This morning Allahpundit wrote about a new piece published by PBS headlined “What 74 former Biden staffers think about Tara Reade’s allegations.” Sixty-two of the 74 people PBS interviewed were women and none of them reported any incident of sexual harassment. That’s a pretty large number of women speaking up for Biden’s character and clearly should be considered when weighing Reade’s claim. But for some Biden supporters online, this story was the end of all doubt:

There are hundreds if not thousands more examples like that from people who are not opinion writers for the Washington Post. But this reporter for the Washington Examiner editor made a point I think is worth amplifying.

And he’s right about that. On September 14, 2018 a group of 65 women who knew Brett Kavanaugh in high school wrote a letter defending his character to Senators Grassley and Feinstein:

Almost all of us attended allgirls high schools in the area. We knew Brett well through social events, sports, church, and various other activities. Many of us have remained close friends with him and his family over the years. Through the more than 35 years we have known him, Brett has stood out for his friendship, character, and integrity. In particular, he has always treated women with decency and respect. That was true when he was in high school, and it has remained true to this day.

The signers of this letter hold a broad range of political views. Many of us are not lawyers, but we know Brett Kavanaugh as a person. And he has always been a good person.

Unlike the PBS story, the women who signed the letter weren’t all Democrats who had worked for Kavanaugh. So what happened when this letter was released? I’m not going to highlight any individuals with small follower counts on Twitter but here’s a sample of reactions to Vox’s story about this letter:

  • The scandal is that the Republicans actually thought we’d be stupid enough to fall for this fake “character reference”!
  • “But look at how many people he didn’t assault!”
  • since when does a rapist (or sexual assaulter) rape EVERY WOMAN he knows? and since when is THAT the criteria for whether or not he attacked ONE person? just how is, “well, he didn’t rape me,” a defense?
  • I’m sure we can find 65 women who knew Larry Nassar that he didn’t rape or sexually assault. Does that make Nassar not a sexual predator? I mean, seriously Vox, what were you thinking?

That’s the sort of thing Democrats were saying at the time. In fact, one question the critics raised repeatedly was how this letter had come together so quickly. Many found it suspicious, so much so that the Associated Press investigated and published a story about those suspicions a few days later:

The powerful strength-in-numbers statement, offered to bolster Kavanaugh’s denial of a claim that he attacked a girl at a party during their high school years, has drawn questions from journalists, social media skeptics, even Hollywood figures.

How well did the women know him? How could a statement and 65 signatures come together so fast after outlines of the allegation first surfaced publicly? And after subsequently hearing the details and learning that his accuser was a woman some of them knew, do they stand by their declaration?

Yes, say more than a dozen signers who have since spoken to The Associated Press or other media outlets.

So not only did Democrats not consider the matter closed because of the support of 65 women, in fact they considered the letter itself evidence of some possible wrongdoing. And the media followed up by pushing to find out if some of the signers might want to recant after hearing Ford’s allegations.

I don’t know if Tara Reade is telling the truth. Some of the evidence that supports her still seems stronger to me than the evidence for Christine Blasey Ford’s claim. What I do no for certain is that character witnesses from other women who new Kavanaugh were not considered a game changer by most Democrats in 2018. Instead they were greeted the letter with suspicion and the dismissed the signatories as irrelevant, i.e. “But look at how many people he didn’t assault!” I don’t see a lot of that kind of skepticism from Democrats or the media now.