Cognitive Psychology

The Cognitive Tom Fuckery Behind Support for Kavanaugh

After today’s very ugly display by the bullignorant (obvious to all) drunken (allegedly) rapist (allegedly) otherwise known as Brett Kavanaugh, it is unbelievable that anyone could still support his nomination, yet Repubes of every stripe do. Did you listen to the way he talked, shouted, and screamed? Was he drunk? I haven’t seen every minute of his testimony, but in what I have seen, he seemed drunk to me. The only thing missing was slurring his words and wobbly balance. Maybe he’s a dry drunk. Gawd that’s the only “positive” explanation to be plausible. What a comment on his nomination.

I had wanted to write a post about the various psychological reasons Repubes support such an oblivious anus, but events both personal and public got in the way. Now, all I want to do is join the growing chorus of WHAT THE EVER LOVING FUCK?

Seriously, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Where’d My Chin Go?) actually tweeted this bullshit:

The only reason the allegation isn’t corroborated is because the REPUBES wouldn’t allow any other witnesses to testify! Holy fucking shit conman! She submitted her evidentiary documentation — except for therapy notes and, gosh, do you wonder why? — including lie detector test results. If you want credible witness statements… oh, wait, here’s another outrageous tweet from @senatemajldr:

Yeah, like anyone trusts you to make that determination. Shouldn’t we be hearing directly from the witnesses testifying before the committee under oath before we conclude that they are contradictory or unable to back up Dr. Ford’s story?

And here’s Chuck Grassley (R-Drowned in Corn Syrup) claims about investigating the allegations:

And who is going to trust your Repube committee “investigators?” You probably don’t even trust them, but that’s because you know they’re lying. Seriously, weren’t you on the Judiciary Committee during the infamous Manuel Miranda led Memogate in which Kavanaugh knowingly received stolen Dem documents (they were marked by the words “spying” and “mole,” which, according to Kavanaugh’s current testimony, means bipartisan sharing), and aren’t some of the current Judiciary Committee staffers also linked to that incident? Seriously, isn’t it convenient that the Ol’ Pussy Grabber has sufficiently smeared the FBI that even if they did investigate, partisans wouldn’t believe their findings.

Doesn’t this shit just drive you crazy?

And, here’s a tweet of an editorial written by David French of the Repube punditry class:

That’s a good spin: passion. Spittle inflected, weeping, repetitive,  incoherent outrage is not passion. It is someone who cannot manage their emotions and lashes out — “I don’t know. Have you [ever blacked out]? — and sarcastically turns questions back on Dem senators as if that is refutation enough — “I like beer, do you like beer, senator?” Sweet baby Jesus suckling a dry teat is that a teenager arguing with his parents or what?

If it had been any other nominee by any other president — other than Clarence “Show My Wife the MONEY” Thomas — the nominee would’ve withdrawn by now. But, we have the incredible narcissist paying pee-hookers to piss on the Resolute Desk and American values nominating another narcissist to figuratively piss on the Supreme Court and American values. Neither one of them can accept blame for their own indiscretions and crimes. Both of them feel exceptions should be made for them — Kav thinks he should be able to perjure himself at will before the Judiciary Committee, and commit rape (alleged rapes, but that goes without saying, right?).

And that’s what happens when you wound a narcissist by insisting that they account for their own behavior. It is an ugly gaslighting mess. Why defend it?

Cognitive Tom Fuckery

Congressional Repubes have a number of reasons for their defense of Kavanaugh. For the rank-and-file, it is groupthink and motivated reasoning. I’ve written about both before. Today, I’ll borrow heavily from past posts and summarize each: groupthink here and motivated reasoning later when we’ve moved on to include the rank-and-defiled.


Groupthink was an idea thought up by Irving Janis in his own little academic pointy head to try and understand why seemingly intelligent people can make extremely fucked up self-destructive decisions when working as a group. It is the great sin of committee decision making and it always leads to unmitigated disaster. We’re on the train, our next station is 8 November, let’s hope we can get off before it runs off the rails and plows up the entire country. From Groupthink or Group Cluster… Explaining the Modern GOP:

Janis (1982) defined groupthink as ―a mode of thinking people engage in when they are deeply involved in a cohesive in-group, when the members striving for unanimity override their motivation to realistically appraise alternative courses of action‖ (p. 9)

Diverse Perspectives on the Groupthink Theory

Let’s consider the eight symptoms of groupthink from What is Groupthink from the same blog post:

  1. Direct pressure on dissenters – Members are under pressure not to express arguments against any of the group’s views.
  2. Illusion of invulnerability –Creates excessive optimism that encourages taking extreme risks.
  3. Collective rationalization – Members discount warnings and do not reconsider their assumptions.
  4. Belief in inherent morality – Members believe in the rightness of their cause and therefore ignore the ethical or moral consequences of their decisions.
  5. Stereotyped views of out-groups – Negative views of “enemy” make effective responses to conflict seem unnecessary.
  6. Self-censorship – Doubts and deviations from the perceived group consensus are not expressed.
  7. Illusion of unanimity – The majority view and judgments are assumed to be unanimous.
  8. Self-appointed ‘mindguards’ – Members protect the group and the leader from information that is problematic or contradictory to the group’s cohesiveness, view, and/or decisions.

