Last night on Anderson Cooper 360, panelists Jeffrey Toobin and Kirsten Powers found themselves having to calm down Michael Caputo, whose defense of Brett Kavanaugh turned into a full-on temper tantrum when they called him out on his lies.
Caputo, a Republican aide, has worked for NRA President and Iran-Contra mastermind Oliver North, baseball-bat-wielding New York gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino, and of course, Donald Trump. After this interview, however, most people will know him as a petulant misogynist who can't handle being put in his place by a woman:
The fracas began with Caputo smearing the latest Kavanaugh accuser to make her name public: Julie Swetnick, who attested to witnessing Kavanaugh at a gang-rape in the 1980s.
"Why the heck would you go back to parties where young girls were in a bedroom getting gang-raped by teenagers?" he asked incredulously. "And why do these women wear these short skirts?" Toobin rebutted.
Powers jumped in after a moment when she recounted to Caputo what going to high school in the 80s was like.
"For a long time, certainly in the period that these accusations are about, in the 1980s...This was a time when women just simply were not believed and everyone just sounded like Donald Trump and Michael Caputo," she said. "So if you’re going to ask why women didn’t come forward, Michael, that’s your answer. Just listen to yourself."
"I know what it was like to be a woman during that time period and you don't."
As Caputo attempted to dispute her point, she shot back at him quickly.
"Stop interrupting," she said.
Powers went on to compare his tactics to the dismissal of African American claims of police brutality in the decades before cell phones captured the murders of innocent men. Caputo's response was simply to scream "Enough! Enough!"
Angry and flustered, Caputo whined about the pain unwanted accusations of sexual assault cause on families. "Every mother of sons, every grandmother of sons, has to fear for the future of their boys because of people like you who sit here and take uncorroborated testimony, allegations, against a decent man and ruin him because it gets you ratings," he said.
Powers dismissed this as "bonkers," and Toobin dryly rebutted, "I hope young men who sexually assault young women get their lives ruined. I mean, I’m not worried about that."
By this point, all Caputo had left were empty arguments that seem to have come straight from Reddit and 4Chan, as he bashed CNN by implying that the "16 Republicans" and smattering of independents watching would remember this tyranny. "If the house goes blue," he warned, "this is our life every single day in America and it's unacceptable. You people have jumped the shark!"
Powers reminded him that Democrats never did any of this to Neil Gorsuch, John Roberts, or Samuel Alito. Caputo interrupted again. "There was a free pass with Gorsuch!" he said. For the only time during the whole discussion, she visibly lost her cool, snapping, "stop interrupting me! Seriously!"
After this, Caputo had nothing left. "We're not going to take this anymore!" he said before the panel closed out.
Caputo, who wears his contempt for women on his sleeve, feels threatened by the #MeToo movement because it threatens to implicate him, too - not necessarily in sexual assault - but in aiding and abetting those who would engage in it. He sees men like him getting ruined, and he doesn't like it.
It should also be noted that Caputo also has a vested interest in Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation, because he would ultimately be protected by him. Kavanaugh has a radically conservative view of executive authority, making it likely he would help end the Mueller investigation. If the investigation and the indictments continue, Caputo could find himself a target due to his activities in 2016 with Roger Stone. Since Stone has been rumored for a while to be the next name on Mueller's list, it's easy to imagine Caputo not being too far down.
Republicans want Brett Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court as a protect their own hegemony against a rising tide of social justice movements that threaten to capsize their stranglehold on our democracy, and they will lie and demean anyone who comes forward to accuse him to protect that power. The more we can call out people like Michael Caputo for their lies, the better it will be for the future of this country.