Hillary and Trump voters look at Kavanaugh and Blasey Ford testimony

At a geriatric wine-soaked tennis match last night, I got a little insight into how people with different political affiliations are able to witness the same event and come away with opposite conclusions.

The Trump voter: Listened carefully to Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony regarding her fear of flying, her history of air travel, her stated need for a “second front door”, and her current status as a landlord to a tenant who uses that second front door to enter a rental bedroom. Concluded that Dr. Ford was a liar. Did not evaluate the likely truth of what Judge Kavanaugh was saying. Decided that the original FBI background check for a nominee plus the supplemental check would have revealed any serious character flaw. (i.e., the person who is skeptical of big government in general thought that the FBI would have done a reasonable job in this matter)

The Hillary voter: Listened carefully to Brett Kavanaugh’s testimony regarding high school and college years. Concluded that Judge Kavanaugh was lying regarding his history of partying. Decided that it was highly probable that Kavanaugh was a regular participant in “Devil’s Triangle” group sex during high school. Opined that it was highly probable that Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony regarding her sexual assault experience was correct, including that she abandoned her friend to face the multiple rapist boys alone and somehow got a ride home. Simply did not process anything having to do with Dr. Ford’s fear of flying and history of airline travel. Opined that the FBI investigation was a joke and a sham. (i.e., the person who wants big government to get bigger and solve more of society’s problems thought that the FBI did a sloppy job in this matter) Opposed Justice Kavanaugh on the grounds that he expressed anger in a public forum.

(As a libertarian voter who had not been a Kavanaugh supporter from the first, and who had not watched or listened to the testimony (only skimmed the transcripts), I stayed neutral.)

The hostess: Described having been attacked at knifepoint in a parking garage in the late 1970s (her screaming eventually caused the guy to run away), her resulting actions, and the resulting level of trauma. Said that she had concluded that Dr. Ford was a liar based on her own experience from what she characterized as a much more frightening and serious attack.

[The previous night we had dinner with friends and their daughter who is in her 20s. She grew up in a Boston suburb that is 90 percent Democrat and attended an Ivy League university. I was surprised to find that she was unpersuaded by Dr. Ford (also by Kavanaugh).]

So… I wonder if one way that intelligent people come to opposite conclusions is through selective listening/attention.

 

19 Comments »

  1. Townie

    October 10, 2018 @ 12:38 pm

    1

    Yes, your hunch is supported by research.

    >When England played Colombia in the 2018 World Cup, many England fans complained about a high number of fouls from the Colombian side.

    Simultaneously, in South America, a petition demanding a rematch because of the referee’s unfair bias against the Colombian team rapidly gained hundreds of thousands of signatures.

    The two vastly different perceptions of the same match left many people wondering; did Colombia and England supporters see the same game?

    Now, researchers from the University of York have used MRI scanning to try and find out how people can have such different takes on football.

    The findings suggest that fans of rival teams do see the same match in a visual sense. That is, the regions of the brain that are directly involved in seeing showed similar activity in both sets of supporters.

    However, the results of the study showed clear differences between the groups in the activity of higher regions of the brain involved in cognition, indicating that the same sensory information was interpreted and evaluated differently.

    https://www.york.ac.uk/news-and-events/news/2018/research/its-a-beautiful-game/

  2. LinePilot

    October 10, 2018 @ 1:34 pm

    2

    A lot of stuff has been written about brain differences between liberals and conservatives. I think there is a study where they could determine whether a person was “liberal” vs. “conservative” with 70% accuracy based on brain scan alone… Maybe we are just wired differently.

  3. philg

    October 10, 2018 @ 1:47 pm

    3

    LinePilot: I recently finished listening to https://www.thegreatcourses.com/courses/why-you-are-who-you-are-investigations-into-human-personality.html and the professor says that a lot of political beliefs are dependent on personality characteristics that are largely genetically determined.

    On the other hand, I don’t think that explains all of the above. The research psychologists think that they can predict who will support the death penalty or unlimited immigration from asylum-seekers. But what I saw last night was more like a failure to agree on whether a person had actually been executed or whether a refugee crossed the border, even when two people had seen all of the same events.

