Confirm Kavanaugh

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Let’s not obsess about whether Brett Kavanaugh is telling the truth about whether he sexually assaulted Christine Blasey Ford or anyone else.

 He is. And he didn’t.

And let’s not obsess about whether Ford believes the things she is saying or whether she is accurate about accusing Kavanaugh.

She does. And she isn’t.

In the absence of any corroborating evidence, it is impossible to accept Ford’s 36-year-old recovered memory about a sexual assault she says Brett Kavanaugh made on her in 1982.

We predicted last week that Kavanaugh and Ford might each make compelling witnesses who made forceful and irreconcilable presentations of what did or did not happen long ago. On Thursday, that is what happened.

But no one could have predicted that Kavanaugh would produce detailed calendars from the summer of 1982 showing where he was and what he did – and where he wasn’t and what he did not do. His recitation of the details on Thursday and his explanation of why he is certain that he never attended any such party that Ford describes were compelling.

We’ve known for some time that each person Ford describes as having been at the party says otherwise. That continues to be the case.

Emotions can be hard to gauge for truthfulness. But if we’re using emotional power as a standard, Kavanaugh won on that score, too. If you could sit through his opening statement without feeling strong sensations running to the back of your eyes, you didn’t have the volume on.

But emotions aren’t facts. And it’s facts that should sway the observer. Here are a couple of important ones:

Kavanaugh and Ford both appeared to be competent witnesses. Ford offered not a single persuasive bit of corroboration. Kavanaugh did.

Ford says she is “100 percent certain” that Kavanaugh attacked her. She may well be.

But it’s hard to see how a fair-minded person could come to the same conclusion after watching both testify.

It’s unfortunate that Ford’s story wasn’t investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation back when it was still confidential. Investigators showing up unannounced to quiz witnesses caught unawares would have been able to elicit authentic responses and memories, and to do so in an efficient fashion. Any new leads generated by such inquiries would have been related to the original questions, and therefore contained. That’s why the F.B.I. investigation into Anita Hill’s allegations against Clarence Thomas back in 1991 took only three days:  at the time of the investigation, Hill’s allegations were still confidential. So the F.B.I. was able to conclude the investigation quickly.

But that isn’t what the Democrats want. What they want is a never-ending investigation that chases more and more unsubstantiated allegations of the type we’ve been hearing about during the last week or so – hazy college memories from a drunken female college student who wasn’t sure but now maybe is that Kavanaugh once acted indecently toward her at a party; an anonymous letter making an anonymous allegation about an anonymous victim somewhere in Washington D.C. in 1998; a mistaken-identity report (since retracted) that Kavanaugh did something untoward on a boat in Newport, Rhode Island; and a lunatic description of multiple gang rapes at as many as 10 teen-age parties back in the early 1980s. There will be more and more such stories, and the Democrats would demand that the F.B.I investigate all of them, to the point where the F.B.I. investigation started to look like an independent counsel investigation – endless.

That points to the most troubling aspect of the Democrats’ performance in the Kavanaugh hearings, and especially Thursday.

It’s clear that whatever else the Democrats want, the truth isn’t high on their list of priorities.

The most poignant moment of the day was when Kavanaugh described his 10-year-old daughter telling her sister that “we should pray for the woman” – meaning the woman they believe is the false accuser of their father. That’s the essence of Christianity, something most of the Democrats on the panel seem unmoved by.

(That itself calls for an investigation:  Are most of the Democrats unmoved by Christianity? Or were they unmoved by his daughter willing to pray for Ford?)

But the most emblematic moment of the day was when U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut), who seems to ooze sleaze every time he opens his mouth, quoted to Kavanaugh a Latin legal saying, falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus. It means “false in one thing, false in everything.”

Blumenthal used it to try to get Kavanaugh to agree that he is a non-credible witness because he had made a false statement.

It’s not true – Blumenthal’s predicate question was itself false.

But what would you say about a politician who on multiple occasions told audiences that he served in the military in Vietnam when he didn’t?

That has nothing to do with Kavanaugh, of course. But neither, it appears, does sexual assault.

Brett Kavanaugh should be confirmed as a justice of the United States Supreme Court in short order.