Why the outrage?
Why has the Kavanaugh confirmation unleashed the furies? Gerald Seib offers the best explanation I have seen in "The New Kind of Fury Unleashed by the Kavanaugh Fight," although I don't think it is complete.
The Kavanaugh fight takes every raw divide in American society today – partisan, ideological, gender, class, generational – and rolls them all into one. It then folds in the anger of the #MeToo movement, the bitterness between President Trump's supporters and Trump haters, and the profound concern that liberals and conservatives alike feel about the impact the Supreme Court on the society for decades to come.
Beyond that, Democrats remain furious that President Obama's last Supreme Court pick, Merrick Garland, was refused a hearing by a Republican Senate, which has helped supercharge the current debate[.] ...
Both the emotions and the stakes, in other words, are enormous. All that is inflamed further by a social-media environment in which fury is the norm and facts are elusive, if not superfluous. In this environment, the one thing that used to keep even heated Washington debates under some kind of control – a willingness to at least consider the possibility that those on the other side are acting in good faith – has all but evaporated.
While I agree with much of Seib's analysis, what's missing is some historical context. The Supreme Court has fundamentally endorsed the progressive agenda since the late 1930s, after FDR's court-packing threat. If Kavanaugh is added to the conservative majority, that will gradually be rolled back.
Additionally, Seib does not acknowledge that we also lived in a highly partisan social media era when Obama nominated two women, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, who were easily confirmed with a number of Republican votes, while Neil Gorsuch, who faced no last-minute unprovable, uncorroborated allegations of harassment, barely slipped through. Further, within days of President Trump nominating Gorsuch and Kavanaugh, most Democrat senators said they would not vote for them, while many Republican senators approached Sotomayor and Kagan with an open mind.
As such, the entire Kavanaugh confirmation process is all really a charade. Gorsuch and Kavanaugh, as straight white conservative Christian men, are held to a different standard (witness how the assault and battery allegations against Keith Ellison are being treated by comparison) and are victims of the Democrats' attempt to resist President Trump, no matter the cost to our country.
In any event, if he is confirmed, I expect the unfair attacks on Kavanaugh will harden him and make him a permanent enemy of the left, similar to Clarence Thomas.