In the ’80s, boys’ prep schools like Kavanaugh’s could be bastions of misogyny

I went to an elite high school down the road from his. Here’s what I saw.

.. Ford had attended Holton-Arms, Landon’s sister school
.. I do remember plenty about the culture of these same-sex programs, not all of it good. I began reaching out to old friends from Landon and Prep to see if they recalled the same misogynistic culture that I did.
..  In my memory, we tested and terrorized the female teachers with petty acts of harassment, such as collectively staring at an eighth-grade earth science teacher’s breasts or dropping our pencils in unison at a specific time in the middle of her class (a feat we did not repeat for any male instructors).
.. The reason I can recall only the names of my male teachers from that period is because the women usually didn’t stay long.
.. “We definitely were terrible to the female teachers,” said Patrick Breen, a lifelong friend who is now a history professor at Providence College in Rhode Island. He remembered the middle-school Spanish teacher who felt angry and harassed when someone from my class put a jock strap on her dog, which she brought to school.
.. A few of the male teachers contributed to this culture. One U.S. history teacher introduced us to women’s suffrage by calling on a student who was often unprepared for class and asking him to tell us all he knew about the movement. The student stuttered and stammered for a few seconds. “That’s enough,” the teacher declared with finality, in a way that made clear he was dispensing with the subject, not the student.

.. Friday morning announcements, usually delivered by a high school senior. “After the [football] game, there will be a mixer. Girls from Holy Cross, Holy Child and Visitation . . . will . . . be . . . available,” he remembered the announcer saying lasciviously. The joke, my friend said, was a part of daily life, accepted by teachers and students.

.. 1,000 Holton alumnae signed a letter in support of Ford. Her account of being attacked was “all too consistent with stories we heard and lived while attending Holton,” their letter said.

.. She recalled being shoved off the bleachers at a football game by one Landon student and thrown, fully clothed, into a swimming pool by another.

.. Several of her friends in recent days remembered Landon students driving past the Holton campus and screaming “beaver” from their car. “I hated it,” she told me by email, “but thought it was just normal.”

.. whether the culture of casual misogyny and heavy drinkingthat existed in the 1980s matters today.

.. One way for Kavanaugh to handle the accusations against him would be to admit some boorish behavior decades ago, and then use the rest of his life as an example to prove that he has risen above the toxic sexism and misogyny of his youth.

.. (This, of course, runs counter to President Trump’s advice, as recounted in Bob Woodward’s book “Fear,” about how to deal with such allegations. “You’ve got to deny, deny, deny and push back on these women,” he is quoted as telling a friend. “If you admit to anything and any culpability, then you’re dead.”)

.. “I loved Landon but looking at it retrospectively through the lens of the father of two daughters, I would not consider sending my son there,” wrote Steve Pokorny

..  It erases the specific details of Christine Blasey Ford’s stated recollections with the soggy mop of generalized male entitlement.”

.. Ideas that we consider anachronistic today — about women, male entitlement, even what we now call rape culture — were not just common views of that era. They thrived at places like Georgetown Prep, which Kavanaugh, in his confirmation hearing, called “very formative.”

Three years ago, Kavanaugh jokingly said in a speech that “what happens at Georgetown Prep, stays at Georgetown Prep. That’s been a good thing for all of us.” Today a better accounting of what went on at places like Georgetown Prep might help us all see our flaws more clearly.

Kris Kobach Is the G.O.P. at Its Worst

In his race to be Kansas’ next governor, Kris Kobach represents the ugliest part of today’s Republican Party. He also sounds a lot like the president.

.. Kris Kobach, the state’s secretary of state — and quite possibly the most pernicious public official in America.
.. This distinction is not conferred lightly. Mr. Kobach has labored for it long and hard, notably in the areas of voter suppression and nativism. He is best known for having been the vice chairman of President Trump’s ugly voter fraud commission, spawned in 2017 to root out the millions of illegal voters who Mr. Trump’s ego pathetically, and falsely, claimed had cost him the popular vote in 2016. The commission was dissolved this January, having failed to find any evidence of widespread fraud, but having succeeded in raising Mr. Kobach’s national profile and cementing his reputation as a master purveyor of Trumpism.
Mr. Kobach on Wednesday declared victory at a noon news conference, acknowledging that only 191 votes separated him from Mr. Colyer and that the election result may change as provisional and other ballots are counted. Awkwardly, as the state’s top election official, Mr. Kobach would be the person charged with overseeing any recount of votes. Unless he recused himself, which he has said he would not.
Mr. Kobach is running for governor on a promise to “Make Kansas Great Again.” (#MKGA!)
.. Starting with a failed run for Congress in 2004, Mr. Kobach has regularly sounded the alarm that illegal immigration and widespread voter fraud are destroying this nation. Indeed, he has suggested that fraud played a role in his congressional defeat.
A former constitutional law professor with degrees from Yale, Harvard and Oxford, Mr. Kobach’s specialty is concocting creative legal arguments to achieve controversial political ends — such as, say, forcing Mexico to pay for a border wall. (His plan: use a provision in the Patriot Act to track and tax the remittances that undocumented immigrants send home to family members.)

He was the brains behind the self-deportation proposal for which Mitt Romney was widely mocked in his 2012 presidential run.

..  As an adviser to immigration hard-liners in Arizona — including the felonious-until-pardoned Sheriff Joe Arpaio — he helped write the state law that, among other measures, tasked the local police with verifying the citizenship of anyone they had “reasonable suspicion” to believe was undocumented.

