I don’t get it. Why would the senator who caught hell from pro-Franken segments of the party for leading the charge to oust him choose to ease off the accelerator with Justin Fairfax?
Is this a new standard? It feels like a new standard.
I said this last night to @jonlovett, and here’s why: Institutions—colleges, the military, the NFL—don’t believe survivors, and shame or retaliate against survivors, to protect their own. We have to support survivors and take allegations seriously or there will never be justice.
— Kirsten Gillibrand (@SenGillibrand) February 7, 2019
I did not realize that that’s what “Believe All Women” means — not that we should presume that accusers are telling the truth but merely that every accuser is entitled to an investigation, a far less controversial proposition. Let me explain why I was confused. See, last fall, two days after WaPo first published Christine Blasey Ford’s allegations about Kavanaugh, Gillibrand was on MSNBC repeatedly assuring viewers “I believe her.” Twenty-four hours after the WaPo story was published, she was telling a paper in upstate New York this:
“I think this should affect every senator’s view on Judge Kavanaugh,” she said. “I’m hopeful the Senate will at least have some measure of review, maybe a hearing, some measure of analysis of this accusation, and have some measure of clarity on whether this is disqualifying. I believe it is disqualifying, given what we know.”
She’s been consistent in both cases in demanding an investigation into the accuser’s claims (although no amount of investigating would have convinced her that Kavanaugh was innocent, needless to say) but in only one case did she proceed immediately to form a judgment about the accused’s guilt. How come? Why aren’t we already in “he’s disqualified” territory with Justin Fairfax, given the apparent credibility of Vanessa Tyson’s story? Why does Gillibrand merely “support” Tyson when she emphatically “believed” Ford?
Seems like something’s changed.
I’m guessing the double standard is 80 percent due to pure idiot partisanship and 20 percent due to Gillibrand doing what little she can to extricate herself from these agonizing no-win #MeToo dilemmas for Democrats. Side with the accuser and you risk alienating political supporters of the accused; side with the accused and you’ve “betrayed women,” an especially risky perception for a candidate who’s running for president overtly on girl power. Gillibrand needs an exit strategy from blue-on-blue sexual misconduct scenarios after Franken. This may be what she’s settled on, not so much “believe all women” as “take all women seriously and investigate their claims while reserving final judgment,” which is as mainstream as views on this subject get.