BY HEATHER R. HIGGINS, OPINION CONTRIBUTOR
Democrats were cheered by the renewed FBI investigation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh and counted it as a win. Most Republicans were dismayed that the full Senate’s vote on Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s appointment to the Supreme Court was delayed and saw this as a political misstep.
They should change places.
First, while the politically attuned understand this is just a delay game by the left, who are on record as willing to do anything to derail this nominee and force the appointment to be made after the November election, swing voters and many women do not.
For them, there is no reason to not look further. The “why rush? It’s for a lifetime” argument resonates as do their own experiences. This past week countless of men have learned from many women just how prevalent the alleged behavior and how much worse it is. This includes those in my own family who hadn’t known I was a victim of sexual assault in high school and just after college when I was the victim of rape.
Independents, Millennials and many women want to know: Why hasn’t Mark Judge answered more questions? What do other classmates say? Is the GOP going to be fair to what they saw as sincere testimony by Dr. Ford?
President Trump is astute and understood ahead of any polling, that for these people, rushing a vote without more FBI vetting would leave Kavanaugh’s legitimacy perpetually undermined on the court.
He knows that many had real concerns that need to be addressed. The GOP should welcome this — these non-base voters thinking the GOP handled the process fairly will be important to the GOP’s November success and thus all future policy wins.
Moreover, had Trump insisted on proceeding with a vote, that would have made him the story and given the Democrats more anti-Trump/anti-GOP ammunition among groups that still so dislike Trump personally that it makes it hard for them to focus on his policies, which they do like.
This extra time and caution also helps Republicans make clear that they do take accusations of sexual assault, abuse and misconduct very seriously.
Sen. Jeff Flake‘s (R-Ariz.) epic failure in the elevator — in which he was confronted by tearful victims of sexual violence who argued that he was betraying them, while he froze — exemplifies this problem. That situation should have been handled with great sympathy, but also certitude.
Republicans should focus on how manipulated this process has been by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D- Calif.) and the handpicked lawyers who did not have either the process or Dr. Ford’s best interests at heart and encourage as well greater examination of the facts provided by Dr. Ford.
For example, the FBI ought to be able to get more definitive answers about how many people were present at the party, whose house this was (surely the home must have been one of the party goers? Presumably it was not their habit to go into homes with no adults present to gather and have a party in an unoccupied home?) and how she left the party.
The FBI ought to be able to get access to the therapist’s full notes, not least because we already know there are significant discrepancies between the details contained in those (late teens, mid 80’s, 4 boys), Dr. Ford’s testimony (15, ’82, 2 boys) and the deliberately ambiguous polygraph statement regarding the date.
We do know Democrats are already doing a little pre-suasion, trying to discredit the investigation before it concludes and shift the narrative from sexual abuse to alcohol abuse and perjury — indicators that they don’t think the witnesses will contradict their prior testimony. But because they don’t want a strict constitutionalist on the court, they will persist in any and every attack — and that has another consequence.
Democrats underestimate how completely terrifying this spectacle appears to ordinary people. Here is a man who volunteers in a homeless shelter and coaches girl’s basketball and has more female clerks than any other federal judge; and he is being destroyed on accusation alone. How could an ordinary person, without powerful friends, survive such an onslaught?
The same public watched #MeToo start with pretty clear cases against guys who were creeps. Now, some of the cases are much muddier. This new Kavanaugh standard the left wants to impose would mean any one could be named, his reputation and future destroyed and subjected to intense ridicule when he defends himself.
It means what you did in high school, like drinking too much or yearbook references can be a reputation and career destroyer. This terrifies people. Both men and women who have men in their lives.
This controversy could end up working in Republicans favor. The recent drama with Kavanaugh will motivate many to come out — not just the conservative base, but fair-minded Independents who recognize that Democrats have waged an ugly, opportunistic political war to personally destroy a man with a stellar reputation as a public servant and politicized and harmed the reputation of the approval process and the Supreme Court itself, all in hopes of gaining power.
This is not how they think the Senate should behave, it is not the America they want, nor the sort of public drama they want to have to explain to their children.
The Left hopes that they have further sullied Republicans in this episode, but they have shown to many that the Republicans is the party of fairness and themselves extremists.
Democrats just killed the blue wave.
Heather R. Higgins is CEO of Independent Women’s Voice.