Many Americans look around at the political scene and wonder how we got to the point where anyone who disagrees with those in the media (and any liberal) is a horrible person probably guilty of hate speech. The concept of personal destruction has been with us for a while, but there are a few moments in American history that we can point to as watershed moments. One is the confirmation hearing of Robert Bork in 1987.
Robert Bork was recognized as a qualified conservative judge. In 1962, he became a law professor at Yale. In 1982, Ronald Reagan appointed him to the U.S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit. In 1987, he was nominated for the Supreme Court. His nomination hearing was one of the low points of American history. The unfounded attacks on him were a shadow of things to come.
Yesterday PJ Media posted an article about Joe Biden’s role in the confirmation hearings of Robert Bork.
The article notes:
During the fourth Democratic debate on Tuesday, former Vice President Joe Biden — the ostensible moderate in the race — bragged about his role in the acrimonious political attack that first made Supreme Court confirmation battles as vicious as they are today. While Democrats often blame House Speaker Newt Gingrich for coarsening America’s political rhetoric, the character assassination of Robert Bork first ignited the partisan political warfare that hit a fever pitch with Trump.
Biden is campaigning on a platform of “restoring the soul” of America, aiming to reverse the influence of Trump, whom he blames for the white nationalist riots in Charlottesville, Va. Yet the former VP played a key role in the political declaration of war that turned Bork’s last name into a verb. On Tuesday, he bragged about that.
Asked about abortion, the former senator — and Senate Judiciary Committee chairman — bragged, “When I defeated Robert Bork, I made sure we guaranteed a woman’s right to choose for the better part of a generation.”
So the smearing of Robert Bork (also the smearing of Brett Kavanaugh) was actually about abortion. It worked the first time; it didn’t work the second time–Justice Kavanaugh was confirmed–Judge Bork was not.
The article continues:
Yet bragging about Bork is a bad strategy, especially for a candidate who aims to present himself as a return to political civility.
As Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) wrote in his excellent book Them: Why We Hate Each Other—and How to Heal, the “Borking” of Robert Bork helped create the “angry constituency” that spurred on (Newt) Gingrich’s success.
…Biden played a large role in the character assassination.
Stage management was a key part of this made-for-tv political drama, and one of the central cast members was the Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman, Delaware Senator Joe Biden. His former staffers later admitted that chairman Biden hatched a plan to work with outside advocacy groups to heighten the visibility of the Bork hearings. Biden thought a Supreme Court fight could be a key lever to boosting his name recognition in advance of the 1988 Democratic primary.
Because character assassination worked in that instance, the Democrat party has tried it on other occasions. It wasn’t until they tried it on President Trump that they met someone who was willing and able to fight back. That is one of many reasons that the Democrats are trying to remove him from office–their normal bag of tricks is not working on him.