Photo: AP

We knew it would be bad, but the degree to which this awful murderers’ row of old, white, male, Republican senators has been fawning over poor, sweet Brett Kavanaugh this afternoon still managed to defy expectations.

The all-male Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committe began Kavanaugh’s portion of Thursday’s hearings by ceding their time to their chosen female representative, Arizona sex crimes prosecutor Rachel Mitchell, just as they had done with Christine Blasey Ford. But the desire to protect one of their fellow men was clearly too tempting for them to resist, so they benched Mitchell partway through and resorted to angrily denouncing the entire process.

Lindsey Graham led the charge, furiously telling the room—and, by logical extension, Kavanaugh’s accusers—that they’ve put him through “hell.”

“This is the most unethical sham since I’ve been in politics,” Graham nearly shouted. Then, as the Washington Post reported, he turned directly to his colleague Sen. Jeff Flake to say: “To my Republican colleagues, if you vote no, you’re legitimizing the most despicable thing I have seen in my time in politics.”

Texas Sen. John Cornyn, who was reportedly tearing up when Kavanaugh was getting emotional, used his allotted time to compare this process to the infamous McCarthy hearings during the Red Scare of the early 1950s.

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Cornyn also told Kavanaugh: “In order to vote against your nomination we would have to conclude you are a serial liar,” which was widely read as a veiled threat to Flake, Sen. Susan Collins, and Sen. Lisa Murkowski, his Republican colleagues who’ve said they remain undecided on their Kavanaugh vote.

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When Utah Sen. Mike Lee’s turn came around, he offered up his deeply sympathies for Kavanaugh.

“I extend you my most profound sympathies—and my most profound sympathies to Dr. Ford and her family as well,” Lee told the committee, although he did not publicly offer those sympathies to Ford during her testimony. Unfortunately, in this case, it is not the thought that counts at all!

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I’ll leave you with Sen. Orrin Hatch, always a reliably bad person on these issues, who told the judge that it’s a “national disgrace, the way you’re being treated.”

He’s only half correct: Today has been a national disgrace, but not for Kavanaugh.