  4. Vince

    October 10, 2018 @ 2:25 pm

    4

    Christine Blasey Ford’s attorneys issued this as part of larger statement a few days ago:

    “At no time did members of Dr. Ford’s team advise Committee staff that she could not travel to Washington, D.C., because of her fear of flying,” they wrote. “Rather, staff was told that Dr. Ford could not travel on the schedule the Committee demanded because she was focused on taking measures to protect her family from threats, including death threats.”

    This is part of the discussion that she had with Rachel Mitchell, the Arizona prosecutor brought in to question Dr. Ford:

    MITCHELL: OK. It’s — I ask that, because it’s been reported by the press that you would not submit to an interview with the committee because of your fear of flying. Is — is that true?

    FORD: Well, I was willing — I was hoping that they would come to me, but then I realized that was an unrealistic request.

    MITCHELL: It would’ve been a quicker trip for me.

    FORD: Yes. So that was certainly what I was hoping, was to avoid having to get on an airplane, but I eventually was able to get up the gumption with the help of some friends, and get on the plane.

    People who say that they concluded that she was a liar based on this issue and therefore can’t be trusted to tell the truth about anything at all probably fall into two categories. One group vastly overestimates their own ability to determine whether a person is being truthful simply by listening to her speak. The other group was disinclined to believe her because they wanted Kavanaugh confirmed and made a great effort to find things to discredit her. That was the case with Clarence Thomas 27 years ago.

  5. philg

    October 10, 2018 @ 2:36 pm

    5

    Vince: So she was hoping to avoid getting on a plane and needed “gumption” and the “help of some friends”. Okay. And she ultimately bravely overcame her fear of flying rather than do the Cannonball Run.

    But a few weeks earlier she was in Baltimore ready to get on a flight to New England. Why not take Amtrak? Depending on the thunderstorm situation it can actually be quicker than flying (I once logged three hours of multi-engine turbojet time sitting on a taxiway at DCA with 50 passengers in the back discovering just how crummy the A/C on a CRJ 200 is). Certainly there is a lot more legroom and there are no TSA hassles.

    https://www.amtrak.com/stations/bal

    says “Facing south toward Mt. Vernon’s cultural treasures and the famous Inner Harbor, Baltimore Penn Station is the picture of ‘Charm City’ elegance.”

    ————-

    Also, “she was focused on taking measures to protect her family from threats, including death threats”

    Didn’t she testify to a lifetime of fear and timidity after surviving the brief encounter with Brett Kavanaugh and his beer-filled friend? What could she personally have done to protect her family, or anyone else, fromk credible death threats? She would be out in front of the house with an AR-15? But then a few days later, the threat level was reduced (to “orange”?) and her armed presence was no longer required? Also, what about the rent-paying Googlers who are using the “second front door”? Are they also in hiding in case they are mistaken for Dr. Ford at night and killed accidentally (we can’t assume competence among the GOP assassins who are after Dr. Ford, can we?)?

  6. philg

    October 10, 2018 @ 3:06 pm

    6

    Also, are the death threats against her family credible? Consider the Republican hater who considers Christine Blasey Ford to be a liar and publicity addict. Why would this hater target the husband and children for physical violence? Wouldn’t the hater likely think that the husband and kids are already suffering sufficiently just from Dr. Ford’s continued presence in their lives?

    There are plenty of Republicans who hate Hillary Clinton, right? Do they plan and/or threaten violent acts against Bill Clinton? Or do they believe being married to Hillary to be sufficient punishment for whatever sins Bill Clinton may have committed throughout his life?

  7. anon

    October 10, 2018 @ 3:13 pm

    7

    Most people use their intelligence to synthesize conclusions that support their feelings.

  8. George A.

    October 10, 2018 @ 3:50 pm

    8

    @Vince, when she was asked:

    > MITCHELL: OK. It’s — I ask that, because it’s been reported by the press that you would not submit to an interview with the committee because of your fear of flying. Is — is that true?

    She answered:

    > FORD: Well, I was willing — I was hoping that they would come to me, but then I realized that was an unrealistic request.

    If in fact this was not some kind of excuse answer by her that she used to delay or derail the nomination or that she was not sure of the events to testify with complete details (maybe she was pressured by others to tell her story and testify?) or was not expecting to testify (thinking by just writing to her senator is enough?) then the way she should have answered this question is in the same way that Kavanaugh was answering some of this questions: be direct and angry about the fear-of-flying allegation and in a strong voice state that whoever came up with this fear-of-flying story is making it up. But instead her answer of “I was hoping that they would come to me” end up being a BS and she knows it and she even knows better that the whole committee would not come to her.

