Tuesday, September 18, 2018


It's possible that Republicans sincerely believe #MeToo has changed the political calculations, and therefore they won't try to destroy Christine Blasey Ford's reputation. We know they're restraining the president -- Politico says that Don McGahn and Mitch McConnell persuaded Trump not to lash out, while The Washington Post says it was unnamed "White House aides." So treating Ford with some respect appears to be part of the strategy. It's possible that they're waiting for some opposition research to do her in, which won't have their fingerprints on it. But for now they're behaving, including Trump.

The Post says that the overgrown toddler in the White House was mollified by a diversionary tactic.
Trump’s advisers calmed him by giving him space to vent privately about Senate Democrats, whom Republicans accuse of improperly withholding the sexual assault allegation until now....
On the Senate floor last night, McConnell also directed his anger at Democrats, saying this:
It is an accusation which the ranking member of the committee of jurisdiction [Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA)] has known about for at least six weeks, yet chose to keep secret until the 11th hour. Neither she nor any of her Democratic colleagues chose to raise this allegation during the committee staff’s bipartisan background calls with the nominee. They did not raise it even with the name redacted in the 65 meetings Judge Kavanaugh held with senators before his confirmation hearing, including his private meeting with the ranking member.

They did not raise it even with the name redacted in four days of exhaustive public hearings while Judge Kavanaugh testified under oath. Even though they chose to raise myriad other matters at the hearing, including sometimes bizarre innuendo.

They did not raise it in the closed session, the proper forum where such an allegation could have been addressed with discretion and sensitivity. They did not raise it in the 1,000-plus follow-up questions that senators sent to Judge Kavanaugh in writing. But now — now, at the eleventh hour, with committee votes on schedule, after Democrats have spent weeks and weeks searching for any possible reason that the nomination should be delayed, now they choose to introduce this allegation.
Out in the fever swamps, there's a darker version of this message: Democrats are professional character assassins who do this all the time, cynically and with ruthless efficiency. Don't focus on the incident in question -- focus on the sinister, evil Democrats who put it before us. This a classic Democratic hit job.

That's why the Investor's Business Daily op-ed page says:
... getting to the truth isn't the goal of this week's Democrat-orchestrated circus....

This is about sending a warning.

Democrats are warning conservatives, and those who would appoint them, that they will do anything to derail their nominations. That includes flagrant attempts at character assassination — even if that requires throwing out unverifiable allegations from the distant past at the 11th hour.

At this point, the only real question that needs an answer is whether Republicans will reward Democrats for their craven attempts to scare highly qualified conservatives away from public service.
That's what Rush Limbaugh says:
How are decent people ever prepared to deal with these kinds of never-ending allegations, destruction, perversion? I mean we’re dealing with a genuine sickness here with people on the left, and it’s not right. Something about them is just not right.... This never ends, and it’s getting worse and worse and worse. Decent people are blindsided by this stuff every time it happens, and there’s a reason for that. Decent people do not wallow in this kind of mire.

Decent people are not calculating and plotting how to destroy people, how to ruin them. Decent people don’t do that. Decent people might get into arguments with people, try to find out how to win the argument or defeat a political opponent or whatever, but destroying people is not what decent people do. And, as such, decent people — it seems like — are always surprised....

He hasn’t done anything to anybody. He’s a decent person. It’s obvious he’s a decent person. He may define what a decent person is. He may be the epitome of decency. Same thing for his family. Yet here comes the left targeting — once again — another decent human being who happens to be Republican and conservative for utter destruction. Ruin his career, ruin his reputation, ruin his life and all of those who speak up and try to defend him. How do decent people deal with this?
And Noemie Emery:
The time had come to break glass and break out the ultimate weapon, the one that had (almost) worked last time — the unproveable claim of abuse that had never been mentioned to anyone at the time it was said to have happened....

If it works, you get to change history; if it doesn’t work, you live out your life as a martyr and heroine, revered as a goddess by silly young women, guaranteed a lifetime market for your appearances, speeches, and books.

And in case you think there was anything spontaneous about the time the accuser decided that she could in good conscience stay silent no longer, rest assured that it all had been planned for maximum impact, to coincide with demonstrations already planned to take place....

Do the Democrats keep a steady supply of female accusers, adjusted as to age, geography, and possible chance of having met the subject, ready and set to be called on as needed, depending on which nominee, from which part of the country, the Republicans happen to choose?

If they fail with Kavanaugh, will they try it again with the next male contender? if they succeed, surely they will try it over and over, until not a single male judge might be left.
This may be what McConnell is counting on -- the fever swampers will believe everything right-wing media tells them, so they'll think this is just a sleazy off-the-shelf plot from the same people who destroyed Roy Moore and tried to destroy Donald Trump with his own words on the Access Hollywood tape. Add in the people who aren't quite as fevered in their Republicanism but who know they don't like Democrats very much and you're approaching 40%. Sprinkle on a few earnest types who think a guy should get a break for what he did at seventeen (if he's white and has been portrayed as an ideal suburban dad) and who, now that you mention it, think women have a tendency to lie or misremember or whatever, and now you're near 44%, 45%, maybe more.

Republicans never care if their ideas have majority support -- look at the polling on guns and abortion and tax cuts for the rich. They just want a highly motivated near-majority, though if they get a real majority (Clarence Thomas had great poll numbers after Anita Hill testified), obviously they'll take that.

So I'm guessing that's the plan: make Democrats the Antichrist rather than the accuser, because it's always easy to demonize Democrats in the eyes of heartland white voters, and besides, that's what congressional Republicans need as a base motivator with midterms coming up.

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