Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s September surprise exploded yesterday as Christine Blasey Ford, a professor in California, came forward as the woman accusing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault in 1981. The Washington Post broke the tale she was apparently reluctant to tell. With Kavanaugh about to swing the court to fascism, according to the left, well, her reluctance relented. Now we must decide how the Senate should react to this last-gasp attack.
The answer is pretty simple: He should be confirmed. For whatever reason, Feinstein decided that these allegations should remain under wraps even from other Democrats during the hearing process. That was the time Kavanaugh and witnesses could have been confronted by these allegations. But no, Feinstein waited, and threw this grenade into the final moments of his nomination.
Even the left finds this approach completely bankrupt, as Rebecca Traister tweeted here:
DiFi reportedly sat on this in part bc she thought objections should not be “personal.” Which recalls Joe Biden and how he approached the Hill allegations against Thomas. And also should make us see how much has NOT changed about attitudes about assault, harassment.
— Rebecca Traister (@rtraister) September 14, 2018
Let’s break down the allegation. Ford claims that at a party, the location and date of which she can’t recall, Kavanaugh and Mark Judge were in a room where Kavanaugh pinned her down, attempted to disrobe her, covered her mouth while she tried to scream, and then they fell off the bed. She retreated to a bathroom then left the house.
If true, the allegation describes a sexual assault. Ford says the first time she ever told anyone about it was decades later in couple’s therapy, in 2012, when she recounted the attack. Her therapist has notes to prove she made the claim at that time, although the notes differ from Ford’s current claims about the number of attackers. Although the therapist’s notes also do not name Kavanaugh, Ford’s husband says she named him to her husband in 2012.
This is a form of corroboration, and a serious one. Those who say these claims were fabricated to derail Kavanaugh’s nomination have to deal with the fact that the claims were stated long before his nomination. On the other hand, the therapist’s notes don’t name Kavanaugh. Perhaps more importantly, these allegations lay dormant for 30 years before they appeared on a therapist’s couch.
One thing is clear: Kavanaugh and Judge are making a claim in direct opposition to Ford’s. This is not a case where people are remembering an incident differently. Judge and Kavanaugh flat-out deny it ever took place. And absolutely no contemporary evidence contradicts their claim. Nobody at this supposed long-ago party remembers anything like this taking place. In fact, Ford has no idea where the party was, or when it happened.
This is a real problem. Imagine yourself accused by a woman of assaulting her 35 years ago. You would naturally say, “When? Where?” If she said “I don’t remember that, I just remember you groping me,” how would you respond? Wouldn’t you want specifics? If her memory so clashed with yours, wouldn’t you want some evidence? Well, the evidence is lacking. Liberal outlets like Mother Jones are accusing Judge, and by association Kavanaugh, of being drunks, calling their memories into question. That’s not good enough, especially as Ford may have been drunk herself.
So here we are. After a lifetime of good service, Kavanaugh is being thrown under the bus of a single vague accusation. Feinstein could have raised this months ago, could have made it a point of questioning during the hearings. She didn’t. Maybe Traister is right, and she refused because she is complicit in the patriarchy, but I doubt it. I think she knew it wasn’t a strong enough allegation.
I don’t know what happened at that party, if there was one. I don’t know if Ford really remembers it, or had that memory summoned through therapy, recalling unremembered incidents. I don’t know if she feels that lying about it is justified by the hysteria surrounding Kavanaugh’s nomination. None of us knows.
For now, what should happen is that Kavanaugh should be confirmed as a justice to the Supreme Court. If Feinstein can prove her allegations, he can be impeached. Conservatives will no more allow Kavanaugh to be railroaded than we were willing to let Clarence Thomas be. And that’s a good thing.
Republicans in the Senate have to hold fast here. Don’t surrender to this. Confirm a good man and good jurist to our highest court. If Democrats thought these claims were viable, they would have brought them up during the confirmation hearings. They don’t and they didn’t. Confirm Kavanaugh and let the Democrats prove it was a mistake.