    The same goes about that second door; unfortunately the committee did not pickup on it that much of how that apartment is actually rented.

    BTW, I’m not a supporter of Kavanaugh but at the same time, I disagree in the way the democrats run this hearing. Furthermore, I don’t not believe much will change with Kavanaugh on the supreme court because time-and-time again we have seen how supreme court ruling change over time and is not predictable. Anyone who is in fear that Roe v. Wade will now be overturned is simply using it as a scare game or has no brain cells to think logically.

  9. Russell D Snow

    October 10, 2018 @ 3:56 pm

    9

    Confirmation bias is a real thing. Been well known for many years.

  10. LM

    October 10, 2018 @ 4:19 pm

    10

    I have been out in California recently, and I have a bit more sympathy for a libertarian/a conservative/anyone with brains living in a seething mass of progressive dysfunction. To maintain my sanity, I have developed a new method of arguing for Trump.

    1. Do you think the government is corrupt? Both sides seem to agree that the government does not work for the interests of average Americans, and instead works for billionaires and big companies.

    2. If you were a billionaire with a moral deficit who owned multiple politicians, where would you invest to leverage your control of the government? The obvious answer is any sector with significant government intervention: banking, military contracting, health care. The other answer is the media, because they allow you to keep your politicians in office and convince the sheeple that obamacare/war in iraq/bailing out banks is really good for them.

    3. Therefore, politicians who work against the media, banks, military contractors, and health care businesses are legitimate ones. Trump is 3/4 there. Ergo, Trump is fighting for America and the Democrats (and RINOs) are the party of corruption.

  11. M

    October 10, 2018 @ 5:13 pm

    11

    Wait Phil!!
    Did you say in #3 that the political orientation is, like, heritable? Is that it? So, we, the conservatives, simply need to have more unprotected sex (and no abortion, of course) in order to win the elections? and like, problem solved? Gonna tell my missus tonight!!!!

  12. Vince

    October 10, 2018 @ 6:54 pm

    12

    But a few weeks earlier she was in Baltimore ready to get on a flight to New England. Why not take Amtrak?

    I don’t really understand her fear of flying. My grandmother was afraid to fly and she demonstrated that by never setting foot on an airplane. These statements may seem strange, but it’s unclear what the malicious intent might be. It’s hard to imagine that Dr. Ford and her lawyers thought that they achieve anything by delaying everything by three days. So it’s still unreasonable to disbelieve everything that she says on any topic based on these issues that have nothing to do with events back in the 1980s.

    Didn’t she testify to a lifetime of fear and timidity after surviving the brief encounter with Brett Kavanaugh and his beer-filled friend? What could she personally have done to protect her family, or anyone else, fromk credible death threats? She would be out in front of the house with an AR-15? But then a few days later, the threat level was reduced (to “orange”?) and her armed presence was no longer required?

    It’s possible that she was helping her husband and kids find a place to stay.

    Also, are the death threats against her family credible? Consider the Republican hater who considers Christine Blasey Ford to be a liar and publicity addict. Why would this hater target the husband and children for physical violence? Wouldn’t the hater likely think that the husband and kids are already suffering sufficiently just from Dr. Ford’s continued presence in their lives?

    Some mentally ill people become obsessed with politics and some of them make threats of violence. They may represent fewer than one out of a million Americans, but the US population is large enough for them to be a concern. Their logic won’t make any sense to most people.

  13. George A.

    October 10, 2018 @ 8:34 pm

    13

    @Vince #12

    My theory is this. I think she didn’t want to bring this to the spotlight and be at the center of it because all because: 1) she know this is over 35 years ago and is hard for it to stick, 2) she could not recall important details to make her case stick, and 3) she was forced to bring it up after mentioning to some friends.

    So when she let the genie out of the bottle because of what she did per #3 and she realized the impact this will have on her after analyzing it all, specially #1 and #2, she wanted to back out and was trying to figure how.

    I should also say that when she did #3, she was probably kinda proud about it at the beginning and is mentioning it to friends as a secret-she-knows-but-you-don’t.

