“Guess who’s perpetuating all of these kinds of actions?” Sen. Mazie Hirono explained, boiling down the Senate Democrats’ position on Brett Kavanaugh. “It’s the men in this country. I just want to say to the men in this country, just shut up. And step up. Do the right thing for a change.”
Demanding an entire gender “just shut up” because it shares in a collective guilt borne of the actions perpetrated by a few people who share their biological features is a pretty ugly notion for anyone to be voicing, much less someone charged with defending the Constitution. Then again, arguing that the “right thing” for all men to do is surrender their right to due process or any kind of genuine defense isn’t much better.
Welcome to 2018.
The truth is, Hirono gave away much of the game when she followed up her authoritarian outburst by wish-casting a scenario in which this Supreme Court seat stays vacant for two years—or, more precisely, until after the 2020 election, when presumably a Democrat can fill it. Which is, of course, the point of everything that’s occurred in this premeditated rollout meant to sink Kavanaugh’s confirmation. Democrats want to push the vote past the midterms.
First, Democrats sat on the letter from Christine Blasey Ford until after the hearings to ensure maximum media impact, a circumvention of process and Senate norms, and a delay of a vote. So Republicans called the Democrats’ bluff, and conceded to hearings—either private or public—to allow Ford to air her claims. Earlier this week on NBC, Debra Katz, Ford’s lawyer, was asked if her client is “willing to testify before the Judiciary Committee publicly and tell this story?” Katz answered: “She is. She’s willing to do whatever it takes to get her story forth, yes.”
As it turns out, “whatever it takes” has a number of caveats. Ford, in a letter to Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley, now demands an investigation take place before any hearing commences. This reflects the Democrats’ tactic of slowing everything down because, as they claim, the Kavanaugh hearings have been rushed—a charge that doesn’t mesh with the facts.
In reality, Democrats know that the FBI has nothing to investigate. This fact alone doesn’t mean Ford is lying, of course, but it does mean that Democrats are using it as a delaying tactic.
The liberal pushback on this contention has been to argue that FBI has the purview to include these allegations in a broader background check, and that no one is asking for a “criminal probe.” Well, the Ford letter specifically demands “a full investigation by law enforcement officials” into “the incident”—not a background check. Democrats also know that the FBI has already reviewed the accusation, said there is nothing to investigate, and handed it over to the Senate. They know that Kavanaugh already holds a lifetime position and has undergone six background checks by the FBI that turned up nothing.
But setting all that aside, why would a victim of an attempted rape demand an FBI investigation as a prerequisite to tell a Senate committee what happened to her? Will it change the specifics of her story? Now, no one should expect Ford to remember every detail, but her testimony to the judicial committee is evidence in an investigation. Not only would it be an opportunity for Ford to offer more specifics, but also it would be a way for others to gauge the veracity of her claims through direct questioning.
It’s the second part of this (now-minimal) attempt at due process that seems to offend Democrats. Hirono, perhaps jumping the gun to the next phase of delay, is already arguing that the very act of asking Ford to appear is “appalling” and that Republicans are “re-victimizing” Ford by conceding to allow her to testify at all. Similarly, Ford’s lawyer, in an about-face, told NPR her client shouldn’t be “subjected” to an “interrogation by senators who appear to have made up their mind.”
Has any Republican claimed to have made up his or her mind about Ford’s accusations? Perhaps someone did and I missed it. What is inarguable, though, is that a number of Democrats on the judiciary committee—including Hirono, Kamala Harris, and Richard Blumenthal—have gone on the record and stated that they believe Ford’s allegation, which is to say, they believe Kavanaugh attempted to rape a 15-year-old girl.
A simple accusation is, it appears, all Democrats need to presume someone guilty. Since Kavanaugh has already been smeared as a sexual predator by Democrats, what’s the purpose of an investigation—other than a transparent attempt at postponing the vote? Perhaps circumstances will change if Ford shows up on Monday and offers new evidence or some other compelling information. If she doesn’t, then there is no reason for Republicans to delay a vote.
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