If imploring her doesn’t get her to commit, he may have to play hardball by beseeching her.
When Dr. Ford came forward, I said that her voice should be heard and asked the Judiciary Committee to delay its vote on Judge Kavanaugh. It did so. I now implore Dr. Ford to accept the invitation for Monday, in a public or private setting. The committee should hear her voice.
— Jeff Flake (@JeffFlake) September 19, 2018
Flake’s hoping to deliver one last middle finger to the White House before riding off into retirement by borking Trump’s nominee, but if Ford won’t even go on the record he’ll have no choice but to confirm. Bob Corker, another Republican Trump enemy, was candid about that, in fact. If Ford won’t show up on Monday, he says, then it’s time to vote.
After learning of the allegation, Chairman @ChuckGrassley took immediate action to ensure both Dr. Ford and Judge Kavanaugh have the opportunity to be heard, in public or private. Republicans extended a hand in good faith. If we don’t hear from both sides on Monday, let’s vote.
— Senator Bob Corker (@SenBobCorker) September 19, 2018
Grahamnesty also finds the sudden demand for an FBI investigation suspicious. Between Ford choosing to accuse Kavanaugh publicly at the eleventh hour and the fact that her interest in an FBI probe also happens to be precisely what Senate Democrats have been insisting on, the whole thing stinks of a coordinated delay tactic:
It is imperative the Judiciary committee move forward on the Kavanaugh nomination and a committee vote be taken ASAP.
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) September 19, 2018
Of note, though: The letter that Ford’s lawyer sent last night calling for an FBI inquiry didn’t flatly say that Ford won’t appear Monday unless one is opened. She may have every intention of testifying and is simply looking for an easy way ahead of time to try to delegitimize the proceedings, expecting that Kavanaugh will be confirmed after the hearing anyway. “We never had an FBI investigation” is a way to slap an asterisk on his coming tenure on the Court. As a Twitter pal put it, he’ll be known forever to his enemies now as the rapist whom the FBI wasn’t interested in.
Which is a big problem for pro-lifers, notes Ross Douthat:
Even if it wins its long-desired victory at the high court and more anti-abortion legislation becomes possible, a pro-life cause joined to a party that can’t win female votes and seems to have no time for women will never be able to achieve those legislative goals, or at least never outside a very few, very conservative states. And having that long-awaited victory accomplished by a male judicial appointee confirmed under a cloud of #MeToo suspicion seems like a good way to cement a perception that’s fatal to the pro-life movement’s larger purposes — the perception that you can’t be pro-woman and pro-life.
This points to a conclusion that’s certainly unfair to Kavanaugh if he’s innocent, but nobody ever said that politics would be fair. If his accuser testifies publicly and credibly, if her allegation isn’t undermined by a week of scrutiny and testimony, if it remains unprovable but squarely in the realm of plausibility, then all the abortion opponents who were supporting him should hope that his nomination is withdrawn — with, ideally, a woman nominated in his place.
That’s the long game for Democrats. Borking Kavanaugh is the short game, a potential moral victory for them before the midterms. But winning the short game might mean losing the long game if Republicans hold the Senate and confirm a pro-lifer in his stead who votes to overturn Roe with no similar asterisk. Which is why smart lefties might quietly hope that Kavanaugh *is* confirmed, soon to be trailed forever by a cloud of suspicion. If they’re serious about their dopey Court-packing plan to avenge Merrick Garland when they finally reclaim total control of government, this episode will become part of their brief. “We need to add two Democratic justices, not just because of Garland but because there’s a rapist sitting on the Supreme Court!”
For maximum potency of that message, though, Ford has to testify. If GOPers confirm him despite public testimony from his accuser, that’s far more useful to the Democratic cause than if Ford passes on the hearing. Via Mediaite, if even Mika Brzezinski thinks it’s fair to confirm a Trump nominee if his accuser won’t come before Congress, lord knows what less biased Americans will think of Ford and the Democrats.