Ford v. Kavanaugh, again

Watching the news this weekend, and reading newspaper opinion pages, I was struck by how predictable and empty a lot of the commentary was. In no particular order, a list of things that ought to be part of the discussion.

  • According to her own statement, Concerned Citizen Ford sent her letter to Senator Feinstein with the expectation that her anonymous allegations would be passed along to the Buffoon-in-Chief, and Kavanaugh would lose his place on Trump’s list of Supreme Court candidates. What this amounts to is that Ford intended to quietly, surreptitiously, underhandedly, and with no accountability, blacken his name and derail his career — without affording Kavanaugh an opportunity to answer the charges or, for that matter, even know that charges had been made.

    This is, literally, Kafkaesque. Could we please be done with breathless encomiums about Ford’s courage? The look of things to me is that her deviousness backfired.

  • Assuming her account is true, Ford’s experience was not remotely analogous to the abuse scandals that have implicated so many clergy. Kavanaugh, after all, was just a kid whose family had a membership at the same country club — not a figure of authority before whom even her parents were deferential. What is more, her parents would almost certainly have believed her if she told them what had occurred. There would probably have been a conversation between Ford’s parents and Kavanaugh’s parents, and plenty of mutual dislike — and that would probably have been the end of it. I’m not seeing the setup for a lifelong trauma.

  • This was a small gathering, not one of those rowdy affairs where dozens of people come and go and wander in an out over the course of hours — and in which it’s entirely plausible that a buzzed 15-year old might misidentify somebody she knows only casually. Whatever transpired happened between Ford and Kavanaugh.

  • When oligarchs are spending money to broadcast television commercials urging confirmation of a Supreme Court nominee … they ain’t doing it because they think Kavanaugh is good for the Gool Ol’ U.S. of A., they’re doing it because they think Kavanaugh is good for them — and that should make the rest of us uneasy and serve as an exhibit against confirmation.

  • Kavanaugh should not be expected to serve as a stand-in, or proxy, for every man who has ever mistreated a woman — which is what those nuisances who confronted Senator Flake are doing. To find Ford underhanded and less than convincing is not to say that women don’t matter or to tell your children that mistreating women is acceptable.

  • There is a good reason that teenagers are not allowed to purchase alcohol, vote, or enter contracts, and that reason is that teenagers are immature and stupid. That observation raises, in turn, the question of how long teenage misbehavior should follow somebody around. People will disagree about that, and disagree in good faith — but it’s a question that is germane to the Kavanaugh nomination and we ought to be thinking about it more seriously than we seem to be.

As I’ve said elsewhere, there are sound reasons to reject kavanaugh, and they are reasons grounded in a well-established record; those reasons should prevail. And this distracting sideshow, which is probably not susceptible of objective resolution, ought to end.

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