Sexual Assault Allegation Against Virginia Democrat Should Be Taken Seriously, But Evidence Must Be Paramount

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Posted: Feb 05, 2019 12:01 PM
Sexual Assault Allegation Against Virginia Democrat Should Be Taken Seriously, But Evidence Must Be Paramount

If you haven't been following the smoldering, rancid tire fire that is Virginia Democratic politics over the past week, allow me to update you: After defending an insanely radical late-term abortion bill in terms that very much appeared to endorse infanticide (extremism that appears to be gaining traction among morally-demented national Democrats), Gov. Ralph Northam found himself embroiled in a racism scandal.  One or more former medical school classmates -- apparently appalled by his abortion comments -- leaked Northam's 1984 yearbook page, which included a disturbing photo of Northam (then in his mid-20's) and another man posing for the camera, one dressed in blackface, the other in a Klan hood.  Reporters confirmed the authenticity of the book and determined that students personally selected their own yearbook page pictures, meaning that Northam had gone out of his way to highlight the racist photograph.  After issuing out an abject apology over the "photograph of me," Northam changed his mind overnight, insisting that he actually didn't remember being in the photo after all.  

Rather than resigning, even amid growing calls from Democrats and Republicans, Northam gave a surreal press conference in which he denied any recollection of being in that photo or earmarking it for his page.  (Did he remember recoiling in horror when the yearbook was published?  Did he register any formal complaint at the time?)  During the presser, he admitted another instance in which he "darkened" his face while impersonating Michael Jackson.  He even briefly appeared to contemplate moonwalking in front of the cameras.  With virtually the entire Virginia Democratic establishment demanding his resignation, Northam watched his polling plummet, even as a majority of Democratic voters in the state have continued to approve of his job performance.  With that story spiraling, an allegation emerged against the man who would succeed Northam, Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax.  A woman came forward to allege an instance of sexual assault at the 2004 Democratic National Convention.  

The Washington Post said it had been aware of the claim for some time, but they'd been unable to corroborate it, so they hadn't published anything on it.  This explanation invited a cascade of jeers from defenders of Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who was not afforded any presumption of innocence by the press.  For what it's worth, the Post did knock down Fairfax's assertion that their reporters had discovered some discrediting information about the accuser's story.  (Fairfax has also lashed out at Democratic rivals, including the governor and another lawmakers, accusing them, without evidence, of being behind the emergence of the allegation).  The partisan double standards at play are obvious and undeniable.  My overall reaction to this 'Me Too' development in the wider, wild saga, is rather simple:


Just because the accused party is a rising progressive star doesn't mean that the woman should be believed any more or less, nor does it mean that the threshold for determining the credibility of the claim should be any higher or lower.  Absent contemporary corroboration and meaningful evidence (as existed against Bill Clinton, by the way), it's neither just nor fair to ruin someone's career or life over a totally unproven accusation.  And I'd call this allegation 'totally unproven' at this point, despite the fact that a few factors might make it a bit more compelling than Dr. Blasey Ford's accusation against Kavanaugh:


In an interesting twist, Fairfax's accuser has reportedly hired Blasey Ford's attorneys:


Conservatives should approach this situation with caution -- evincing compassion for the alleged victim, while exhibiting healthy skepticism and prizing evidence.  Journalists should be pressed to explain their standards of coverage, or lack thereof, and every single Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee (and others) should be asked whether they "believe" this woman.  Belief was the only guiding standard for some of them during the Kavanaugh ordeal, with the addendum that all women must be believed.  How does that tautology apply here?  Finally, as ugly memories of the Kavanaugh circus resurface, I'll leave you with a piece of good news for the young woman of color who's been tapped to replace the newest Supreme Court Justice on the DC Circuit:


Left-wing activists are trying to derail her nomination through absurd means, an effort that sustained a blow when she received this stellar rating.