Last week I catalogued the reasons for crediting Christine Blasey Ford’s assertion that, as a teenager, she was sexually assaulted by a 17-year-old Brett Kavanaugh.
My logic was straightforward. Dr. Blasey, as the California professor is known professionally, first told her story during marriage counseling in 2012 ― a revelation captured in her therapist’s notes. Her account is most vivid when most traumatic: a drunken Kavanaugh covering her mouth to suppress screams, causing her to fear suffocation. She placed another witness in the room, Mark Judge, making her an extremely incautious ― therefore, I proposed, improbable ― liar.
I further noted the ample evidence that Kavanaugh and Judge were active participants in a culture of teenage binge drinking ― about which Judge subsequently wrote a book describing himself as a blackout drunk. The gaps in Blasey’s memory, I noted, are consistent with trauma and the passage of time; her failure to report this as a teen squares with feelings cited by countless victims of sexual assault ― trauma, self-blame, and the fear of shaming and ostracism.
Unlike Kavanaugh, I reasoned, there is no compelling motive for Blasey to lie about this now. By coming forward, Blasey is poisoning the rest of her life ― Anita Hill personifies the opprobrium she must endure. And Blasey’s request that the FBI investigate her charges, I concluded, further buttresses her credibility.
Foolishly, I suggested all this means that she deserves a fair and respectful hearing. But nothing impeded Kavanaugh’s dauntless internet defenders from exposing her insidious plotting. A sample: Blasey, lucky woman, “stands to make millions from TV interviews and book deals.” As for me, “you liberals are very very special with your never ever ending lies.”
Blasey, another insisted, is “a Democratic activist.” Still another intimated that she had “major connections to a pharmaceutical company.” One sage grasped that “liberals already have the FBI in their back pocket,” rendering an investigation pointless.
If Blasey was assaulted, a particularly astute informant advised me, “Kavanaugh wasn’t her attacker” ― omitting, to my distress, the source of this dispositive insight. After all, a compatriot insisted, “politics is her reason to lie.”
Why hadn’t I thought of that?
Chastened, I scoured the Internet for further revelations, only to be thwarted. Dr. Ford received harsh negative reviews from students ― sadly, the wrong Dr. Ford. She made sexual assault allegations against Trump’s previous Supreme Court pick, Neil Gorsuch ― which, strangely, went unreported until now, no doubt concealed by her agents in the liberal media.
Her brother worked at a law firm connected to the Russian investigation ― cleverly covering his tracks by leaving 12 years before the probe commenced. Finally, paydirt: Blasey is a major Democratic donor ― with contributions totaling less than $100 between 2013 and 2017, she trails her competitor in funding the party, George Soros, by mere multiples of millions. No wonder she needs a book deal.
To my astonishment, I stumbled on what an oversensitive soul might misinterpret as misogyny. Some peerless wits circulated a caricature of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg with the caption, “Abe Lincoln pinched me,” doubtless provoking hearty chuckles from Harvey Weinstein and Les Moonves.
The ever–amusing Alex Jones (on trial for exposing the hoax perpetrated by the phony parents of the fictitious kids never murdered in Newtown, Connecticut) took time to describe a picture of a young girl with her face obscured as that “hussy” and “captain of the sluts” Christine Blasey – who, he somehow divined, passed out at parties to secure “plausible deniability.”
In search of higher moral ground, I turned to Republican evangelicals. But Ralph Reed was simply concerned that a failure to confirm Kavanaugh would depress evangelical turnout. Franklin Graham confused me by revealing facts apparently unknown to Kavanaugh ― even if the encounter happened, “she said no and he respected it and walked away.” Anyhow, Graham assured the faithful, whatever Kavanaugh did was irrelevant.
Fortunately, the newly preeminent moral leader of Republican evangelicals, Donald Trump, was there to fill the void. “I have no doubt,” he tweeted, “if the attack on Dr. Ford was as bad as she says, charges would have been immediately filed with local Law Enforcement Authorities by either her or her loving parents.” Helpfully, he added: “Facts don’t matter.”
Still, I thought, a coherent theory might be nice. So I was pleased to locate a source for my earlier informant’s revelation that Blasey had confused Kavanaugh with another teenage male ― Twitter postings by Ed Whelan, a Kavanaugh friend and supporter with close ties to the right-wing judicial pipeline, the Federalist Society, which sponsored the embattled nominee. And I was even more relieved when Whelan posted photographs of the real assailant, one of Kavanaugh’s high school classmates.
Clarity at last. After all, don’t all teenage sexual assailants look alike? No wonder Blasey was confused! Imagine my distress, then, when Whelan was forced to apologize for making a false charge against a blameless guy as part of a disinformation campaign orchestrated by a public relations firm which represents, of all things, the Federalist Society.
So the last thing I needed was more reportage from Jane Mayer and Ronan Farrow (the latter being the Pulitzer Prize-winning scourge of Weinstein and Moonves). But there they were, writing in The New Yorker that a female college classmate of Kavanaugh’s asserts that, amid a drunken gathering, he thrust his penis at her, forcing her to touch it. More charges and counter-charges began swirling.
So I guess I’m on my own. As a public service, I hereby render my best assessment of what Kavanaugh’s defenders are really saying:
Christine Blasey Ford is no mere academic ― she’s a keen observer of the judicial totem pole, bent on destroying innocent Republican aspirants to the Supreme Court. In 2012 she realized that she once knew one guy among many who might actually get nominated to the bench, assuming a Republican got elected president in 2016.
That same year, with diabolical foresight, she commenced marriage counseling in order to plant an accusation against Kavanaugh during a therapy session, making it vivid enough that her therapist would write it down. Patiently, Blasey waited six more years for the dominoes to fall ― first, the election of Trump; second, after the detour of Gorsuch’s ascension to the high court, the nomination of Kavanaugh. The rest is history.
Feel better now? I certainly do.
Richard North Patterson is the New York Times best-selling author of 22 novels, a former chairman of Common Cause, and a member of the Council On Foreign Relations.