Republicans can only win by denying Kavanaugh

Published 9:38 am Friday, September 28, 2018

That’s gotta hurt.

Ouch! Professor Christine Blasey Ford was more than a little credible, more than a tad sincere, and more than minimally vulnerable in her testimony. In short, she was convincing — and that creates a really big problem for Republicans today.

First, Judge Brett Kavanaugh has to testify after Ford’s compelling testimony. That will be a hard act to follow. Of course, Kavanaugh is already committed to the “it never happened” argument, but that sounded a whole lot stronger before the appearance Thursday by Ford.

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If Kavanaugh goes after Ford’s creditability, lacking her charisma (and he does), it will be difficult for him to convince those who saw her testimony.

But, on the brighter side, in our current tribal politics, Republicans want you to believe Kavanaugh pretty much regardless of what your eyes and ears may be telling you. And the Republicans have good reasons for needing to be true believers.

First, their base really wants this candidate to become the next very conservative Republican justice on the U.S. Supreme Court. The base wants this so badly, they have threatened to withhold their votes in 2018 if Kavanaugh is not confirmed. But, to be fair, it is not like Kavanaugh supporters can go vote for a liberal Democrat. They really have little choice but to vote Republican.

The bigger problem might be the other voters, in particular, women voters. Should the Republicans ignore Ford’s soulful, painful, heartfelt statements, overlook the two other women now coming forth to affirm Ford’s charge of sexual abuse by Kavanaugh, and quickly rush Kavanaugh onto the Court, Republicans could pay for this at the polls in 2018 and 2020.

Still, Republicans may do it anyway, pull the trigger and confirm Kavanaugh, all risks aside. Because that would grant a conservative, Republican Supreme Court, possibly for decades. And that concept, that possibility, makes Republicans drool in anticipation of a court that no Democratic administration could get a law though review for three dog lives.

Republicans want that outcome so much, they may weigh losing both houses of Congress as an acceptable price to pay for the Supreme Court.

The problem with that plan is that, while national Republicans may find it a good deal, those running for re-election this year may not be so willing to take the fall for longer term goals. And then there is that other pesky problem, ethics. It only takes two Republicans troubled by the sense that Ford has testified truthfully to sink his nomination.

And there are more than two Republican senators who have suggested to their peers that ignoring Ford may be too absurd to seriously consider in the face of her testimony, their own convictions, and the wrath of women voters that could last for years.

Not every Republican is troubled by Ford’s sincerity though. Donald Trump Jr., hardly a bleeding heart, attacks Ford, claiming she lies about her fear of flying. Apparently, Trump Jr. has some deep insight into Ford that grants him the ability to deny her claims of anxiety. Somewhere in his troubled mind, that makes Ford an unfit witness. You know the argument, if she lies about being airsick, and I know she does, then she lies about sexual assault.

And Sen. Lindsay Graham, R-South Carolina, once creditable, now comical, wants to know who drove Ford from the party, assuming that the, “smoking gun,” will somehow be her ride home. Yes, of course, why did not the whole room in the senate chamber see the genius, that falsifying her experience in the car, with the driver, after the assault, was her nefarious plan all along?

Republicans can only win here by denying Kavanaugh a seat on the court. But will they? Doubtful. That’s gonna hurt!


Jim Crawford is a retired educator, political enthusiast and award-winning columnist living here in the Tri-State.