At the center of the controversy over allegations made against SCOTUS nominee Brett Kavanaugh is one burning question: why on earth did Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA) sit on the letter from Christine Ford for several months instead of bringing it forward months before the hearings?
Well, if you’re a cynical conservative, you probably have the same guess I do: so she could do exactly what she just did, knowing full well Kavanaugh would likely be confirmed unless the Democrats armed themselves with some sort of final hour, Hail Mary weapon against it.
But it’s not just conservatives who are wondering what on earth Feinstein was thinking, but Democrats are too. A columnist at the Daily Beast first asked, what on earth are you doing, Dianne?
Because here’s the thing: it makes Democrats look like they set this up, and those on the left are painfully aware of this fact:
Mind-boggling. Here we were, in late July, two weeks after Donald Trump nominated Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. Mitch McConnell had yet to announce the confirmation hearing dates, which he announced on Aug. 9. But obviously, in late July, the Democrats were well aware that they had the fight of their lives on their hands; that they were outnumbered and would need something huge. And here is Feinstein, the ranking member of the committee, holding that something in her hands.
And she kept it secret. From her colleagues. According to the New Yorker, her staff even told other Democrats on the committee that the incident was “taken care of” and that it was too far in the past to be worth discussing in public. She had no right to keep it from them. For that matter, she had no right to keep it from us, the public, who also live with the consequences of a new Supreme Court.
Maybe Feinstein feared that if she shared the letter, the woman’s name would leak out. Maybe she felt it wasn’t her story to tell. A reasonable concern. But okay—share the letter while redacting the woman’s name. It took me four seconds to think of that.
Maybe she feared being attacked for bringing in something this controversial and ancient. Okay. But what did she think was going to happen? Did she think she’d be able to sit on this letter forever and not even refer it to the FBI? Hot documents have a way of getting out in this town. At the very least, when her colleagues started asking her about it, she should have owned up and told them the truth and shared it with them and asked their advice.
And now where are we? She’s made an absolute disaster of things. It got out anyway. If anything, by holding it so long, she has helped facilitate the discrediting of the woman who is accusing Kavanaugh here, because it looks desperate and eleventh-hour, whereas if she’d made this public before, people would have had time to process it and Republicans couldn’t have made that accusation.
De Leon, Feinstein’s opponent in the upcoming California House race, took the opportunity to blast her in an interview with POLITICO:
De León, in an interview with POLITICO Friday, blasted Feinstein for not raising the issue as Kavanaugh sat before the Judiciary committee for his confirmation hearings last week — or even discussing the matter privately her fellow Democrats on the Judiciary committee until this week.
Her performance underscores how “she has historically demonstrated that she is not willing to take the fight to the Republicans,” he said. “She has been very passive in her approach regarding the most important Supreme Court nominee in a generation,’’ showing “a huge detachment to the realities” of women’s experiences in many communities.
At a time when Kavanaugh’s confirmation potentially endangers “a woman’s right to choose, voting rights and civil rights,’’ De León added, other Judiciary committee Democrats were “looking for an opportunity to delay the hearings,’’ he said. The letter’s contents, he said, provided critical doubts about the nominee. “This was it — and she was sitting on it for three months,’’ he said.
The Democrats who believe Ford have a right to be upset, because if this woman is a genuine sexual assault victim, she’s clearly being used as a political prop or, at the very least, has been treated incredibly inconsiderably and tactlessly by “women’s champion” Feinstein.
Or perhaps, they’re upset because they know the right has a considerable case to make that this is all just a political ploy.
Sadly, whether Ford is telling the truth or not, at the end of the day, this particular display of political theatre, like most incidents when sexual harassment collides with politics, undermines real victims of sexual assault everywhere.
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