When you listen to Republicans in Washington you get the impression that they think Christine Ford’s sexual assault allegations against Brett Kavanaugh are no big deal.
The conventional wisdom is that Ford’s charges from 35 years ago are just a small bump in the road as Kavanaugh’s confirmation steamrolls ahead. Everyone in the GOP seems to be saying that the right-wing judge will be approved by the Senate so he can take his rightful place on the Supreme Court in October.
But under the surface a different story is playing out. Beyond the TV cameras and the sound bites there is consternation and worry that if Dr. Ford does testify it will be a public spectacle with no good outcomes for either Kavanaugh or the Republican Party.
GOP moderate Senators Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska have not said if they will vote to confirm Kavanaugh, and seem to be taking a “wait and see” approach.
If Ford testifies and appears credible it will put huge amounts of pressure on the two women senators — who supposedly are “pro-choice” — to vote against Kavanaugh’s confirmation.
Democratic senators in red states, such as Heidi Heitkamp in North Dakota, Joe Donnelly in Indiana, and Joe Manchin in West Virginia have also not said if they will vote to confirm Kavanaugh.
These Democrats have also been under pressure within their own party to vote against Trump’s latest high court appointment. And the new allegations against Kavanaugh may be the cover they need to follow the party line without threatening their own chances to win re-election in November.
If the Kavanaugh situation continues to blow up for the GOP his nomination will in no way be assured. But they don’t seem to recognize this.
Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee have not been very helpful since they scheduled a hearing for Ford to testify on Monday without checking with her schedule to see if she can make it. Yesterday her attorney said she still wants to testify but not on Monday, and only if certain conditions are met.
What the public has seen so far is that Republicans are discounting Ford’s story, with many calling her a liar. Women see this as not only a lack of respect but also a lack of concern about the hot-button issue of sexual assault.
For his part, Kavanaugh is acting like the cocky, entitled white frat boy with a prep school/Ivy League background that he is. He gives the impression that he thinks he’s above the law, just like he has written before that he believes President Donald Trump may be above the law also.
None of this looks very good to the average American, especially to the average American woman voter.
This morning the Los Angeles Times published a lengthy analysis about the trouble that Republicans are in because of the Kavanaugh situation.
In that article outspoken Democratic Senator Mazie Hirono of Hawaii predicted Republicans‘ treatment of Dr. Ford will backfire in the midterm elections because many voters believe she is being mistreated.
“I hope the women of America — as well as the men, by the way, because why should it just be the women who care about fair treatment? It’s men. It’s all of America,” Hirono said. “I think there’s a lot more attention being paid to how this whole thing is being handled.”
Republicans have not successfully resolved the Kavanaugh situation. It appears that they still are deluding themselves by thinking that they have the upper hand because they are in control of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
But the truth is that the GOP does not control the media narrative, and they are in a horrible no-win situation. If they are not panicking about the predicament they are in it can mean only one thing: they are in denial.
In this case the only cure for denial is for them to receive a wake-up call on November 6th that makes very clear to them just how many mistakes they have made.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.