Ford says a sexual assault happened, though she is sketchy on the details. Kavanaugh says he had nothing to do with it, and he is adamant in his denial. A hearing would not establish either that the incident is a fabrication or that Kavanaugh is culpable. At the end of a hearing, we’d be exactly where we are now. That’s when you don’t have a hearing: when it is obvious that having one would be pointless.

If Senator Grassley wants to forgive the Democrats’ gamesmanship and display sensitivity for Dr. Ford, fine: Take submissions in writing from relevant witnesses — particularly Ford and Kavanaugh. Let the committee weigh them with everything else in the record. But there is no need to produce a television spectacle.

Alas, the committee is reportedly negotiating the terms of Ford’s appearance, terms that would turn the proceedings into an even farcier farce. Ford’s side demands that Kavanaugh, the accused, should be made to testify first — before there is a sworn allegation against him. Then he is to be sequestered from the hearing room (maybe held in the Tower!) while Ford takes center stage; no committee lawyers allowed, no Republican retention of a savvy female litigator to cross-examine Ford — just the Senate’s old white guys, the better to generate made-for-TV footage for the Democrats’ upcoming “War on Women 2” election ads.

It couldn’t more patently be a political stunt.