During these last interminable days before the midterm elections --- I voted early for the first time because I knew I’d be out of town on Election Day --- it seemed like a good idea to get away from the mind-numbing stream of poll numbers and partisan spin and find something else in the news to catch up on.
I know! How about the Brett Kavanaugh case?
That’s all people were talking about for weeks, from mid-September through the first week in October. I wrote at length about it. So did everybody else. The news cycle was completely dominated; God knows what else was going in the world, because it wouldn’t have been on anybody’s radar screen. The confirmation process ended with protesters losing what was left of their tiny minds, literally pounding on heavy, locked doors and screaming “Rapist!!” at the top of their lungs as Kavanaugh became the new face and judicial perspective on the Supreme Court. It was horrifying, bizarre and embarrassing.
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We’ve had a few weeks now to step away, focus on other issues and cool down. So at this point it would be interesting to know what all those protesters are doing now (did they get some therapy?), not to mention the investigators and the accusers, in particular Dr. Christine Blasey Ford herself. And where is this thing going? The left had vowed to thoroughly investigate and –- with the outcome predetermined in their heads –- impeach Justice Kavanaugh and remove him from the bench. Are they quietly going about the business of doing that?
After all, if the accusers were telling the truth as it actually happened, then Kavanaugh lied during his confirmation hearings and the case can be made that he should not be passing judgment as a member of the highest court in the land. But if accusers were telling “the truth” as they remembered it but misidentified Kavanaugh, then the whole episode is just sad and should never have been allowed to unfold as it did. (Thanks, Sen. Dianne Feinstein and you Democrats who exploited her.) If the accusers doubted their own stories or told outright lies, then they deserve to be prosecuted --- and so do those who might have induced them to lie. It would be good to have some kind of resolution.
But a search of the news turned up precious few updates. There was the expected punditry on the political fallout this close to the midterm elections, but I found nothing that could enlighten me on the merit of any of the claims. I did find a column, though, by someone who had been similarly frustrated: kindred mind Mollie Hemingway, writing in The Federalist. She couldn’t find much, either.
Dr. Ford’s claims were taken extremely seriously at the time. After listening to her (and Judge Kavanaugh) with an open mind, though, I concluded that she was most likely mistaken about the details of what happened to her at that party, including the identity of the boy who groped her. This childlike woman was treated with kid gloves by the Republicans on the Judiciary Committee --- they wouldn’t even question her themselves --- but it seemed clear to me that she was being exploited for political ends by the Democrats. This is what the left does when a conservative male is close to gaining power: trot out some women. Considering the cavalier way so many powerful men with a “D” next to their names have historically treated women (and let’s lump Hillary in with that powerful group as well), the hypocrisy fairly drips.
Anyway, Hemingway notes that if it was so important to investigate these claims against someone who was going to be appointed for life to the High Court, it should be just as important to have the answers now that he’s been seated on it. She asks the same question that occurred to me: Why did the media go from talking nonstop about this to dropping it like a hot potato?
She points out that although many Americans did not find the accusations against Kavanaugh believable, nearly everyone in the media and all the Democratic leadership did, especially the claims made by Dr. Ford. (Remarkably, some of them actually still profess to believe Julie Swetnick’s tales of high school gang rape.) So where are all those people now?
On the other hand, there is one piece of good news: the Senate Judiciary Committee –- its Republican leadership, of course –- has just made a criminal referral of Julie Swetnick and her low-life porn lawyer Michael Avenatti with the Department of Justice for making false claims. Good for them for not letting that drop.
As for Dr. Ford, she got the most deferential treatment anyone could possibly receive, with the kind of special handling one would give a Faberge egg. She was questioned by Democrats the way attorneys talk to a 10-year-old child on the stand, perhaps in part because she sounded like a 10-year-old child. Most major media called her claims “credible.” Of course, this depends on what the definition of “credible” is; “credible” usually means there’s some corroborating evidence; Dr. Ford had none.
Do progressives still care about what Dr. Ford has to say? Since the “attack” was thought by Dr. Ford to have happened in Maryland, where there’s no statute of limitations on sexual crimes, are the Maryland police investigating, as they said they were willing to do? Will we ever find out the truth about these accusations? One would hope that if there had been an attempt to smear a man and destroy his life, then everyone on both sides of the aisle would want to find that out and see that justice is done.
Seeing women trotted out and then having them disappear after the show is over reminds me of what happened to Herman Cain. I liked Herman Cain then and still do. (Hard to say from that if he would have become President; my choices for that job over the years have included Steve Forbes, Rudy Giuliani and Mike Huckabee. But I digress.) But just when Cain was getting to be a really popular black conservative within the Republican Party, the women were trotted out as if on cue. (There was also a woman who claimed to have had a long-time, on-again off-again affair with him; I’ll not get into that, because that’s his life and I just don’t know.) After Herman’s political trajectory was halted, the women had served their purpose and were trotted away. And the story went away, too.
I found a very thoughtful article by Woody Zimmerman from 2011 (republished a year ago, and even more timely now in light of the Kavanaugh travesty) that offered a retrospective of the Herman Cain episode. He looked at it from all the angles and made some excellent points that, in a way, foretold what was going to happen with Kavanaugh. “At the end of the day,” he said, “people of ill intent have gained new assurance that they can destroy a promising political campaign just by making salacious accusations. The People are not well served by this. I don’t know how to stop it, but I hope someone smarter can figure it out.”
“The sex card has replaced the race card,” he concluded. “Watch for it to be played against every Republican candidate from now on.” Indeed.
The Washington Times did run an interesting update to the story about Kavanaugh. He has turned down the more than $600,000 that was raised for him on an unauthorized GoFundMe page, asking that it be donated to charity, though for reasons of judicial ethics he is not allowed to direct it to a particular one. It will be going to the Catholic Archdiocese of Washington.
Meanwhile, Dr. Ford is the recipient of $840,000 from two GoFundMe accounts, though her lawyers have said they were working pro bono, she owns millions in real estate assets and she would have needed only an estimated $55,000 for added security, etc. Don’t think she needs it; she is currently remodeling her Santa Cruz beach house. Perhaps she'll give some of it to charity, but this was enough to make even a writer for Slate Magazine who believed her story “squeamish.”