Senator Dianne Feinstein didn’t demand a hearing to air Christine Blasey Ford’s significantly belated accusations. She demanded an F.B.I. investigation instead, which would not only serve to delay the confirmation vote for Brett Kavanaugh, perhaps until after the midterm elections when the Democrats could possibly gain a majority in the Senate and pull off a Merrick Garland of their own, but offered the best possibility of making something real out of claims that were not going to stick.
After all, if the FBI came up empty, then the Dems were no worse off than they are now. And if they managed to find some additional corroboration, some witness, someone willing to leap into the fray and say something to add to the mix, they were ahead of the game. But Senate Judiciary Committee chair Chuck Grassley wasn’t having it, although he did, with pressure from his side, agree to hold a hearing to air Ford’s allegations. And Ford’s attorney said she would testify. Until she didn’t.
The letter from Ford’s lawyer to Grassley calls for a “full” FBI investigation, as if it’s a witnesses place to call for anything from the Committee. It then rolls blithely through the regular litany of excuses and rationalizations that have become de rigueur with the #MeToo crowd, carefully crafted to overcome all normal expectations of witnesses, in general, and purported sexual assault “victims,” in particular. The word “purported,” and the quotes around “victim,” are used very deliberately: claiming victimhood isn’t being victim. Believe the facts, not the “victim.”
The letter confirms the bias of the passionate believers, who will latch onto any excuse, no matter how ridiculous, to derail confirmation. But just as the Senate was absolutely wrong to not give Merrick Garland his hearing, his vote, the hearing for Kavanaugh can’t go on forever because a self-proclaimed victim chose to hide when the time was ripe to come forward, and now bizarrely demands an investigation rather than the opportunity to testify she demanded the day before. Is it “too rushed” now? If so, Ford has no one to blame but herself. Tough nuggies.
Will an FBI investigation come up with anything significant? Unlikely, but possible. The bizarre parsing of the statement of Kavanaugh’s alleged co-conspirator, Mark Judge, that he remembers no such thing, as if that inept denial proves it happened, is ludicrous. It isn’t a good denial, but it doesn’t prove the opposite either. So the possibility that others might confirm doubts about Kavanaugh is more than ample reason to investigate. After all, the prize is a life-tenured position on the Supreme Court.
Of course, if there were witnesses out there who had anything useful to add, where are they? Why have they not come forward? The argument is that maybe they don’t want to get involved, maybe they don’t want to be subject to the outrage they might face. This could be the case, but it gets us nowhere. Excuses are easy, but they are not substitutes for facts.
There are always possibilities, arguments, but at some point, process must move forward rather than perpetually spiral in the world of possibilities. Especially grossly belated possibilities. Especially grossly belated possibilities so lacking in substantive facts that the likelihood is that nothing will come of any efforts to ascertain whether a sexual assault happened so long ago that even the year can’t be recalled.
The letter sent to Grassley serves another purpose, one far more likely than delay since there is no reasonable expectation that the investigation demanded, and rejected, by Feinstein will now be done because a potential witness demands it. The letter sets up a litany of plausible excuses for Ford’s refusal to testify. Having bravely proclaimed her willingness to testify, and Grassley having responded that he will give her what she wants, Ford is now caught in a bind of her own bravado.
While Dr. Ford’s life was being turned upside down, you and your staff scheduled a public hearing for her to testify at the same table as Judge Kavanaugh in front of two dozen U.S. Senators on national television to relive this traumatic and harrowing incident. The hearing was scheduled for six short days from today and would include interrogation by Senators who appear to have made up their minds that she is “mistaken” and “mixed up.” While no sexual assault survivor should be subjected to such an ordeal, Dr. Ford wants to cooperate with the Committee and with law enforcement officials.
Ford “wants to cooperate,” but “no sexual assault survivor should be subject to such an ordeal”? Witnesses testify or they don’t. This “ordeal” is the American way of airing accusations. Did she think she would be saved by the “believe the victim” mantra of the woke, saved from the burden of scrutiny such that her 35-year-old accusation would, by its mere utterance, be sufficient?
But the real “tell” can be found in the “testify at the same table” phrase. The table may be the same, but the implicit suggestion that she and Kavanaugh will be sitting at the table, side by side, perhaps rubbing elbows, is ridiculous. Of course, the letter doesn’t say so, but then there’s no rational reason to raise it otherwise. The inclusion of this phrase is an act of desperation, throwing anything out there, no matter how inane, to manufacture an excuse to plausibly refuse to do what she claimed she wanted to do the day before.
In a New York Times op-ed, Anita Hill offers some tepid “ground rules” for the committee to hear Ford’s accusations.
Finally, refer to Christine Blasey Ford by her name. She was once anonymous, but no longer is. Dr. Blasey is not simply “Judge Kavanaugh’s accuser.” Dr. Blasey is a human being with a life of her own. She deserves the respect of being addressed and treated as a whole person.
It’s understandable why Hill would say this, as she once sat in the seat that now has Ford’s name on it. But Hill is fundamentally wrong. This isn’t about Ford, or pandering to the feelz of the unduly passionate. This is a hearing about Kavanaugh. Ford is nothing but a witness, like any other witness, against Kavanaugh. If she has something to say, she can say it. If not, then take a vote.
An old man from Nebraska told me I was wrong when I argued that the committee had no choice but to reopen the hearing and air this allegation, since it was now “out there,” even if well past any reasonable time to complain. This hearing would become more of a circus of the absurd than it had already been, and no good would come of it. He may have been prescient. It’s not up to Ford whether she wants to give it a go and be the martyr of the left, killing the Kavanaugh beast, or bluffing. But what won’t work is this letter, trying to give her a graceful exit from her cries of attempted rape. If Ford doesn’t testify, her accusation is dead.
Update: Ford identified Patrick J. Smyth as being present at the party. Smyth, by his lawyer, has advised Grassley and Feinstiein that he has “no knowledge of the party in question; nor do I have any knowledge of the allegations of improper conduct she has leveled against Brett Kavanaugh.” To the extent there was anything to investigate before, there’s less now.