That’s a head-scratcher, CNN. Enough so, apparently, that anchor Brooke Baldwin let this point pass in silence, without even a half-hearted challenge.
Any theories? How could one simultaneously support prison for a guy who was convicted in open court beyond a reasonable doubt while remaining skeptical of wrongdoing by a guy who’s facing evidence so thin that you couldn’t get a warrant based on it?
Yodit Tewolde’s point here is “Believe All Victims” taken to its logical extreme. Legal proceedings are, or should be, formalities in sex-crime cases. If an accusation is made, the defendant is presumptively guilty. How can we put one presumptively guilty man, Bill Cosby, behind bars while putting another, Brett Kavanaugh, on the Supreme Court?
The irony is, I think Tewolde’s being more evenhanded in her own way than most Kavanaugh critics. I don’t sense any partisan loading of the dice here from her; this feels like a straightforward “if you’re accused, you pay the price” pitch. Lots of Democrats differ on that, though, as the example of Keith Ellison illustrates. If you’re accused and you’re a man of good progressive virtue, many liberals will grant you the benefit of the doubt. If you’re a man of low conservative character, well…
David French noticed too:
Why would we believe he assaulted a teenage girl? Well, his stance on reproductive freedom demonstrates his lack of respect for the liberty and autonomy of women. Oh, and besides, he belonged to that awful party culture. Or maybe he’s one of those sexually deprived incels.
In fact, the presumption of evil is part of the reason why many of Kavanaugh’s accusers are impatient with the very idea that the accusers bear any kind of burden of proof. If he’s bad anyway, then the mere “chance” that he committed an act of sexual assault or indecent exposure should be the nail in the coffin of his confirmation.
The accused shouldn’t bear the burden of proof unless he’s the sort of person who offends the left for other reasons, in which case that fact alone establishes prime facie evidence of guilt. And French is right that the universe of behavior that offends the left isn’t limited to practicing conservative politics. His fratty hard-drinking prep-school clique disgusts them too. In time, all Bad Things about Kavanaugh will converge into a unified field theory of his badness. It’s happening already, in fact:
The thing is, on Kavanaugh, even apart from the truth of specific accusations … we know this guy, right? We've all met this guy. He's a very familiar type. At the root of all this is the fact that conservatives *like that type*. https://t.co/ITwPWdVFfC
— David Roberts (@drvox) September 25, 2018
We can’t separate his obnoxious conservatism from his obnoxious lunkheaded dudebro-masculine rituals. If neither one in isolation convinces you to shift the burden of proof to him, surely the tandem does.
Here’s Tewolde followed by Cosby’s lawyer, who also invoked Kavanaugh’s name to make the point that there’s a “sex war” going on or something.
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) September 25, 2018
Bill Cosby's publicist, Andrew Wyatt, claims both Cosby and Brett Kavanaugh are victims of "a sex war" that is "going on in Washington today." pic.twitter.com/jRHOjzUZD7
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) September 25, 2018