Hoo boy. You know the optics are fraught when a bunch of senators are looking for a way not to grandstand on TV.

Uh, double-checking here, I’m reminded that Ted Cruz is on the Judiciary Committee. Does anyone believe Ted Cruz is going to yield his microphone to some no-name lawyer knowing that a massive audience of people is watching? With an election in Texas coming up and an opportunity for him to become a hero anew to right-wing populists by raking Kavanaugh’s accuser over the coals? C’mon. Ted being Ted, it’s a cinch that he thinks he can cross-examine the witness more effectively than a lawyer who’s specialized in this field for 30 years or whatever.

By the way, anyone know if Vegas is taking odds on whether the Senate GOP’s lawyer will be a woman? I have some life savings that I’m looking to gamble.

Earlier on Thursday, committee Republicans had decided to hire an outside counsel to lead their questioning of Dr. Blasey, rather than the committee members themselves, according to a Republican Senate official familiar with the decision. Although they have yet to hire someone to fill the role, the Republicans have been eager to avoid the image of 11 male senators questioning Dr. Blasey about her account.

Instead, they are seeing to enlist the help of an experienced litigator familiar with assault cases.

Two words: Judge Jeanine. Seriously, though, I can’t imagine which woman lawyer would volunteer for the task of trying to discredit someone whom the entire feminist movement has pronounced unimpeachably truthful and who may well represent the last obstacle to overturning Roe v. Wade. Death threats from the liberal hoi polloi and shunning by her professional class are a given. No matter how the questioning itself goes, she’ll be attacked as a “gender traitor” or whatever for agreeing to speak on behalf of the evil cabal of Republican men. And she’s all but guaranteed to be accused of either being too aggressive with Ford by the left or too soft on Ford by the right — or both, of course.

I think there’s peril for Grassley and his GOP colleagues in that too potentially. They’re handing the ball off to outside counsel hoping that it’ll defuse the complaints that a bunch of white Republican men can’t fairly question an alleged sexual-assault victim. (“It’s like a second rape.”) But they’ll get slapped with the charge of insensitivity anyway if their lawyer takes an attack-dog approach. And if she doesn’t, and Kavanaugh ends up being borked, righty populists will howl that the Republicans on the Committee wimped out when they had their chance to discredit Ford. Instead of doing it themselves and protecting the nominee, they ran away like cucks for fear of what CNN might say and left it to some woman to do it for them. We’ll probably even be treated to conspiracy theories that the Republican lawyer was secretly sympathetic to Ford and tanked the interrogation purposely, to enhance Ford’s credibility. “We need to replace these bums with people willing to fight!” It’s all very predictable.

Unless Kavanaugh ends up being confirmed, of course. In that case, it’s a shrewd play and all’s well that ends well.

Here’s Megyn Kelly earlier today wondering why Dianne Feinstein kept her mouth shut for two months instead of raising this matter so much as once with Kavanaugh, even behind closed doors, and further wondering why Ford and her lawyer think she should “negotiate” terms for her testimony. Grassley’s offered her the chance to testify in virtually any format, public or private, that makes her comfortable. What else is left to negotiate?