Megan McArdle Conservatives were most likely hoping on Thursday that the Senate Judiciary Committee testimony of research psychologist Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who has implicated Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh of attempting to rape her when they remained in high school, would make her appear like a strident left-wing activist, or a flake. They were sorely disappointed. Ford was soft-spoken, warm and extremely likable.Rachel Mitchell
, the Arizona sex-crimes prosecutor who questioned Ford, invested little time attempting to poke holes in Ford’s somewhat vague story. Instead, she rapidly shifted the focus towards Senate Democrats.The latter half
of Mitchell’s questioning elicited the following realities: – That Ford wanted to
speak to private investigators from the Judiciary Committee, though the committee was somehow not able to organize this with her legal representatives. – That Ford was somehow uninformed that the committee had, according to Chairman Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa ), used to fly detectives to California to interview her, though her attorneys need to presumably have actually interacted that truth. – That Ford had discovered her lawyer through the office of Sen. Dianne Feinstein (Calif.), the committee’s ranking Democrat, before the verification hearings began. – That only Feinstein and Rep. Anna G. Eshoo(D-Calif.)had the letter in which Ford detailed her allegations.
The letter triggered the current turmoil when its presence was dripped to the media, regardless of Feinstein’s pledge that it would be kept confidential– unless Ford chose to go public. – That Ford’s fear of flying, which her lawyers declared made it impossible to hold the hearing recently, apparently didn’t keep her from
flying for work, household sees, or for surfing holidays in locations as distant as French Polynesia.The committee’s Republicans, in effect, put their fellow Democrats in the dock, painting an unlovely photo of them concealing explosive charges from Republicans till they might only be aired in an 11th-hour public spectacle, and of politically connected legal representatives helping the Democrats delay.Kavanaugh took a comparable line throughout an emotional, and typically mad, opening statement, highlighting his absence of ill-will towards Ford while blasting the Democrats
who had actually put him and his family in this hellish scenario. Christine Blasey Ford, left, and Supreme Court candidate Brett M. Kavanaugh.(Matt McClain/The Washington Post)Later on, Republican senators took over. Sen. Lindsey O. Graham(R-S.C.)introduced into a blanket denunciation of Democrats on the committee:” If you desired an FBI investigation, you might have pertained to us. What you desire to do is destroy this man
‘s life and hold this seat open, and hope you win in 2020 … This is the most unethical sham since I have actually been in politics. If you really needed to know the truth, you sure would not have actually done what you done to this guy. “”We could have handled this in personal, “stated Sen. Ben Sasse( R-Neb.), in the gently surprised tone that passes for a searing rebuke in the Midwest. Sen. Ted Cruz( R-Tex. )roared, “This committee might have investigated Dr. Ford’s claim in a confidential manner in which respected her privacy.” So Democrats, all of a sudden, needed to prevent the ramification that they had actually strategically mishandled the process. Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.) began explaining that an FBI examination– the prime Democratic talking point for weeks– would not have the ability to reach any conclusions. And Feinstein felt compelled to deny that she ‘d been the source of the leak.Democrats do look absurd discussing the extremely practical timing by mentioning Ford’s demand for privacy– while dealing with the leak that breached it as a sort of disaster, a spotless defection. How much does that matter? Though catnip to Beltway insiders, in the remainder of the nation, procedural arguments fall under my-eyes-glaze-over territory.A small
yet essential audience, nevertheless, cares quite: Republican politician moderates. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), the most openly singing member of that choose group, has actually indicated that she wants to get to the bottom of the allegations, but also that she’s extremely displeased with the political machinations.There’s something deeply terrible about treating this as a political concern rather than one of justice. The vagueness of Ford’s accusations– neither
provable nor falsifiable– always suggested that, unless brand-new evidence surfaced, it would come down to a judgment call. And the method both sides have actually worked out that judgment, weighing their political concerns at least as thoroughly as the evidence, indicated that when the judgment came, it was likely to be ugly.Kavanaugh’s name is openly sullied, his family put through a nightmare. Progressive groups are already requiring him to be impeached from his present judgeship on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Conservative rage at this state of affairs can only be relieved by validating him– and therefore firing up a similarly livid revolt from the left at the thought of Ford’s enemy sitting on the Supreme Court.While I still think the finest course is still to leave the election open and release a full-scale investigation, I saw no staying goodwill that may get us to that compromise. Leaving no method to fix this that one side will not view as a statement of total war on all that is good in America. And no matter what is chosen about Kavanaugh, that it has reached this point is an indictment of our whole political class.