It’s jiu-jitsu time on the Kavanaugh accusations

As desperate people intoxicated by early success are wont to do, the Democrat opponents of Judge Kavanaugh's appointment to the Supreme Court have overplayed their hand.  We've seen something very like this happen before.

Secure in the knowledge that the national media would devote 90-plus percent of their coverage to the charges and less than 10% of their time and space to Kavanaugh's denials, they held Blasey Ford's charge of assault until the last minute.  They knew that the accusation would not survive extended scrutiny as part of the FBI's background-checking, but all they had to do was stall confirmation and reignite that "war on women" slur of Republicans, resulting in a sweep of the House and Senate.

Brian Fallon, a campaign adviser to Hillary Clinton, organized a group called Demand Justice and let slip the game talking to the friendly New York Times:

Saving the Supreme Court from Trump's clutches has always involved a very complicated two-step: first, block Kavanaugh, then fight like hell to win back the Senate[.]

After that, any holes in the story wouldn't matter.  Professor Blasey Ford's false memory can be explained by the scientific literature on recovered memory.  She sincerely believes that Kavanaugh was her attacker because long ago memories can be altered by more modern experiences.  Richard McKenzie in the Wall Street Journal:

The more remote a memory is in time, the less reliable it tends to be, partly because of decay and partly because recalled memories can be corrupted by new information.  New and old memories can be conflated, sometimes emerging as totally false memories.  Memories can be warped by leading questions from therapists, lawyers, journalists or others.

My colleague Elizabeth Loftus was able to "implant" false memories in a significant subset of laboratory subjects by showing them an official-looking poster of Disney characters, including Mickey Mouse and Bugs Bunny.  Many subjects later remembered meeting Bugs Bunny on a childhood trip to Disneyland.  Some of them even reported that Bugs had touched them inappropriately.

Overnight, we learned that investigators for the Senate Judiciary Committee had discovered startling evidence that something very much like the Bugs Bunny contamination could well explain Dr. Blasey Ford's recovered memory.  It is very important to realize that she first "recovered" the identity of Kavanaugh in her memory in 2012 – when Mitt Romney was leading in the polls and mentioned Kavanaugh as a potential SCOTUS nominee.  That could have been a shock to Dr. Blasey, who remembered his name from high school and could have triggered an involuntary subconscious mental process, inserting him into her memories the same way Bugs Bunny was introduced into the memories of the experimental subjects reported above.

In a statement released Wednesday evening, Judiciary Committee Republicans revealed that on Monday, they conducted their "first interview with a man who believes he, not Judge Kavanaugh, had the encounter with Dr. Ford in 1982 that is the basis of his [sic] complaint."  They conducted a second interview the next day. 

On Wednesday, Republicans said in the statement, they received a "more in-depth written statement from the man interviewed twice previously who believes he, not Judge Kavanuagh, had the encounter in question with Dr. Ford."  GOP investigators also spoke on the phone with another man making a similar claim.

With the media relentlessly suggesting that the accusations by Blasey Ford were true, less stable and less ethical "witnesses" outed themselves with unlikely claims of assault by Kavanaugh in the distant past.  The widely publicized claim by porn lawyer Michael Avenatti's client Julie Swetnick, that Kavanaugh was a member of a rape gang that operated in sedate Chevy Chase, Maryland, defies common sense. Tucker Carlson demolished it last night.  Rush transcript via Grabien:

And by the way, what was Julie Swetnick doing at these parties? She graduated in 1980 which meant she would be in college when the party took place and yet she went parties to high school kids. At these parties she saw horrific rapes, and she never reported them to police. Most baffling of all, how did the FBI missed the fact that Kavanaugh was part of a huge ring? He's had six federal background checks and staff secretary, he had the highest possible security clearance, one that allowed him access to this country's nuclear codes. FBI agents would have spoken to huge variety of people who knew or knew of and Kavanaugh during his high school years and yet not one of them mentioned he was a serial who committed his in rooms of classmates. How did that happen? And if it did happen we know that FBI investigators are criminally incompetent. So incompetent they miss a glaring fact like that. So why would they want to reinvest Kavanaugh seventh time? Many people wonder about all this, but not the media. How dare they ask, they sold, questions are forbidden here.

