Say this for Deborah Ramirez. The second woman to accuse Brett Kavanaugh of committing sexual assault more than 30 years ago may not clearly recall what happened, but her story does clarify the ugly politics at play. Democrats are using the #MeToo movement as a weapon of political destruction to defeat a Supreme Court nominee and retake Congress.
Ms. Ramirez’s story, as recounted by Jane Mayer and Ronan Farrow in the New Yorker on Sunday, has more holes than even initial accuser Christine Blasey Ford’s. Unlike Ms. Ford, she does recall the place and year—a hall at Yale in their freshman year. Ms. Ramirez says that at a party Mr. Kavanaugh exposed himself and pushed his privates into her face, amid laughter from other men in the room, until she pushed him away.
Mr. Kavanaugh says the event “did not happen” and is “a smear, plain and simple.”
Even the sympathetic New Yorker writers concede that Ms. Ramirez was at first reluctant to talk about the incident. But after six days of “assessing her memories,” and after consulting with a Democratic lawyer, she felt confident enough to speak up. Even so, Ms. Ramirez concedes that she was drunk at the time to the point of being “on the floor, foggy and slurring her words.”
The reporters could not find a single other eyewitness who put Mr. Kavanaugh at the party. One of Ms. Ramirez’s confirming witnesses is an unidentified man who says he heard about it from someone else. Another classmate, Richard Oh, says he overheard a female student whose identity he can’t recall telling another student about such an incident at the time but with no reference to Mr. Kavanaugh.
But two of the men Ms. Ramirez says were directly involved in the incident say they know nothing about it. Others who were close friends of Ms. Ramirez and Mr. Kavanaugh at Yale also say they never heard of it. This includes Ms. Ramirez’s closest friend at the time who told the magazine that “this is a woman I was best friends with. We shared intimate details of our lives. And I was never told this story by her, or by anyone else. It never came up. I didn’t see it; I never heard of it happening.”
Meanwhile, the New York Times reported Monday that it “had interviewed several dozen people over the past week in an attempt to corroborate” Ms. Ramirez’s story, “and could find no one with firsthand knowledge. Ms. Ramirez herself contacted former Yale classmates asking if they recalled the incident and told some of them that she could not be certain Mr. Kavanaugh was the one who exposed himself.”
All of which adds up to another dimly recalled incident from 35 years ago, when Mr. Kavanaugh may or may not have been present, which alleged eyewitnesses deny attending, and about which the corroboration is second hand and unspecific. Mr. Farrow had sturdier journalistic standards before he teamed up with Ms. Mayer, who has devoted much of her professional life to tormenting Justice Clarence Thomas.
Oh, and by the way, Michael Avenatti, the lawyer for Stormy Daniels, claims he has another “credible” accuser that he will unveil to the public. That cable TV appearance should certainly rate.
There is a phrase for what is happening here: character assassination. Judge Kavanaugh’s good name is being smeared with sexual allegations on the eve of a Supreme Court confirmation vote in a campaign abetted if not orchestrated by Democrats.
Dianne Feinstein, the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, withheld Ms. Ford’s letter from her colleagues for six weeks until she sprung it at the last minute. She has since been demanding a fair and public hearing for Ms. Ford. But on Sunday she leapt on Ms. Ramirez’s claim to demand an “immediate postponement” in the hearing now scheduled for Thursday.
Fair? What about fairness for Mr. Kavanaugh, who since Ms. Ford’s accusation has offered to testify under oath that none of this happened? Instead he has had to hear himself denounced day after day as a sexual predator as Democrats and Ms. Ford’s lawyers try to dictate how a Senate committee should conduct its fact-finding.
The obvious strategy is to delay the hearing, and Mr. Kavanaugh’s chance to be heard and get a vote, for as long as possible. Who knows which other long-ago classmates might next rummage through their memories to recall what Mr. Kavanaugh might have done that no one else can remember?
The latest Democratic demand is that Chairman Chuck Grassley call as a witness Mark Judge, who Ms. Ford claims was present when Mr. Kavanaugh allegedly assaulted her. Mr. Judge has already told congressional staff—lying to staff is a crime—that he knows nothing about the episode. But Democrats want Mr. Judge on the public stage so they can use his admitted history of drinking to smear Mr. Kavanaugh by association.
Judge Kavanaugh said firmly on Monday in a letter to Senators Grassley and Feinstein that “I will not be intimidated into withdrawing from this process. The coordinated effort to destroy my good name will not drive me out.” Good for him, and credit as well to President Trump for standing by him and (mostly) restraining his rhetoric.
We warned Republicans not to fall for this politics of uncorroborated accusation, and perhaps now they understand that they are being played. Women who are abused deserve to be heard, but turning #MeToo into a political weapon undermines that cause.
Once Ms. Ford and Mr. Kavanaugh are heard on Thursday, there should be no more delay. Call the roll and vote.