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Kavanaugh, Ford & the death of privacy and other commentary

Writing at New York magazine, Andrew Sullivan notes that both Christine Blasey Ford and Brett Kavanaugh were convincing and sympathetic figures in their testimony Thursday, but that Democrats’ blurring of the line between private and public life should concern everyone: “When public life means the ransacking of people’s private lives even when they were in high school, we are circling a deeply illiberal drain.” That’s why the American Founders “carved out a private space that was sacrosanct and a public space which insisted on a strict presumption of innocence, until a speedy and fair trial.” Your beliefs and fantasies were off-limits: “If everything were fair game in public life, the logic ran, none of us would survive.” The destruction of privacy, Sullivan warns, “is the distinguishing mark of specifically totalitarian societies.”

Centrist: Lindsey Graham’s Truth-Telling Moment

Sen. Lindsey Graham’s righteous anger at the way Democrats handled the Kavanaugh hearings, which he expressed to the committee Thursday, had The Washington Post’s Kathleen Parker cheering: “Graham said in a very loud non-whisper what every sensible, fair-minded person was surely thinking: The hearings that ultimately brought both Kavanaugh and Ford to tears were driven by a partisan quest for power without regard for the human collateral damage.” Parker found Graham’s anger “cleansing and refreshing” and his points solid: First, that Sen. Dianne Feinstein sat on Ford’s allegations until the 11th hour instead of leaving enough time for a full investigation, and second, that a Democratic leak cost Ford her desired anonymity. Says Parker: “Graham is a necessary voice, the human truth-o-meter and translator who shouts the truth from the rooftops.”

Campaign trail: Republican’s Plan to Woo Hispanics

Conventional wisdom says incumbent Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson would have the edge in Florida among Hispanic voters over his challenger, Republican Gov. Rick Scott. But, Philip Elliott at Time points out, “Scott is working overtime to build support among Hispanics. Two polls published in early September have put him up by double digits with the demographic group, while three in late September showed Nelson with a double-digit advantage.” Scott has focused a large portion of his Hispanic-voter outreach on Florida’s Puerto Rican community, typically a Democratic voting contingent. He’s made eight trips to the island since last year’s devastating hurricane, and takes daily Spanish lessons. All of which helps “explain why, in a dismal year for Republicans, he is in an effective dead heat with a well-known incumbent in the nation’s largest swing state.”

Libertarian: The Hated ‘Temperamental Center’

Sen. Jeff Flake likes compromise — and seemingly everyone in politics hates him for it. “There is no place more despised in American politics right now than the center. Not the ideological center, necessarily, but the temperamental center,” explains Matt Welch at Reason. That’s why even after brokering the compromise on delaying Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination vote, both left and right attack him as a narcissistic, well, flake. Welch can understand where Flake’s coming from because, he says, “You can find a lot of libertarians in this unhappy camp.” It’s not an ideological affinity: “You can find a lot of anti-libertarian people in the temperamental center as well.” But “after a week as ugly as the one America just experienced, there is value in having a sensitive soul near the levers of power.”

Sportswriters: Tiger’s Inspiring Comeback

At 42, write Jeff Benedict and Armen Keteyian at The New York Times, Tiger Woods “is writing a new chapter with himself as the central character in the greatest comeback in the history of sports.” He just won his first tournament in five years, yet a year ago “we could hardly find anyone who genuinely believed that Woods would play again on the PGA Tour, much less win.” Indeed, “16 months ago, Woods was found on the side of the road near his home in Florida, asleep behind the wheel of his car in the middle of the night.” But perhaps his comeback shouldn’t have been so shocking: Tiger “has an unparalleled determination to persevere through disappointment, adversity and pain.”

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