Somebody I didn’t know kept retwitting his earlier twit that by the end of the weekend, there would be more. There would be another woman who claimed to be the victim of Brett Kavanaugh’s sexual misconduct. Ford may have come out of the woodwork late, whether 36 years or a few months according to whatever god you pray to, but belated accusations were about to be redefined.
As it turned out, there appeared to be two who exploded onto social media Sunday evening: Deborah Ramirez, as broken by a story by Ronan Farrow and Jane Meyer in the New Yorker and some mystery claim by Stormy lawyer Michael Avenatti that, despite being devoid of any factual allegations, he claims will be devastating. He’s available to be on television, if anyone’s interested.
Of course, Senator Feinstein is demanding the confirmation hearings, the deadline for which Senator Grassley kept extending over and over to show how fair he is, be put on hold and the FBI investigate, because what else would she do? And so this circus will go on in perpetuity.
The on-again, off-again talks — with an appointment to the nation’s highest court in the balance — have consumed official Washington, and thrown confirmation proceedings for Judge Kavanaugh, who has vigorously denied Dr. Blasey’s allegations, into turmoil. Until recently, Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation seemed all but assured; Dr. Blasey’s testimony has the potential to be a fatal blow.
Except the new allegations by Ramirez aren’t of the same level of seriousness as Ford, which themselves have fallen to the most marginal threshold of credibility when no person Ford alleged to be present would corroborate any part of her accusations.
The Times had interviewed several dozen people over the past week in an attempt to corroborate her story, and could find no one with firsthand knowledge. Ms. Ramirez herself contacted former Yale classmates asking if they recalled the incident and told some of them that she could not be certain Mr. Kavanaugh was the one who exposed himself.
The Ramirez allegations, stemming back to Kavanaugh’s freshman year at Yale, do not appear credible. In fact, they appear astoundingly incredible, and the New Yorker article astounding irresponsible for its publication. As for Avenatti, his association with whatever it is he might eventually have to proffer is tainted by Avenatti. Show ponies demand attention, but are still merely show ponies.
Rather than increase the likelihood of Kavanaugh’s withdrawal from confirmation, this new allegation may kill whatever lingering credibility exists in Ford’s claim, even though the two are separate issues. This refocuses attention on the fact that decades have elapsed without anyone having come forward to raise these putative terrible things and now, as the time has come for the Senate to make its decision, are dribbling out to disrupt the process, taint the nominee with unproven, unprovable and largely indefensible accusations, they are all being manipulated for disingenuous purposes.
The rhetoric is loud. The excuses endless. The arguments nonsensical, but passionate. None of it relates to Brett Kavanaugh’s career as a lawyer or judge, but only in the age of #MeToo could the irrational connections of emotional trauma and outrage serve to justify the outrage of those who live to be outraged. In an earlier time, the notion of resurrecting high school and college allegations would have been considered ridiculous.
And it’s all a lie. Opponents to Kavanaugh oppose Kavanaugh, and will believe whatever serves their end of killing his nomination.
The impact this will have on the future of nominations is of no concern. But then, Merrick Garland comes to mind. There is no honest person who believes the Republican rationalizations for refusing to give Garland a hearing. What they did to Garland was disgraceful and inexcusable, but they managed to pull it off and find enough blithering idiots to believe it wasn’t completely wrong. It was completely wrong.
This wasn’t supposed to happen to Kavanaugh. The Republicans still had the majority, and there was nothing the Dems could do to stop the freight train. To their credit, they found a way in Christine Blasey Ford, which worked only with the acquiescence of Two-Buck Chuck.
Is this Garland payback?* Has the once-lauded comity of the Senate broken beyond repair? Even if there is no direct connection between the two, are we now at the stage of government where any lie will do, exploitation of the fundamental ignorance of the unduly passionate to game the other team is the only game left?
I don’t want Brett Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court, but then there’s no one Trump will nominate who I would want on the Court. But what I don’t want more is to watch a nation devolve into idiocracy, paralysis, fundamental dishonesty. The hyper-partisans of both sides regurgitate their special brand of platitudinous nonsense, which is both tedious and infantile. Each believes that if they just scream louder, just call more names, they will win.
No one will win, and we will all assuredly lose when we have enabled the ruination of government in the name of the teams’ respective fantasies. They say payback is a bitch, and that’s no doubt true, but was the outcome you wanted to ruin America for everyone? There will be losers. There will be no winners. Was that the point?
Is there any pulling back now? Can anyone tell the truth, tone down the outrage, admit that we need to put aside how right our team is and how wrong the other team is that we need to fight to the death over everything? Can we ever stop believing and start thinking again, or is the experiment over?
The answer, if there is one, is that the grown ups must shut down the children and their sad, irrational tears. Call out the lies, no matter which sides spews them. Restore respect for the process that’s maintained a nation’s existence, not because they’re perfect but because their absence has proven to be far worse. But are there enough grown ups left to make this happen? Do they have the guts to put their foot down and say enough? Certainly not in Washington. Maybe nowhere.
*Don’t bring up Bork. Just don’t.