There already has been another such Twilight Zone accusation offered and withdrawn:

On Tuesday, a constituent told the office of Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., that in 1985, two "heavily inebriated men" referred to as "Brett and Mark" had sexually assaulted a "close friend" on a boat.

The constituent, whose name was redacted in a document release by the Judiciary Committee but uncovered through tweets cited by the committee, recanted the claim Wednesday night on Twitter – but several media outlets continued to report the allegations for hours afterwards.

In Twitter posts, the person making the accusation had also evidently advocated removing President Trump from the White House by means of military coup.  On Wednesday, a post on the accuser's Twitter account read, "Do everyone who is going crazy about what I had said I have recanted because I have made a mistake and apologize for such mistake."


In a separate case, Kavanaugh was asked by GOP investigators this week specifically about a new claim in a letter received by Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., from an anonymous individual apparently in Denver, alleging that Kavanaugh "shoved" someone up against a wall "very aggressively and sexually" during an outing in front of four witnesses in 1998.  Gardner's office received the letter on Sept. 22.

"We're dealing with an anonymous letter about an anonymous person and an anonymous friend," Kavanaugh told committee investigators asking about the alleged episode.  "It's ridiculous.  Total Twilight Zone.  And no, I've never done anything like that."

We are ready for a game-changer, such as that delivered during the Army-McCarthy hearings in 1954.  Those hearings were broadcast live on two television networks, as the country was then as consumed with charges of communist infiltration as it is now with charges of sexual assault by powerful men.  Those charges raged for years, and then they peaked and were turned against the accusers – specifically Senator Joseph McCarthy, who became the face of the anti-communism movement.

Boston attorney Joseph Welch was hired as counsel for the Army to defend itself against charges leveled by McCarthy and shamed Senator Joseph McCarthy on live TV for his reckless charges:

The Army accused Chief Committee Counsel Roy Cohn of pressuring the Army to give preferential treatment to G. David Schine, a former McCarthy aide and friend of Cohn's.  McCarthy counter-charged that this accusation was made in bad faith and in retaliation for his recent aggressive investigations of suspected Communists and security risks in the Army.

It didn't matter that there was genuine infiltration of communists: McCarthy had overplayed his hand, as the media then (as now) had given his charges big play over the years and encouraged his recklessness.  An atmosphere of fear then (as now) caused people to remain silent about voicing their doubts, lest they be accused of being soft on communism (or soft an sexual assault these days).  The lack of push-back also goaded McCarthy, just as senators like Mazie Hirono and Kirsten Gillibrand publicly proclaimed foolish positions that they will regret for the rest of their careers.

Less than a year after Joseph Welch pulled his political jiu-jitsu on accuser McCarthy, the Wisconsin senator was censured by the Senate and rapidly declined into alcoholism.  Anti-communism was discredited, despite the truth of its underlying case.  Recklessness, headiness, and hubris had undone it.

There are genuine victims of the Democrats' smear campaign here, and the GOP and its allies already are pointing them out.  Yesterday, in his New York press conference, President Trump called out Chuck Schumer and other senior Democrats for running a "con game" with phony charges they know to be false.  This is only the beginning of the jiu-jitsu the Dems have to look forward to.

Judge Kavanaugh, his wife, and his two young daughters have been traumatized.  Even more harmful to the Democrats is the realization to come that these false accusations harm genuine victims of sexual assault, who will not be believed because of the false accusations that have been widely publicized.

The Democrats' answer to Joseph Welch's immortal question, "Have you no decency, sir?," is all too obvious to anyone not incapacitated by Trump Derangement Syndrome.

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