When psychology professor Christine Blasey Ford appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday, she came with one purpose: to repeat her unsubstantiated claim of attempted rape.
She cried, and the Democrats “believed.” They tossed softball questions. They attacked not one of the several disputable claims in her story.
When the accused, U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, took the same seat, he came to clear his name.
He cried, too. But the Democrats didn’t believe. They forced him through a gauntlet of nasty, insulting, derogatory, imperious, irrelevant, and embarrassing questions of secret codes, drinking, and flatulence.
It took South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, a man thought by some to have the backbone of a jellyfish, to call the hearing what it was: a farcical charade to gain power.
Ford Let Off the Hook
Republicans did not question the disheveled Ford after her lachrymose, evidence-free statement that fingered the judge. Committee Chairman Charles Grassley turned that job over to a prosecutor from Maricopa County, Arizona, Rachel Mitchell. She asked matter-of-fact questions of Ford that did not challenge her claim, which needs no repetition here.
The prosecutor did prove that Ford lied about her fear of flying. She couldn’t fly to D.C., she had said, because Kavanaugh’s attack left a debilitating claustrophobia that requires having an escape route from an closed space. She can’t escape a jet, and thus could not fly in for the hearing. But she does fly to Washington, D.C., to see family once a year, and can oft be found flying the friendly skies for academic junkets and vacations all across the planet, including to the South Pacific.
Ford pulled out her Ph.D., offering a science lesson. She can’t be mistaken because the putative laughter of Kavanaugh and his friend, Mike Judge, are “indelible in the hippocampus,” where the brain stores long-term memories. But the trauma did not burn other memories into her hippocampus, such as the location of the horror house, or details about what had to have been an awful ride home, such as who drove.
The prosecutor did what she was hired to do: Protect all the awful GOP white men from charges of bullying a “survivor.”
From the Democrats came one nauseating “I-believe-you” question after another. When Ford rose to leave their toasty embrace, nothing had changed.
She offered no evidence.
Memory gaps persisted.
But Democrats believed.
Having suffered one smear after another in the last two weeks, Kavanaugh delivered an angry, blistering statement. “When I did at least O.K. enough at the hearings that it looks like I might actually get confirmed, a new tactic was needed,” he said. “Some of you were lying in wait and had it ready.”
It was a hit job, he said:
And then, and then, as no doubt was expected, if not planned, came a long series of false last-minute smears.... Crazy stuff. Gangs, illegitimate children, fights on boats in Rhode Island.... This has destroyed my family and my good name....
This whole two-week effort has been a calculated and orchestrated political hit, fueled with apparent pent-up anger about President Trump and the 2016 election, fear that has been unfairly stoked about my judicial record, revenge on behalf of the Clintons and millions of dollars in money from outside left-wing opposition groups....
I will not be intimidated into withdrawing from this process. You have tried hard. You’ve given it your all. No one can question your efforts. Your coordinated and well-funded efforts to destroy my good name and destroy my family will not drag me out. The vile threats of violence against my family will not drive me out. You may defeat me in the final vote, but you’ll never get me to quit. Never.
I’m here today to tell the truth. I’ve never sexually assaulted anyone. Not in high school, not in college, not ever.
Kavanaugh was on the verge of tears through much of his statement. Witnesses refute Ford’s claim, as does the only extant evidence on paper. His 1982 calendar shows not only what he did every night but also that he was away every weekend.
Republicans let the prosecutor do their work for them again very briefly, while the Democrats asked futile questions about secret codes in yearbooks, drinking, flatulence, and why the nominee won’t just ask the president to stop his nomination until the FBI can “investigate.”
Senator Lindsey Graham’s explosion that ended the prosecutor’s role summed up the Democrats’ effort: “If you wanted an FBI investigation you could have come to us. What you want to do is destroy this guy’s life, hold this seat open, and hope you win in 2020. You’ve said that, not me.”
“You’ve got nothing to apologize for,” he said, pointing at Kavanaugh. “When you see [Justices Sonia and Elena] Sotomayor and Kagan, tell them that Lindsey said hello ’cause I voted for them, I would never do to them what you’ve done to this guy. This is the most unethical sham since I’ve been in politics and if you really wanted to know the truth, you certainly wouldn’t have done what you did to this guy.”
“Boy y’all want power, God I hope you never get it.”
Photo: AP Images