Scarborough wondered this morning what the GOP is afraid of in resisting Democrats’ calls for the feds to get involved. Do they really believe he’s innocent? He’s loading the dice by approaching the subject that way but it’s worth looking at this idea again after the New Yorker’s lousy hit piece. What reasons are/were there to oppose the FBI taking three or four days to interview the key players in the Ford and Deborah Ramirez sagas? I can think of three.
1. The GOP can’t afford an additional delay, even of a few days. If the nomination implodes, McConnell needs every available moment between now and Election Day to try to ram a replacement through. Waiting on the FBI would cost precious time.
Realistically, though, the odds of getting a new nominee confirmed before the midterms are nearing zero if they’re not there already. We’re a week into this clusterfark, with another flimsy accusation having been leveled last night. We’ve got at least three more days until Thursday’s hearing and who knows if that’ll be delayed further depending upon what Ramirez and Michael Avenatti have to say this week. It’s sink or swim with Kavanaugh before the midterms. In which case the party actually can afford a short delay.
2. Why go to the trouble? Ford’s and Ramirez’s stories are so thin that it’s a cinch the FBI won’t find any evidence of wrongdoing by Kavanaugh. All of the relevant witnesses, starting with Mark Judge, have already issued formal denials that any wrongdoing occurred.
Right, but there’d be value in putting the FBI through its paces to confirm that. Democrats have spent the last week putting their chips on the Bureau’s credibility, insisting that nothing short of a follow-up FBI background check can legitimize this process. If the GOP called their bluff by supporting an FBI probe and the Bureau ultimately came back with nothing by way of corroboration for Ford and Ramirez, Kavanaugh’s credibility would get a massive boost among the public. Not among the entire public; lefty partisans will always find a way towards a conclusion in which the right-winger is an evil villain. But because the Dems themselves have invested so much over the last few days in the FBI’s authority, a short probe that produced no evidence of misconduct would function as an imprimatur of innocence. Which would be a very good thing for Justice Kavanaugh’s personal and professional reputation.
3. No concessions to the left of any kind. They’ve executed a late hit on Kavanaugh, not once but twice now with Ford and then Ramirez. Feinstein had Ford’s letter for two months and said not a word, not even in closed session during his confirmation hearing. To give them anything they want at this point, even a delay of a few days for some FBI interviews that’ll almost certainly do more to help Kavanaugh than hurt him, is to create an incentive for them to behave this way again with the next vacancy. “If Republicans surrender on the basis of what we know now,” NRO warned in its editorial this morning, “they will face the fury of their own voters — and rightly so.”
Which is the “surrender option” at this point when it comes to an FBI investigation, though? If you’re confident that he did nothing wrong and he’s confirmed without the opportunity for vindication by the Democrats’ own preferred law-enforcement authority, the left will hang an asterisk on every opinion he writes for the next 30 years. If you call their bluff and the FBI finds nothing, though, the Dems look like smear merchants. Remember, it’s *very unlikely* that Kavanaugh can dig his way out of the suspicion that’s been piled on him through his own efforts at Thursday’s hearing. Ford’s allegations are so thin on specifics that there’s next to nothing by way of hard evidence he can provide to clear himself. He’ll spend hours being grilled about teenaged partying, whether he ever waved his schwanz in a Yale classmate’s face, etc, while Ford will be questioned very respectfully about her story. All she has to do is prove that she believes that it happened, not that it actually happened, and he’ll end up damaged. It may be that an FBI investigation, as silly as it seems under the circumstances, is the one thing that can lend some independent nonpartisan authority to his claims of innocence.
Actually there’s another reason to oppose an FBI probe:
4. Any further delay at this point, however sound the justifications, simply gives Democrats more time to produce another smear. Wait a week to let the FBI interview people in the Ford and Ramirez matters and there’ll be a new claim next weekend. Wait another week after that to give them time to pursue *that* claim and then you’re giving lefties seven more days to produce some new charge against him.
Would confirming him end that process, though? Imagine they hold the vote and ram him through. Then Ford calls the Montgomery County police:
— Brian J. Karem (@BrianKarem) September 22, 2018
The new justice would be under criminal investigation. Or maybe Ford won’t call the police but some new accuser will claim that the Court’s newest member did something to her years ago. Remember, the long game here for Democrats isn’t blocking Kavanaugh from the Court at all costs; the long game is damaging him to the point that his rulings on the Court can be delegitimized, including and especially any ruling to overturn Roe. They have no incentive to stop producing accusers once he’s seated. Maybe the opposite, in fact: A parade of allegations afterward replete with a promise to impeach him from the bench next year if Democrats retake the Senate is good turnout fuel for liberals. The one thing that might deflate the attacks is the FBI turning around and saying, “We talked to people and couldn’t find anything.”
Anyway, here’s Scarborough. Exit quotation: “I would like to meet the people who say that succumbing this time will invite more, shadier attacks in the future don’t *already* think the shadiest of attacks will be used no matter what.”