October 3, 2018
Special Guest Perspective by Dan O’Donnell
Democrats believe Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. They believe Deborah Ramirez. They believe Julie Swetnick. Why? Because, they say, they believe women. Cloying as that may be as a bit of political posturing, it is utterly indefensible as a practical matter in determining the truth of the allegations asserted.
Think of it this way: Would “I believe men” ever be considered a valid defense of Brett Kavanaugh? Of course not. Belief, in a functional sense, is predicated on both credibility and corroboration. More accurately, corroboration helps to create credibility. It’s not simply conferred by membership in a favored demographic group.
“I believe women,” then, is about as effective a measure of ascertaining truth as “I believe white people.” The latter sentiment, tragically, was used to justify lynching in this country while the former is being used to yet again justify a high-tech metaphorical lynching; an even higher-tech and nastier one than even Clarence Thomas could have ever imagined.
Kavanaugh’s character and reputation have been destroyed and his life irreparably damaged by claims that don’t stand up to even the most basic level of scrutiny. Simply put, there is no case against Brett Kavanaugh, only unsupported claims that his political opponents want you to believe, not critically examine.
Forget a critical examination—even a cursory one is enough to cast such serious doubt on Kavanaugh’s three accusers’ claims that it is all but impossible for any serious person to use them as grounds to keep Kavanaugh off the Supreme Court.
Dr. Ford, for instance, has changed her account of when exactly Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her five different times. In her initial text to the Washington Post’s tip line, it was in the “mid ‘80s.” 24 days later, in her letter to Sen. Dianne Feinstein, it was in the “early ‘80s.” A week after that, in a statement accompanying her polygraph test, it was during a “high school summer in [the] early ‘80s” but, strangely, crossed out the word “early.” In 2013, during an individual therapy session, it was in her “late teens.” During her testimony last week, it was when she was 15.
Dr. Ford has likewise changed her account of who exactly was present when she was sexually assaulted four different times. As sex crimes prosecutor Rachel Mitchell, who questioned Dr. Ford on behalf of Senate Republicans during last week’s hearing, noted in a memo to the Republican Senate Caucus on Monday, notes from Dr. Ford’s group therapy session in 2012 indicated that there were four boys in the bedroom with her. She said in her letter to Sen. Feinstein that she and four boys were at the party, but only two were in the bedroom with her. In her testimony last week, she said that there were four boys and two girls at the party.
Critically, the other girl—Dr. Ford’s lifelong friend Leland Ingham Keyser—told the Senate Judiciary Committee under penalty of perjury that she “does not know Mr. Kavanaugh and she has no recollection of ever being at a party or gathering where he was present, with, or without, Dr. Ford.” Keyser is therefore unable to corroborate Ford’s story because “the simple and unchangeable truth is that” she “has no recollection of the incident in question.”
Neither does Patrick “P.J.” Smyth, whom Dr. Ford initially said was a “bystander” during her alleged assault, but testified that this characterization was “inaccurate.” Smyth, like Dr. Ford’s alleged assailants Kavanaugh and Mark Judge, said under penalty of perjury that he was never present at any party like the one Dr. Ford described.
Perhaps most critically, Dr. Ford hasn’t presented a consistent account of the alleged assault itself. In its immediate aftermath, she claimed in her letter to Sen. Feinstein that she could hear Kavanaugh and Ford talking to others while she was hiding in bathroom. In her testimony, however, she admitted that she couldn’t hear them talking because the music was too loud.
Those critical inconsistencies, which make it impossible to determine with any degree of certainty when the alleged incident took place and who was present for it, would be fatal enough to Dr. Ford’s claims on their own. They stand, though, in tandem with all of the things she simply can’t remember about the alleged incident, namely how she got to the party, who invited her, how she learned of it, at whose house it occurred, where that house was located, and how she got home.
Dr. Ford, then, is unclear on the “where” and has changed her story on the “when,” and “who” several times. In the most charitable possible reading of these issues with that story, Dr. Ford is simply mistaken about or unable to remember what she now claims with absolute certainty.
No such charitable reading, however, can possibly be attached to the material changes in her fellow accuser Julie Swetnick’s story. In a sworn statement, she said unequivocally last week that Kavanaugh and Judge routinely plied girls with punch they had spiked and then gang raped them.
“During the years 1981-82, I became aware of efforts by Mark Judge, Brett Kavanaugh and others to ‘spike’ the ‘punch’ at house parties I attended with drugs and/or grain alcohol so as to cause girls to lose their inhibitions and their ability to say ‘no,’” she said.
