The president had a big ol’ time imitating Christine Blasey Ford on Tuesday night. Because what’s funnier than the most powerful man in the world, who himself has been accused of sexual misconduct, skewering a woman whose entire life has been diminished by an attempted rape when she was in high school? This is Narcissus with an infinity pool, performing into the water’s reflection for his own entertainment. And not since Donald Trump mocked a reporter’s physical disability have we laughed so hard.
Senate Republicans, of course, have taken a different approach, pretending to have a kind of condescending respect for Ford, and never even intimating that they don’t believe her. But if they do believe her and are still all in on Brett Kavanaugh? That could only mean they don’t much care if he put his hand over her mouth to keep her from screaming.
Maybe that is why they’ve come so close to suggesting that aliens abducted and brainwashed the psychology professor they speak about as if she were too addled and confused to know what happened to her, or who was responsible.
Listen, for example, to Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt talking about Ford like she’s 12, or incapacitated, or both. “In all likelihood,” he said on “The Mark Reardon Show” out of St. Louis, “she absolutely has had a traumatic experience. It was a long time ago. She totally — I don’t have any reason to question that, but you know Judge Kavanaugh knows what categorically and without any hesitation denying something means you — things that happen in your past might be forgiven, but if you’re a 52-year-old judge and you say nothing like that ever happened to you, you’d better believe that you know exactly what you’re talking about, and to this moment, there’s no reason to believe that he didn’t know that that would be a disqualifying statement if it wasn’t absolutely true and there are some things in your life that you absolutely know you never did, and if you believe him, this kind of behavior with anybody is one of those things.”
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Blunt not only believes Kavanaugh, but believes such a guy would not lie. Yes, even after the whole country watched him do so under oath, about everything from the meaning of his yearbook inscriptions to having no connections at Yale, his grandfather’s alma mater.
Despite those obvious distortions and fabrications, what Josh Hawley, Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill’s Republican challenger, claims he saw at the hearing was poor Ford being taken advantage of by the Senate Democrats he wants investigated for that, among other things.
Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts, meanwhile, clings to the theory of mistaken identity, even though prosecutors say that’s never an issue with known assailants; it’s strangers in a lineup who are another story.
Roberts essentially admits that nothing he can think of would keep him from voting to confirm Kavanaugh, and at least that’s honest.
According to a spokeswoman, that’s because the Kansas Republican “believes in the rule of law and the belief that people are innocent until proven guilty.” This popular talking point intentionally conflates the standard for a guilty verdict in a criminal trial with grounds for disqualification from one of nine lifetime appointments to the U.S. Supreme Court. Lying under oath is one of those, as even Trump has said.
“He awaits the seventh FBI review of Judge Kavanaugh this week,” the Roberts spokeswoman said in an email, “but unless there is irrefutable evidence corroborating the various charges, he will remain in support of the nominee.”
“Irrefutable evidence” would go well beyond even the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard of proof in a trial. And since there’s really no such thing as evidence that’s irrefutable, how is that different from not caring what Kavanaugh did or didn’t do?
His fellow Kansas Republican, Sen. Jerry Moran, has taken a similar, but slightly subtler stand: After Ford came forward, Moran said she had to be heard and her allegations taken seriously. Right after she was heard, however, he said, “As I stated after meeting with Judge Kavanaugh in August, he is a well-qualified nominee with a deep respect for the Constitution, and I still believe that to be true ... I will vote to confirm Judge Kavanaugh as Justice Kavanaugh.”
McCaskill has been disingenuous, too, coming out against Kavanaugh after Ford came forward, but safely insisting it’s his views on “dark money” that are disqualifying.
What we’ve said is that if he sexually assaulted anyone, he doesn’t deserve the seat. An FBI investigation so abbreviated that it didn’t even include a conversation with Ford herself is unlikely to yield much, and perhaps both political parties like it that way, for their very different reasons.
Still, the truth does matter. We happen to believe Ford. But what we know is that Kavanaugh said so many things that were untrue under oath that he should not be hired for this job.