.. ProPublica and The Kansas City Star recently detailed Mr. Kobach’s 13-year history of pitching his consulting services to small towns, helping them enact such ordinances. This has been a profitable gig for Mr. Kobach, but not so much for the towns in question, some of which wound up drowning in legal fees after trying to defend measures that ultimately proved unenforceable.

.. His crowning achievement as secretary of state was a law passed in 2011 requiring people to prove their citizenship before registering to vote. Or, rather, it was his crowning achievement until a federal judge this year struck down the law as unconstitutional.

In the course of that case, Mr. Kobach so violated basic courtroom rules that he was held in contempt and, among other humiliations, ordered to take six hours of legal education.

.. he has a flair for the dramatic and isn’t overly concerned with facts.

.. His speeches contain plenty of red meat, such as comparing Planned Parenthood to the Third Reich’s Josef Mengele.

.. Until early 2017, Mr. Kobach spent several years hosting a local call-in show, on which he held forth on such terrors as the “illegal alien crime wave” that he warned was decimating America.

.. He also got a kick out of indulging the dark fantasies of listeners, such as the 2014 caller fearful that the immigration policies of then-President Barack Obama would lead to the “ethnic cleansing” of whites.

.. Then there was the 2015 caller anxious about whether Mr. Obama might one day decree that “any black person accused of a crime, charged with a crime, is not going to be prosecuted.”

“Well, it’s already happened more or less in the case of civil rights laws,” Mr. Kobach soothed. “So I guess it’s not a huge jump.”

.. in Mr. Kobach, Mr. Trump clearly sees a kindred spirit.

 

 

 

How to disagree better

Everyone knows the difference between anger and contempt.

Anger can lead to reconciliation

Twitter is a contempt machine

45 min: Blogosphere Fisking: Attacking others, but expecting them to read and respond.

Martin Luther King used confrontation with the expectation that change was possible.

Competition means trying to win the game. Contempt means trying to shut it down.

We don’t actually have conversations with people who are different.

(53 min)

Stephen K. Bannon has won

This is the victory not only of a Trump personality cult, as it has been described, but also of an ideology, one closer to Putinism than Reaganism.

.. Back then, you may recall, some of the “crazies” — such as national security adviser Michael Flynn — had left the White House, and supposed pragmatists had taken charge: H.R. McMaster for national security, Gary Cohn for economics, Jared and Ivanka for — well, for general reasonableness.

.. There was talk of working with Democrats on infrastructure. Trump wanted to help the “dreamers,” those blameless young immigrants brought to this country as children. It seemed that existing international agreements — NATO, the North American Free Trade Agreement, the Paris climate accord — might be preserved, with some face-saving adjustments. Trump was still the politician who had spoken tolerantly on LGBT issues.

..  The White House defines itself and prepares to motivate its voters by the “enemies” it constantly creates, refines and rediscovers, including African American athletes, the press (“Our Country’s biggest enemy,” in a recent Trump tweet), Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (“very dishonest & weak”), and special counsel Robert S. Mueller III (directing a “Witch Hunt, led by 13 very Angry and Conflicted Democrats”). Also: Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Democratic leaders in the Senate and House, former FBI director James B. Comey, his own attorney general, his deputy attorney general . . . The list will never end.

.. But Bannonism is not just a snarling attitude. It encompasses a contempt for democracy and a respect for authoritarianism. When Trump refused to sign a statement of solidarity with the world’s other six leading industrial democracies and then proceeded to slather praise on North Korea’s dictator (“a tough guy . . . a very smart guy”), this was not just a sign of personal pique or favoritism: The U.S. president raised questions in the minds of other leaders about whether the concept of the West itself can survive his presidency.

.. It encompasses an “America First,” for-me-to-win-you-have-to-lose philosophy

.. It encompasses a contempt for immigrants, for outsiders of any kind. Certainly it is possible to support lower levels of immigration without being a racist. But to countenance the deliberate policy of tearing away small children from their parents that we are seeing today on the U.S.- ­Mexico border is consistent only with a worldview that deems Mexicans and Salvadorans somehow less human, less worthy, than white Americans.

..it’s no coincidence that Trump, who boasted about being the first Republican to say LGBTQ in his convention acceptance speech in 2016, has, as The Post’s James Hohmann noted last week, tried to ban transgender people from the military, removed protections for transgender inmates, employees and students, failed to acknowledge Pride Month and disbanded the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS. As in Vladimir Putin’s Russia, this revival of bigotry dovetails with an effort to woo the conservative Christian establishment.

.. Finally, Bannonism encompasses contempt for the government itself.

.. his constant disparagement of the Justice Department and the FBI; his at times insultingly unsuitable appointments (such as his personal physician to head the mammoth Department of Veterans Affairs); and his generally cavalier attitude toward staffing. Even today, 17 months into his first term, fewer than half of the 667 key positions tracked by The Post in collaboration with the Partnership for Public Service are filled, and for almost 200 there are no nominees.

.. How has Bannonism prevailed without Bannon? In part, with the help of true believers who remain in the White House, including Stephen Miller (on immigration) and Peter Navarro (on trade).

.. But another answer came from Trump himself, who said after Bannon’s firing: “Steve Bannon has nothing to do with me or my presidency. . . . Steve was a staffer.”

Even discounting for Trump’s normal petulance and self-aggrandizement, there may have been an element of truth in what he said. The anti-democratic, protectionist, anti-immigrant, pro-authoritarian administration that has now taken shape, in other words, is not only Bannonism. It is raw and unvarnished Trumpism, too.