“When the debate is lost,” said Socrates, “slander becomes the tool of the losers.” That’s really the only rational explanation for the Democrats’ ongoing smear campaign against Brett Kavanaugh, who was appointed to the Supreme Court last year over Senate Democrats’ bitter opposition.
Nobody should be surprised that the latest accusation of alleged sexual misconduct by Brett Kavanaugh has fallen apart. But I think Brett Kavanaugh should be impeached, although I would oppose his impeachment if there were the slightest chance of a conviction and removal from office.
Last week the New York Times reported that one Max Stier, who went to Yale with Kavanaugh and later served on Bill Clinton’s impeachment defense team, claimed that once at Yale he saw two men seize Kavanaugh’s you-know-what and rub it in the face of a woman (Kavanaugh once worked on Special Prosecutor Ken Starr’s team). What the Times conveniently omitted in its story, but later added as a correction, was that the woman refused to discuss the alleged incident, and that her friends claim she has no recollection of it.
Now I don’t know about you, and I can’t speak with any experience on this point, but I should think that having a you-know-what rubbed in one’s face would be pretty memorable, and that the most likely reason why one couldn’t remember that is that it didn’t really happen. And so it looks as though this charge, like all the other charges, is either totally false or at least almost certainly false, including:
- Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s charge that when she was 15, a 17-year-old Kavanaugh assaulted her, although none of the three “witnesses” she identified could remember it, and the only female “witness,” life-long LeLand Keyser, now says she thinks the, uh, encounter, never really took place at all;
- Deborah Ramirez’s charge that a teenage Kavanaugh exposed himself to her at a Yale party, although she initially said she was too drunk to remember who did what, if anything, and not even the New York Times has been able to produce anyone who attended this party (if there actually was one) or witnessed the encounter;
- Julie Swetnick charge that she had attended a dozen of parties at which she saw Brett Kavanaugh drug girls to facilitate their gang rapes, although she’s now said that she can’t recall Kavanaugh’s presence at any of them, and nobody else who attended these parties (if they ever took place at all) has ever been found;
- Judy Munro-Leighton’s charge that Brett Kavanaugh raped her, only to subsequently admit she made the whole story up, partly because she was angry at the confirmation process, and also to get attention;
- The charge of an anonymous Rhode Islander who told his Senator, Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse, that he witnessed Kavanaugh rape someone, only to admit his charge was false.
- Etc., etc.
But despite the flimsiness of these charges, a growing number of candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination are demanding Kavanaugh’s impeachment. As of this writing, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobachur, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Beto O’Rourke, are after him. And I’d like to see the Democrats in Congress try, for two reasons:
First, the impeachment of Kavanaugh would almost certainly boost Republican prospects next November. Four of the Democratic Senators who voted against him last fall were defeated for re-election, thereby producing a bigger Republican majority in the Senate, which will make it easier to confirm more Trump-nominated federal judges this year and next. The continued persecution of Kavanaugh may well produce even more Democratic defeats in 2020 (this seems to be why Speaker Pelosi and assistant Democratic Senate Leader Dick Durbin oppose Kavanaugh’s impeachment).
Second, the impeachment of Brett Kavanaugh, even though it will lead to his acquittal in the Republican-dominated Senate, will still instruct the voters in an election year about the sort of justice that will be in store for them should Warren, or Sanders, or Harris be elected president. They, and their fellow presidential candidates, evidently believe that to accuse someone is sufficient to condemn him, that the burden of proof rests with the accused, and that no amount of evidence can ever exonerate those whose political views they dislike. Voters need to know these things if they’re to vote intelligently.
So to all those Democratic would-be presidential candidates who want Kavanaugh impeached: Bring it on. Make our day.
(Fun fact: As I recounted in my blog, Crosswise on Politics, last year I was charged with violating Title 7 of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination against women, after I led a discussion of the Kavanaugh case in my upper-level course on elections and political parties. The hearing officer, I’m happy to say, concluded that to discuss the Kavanaugh case in a course devoted to political parties was permissible, given the divisions along party lines over the question of Kavanaugh’s fitness for office. The hearing officer further noted that the sources of information on which my students and I relied for discussion, including newspapers, TV, and the internet, were admissible in a classroom setting. Of course, given the way the nut-right went after me in a recent column on the Electoral College, I’ve still got to wonder what sort of mud will be thrown at me once this column hits the press, or the fan, or whatever.)
Malcolm L. Cross has lived in Stephenville and taught politics and government at Tarleton since 1987. His political and civic activities include service on the Stephenville City Council (2000-2014) and on the Erath County Republican Executive Committee (1990 to the present). He was Mayor Pro Tem of Stephenville from 2008 to 2014. He is a member of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church and the Stephenville Rotary Club, and does volunteer work for the Boy Scouts of America. Views expressed in this column are his and do not reflect those of The Flash as a whole.