Risking huge political backlash.
Brett Kavanaugh’s qualifications, both personal and professional, are so outstanding that only some kind of “Hail Mary” political play could have stopped or even slowed his confirmation. Sure enough, the Democrats managed to find one.
The surfacing of a serious and devious charge at the 11th hour should surprise no one. The late in the game “October Surprise” has become routinized in high stakes political situations. The branding of Judge Kavanaugh as an adolescent sexual predator, as some opposed to his confirmation have in effect done even as they demand the charge be investigated by the FBI is as insulting as it is ridiculous. But what’s even worse is the insistence by no less than former Vice President Joe Biden and others of similar stature the charge be taken seriously on its face as if there is absolutely no room for doubt.
Despite the criticisms it may bring me, I feel perfectly comfortable in saying I do not believe Kavanaugh’s accuser. There are too many holes in her story for it to be believable. No credible collaborative credible evidence has surfaced to back up her three decades old account and four of the five people she identifies as having been there now say, apparently under penalty of perjury, nothing happened.
Her reluctance to testify in the open and in front of the man she is accusing could just as easily be a sign she knows her story is falling apart rather than being a kind of psycho dramatic continuation of the original unpleasant experience as some so-called “expert” will no doubt eventually suggest.
There was a time when an allegation like the one lodged against Judge Kavanaugh would have been taken with the utmost seriousness. Unfortunately for Democrats trying to cling to power after conservatives win national elections, they’ve probably gone to the well one too many times for people outside the Beltway to take it seriously. It is, in fact, insulting when former Vice President Biden, who still wants to be president and feels he still must atone for failing to stop Justice Clarence Thomas’ confirmation, demands we all believe her and take her seriously — as we must for all women.
Biden doesn’t believe that any more than I do. The allegations of sexual misconduct, assault, and infidelity made against Democrats are routinely dismissed, disbelieved, or forgiven. Very few people thought of as objective talk about them, so nothing reaches the kind of critical mass they need to change the outcome of a political contest. The people who do pay attention are left with the impression there’s either a double standard at work or the whole thing is a series of sick games that leave reputations in tatters while the march to the left continues.
The easiest fish in this barrel is Bill Clinton. Allegations of his infidelity had been bandied about for years before he ever entered the race for president. When they surfaced during the 1992 New Hampshire primary, the major media outlets and the pro-Clinton pundits did everything they could to destroy the reputation of the woman who’d said openly she’d been Clinton’s longtime lover. Coming so soon after the allegedly “he said, she said” debate over sexual harassment in the workplace that figured so prominently in the Thomas nomination, this sudden reversal by the social justice warriors concerning what mattered and why woman be believed in every case looked to be an obvious betrayal of principle on the altar of politics.
Of course, the ones doing the betraying didn’t see it that way. And they didn’t see it that way when former Vice President Al Gore was accused of forcing his attentions on a hotel masseuse or when stories began to surface that former vice-presidential candidate John Edwards had fathered a child with a campaign worker while his wife was dying from cancer. None of that seemed to matter or ever seems to matter when the miscreant is a democratic presidential wannabe. There really are two sets of rules, one for the people who play ball with the radical women’s movement and one for the people who don’t.
Kavanaugh, because he is presumed to be one more vote to overturn Roe v. Wade — despite his having confirmed to Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins his belief the decision constitutes “settled law” — puts him in the latter category. To the folks who studied social activism under the likes of Saul Alinsky and Malcolm X., that’s enough of a justification to secure his defeat “by any means necessary.”
Senior Democrats involved in all this probably don’t believe the allegation either. They’re playing to the crowds already gathering the cheap seats to watch the 2020 election unfold. And it’s not as if there’s a lot to believe in. What is on the record is so flimsy it would probably have been hard to prove anything happened at the time it was alleged to, never mind now. What it does do, and it’s enough, is slow the pace of the nomination sufficiently to give the Democrats time to retake control of the Senate and vote Kavanaugh down.
Some might call that creative legislating when it should be labeled a gross abuse of power and the trust of the American people. Those who are participating in this sham it ought to be ashamed of themselves. Sure, it might energize college-educated women who think Donald Trump a chauvinist to come out and vote against him in November. But this is such a blatant ploy that it will probably also energize the Trump electorate to come out in equal or even superior numbers.
Pollster Scott Rasmussen says the last-minute imbroglio over Kavanaugh has changed things. Republican enthusiasm is up three points in the last week, with 64 percent of GOPers in his latest survey saying they will definitely vote in November (a three-point increase over last week) while the Democrats remains static at 63 percent. If the ranks of the “I don’t believe her” voters are genuinely growing larger than the ones who do, then the Democrats could end up rightfully bitten badly in the behind.
Peter Roff has written extensively politics, culture, and the media for U.S. News and World Report, United Press International, and various other publications.