump said that Blasey Ford’s testimony was “very credible.” He said that Kavanaugh’s testimony was “incredible,” though he probably didn’t mean it that way.
And I thought that Brett's testimony, likewise, was really something that I haven't seen before. It was incredible. It was an incredible moment, I think, in the history of our country.
But certainly she was a very credible witness. She was very good in many respects.
As he continued, he said he hadn’t considered withdrawing his nomination of Kavanaugh, “not even a little bit.” He wasn’t asked to explain the possible contradictions in this various things he had said.
Trump was on his best behavior during large chunks of this process. But before and after that Rose Garden session, he engaged in his standard ugly behavior. He snarked at Blasey Ford’s “loving parents;” he mocked Blasey Ford herself for things she says she can’t remember, misstating basic facts as he did.
That was Standard Trump. Through twenty-six years of incompetent, sub-rational and frequently dishonest behavior, leading stars of our own liberal tribe worked to create the situation in which he now sits in the Oval Office, having filled two seats (so far) on the Supreme Court.
Rational animals within our own liberal rank and file still don’t understand the facts of this ugly, 26-year process. (We’re dating it from January 1992 through November 2018.) However rational we liberals may be, we’re also amazingly easy to fool, as are many rational animals in The Other Tribe.
On Sunday morning, September 30, rational animals from Trump’s own tribe flooded C-Span with phone calls expressing their true belief. That said, they’d heard a lot of things from their tribal news orgs which we liberals had been sheltered from Over Here, within our own tribal news orgs.
Those callers had been given lots of reasons, some of them sensible, to doubt Blasey Ford’s account. They’d also been given many reasons to disregard the various things our own liberal leaders were saying, some of which bordered on daft or perhaps dishonest.
Within this ugly, stupid context, one of our smartest leaders appeared on CNN and made an implausible statement about Balsey Ford. For the rest of the week, we’ll be exploring the ways our own tribe has failed.
Warning! The Others have been told about the ways our leaders failed. As we've watched our darlings Rachel and Lawrence, we liberals have been kept in the dark—propagandized, to employ a key word.
Plato didn’t believe in rule by us the rabble. Those calls to C-Span buttressed his point—but so did a great deal of conduct Over Here in our own sub-rational tribe.
Tomorrow: Truly, where to begin?