Obviously, Senator Lindsey Graham (R- Kompromat) has ascended to the dubious yet illustrious role of “mindguard” for Mitch and the gang. And, if that don’t sound like the modern GOP, I don’t know what does. All I can say is hold on to your asses, we’re flying into the eye of the hurricane… and this one is a superstorm. Groupthink leads to disaster every fucking time.

Motivated Reasoning

Motivated reasoning is like confirmation bias on steroids. Both start with a conclusion. In confirmation bias, we search one-eyed like some kind of demented Egyptian hieroglyph only accepting evidence that supports our conclusion. Motivated reasoning takes this tendency and dials it up to eleven!

You start with your conclusion — usually based on emotion, since human beings are emotional decision makers, meaning that we instantly know whether we like something or not and then rationalize any decisions we make from there — and fight like hell to defend it no matter how barmy the goddamn thing is.

Please note, very little of this post is based on the highly entertaining, informative, snarky, sarcasticky, and profaney blog post, The Faux Outrage over Michelle Wolf’s WHCD Remarks and Motivated Reasoning and Other Cognitive Tom Fuckery, but I did re-read it, correct a couple of typoes — there are always typos, amiright? — and actually used some of it.

For rank and defiled conservatives, it works like this: (1) They super identify with being Repube and conservative and Christian and white. You realize that conservative Christian white is the original identity politics, right? (2) You are inclined to like anything that gets labeled Repube, conservative, Christian, or white or some combination of thereof. And (3) now that you like it and accept it, you have to defend it by any means necessary. It is the snapping turtle of logical fallacies: it ain’t letting go ever even if there is a loud clap of thunder issuing from some gonorrhetic thighs.

Applied to this case, since the GOP faithful believe that Kavanaugh is a conservative white Christian guy, so he is eminently qualified to be on the Supreme Court, oh and he can rooffie me and my friends and grab me by the pussy all he wants; therefore, any and all attacks against him are scurrilous and unfounded.

Motivated reasoning: conclusion first, defend at all costs, second. It is the exact opposite of science and our idealized criminal justice system which state, follow the evidence. I say idealized criminal justice system because, you know, how many corrupt DAs have convicted innocent people, put them on death row, and watched them be executed? How many people have been exonerated by DNA evidence revealing their original trial and conviction to be little more than a kangaroo court? But, we are supposed to follow the evidence. The Congressional Repubes clearly ain’t doing that with regard to Ol’ Brett “Renata Alumuni of the 100 Kegs” Kavanaugh. Those high school epitaphs are going to haunt him for the rest of his life… why would he want to expose himself to such ridicule… oh yeah, he’s a narcissist.

But, he’s the conservative white Christian allegedly drunken narcissistic rapist, so they’ll love him nonetheless… that’s the halo effect, y’all!

The Halo and Horns Effect

Because Kavanaugh emerged long enough from the Devil’s Triangle to vomit on our judicial system, most white Christian conservatives accept him as one of their own. Just like they did Roy Moorelester, the Ol’ Pussy Grabber, Mother Pence (the high-breasted fussy closeted queen that stares disdainfully out from Number One Observatory Circle and not his wife that he calls Mother), and the whole lot of rotted evil mo’fo’s who are selling their electorate and the rest of us like so many cheap natural resources to the donor class.

They like him no matter how nauseating that notion is. When you like someone, you halo them. You extend your like for them to everything they do. It is why finding out that a favorite entertainer is an SOB is so hard. You think that everything they do is as good as the reason you like them and that they’ll never disappoint. Fun fact for all of you going off to college: knock your profs out with your first paper and ride the halo effect to a low A while turning in sub-standard work.

The horns effect is the opposite. If you dislike someone, think libs and Kav, then there is nothing he can do that is acceptable. Everything he does is evil — that the libs are right about the narcissistic drunken rapist (allegedly) is immaterial to the horns effect.

You can read more about it in the exceptionally snarky, sarcasticky, and profaney post, Roy Moore, Al Franken, Halos, Horns, and the Hive Mind.

