As she entered the room in her crisp blue suit, Christine Blasey Ford seemed nervous, and rightfully so. Initially hesitant to publicly accuse Judge Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault decades ago, Ford appeared teary-eyed and vulnerable as she told her story to the US Senate and to the nation.
Ford’s recitation of an incident that has “haunted” her most of her life came across as sincere. In a particularly moving response to questioning, the Laura Linney look-alike said that the moment most “indelibly” seared in her mind was the “uproarious laughter” of the older boys at her expense.
I have no doubt that Ford has been deeply affected by the misogynistic cruelty of high school boys when she was just 15. Nor do I doubt that someone whom she believes to be Brett Kavanaugh assaulted her in her youth. Her apparent fragility made clear she believes what she says.
But the science on the weakness and malleability of human memory and the fact that none of the witnesses that Ford has named corroborate her story raise concerning questions about the accuracy of the specific claims against Kavanaugh.
Judge Kavanaugh’s emotional defense of his character and indictment of the confirmation process was an important reminder that none of this is really about him or even Christine Blasey Ford.
For years, progressives have wrongly regarded Justice Anthony Kennedy as the only thing standing between women and the back alley. So Democrats vowed to do whatever it took to stop President Trump’s nominee to replace Kennedy, even before Trump named a successor.
Enter Ford. In July, Senator Dianne Feinstein learned of Ford’s story. Had Feinstein really been worried that the president had named a sexual predator to the Supreme Court, she should have explained to Ford the need to share the allegation with her colleagues confidentially. Having done that, Feinstein should have convinced a bipartisan group of senators to ask the president to withdraw the nomination and select someone else. This approach would have been respectful of both Ford’s privacy and Judge Kavanaugh’s reputation. But she deliberately chose not to do that.
Because Feinstein had no interest in the truth of the allegation. Feinstein’s interests were purely political: fire up the “resistance,” bring home a high-profile scalp for the #MeToo movement, and shore up the left flank in order to fend off a progressive Senate challenger.
How else to explain Feinstein’s invitation to actress Alyssa Milano, a leading #MeToo activist, to attend the hearing as her guest? How else to explain her repeated references to farcical claims that Kavanaugh was part of a teenage gang rape ring?
Feinstein’s behavior makes clear she played Ford like a pawn. That is not a condemnation of Ford, it is a condemnation of Feinstein. Saying so isn’t “survivor shaming,” it’s “Senate shaming.”
Let’s be honest: Feinstein allowed two people and their families to be the subject of death threats and to be publicly humiliated and emotionally destroyed.
Feinstein and her Democratic colleagues don’t care whether they re-traumatized Ford, destroyed the reputation of a faithful public servant, or destroyed the credibility of our public institutions. Because, well, abortion.
Welcome to the Resistance.
Jennifer C. Braceras, a former commissioner on the US Commission on Civil Rights, is a senior fellow at the Independent Women’s Forum.