In an interview with NBC News on Monday, however, she admitted that she actually never saw any such thing.
“Well, I saw [Kavanaugh] giving red Solo cups to quite a few girls during that time frame and there was green punch at those parties,” she said. “And I would not take one of those glasses from Brett Kavanaugh. I saw him around the punch, I won’t say bowls, or the punch containers.
“I don’t know what he did, but I saw him by them.”
This, of course, is quite a far cry from “becoming aware of efforts” by Judge and Kavanaugh to “cause girls to lose their inhibitions and their ability to say ‘no.’” In direct contrast to this sworn statement, Swetnick admitted that she was aware of no such thing and merely saw Kavanaugh near a punch bowl handing out red Solo cups.
“I also witnessed efforts by Mark Judge, Brett Kavanaugh, and others to cause girls to become inebriated and disoriented so they could be then ‘gang raped’ in a side bedroom by a ‘train’ of numerous boys,” she said in her statement. “I have a firm recollection of seeing boys lined up outside rooms at many of these parties waiting their ‘turn’ with a girl inside the room.
“These boys included Mark Judge and Brett Kavanaugh.”
In her interview less than a week later, though, she admitted that she never actually saw boys “lined up.”
“Well, until what happened to me happened to me, I didn’t put two and two together,” she explained. “But I would see boys standing outside of rooms, congregated together. Sort of like a gauntlet. And I didn’t know what was occurring. But I would see them laughing, a lot of laughing.”
In other words, the boys weren’t “lined up” at all; they were simply talking to one another while congregating together in small groups, as people tend to do a party. She was thus making quite the logical leap in assuming that they were lined up waiting their turn in a gang rape.
Like Dr. Ford’s story, Swetnick’s account of when these alleged gang rape parties took place has changed materially.
“I attended well over ten house parties in the Washington, D.C. area during the years 1981 — 1983 where Mark Judge and Brett Kavanaugh were present,” she said in her statement.
In her interview on Monday, she said definitively that she stopped attending those parties when she herself was assaulted…in 1982.
And even though she said in that interview that “everyone in Montgomery County” knew about those parties, no one has come forward to corroborate any of her claims. In fact, though she provided NBC News with a list of four people who could corroborate her story, reporter Kate Snow could not reach two of them, one was dead, and the fourth said he or she had never heard of anyone named Julie Swetnick.
The third Kavanaugh accuser, Deborah Ramirez, is similarly unable to corroborate any of her claims that Kavanaugh exposed himself to her and put his penis on her in a dorm room at Yale during their freshman year.
She admitted to The New Yorker that her eyes were closed during the alleged incident and never actually saw what she claims she saw, only that she’s confident about seeing “the pants coming up [afterwards], and I’m confident about Brett being there.”
Though The New Yorker “contacted several dozen classmates of Ramirez and Kavanaugh regarding the incident,” it was unable to confirm “with other eyewitnesses that Kavanaugh was present at the party.”
Even Ramirez’s best friend at the time—who is now married to a man Ramirez said was at the party (and who denies it)—said that she never heard of anything like the incident Ramirez now describes ever actually happening.
“This is a woman I was best friends with,” she said. “We shared intimate details of our lives. And I was never told this story by her, or by anyone else. It never came up. I didn’t see it; I never heard of it happening.”
Only one unnamed person contacted by The New Yorker said he could remember hearing about something like this secondhand, and this was after Ramirez admitted to calling old Yale classmates in an effort to find someone, anyone who would back her up.
Like Dr. Ford and Swetnick, Ramirez has no actual firsthand corroboration and readily admitted “that there are significant gaps in her memories of the evening,” but she, like Dr. Ford and Swetnick, simply must be believed.
Why, exactly? The only supposed witnesses she named—like the only supposed witnesses Dr. Ford named—corroborate Kavanaugh’s version of events. Must Kavanaugh be believed?
Of course not, but only his—not his accusers’—story has any corroboration whatsoever. This in the mind of a reasonable person would tend to establish a greater level of credibility, but the political opposition to Kavanaugh is anything but reasonable.
They believe his accusers because they believe them and, more to the point, want to believe them. Corroboration for and credibility of the accusations aren’t important so long as accusations are made against a political enemy.
Once they are, Democrats will believe them no matter how unbelievable they are proven to be.