Thursday, September 20, 2018

The Toxic Politics of the GOP’s Disingenuous Plan to Save Brett Kavanaugh

The dishonest and disingenuous GOP Senator Chuck Grassley
A new  Reuters/Ipsos poll indicates that 36 percent of adults surveyed did not want Kavanaugh in the Supreme Court, up 6 points from a similar poll conducted a month earlier.  Only 31 percent of U.S. adults polled said they were in favor of Kavanaugh’s appointment.  Hence, the desperation of Senate Republicans to quickly confirm Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court before more opposition and/or further damaging information comes out which could torpedoes his nomination completely.  The problem these ethically and morally challenged  Republicans face is that they need to be careful how they throw Kavanaugh's accuser of sexual misconduct under the bus.  They find themselves forced to disingenuously pretend they want to hear her testimony even though it is the last thing that they want to see happen.  Why the duplicity and disingenuous behavior?   They fear the wrath of women voters in the midterm elections if they openly throw Christine Blasey Ford under the bus and side with her molester.  Were the midterms not a mere 7 weeks away, these Republicans would simply ignore her and approve Kavanaugh.  A piece in Vanity Far looks at the GOP's near transparent attempt to dish Christine Blasey Ford even as they pretend that they are doing otherwise.  Here are excerpts: 
This is the ugliest situation imaginable,” a source close to Senate Republican leadership told Axios, referring to the disastrous derailment of Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination by Christine Blasey Ford, a university professor who says Kavanaugh attempted to rape her at a party in high school. Behind the scenes, the G.O.P. is beginning to sweat Kavanaugh’s confirmation, caught between the fraught politics of the #MeToo era and a Republican electorate that backed Donald Trump, in part because he promised to win them control of the highest court in the land. And so, leadership has been careful not to discount Ford, making every effort to appear amenable to her version of events. “We’ve offered Dr. Ford the opportunity to share her story with the committee, as her attorney said yesterday she was willing to do,” Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley said in a statement published Tuesday. On Wednesday, he raised the stakes, saying in a subsequent statement that he had not heard from Ford’s lawyers, and that Ford was required to submit a full biography and prepared testimony to the Committee by Friday morning, “if she intends to testify on Monday.”
At the same time, Republicans and the White House are seemingly doing everything in their power to undermine Ford, and create conditions that might persuade her that testifying isn’t worth the excruciating emotional toll. In a letter to the Judiciary Committee Tuesday night, Ford’s lawyers stated flatly that “a full investigation by law-enforcement officials will ensure that the crucial facts and witnesses in this matter are assessed in a nonpartisan manner, and that the committee is fully informed before conducting any hearing or making any decisions.”
“Asking her to come forward in four or five days and sit before the Judiciary Committee on national TV is not a fair process,” Lisa Banks, one of Ford’s lawyers, told the network. “If they care about doing the right thing here and treating this seriously as they have said, then they will . . . properly investigate this.” Though Grassley has offered a number of alternatives to a public hearing—most recently, reports emerged that he was open to sending representatives to Ford’s home state—he has repeatedly brushed off the notion of an F.B.I. investigation. “Nothing the F.B.I. or any other investigator does would have any bearing on what Dr. Ford tells the committee,” read his Tuesday statement, “so there is no reason for any further delay.”
The Senate has also opted not to call additional witnesses, including Mark Judge, the other man named in Ford’s allegation, who has detailed drunken high-school escapades in his writings, including the mention of a classmate named “Bart O’Kavanaugh.” (Judge has told the committee he has “no memory of this alleged incident.) 
For the G.O.P. senators on record asking to delay the initial vote on Kavanaugh in order to hear Ford’s side of the story, however, the committee’s generosity is more than sufficient. “Republicans extended a hand in good faith. If we don’t hear from both sides on Monday, let’s vote,” tweeted Bob Corker. Jeff Flake told CNN that if Ford failed to appear at Monday’s hearing, “I think we’ll have to move to the markup.” (“I hope she does. I think she needs to be heard,” he added feebly.) And Lindsey Graham, who did not call for a delay, released a statement on Wednesday accusing Democrats and Ford’s team of dragging their feet . . . .
Good faith, it seems, goes only so far. Already, as The New York Times reported Tuesday, Republicans have landed on an argument to discredit Ford: that she was indeed assaulted at a party Kavanaugh attended, but was “mistaken,” as Senator Orrin Hatch put it, as to her assailant’s identity. It’s an evolved version of an earlier strategy, wherein they offered Ford an invitation to testify that they were sure she would decline: “This gambit basically bets that she will decline, and Republicans can then say that they tried to investigate further,” sources told Axios.
Because she called their bluff, the G.O.P. has been forced into an untenable position. Lawmakers can’t ignore her without looking like heartless rape apologists, a perilous image in the middle of a midterm election that will be largely determined by women. Nor can they bow to her demands without running into serious political landmines, and potentially jeopardizing their best shot at securing a Supreme Court seat. Limiting their investigation to a simple case of “he said, she said” will, they hope, narrow the window of their inquiry.
But while Ford’s lawyers await Grassley’s official response to their request for an F.B.I. probe, Republicans’ maneuvering is increasingly transparent. “[If] ‘Grassley’s staff offered Dr. Ford multiple dates’ what were the other dates,” tweeted Josh Barro. “And if she hadn’t responded yet, how did they settle on Monday?”

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