  14. philg

    October 10, 2018 @ 9:27 pm

    14

    George A: Christine Blasey Ford “didn’t want to bring this to the spotlight”? Why would someone seeking to avoid the spotlight of publicity

    a) contact a senator
    b) contact the Washington Post
    c) refuse to see Senate staffers in the privacy of her office in Palo Alto and instead insist on being on live TV from Capitol Hill?

    Can I say that I don’t like to call attention to myself, but I do like to hit the afterburners on my personal B-1 bomber and go supersonic whenever I’m over a big city?

  15. anon

    October 11, 2018 @ 1:51 am

    15

    She’s a neighbor.

    Our area is deep blue. She was never in any physical danger here. Taken to a safehouse to isolate her from media by Katz.

  16. George A.

    October 11, 2018 @ 9:49 am

    16

    @Philg #14,

    I didn’t say she didn’t want to bring this up, I mean to say — and this is my theory — that after when wrote to her senator and the news, she realized her story isn’t going to stick and got panic, nervous, unsure, or whatever and wanted to back-out, but couldn’t, thus she tried to came up with the flying and second door excuses.

  17. Tom

    October 11, 2018 @ 12:26 pm

    17

    Death threats … I have to say I’m getting a bit jaded here.

  18. RemnantPsyche

    October 11, 2018 @ 1:33 pm

    18

    I didn’t watch the testimony in full and didn’t seek out any of the footage I did see. People can and are coached to more convincingly deliver their predetermined lines when speaking. What’s the point then of seeing who you “believe” based on their performances? That’s just inviting noise instead of signal. Anybody’s judgement in such situations can be gamed and manipulated. I don’t listen to political speeches for the same reasons.

    The numerous inconsistencies in Ford’s story (many of them not related to the distant past) and the lack of corroboration by the other people reportedly at these parties make me suspicious of her. So too does the overwhelming evidence over the past two years that Democrats will do and say literally anything to get their way.

    But regardless of my suspicions, I have to stick to principle, and that’s where Ford has no footing. There is no evidence at all to support what Ford allegations. If what she claims happened did happen, she didn’t take the legal avenues available to her at the time, and that’s on her. We live under the rule of law, and you don’t get to sidestep that because you claim to be traumatized or too fragile or too young and ignorant for civilization.

    The idea that someone merely needs to make a “credible” claim (by impressing other people with emotional displays) to have their story be assumed as gospel truth–and used to destroy another person’s life–is insanity. Any society that establishes a precedent where evidence-free character assassination is a viable form of punishment (or type of political strategy…) when the accusations themselves haven’t been proven clearly has no interest in objective reality or truth. “Believe victims” is merely a desire for a predetermined outcome.

    All the arguments about “this isn’t a legal trial, it’s a job interview” are attempts at logical slight of hand. What’s THE REASON we assume innocence until guilt can be proven? Because we are all of us fallible and biased and cannot be trusted to be impartial in determining the truth, especially when emotions are high. So the default assumption has to be innocence, because otherwise tons of truly innocent people would be sacrificed on the altar of our myopic passions.

    #MeToo was never a reasoned or righteous backlash against abuse. From the very beginning it was mob behavior and character assassination disguised as something more noble. It’s been allowed to go on for far too long without pushback from principled, thinking people. Hopefully, this is at least the beginning of that pushback.

  19. Senorpablo

    October 12, 2018 @ 2:45 am

    19

    RemnantPsyche: “So too does the overwhelming evidence over the past two years that Democrats will do and say literally anything to get their way.”

    I guess you’ve never listened to the current leader of the republican party? Oh yeah, you don’t listen to political speeches. Or, were you upset when Bush misled the world about WMD’s so he could spend 5+ Trillion on wars and send 7,000 Americans to their death? How about those ruined lives? Or the 30,000+ wounded US soldiers?

    The idea that Kavanaugh’s life would be ruined is preposterous. Worst case he gets hired by some republican think tank, gets a 400% raise to continue being the political operative he’s always been. Boo-hoo.

    Since you didn’t watch the testimony, everything you’ve said is based on hearsay. And because you’re such an expert on justice, law and order, you should know the ramifications of that. Speculation–you have no idea what you’re talking about. Watch the testimony and it becomes crystal clear that one of the people is full of it, and the other isn’t.

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