Fundamental Attribution Error

Why do people blame the victim, especially when it comes to sexual assault? There is a healthy dose of misogyny in that particular blame game, but there is an equally healthy heaping helping of fundamental attribution error, too. FAE as it is fondly called by psychologists and psychologist wannabes everywhere is the tendency to blame a person’s personality for their shortcomings. All the typos in my blog posts must be because I’m an idiot or so reasoned my mother… god rest her soul. I promise ma, I’ll quit tormenting your eternal rest with my ridiculous typos, meandering run-on sentences, and nonsensical non sequiturs just quit glaring down at me from heaven or hell or wherever your eternal resting wanderings take you.

If you see someone spill their coffee, its because that person is clumsy inconsiderate unobservant oaf. It’s not because of the any one of a number of external causes that could account for it. It’s them.

So, Dr. Ford up and grabs the bull by the horns and accuses Brett Boofing Kavanaugh of rape and the screaming flying-monkey squad comes screaming down to roost upon her doorstep and scream profanity laced death threats at her and her family because patriotism. If you had already haloed the forever juvenile Kav — alcoholics get stuck in their development at whatever point in their lives their alcoholism took hold — then you figured Dr. Ford’s personality is to blame for her attempted rape and the manner in which she’s brought her story forward.

And that boys and girls and my dearly departed mother is all the cognitive Tom Fuckery behind the brouhaha that is the Brett Gaslighting Alcoholic Narcissisitic Rapist (allegedly) Kavanaugh’s ill-fated nomination to the Supreme Court.

And, just in case you’re worried that Dr. Ford has ruined his life by causing him not to get to be a Supreme Court justice, let me disabuse you of a couple of things: (a) Kavanaugh is the rapist; he is responsible for any ruination of his life. Dr. Ford is not. She’s just doing her civic duty. And (b) not attaining the highest position for your profession does not ruin your life. Those highest positions are reserved for our absolute best. If you were nominated to the Supreme Court, you were already in the upper echelon of our society, and if you didn’t succeed, you’re still in the upper echelon of our society. Something tells me that the hard drinking, angry, dry (hopefully) drunk that Brett Kavanaugh is will be bitter but just fine if his nomination is not approved.

22 replies »

    • Howdy Johnny!

      If by people, you mean Senators, then you’re right! You should be aware that the number of people each Senator represents is greatly skewed since our populations have grown unevenly with the blue states generally have larger populations, meaning the nearly unanimous opposition by the Dems suggests the people, as in the population of the US, rejected Kav by substantial proportions if polls are to be believed.

      As for unsubstantiated, that’s a relative term, especially considering the Repubes on the Judicial Committee wouldn’t allow any substantiating evidence to be entered into the record and Mitch McConnell said that they limited the FBI investigation.

      Thanks for stopping by. I hope you do so again, soon.


      Liked by 1 person

  1. I was watching the expression on his wife’s face ….it was clearly pain and agony… she knows her husband is fucked up and in dire straights…. she also
    is in pain.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Howdy Francese!

      You know he’s put her and his daughters through hell. He’s too mean of a drunk not to have. And, like most alcoholic families — I know I don’t have to tell you this — they will continue to stand with him and cover up for him until they reach a breaking point.

      This whole episode in their personal history and our national history has just been a painful embarrassment. Hopefully, she’ll be able to use it to help herself and her daughters even if Boof K can’t.



  2. as the child of an alcoholic , I can vouch for H being ” high” most of the time he was ranting…. I recognized it right away. ….that anger and rage, lead me to believe that he was actually high during his rant.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Howdy Francese!

      From the moment he started that was my thought, “he seems drunk.” Someone else noted that his cheeks got rosier as the testimony went on and speculated that he might have been drinking during the breaks. I was waiting for him to slur his words and sway in his chair, but as a life long alcoholic, his tolerance is pretty high. However, as soon as he touches alcohol all those old out of control drunk — in his case angry and aggressive — tendencies pop right out.



        • Maybe in an ironic way, being rejected for the Supremes will be hitting rock bottom and he’ll begin to sober up and start on the road to recovery. Probably not, though. He’s far more likely to become even more bitter and take it out on his wife and family.



  3. Women make up the majority of the electorate and will be heard. It takes us a while to get up our anger, but when we do the idiots in congress should watch their backs. We have already targeted the idiots that MUST be thrown out and are quite busily including those who have defended Kavanaugh. Lindsey Graham had best hire bodyguards.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Howdy Suze!
      Hopefully, the anger is widespread and deep. Hopefully, the anger is highly motivating. Hopefully, the anger is more about the country and democracy and can overcome the inertia that so many of us have felt during elections in general and the midterms in particular. My social media is full of enthusiasm and outrage, but polls, of course, regress towards the mean and show more ambivalence, but still with a lean to the Dems.

      I have real fears that spin and events will blunt that anger and enthusiasm. There is so much at stake it is hard not to be anxious. Dems have snatched defeat — including the 2016 election — the jaws of victory.



