Opinion

Before Believing Kavanaugh's Accuser

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Posted: Sep 17, 2018 10:00 AM
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Before Believing Kavanaugh's Accuser

On Sunday, the Washington Post published the account of Brett Kavanaugh’s previously anonymous accuser. Her name is Christine Blasey Ford, she is a professor in California, and she claims Kavanaugh forced himself on her in high school—more than 30 years ago. 

Ford says she contacted Senator Feinstein’s office with her story in July, and she had hoped that her story would be kept secret. Feinstein failed to fulfill Ford’s wishes when she cryptically released a letter last week stating that someone had contacted her about a sexual assault allegation against Kavanaugh. Frustrated by the circulating inaccuracies following the publication of the letter, she reached out to the Post to set her story straight.

The details are disturbing. Ford alleges Kavanaugh held her down against her will, groped her, attempted to take her clothes off, and covered her mouth when she tried to scream. Ford told the Post: “I thought he might inadvertently kill me.” She reportedly told no one about the incident until couple’s therapy with her husband in 2012—a claim her therapist supports. 

A personal rendering of Ford’s account published by the Washington Post is certainly more credible than the vague allusion to a possible accusation published by Feinstein. But, unfortunately, one woman’s uncorroborated story released in the midst of a heated partisan fight in which Democrats have already demonstrated an aversion to facts cannot be taken at face value. Before believing Kavanaugh’s accuser, there are a few aspects of this scenario that should give us pause. 

The first is that, as yet, we don’t have any evidence. The other man Ford alleges was present for the assault, Mark Judge, denied the incident to The Weekly Standard last week, insisting that he never witnessed that kind of behavior from Kavanaugh. Perhaps support for Ford’s claims will be brought to light, but, right now, we’re going off of a single testimony, the original messenger of which—Senator Feinstein—has demonstrated adamant opposition to Kavanaugh’s nomination. Without further proof, we simply do not know if this is anything more than a politically motivated attack. 

Second, Kavanaugh has rejected the claims. Soon after Feinstein’s memo was released, he said that he “did not do this back in high school or at any time.” In defense of his honor, 65 women penned a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Claiming to have known Kavanaugh for 35 years, they affirmed that Kavanaugh has “stood out for his friendship, character and integrity.” Kavanaugh has had many peers, colleagues and friends on both sides of the political aisle vouch for his character. It is already difficult to believe that Kavanaugh would have only pulled a stunt like this once; predators often have a pattern of predation. It is even more difficult to believe that, if Kavanaugh is a typical, serial predator, he has been able to fool so many people into believing he’s a good person.

Third, even if this horrible situation described by Ford happened, it seems an unreasonable and unrealistic expectation that everyone be held accountable for the mistakes they made at 17. Teenagers are infamous for their stupidity caused by an undeveloped frontal lobe. Kavanaugh’s youth certainly would not negate the immorality of sexual assault, but it does mean that an isolated event like this would probably speak more to his immaturity at the time than his character or competence now. 

The choices are these: Kavanaugh is a predator and a sociopath who has manipulated everyone in his life into believing that he’s a decent person, he was a drunk teenager who did something he shouldn’t have, or he’s an innocent man being falsely accused by partisan hacks. 

The first is unlikely, as there has been literally no support for this whatsoever from those who know and have worked with him. Additionally, among the hundreds of thousands of documents regarding Kavanaugh that Democrats have apparently scoured, nothing has shown that he is anything but straight-laced, fair-minded and consistent. 

The second is possible, but, without further evidence, it’s still not quite probable. If it is true, however, the question still stands: are we willing to set the precedent of condemning and disqualifying people for their isolated teenage sins? 

The third, sadly, wouldn’t be hard to believe. Feinstein’s delay in releasing the memo, plus the Democrats’ relentless political theatre during the confirmation hearings, plus the overall lack of substantial proof, makes this story seem especially suspicious. The anti-Trump sentiment of Ford’s legal advisor certainly doesn’t help, either. 

Republicans will, of course, be criticized for not fully and immediately “believing the victim.” They will be painted as callous, misogynistic and blindly partisan. But they should not allow the bullying and moralizing of the left intimidate them into silence. The validity of this story must be tested, especially if it is intended to foil Kavanaugh’s nomination and—worse—assassinate his character.  

It is also important to remember that Democrats first politicized Ford’s story, and it is Democrats who are currently capitalizing on her alleged trauma to undermine the confirmation of a nominee they have sworn from the start to reject. They will paint themselves as compassionate and moral, but they likely care very little for Ford herself. They want Kavanaugh out, no matter the cost. 

Whether it’s all true or not, one thing’s for sure: this fight is just getting started.