Last Thursday, Christine Blasey Ford told a United States Senate committee that Supreme Court justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when she was 15 years old. Kavanaugh responded by throwing a tantrum.
When I got to the small gathering, people were drinking beer in a small living room on the first floor of the house. I drank one beer that evening. Brett and Mark were visibly drunk. Early in the evening, I went up a narrow set of stairs leading from the living room to a second floor to use the bathroom. When I got to the top of the stairs, I was pushed from behind into a bedroom. I couldn’t see who pushed me. Brett and Mark came into the bedroom and locked the door behind them. There was music already playing in the bedroom. It was turned up louder by either Brett or Mark once we were in the room. I was pushed onto the bed and Brett got on top of me. He began running his hands over my body and grinding his hips into me. I yelled, hoping someone downstairs might hear me, and tried to get away from him, but his weight was heavy. Brett groped me and tried to take off my clothes. He had a hard time because he was so drunk, and because I was wearing a one-piece bathing suit under my clothes. I believed he was going to rape me. I tried to yell for help. When I did, Brett put his hand over my mouth to stop me from screaming. This was what terrified me the most, and has had the most lasting impact on my life. It was hard for me to breathe, and I thought that Brett was accidentally going to kill me. Both Brett and Mark were drunkenly laughing during the attack. They both seemed to be having a good time.
Kavanaugh patently denied the claim. In his opening remarks (CBC), he conceded,
I drank beer with my friends, usually on weekends. Sometimes I had too many.
But, he maintained,
I never did anything remotely resembling what Dr. Ford describes.
Kavanaugh further claimed that Ford’s accusations somehow represent an attack by Democrats and the Clintons (The New Republic). (Those who favor this explanation may bolster their beliefs by visiting the websites for Fox News or the Washington Examiner.)
There seem to be some problems with Kavanaugh’s rebuttal, though. It seems odd that he admits that he used to drink too much, but then claims that he could remember everything he did while drunk. Often, people who become as drunk as Ford claims Kavanaugh was do not remember what they did (NYT). Also, it is interesting to compare the testimony of Ford and Kavanaugh. A comparative chart (Vox) shows that Kavanaugh dodged many questions and Ford dodged none.
A key witness from the alleged encounter is Kavanaugh’s buddy, Mark Judge. Judge has denied the event took place (ABC, Fox), but his testimony is far from definitive. He, according to Ford, was also drunk at the time. In fact, he seemed to have spent so much time being drunk that he wrote a book about it (The Intercept), although that book is hard to come by now (The New Yorker).
All of this puts Republicans in a tough spot. They are hard pressed to ignore Ford or claim that she has made the whole thing up. Some have tried pushing a doppelganger theory (Huffington Post) (‘yes, it may have happened, but it was somebody else’). Others claim that this is all a conjuring trick by Senator Dianne Feinstein, whom, they claim, sat on the story for months and then leaked it at a politically opportune time (Feinstein denies this (Vox)). While most Rebulican leaders seem eager to vote Kavanaugh into his seat before any more damage can be done, a minority of them, led by Senator Jeff Flake (Vox, The Atlantic), say they would like to remove the cloud of doubt on their nominee.
According to President Trump, this whole affair is the work of the evil Democrats (tweet, tweet). He also reminds us that the midterms are very close (tweet). Given the proportion of wealthy, entitled frat boys to women who have had to deal with unwanted sexual advances in the country, that’s a good thing for the Republicans to keep in mind.