Senate Republicans should bite the bullet and move ahead with the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh.
I am very sympathetic to women who have been the subject of sexual harassment or abuse, but the accusations presented by Christine Blasey Ford and Deborah Ramirez both lack supporting evidence. In the case of Ford, the evidence was so weak that Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) sat on the accusations until a week before Kavanaugh’s scheduled confirmation vote. No corroborating evidence has been presented to back up Dr. Ford’s testimony and three people (Patrick Smyth, Mark Judge, and Leland Keyser) in addition to Judge Kavanaugh have denied the allegations.
Kavanaugh’s second accuser only came forward as Republicans were planning to move forward with Ford’s testimony. As Erick Erickson pointed out, Ramirez, who waited as long as possible to come forward, seems uncertain that it was even Kavanaugh who exposed himself to her. The New Yorker did not corroborate Ramirez’s claims with other witnesses. There seems to be some doubt that Kavanaugh was even at the party in question.
Unlike Roy Moore’s accusers, there is so far no evidence to back up the claims from either woman. Unlike Donald Trump’s Access Hollywood tape or Corey Booker’s 1992 college newspaper article, there is no tape or written mea culpa in which Kavanaugh admits to questionable behavior. Unlike Al Franken, there is no photo of Kavanaugh with his hand on an accuser’s nether regions.
It seems obvious that the allegations were brought forward by Democrats only to delay Kavanaugh’s confirmation vote. The Democrats apparently hope that they can delay the confirmation vote until after the new Congress takes office next year or at least until after the midterm elections. In that case, they could argue that the Senate should follow the example of Merrick Garland and delay the confirmation vote until the new Congress is seated.
It’s time to put up or shut up. If the Democrats cannot bring forward more substantial evidence that Brett Kavanaugh should not be confirmed then Republicans should forge ahead immediately following Dr. Ford’s testimony on Thursday. Unless Ramirez can present more evidence, the Senate should not dignify her accusation with the opportunity to testify.
The problem with forging ahead is that Republicans only have a two-vote advantage in the Senate. If Republican mavericks such as Susan Collins (Maine) or Jeff Flake (Arizona) cross the aisle then the result would be an embarrassing defeat for the GOP. Nevertheless, holding the Republican caucus together on a matter so clear-cut as the accusations against Kavanaugh would be a worthy issue for a test of Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and President Trump’s ability to lead their caucus.
Although there is potential for some political blowback from moving ahead, there is also the possibility that confirming Kavanaugh would help the Republicans in the midterms. A successful confirmation could help excite the Republican voters where a failure to confirm might depress Republican turnout. At any rate, dire midterm forecasts suggest that the GOP has little to lose with a confirmation. If Republicans cannot come together to resist the unsubstantiated smearing of political appointee like Brett Kavanaugh, there would be little point in returning their Senate majority anyway.