  4. B.K. denies drinking to the point of blackout. A lot of serious drunks do have them and stay in denial of it until they actually get into recovery. I think it is a safe bet that Fratboy Brett has not been going to AA meetings and working the steps.

    Another point that struck me listening to the Republicans on the committee was their harping on feeling blind sided because the Dems “sat on” the accusation. I put that next to them being able to come up with 65 women who support the nominee overnight. Either they had lists of vetted supporters to call on if needed, or Dr. Ford’s letter was leaked to the GOP leaders almost as soon as it arrived and they were prepared and also keeping it secret so they could blame the Dems for the delay. If that is so, the headlong rush to get the nomination voted on before the shit would hit the fan makes even more sense.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Howdy Bob!

      I agree. It is painfully obvious that the GOP was prepared for the accusations and were ready to roll. But, several things are painfully clear about Boof K: (a) It is clear that Book K is an alcoholic. His out rage during the hearing stinks of alcoholism. Maybe he’s a dry drunk; maybe he is an active alcoholic; maybe he was drunk during the hearing. And (b) his alcoholism started in his mid-teens. Alcoholics get stuck developmentally at the time their alcoholism started. He’s got the mentality of a fifteen year old.

      At any rate, he is not suited for the judiciary.


      Liked by 1 person

      • I agree. I worked several years in a program for teenage alcoholics/addicts, some who got started quite young courtesy of addicted parents and pimps, and that developmental halt process is well known. Of the few (by some reports, only four) people to be interviewed in the so-called investigation, the one who could be most damaging to the Boofer is Mr. Judge. It is likely that he does not, and didn’t at the time, remember the details of the event, but he remembered something enough to be embarrassed or fearful in his reaction when the girl encountered him at the grocery store later. He is also in the best position to know whether his friend knows and knew the real meaning of “Devil’s Triangle” and “Boofing” and was lying under oath.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Another thought: Lie detection and cognitive dissonance – We avoid CD. It’s uncomfortable. So, when the verbal message and the non-verbal message (context markers) are not congruent, we make an unconscious choice of which we will attend to and which ignore. The choice is related to such things as motivated reasoning and our feelings about the speaker, and often, shared anxieties and grievances with the speaker, or otherwise. In the case of a presentation like Judge K’s, the high emotionalism of the performance also tends to mask the signs of deception.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Howdy Bob!

          That’s an interesting use of cognitive dissonance. I don’t think the question has ever been evaluated not that I have comprehensive knowledge of cognitive dissonance or lie detection research. I do wonder how you might be able to tease the two apart in an experiment. And, what of the lies that do not produce cognitive dissonance? Are those the ones more reliably detected?

          I do know that people have done lie detection studies in a wide number of settings and using a variety of methodologies and it holds up across them all. Still, in political or controversial settings there may be a cognitive dissonance effect. Interesting thought.

          I also know that people who are trying to beat interrogators will use the intense emotions gambit to through them off. And, people will take an anti-anxiety to defeat a lie detector.


          Liked by 1 person

          • I think part of the question is between a knowing lie and a believed untruth, and, I suppose the utterances of someone like DJT who simply is not concerned with truth and falsehood.

            Certainly, in political settings there is a relationship between the avoidance of cognitive dissonance and the processes of confirmation bias, motivated reasoning, unconscious bias, and group think.

            Liked by 1 person

  5. chances are good that he will not be approved.. Women have come out of the closet and are assailing the men…( women are great at this) and I am proud of them!… these ladies have been heard and the politicos are paying attention….actually I think they are scared ! The Tide has turned and Kavenaugh is now in deep doodoo Women are assailing the bastions ,,,and are now being heard……..lets hope this is not a fluke .

    Liked by 2 people

    • Howdy Francese!

      I think they are laying the ground work for withdrawing his name. The FBI will uncover more accusations. They will collect sworn affidavits. They will find witnesses who will support the accusations. I think cooler heads will prevail and Kavanaugh will withdraw or be withdrawn. I think you’re right.

      There are always more victims. The more time given for them to organize their supports, the more likely they will surface.

      It is just a sad sad time to have such a deeply flawed nominee be put forward and have the Repubes be so willing to push it on a bare majority party line vote. I truly believe they suffer from groupthink and it will lead to a very big disaster. Hopefully the fallout from that disaster will affect them badly and leave the rest of us alone. But, as NC found out, that ain’t likely to happen.



        • Howdy Francese!

          It no longer looks like they’re going to yank Boof Kav from the nomination. But, it is well past the time where we need to be pushing back. I never dreamed that a revolution or civil war would occur in my lifetime. We may not be fighting in the streets, but there is certainly open deep conflict..



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