A Wild week in Washington
Welcome to opinion central. I'm John D S two chronicles aditorial paycheck hitter here with my editorial board colleagues. What a week we've had it began with his waking up to the news Monday mornings EPA, the attorney general rod Rosenstein was about to either quitter be fired. We've had two new accusers come out against the prem- court nominee. Brad kavanagh. We had one of the most bizarre presidential press conferences in memory. We had that new two billion dollar transbay terminal shut down after cracks were discovered in structural steel, and then Christine Blasi Ford and Brett cavenaugh had their day before the Senate Judiciary committee, but start with the latest debt Ford and Cavanaugh testimony lows. Think was the telling moment of the day. This is Lois Kavakava deputy Dettori page editor the telling moment by far was when Christine blazing Blasi Ford described the. Uproarious laughter that she heard after the alleged assault that just stuck with everybody. I listen to this hearing from the very beginning all the way till the end of it. That is definitely the line that sticks in my mind. Kyw Miller you wrote a column last week where you talked about the Nita hill hearings which were so such a defining moment in early nineteen ninety s what did you think today? I mean was this another Anita hill type hearing or was it even even crazier. In some ways, it was worse partially because it was so long. But then also, but then also because the thing that was so interesting was that Christine blazey Ford was so credible as a witness and part of it is because she has dedicated her life since this incident to understanding and healing other people who were in the situation. And so she could explain it not only from the perspective of of being a victim. But also from the perspective of being a psychologist, and I think it was it's going to be very very difficult to say that she was lying or that. She didn't get anything. Right because she did such a good job by contrast. Brett cut Cavanaugh was was furious was angry was entitled seemed extremely just it was very easy to understand see him as a an angry belligerent drunk, and that's kind of we came across today. We'll we'll whoa to be the man to bring up any of this Marshall kill Toronto. But I thought Canada and and policy for just offered completely different world. Cbs was. Yes, when was no one was night. One was day. One was black one was white. I mean, there was there was just nothing at all that they agreed on. And in the end, the whoever bats last in a funny way is the one who leaves the strongest impression perhaps I don't know that that's true with the way people manipulate video. But. Kevin would seem to be the longest on the stand and was in a way the most vengeful and and angry. It's speaking back to senators, which is something you never do it. A here see had done much hearing crying just demanding answers, a ridiculing people who had accused him. It was very tough performance. Much much more muscle strong expected from that guy. One of the thing that struck me was how this hearing devolved in the process of the day began with the Senate bringing in Rachel Mitchell. Veterans sex crimes prosecutor to basically grill, Dr Ford, and then suddenly when Cavanaugh was on the stand. It took very little time in the center start that Republican senators start either throwing softballs at him or blasting Dem's. Would you think Josh you were fallen at all day for the toil board? The the spectacle is pretty bizarre of the. The Republicans on the committee outsourcing their questioning to a prosecutor who was primarily preoccupied with conducting sort of cross examination of the alleged victim of the crime. And as you said, they they quickly abandoned this whole strange construct as soon as it came to questioning Cavanaugh the alleged criminal. So it was a it was a I think most people who aren't extremely sympathetic to Cavanaugh and his supporters are found that to be a mistake. Let me throw out this idea for anyone who wants that's Josh colty. By the way, our editorial writer for everyone to jump in on. Do you think it changed any minds lowest castes Cup? You wrote a column last week where you talked about how this might mobilize women in a big way in November. And beyond. Do you think a month for change tastes social media blew up with us? Well. I think if anything it just divided people further, I mean, if you looked at the the political gap, I think there was probably huge gap between Republicans and Democrats Republicans went Kavanagh's, absolutely, right. Democrats up. Thwart is absolutely nailed this. The gender gap is probably not as wide. So I guess I think this will motivate women to turn out whether it's enough to change the game. I thought both played to their audience. Absolutely. He was presentable believable composed of ver very believable, very acceptable. And I thought he was tougher as KYW's earlier much more belligerent and pugnacious maybe a little more than you expected. But definitely in line with a sort of Trumpian point of view that we're going to get you in here, we come. So that would play to his base. Absolutely. We'll see. I mean, the polls were probably reading in mid air right now. But who knows what one mind that clearly did not change day was President Trump within. Judge. Kevin I had barely walked off this kangaroo out of this. Kangaroo court in a Trump put out a tweet basically saying that it was a persuasive test. My did not mention one thing about Dr testimony. What about breach of us did your impressions of this whole case change today? I can't say that it changed my mind. I had my doubts about cavenaugh his approaches his his background didn't know much about her at all didn't know how she perform should she was built up as sort of fretful worry type who was reluctant to come forward. But