After I wrote this missive, Dr. Blasey Ford tentatively agreed to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee this week. We would do well to remember the details of what Anita Hill was put through in 1991 as we listen to the grilling by men who, by their own words, have already made up their minds, who view this hearing as barely necessary window-dressing to approving the nominee.
Republican disappointment, even anger, at Dr. Christin Blasey Ford for coming forward now against the appointment of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court is understandable. Kavanaugh’s appointment would be the culmination of decades of ground work by corporate interests ignited, according to some, by reaction to Ralph Nader’s 1960s consumer advocacy. [See Powell Memorandum] To have those decades of effort thwarted now, with victory in sight, must be frustrating, even more so since the problem arises from a woman. After all, Mitch McConnell and the Senate Republicans have cast aside both precedent and decency by stiff-arming Merrick Garland and then tossing out the traditional sixty vote majority requirement to confirm a Supreme Court nominee. Both were desperate acts, but they were just the prelude to the main goal: obtaining a Supreme Court majority that favors the oligarchy oner the individual.
Now they face a conundrum: Rush the nomination to the floor, vote, grab the goal…and reap a backlash against a Supreme Court majority deemed illegitimate or slow down the process perhaps for weeks to properly gather evidence and avoid a repeat of nasty male Senators attacking a female accuser, a woman up to now without the time, resources, and preparation the Republicans have amassed behind Kavanaugh?
Then last Saturday morning the daughter of Ronald Reagan, Patti Davis, weighed in on the side of Dr. Ford and for deliberate process by recounting her rape by a prominent music executive. It came out in an article entitled “Why I don’t recall all the details of my sexual assault.” The article recounts the rape and her subsequent silence and confusion. Davis’ story was widely covered, including the New York Times and published in the Spokesman and the Washington Post, probably among others.
So where do Lisa Brown and McMorris Rodgers stand on all of this? We have some clues from last Wednesday’s debate:
Moderator: What should be the next steps on Capitol Hill in this [Kavanaugh’s] nomination process?
Dr. Brown: Well, certainly there needs to be a full investigation of the allegation. And the woman who has come forward needs, deserves to have an investigation done in an independent way and be heard. And the rush to judgement…confirm as quickly as possible…is not the right thing for a lifetime appointment and it runs over the rights of women just like what happened in 1991 when Anita Hill came forward with her allegations. That inspired a whole generation of women to run for office. I ran for office in 1992 and I predict that woman in the United States want this to be thoroughly investigated without a quick confirmation.
CMR: Well we’re working through the process. I think it’s important that we give every woman an opportunity to be heard. I think that that’s very important. In my understanding the Senate has scheduled a hearing for Monday where both Kavanaugh and the accuser will be in front of the Senate and given a chance to be heard and to answer questions and I just think we need to continue to allow this process to play out.
“In my understanding.” Could McMorris Rodgers be more disingenuous? She holds the fourth most powerful post in the Republican hierarchy. She knows exactly what the stakes are. She knows all the players and all the corporate donors. She has pushed for a Republican/Libertarian majority on the Supreme Court for years. Does she really imagine Dr. Ford could get a fair hearing today in front of a bunch of frustrated old white male Republican Senators bent on getting Kavanaugh seated?
The next day McMorris Rodgers’ “positive disruptor,” Mr. Trump, came out on Twitter:
I have no doubt that, if the attack on Dr. Ford was as bad as she says, charges would have been immediately filed with local Law Enforcement Authorities by either her or her loving parents,” the president tweeted.
How can McMorris Rodgers support a man capable of such a statement? Does she really not understand the gross unfairness of the process McConnell and Grassley are offering? Does she not remember the Anita Hill grilling? (Perhaps she missed it. She was fresh out of the Pensacola Christian College and working in the office of a staunch Republican state legislator at the time. Has McMorris Rodgers ever been exposed to the degrading details of those hearings?)
I copy below an article (with good links to the information quoted) that I found useful in putting this controversy in context. You can see it and a lot more at Popular Info written by Judd Legum. It provides a detailed comparison of the power dynamics in 1991 and the Republican efforts to use the same power against Dr. Ford.
At the debate on Wednesday Lisa Brown got the right answer. McMorris Rodgers tried to distance herself from a process she supports and with which she is intimately involved. Don’t let her get away with it. There is no reason not to use more time to have a full and fair hearing. Demanding Dr. Ford’s appearance today (or anytime in the next couple weeks before a thorough investigation can be conducted) is a male Republican power play with the tacit approval of “our” Representative.
Keep to the high ground,