I thought she was very very believable. Composed that that was a little bit of mild surprise to me. And I was reassured by that. I came away feeling very impressive side. Yes. She was. She was very credible and powerful I thought, but I have to say it did change my mind on judge Cavanaugh going into today. I've really there are a lot of reasons to be skeptical of him as a nominee, but you digital temperament was not one of them. Now when not only not only his emotional reaction. But also this almost Trump like paranoia about. There's a conspiracy out to get me. You're not in your head guy. The line that he said this is about the Clintons. I was I was shocked that that was amazing. It was amazing. That is extremely unusual for someone who's applying for jobs to the highest court in the nation. I wouldn't hire that guy to be a two run a cash register at a mall. I mean. I don't know whether to be in disbelief or outrage that he claimed under Kamla Harris's question that he did not watch any of Dr ports testimony this morning does show. A has anyone really believe that? He must know let the record show. No hands went up. No, okay. Let's move onto rod Rosenstein in the molar investigation this week, which which seems like a month began with. You know, hot hot news that he was headed to the White House to either resign or get fired. Certainly that had implications for the Muller investigation. They were it was delayed for the president to come back into town. It's it's been delayed until next week. What does all this mean? Your your guess is a good as mine, I think the president was just counseled at and not doing something sort of sweeping and disruptive in the middle of the the Cavanaugh events. Maybe that's a good excuse. Maybe they just wanted to use the cabinet calm down. Maybe this is just too much do at once got the elections coming up. They didn't want to jiggle the scales even farther. I think there was just a moment to step back for White House. Never does that. And wait and see on a few things his him being the biggest of them all. This is Josh the president also obviously enjoys the spectacle. It was the central theme of his television show whether or not someone is going to be fired. So having a guy with sting in the wind who might be fired at some point this week or some point next month is services purposes, almost more than than firing the guy speaking cringe-worthy TV, the president had rather unusual eighty three minute press conference yesterday. Alec Baldwin could not have outdone Donald Trump yesterday. I don't know what Saturday Night Live gonna do. Great. I just couldn't believe that his his team didn't suggest that this was really not a good idea. Closer to home. We had a rather unusual story two, and that's the cracks found in the structural steel at the transbay terminal KYW Milner, you visit the transplant turmoil. Not long after was it before its opening right after its opening what a shocker that. It was two weeks before the official opening did a Facebook live with a one of my colleagues here John king showing the public the new fancy park that was going to be there, and that they were all going to be enjoying shortly. And now it's all been down with not one but two structural beams showing cracks, and you should never have that kind of crag a structural steel being. So it's shocking, and we don't completely know what happened yet. But we do know is that San Francisco is tired of seeing projects like these fail and fail early. I mean, what is going on? Here we have buildings that last century across the street from the chronicle. We have the meant that has been been around forever. And yet we have this two billion dollar transfer terminal and coyotes, you note, the bay bridge was a deductible. We have them, you know, millennium tower that's leaning. Well, only business shipyard, which is supposed to be our biggest and newest city within a city, and we haven't been able to deal with the engineering questions there. So our reputation as aid city that can get things done is almost happens at the absolute high point, Chris of the city sort of wealth dominance power excess and what bigger symbol than this very very weak. We have had almost two hundred thousand people for one companies public picnic dream force. Well, the biggest employer in the cities and the company that that transparency is going to be named after. Eragny here. Mr. benef- wants is money back on that transit week. And all his comes on top of each other. It's just such an sort of slap in the face of all city holds your and thinks so highly of itself and bang blows up. It's also at a time when we have all this skepticism about whether the government can build anything, and we have a. Initiative on the ballot to repeal the gas tax that would enable the government to build more. Although the latest poll from the PPI shows that the gas that the no side is winning on the gas that we'll see how that goes. No. That makes sense people drive on the roads and California. They know they need repair. Well, that's a wrap what a week. We we've had an it's it's not quite over. Yet behalf. My colleagues. Thank you for listening to this edition of opinion central. I'm John D is the Chronicle's editorial page editor inviting you to subscribe wherever you get your podcast. You can also policy Twitter opinion, central and subscribe to our three times a week newsletter for details on signing up for our newsletter. You can go to the upper right hand corner of SF chronicle dot com homepage. Finally, we'd love your letters to the editor. I'm sure just as we have had plenty to write about this weekend. You have plenty to say it's too. We'd love to hear from you just go to SF chronicle dot com letters slash letters. And that's it for this edition of opinion central. Our executive producer has been Spencer Whitney. Thank you for listening.