You can believe whomever you choose in the alleged sexual-misconduct cases of Joe Biden and Brett Kavanaugh, but you can’t revise history to erase your partisan double standards.
One of the most egregious examples of revisionism can be found in a column by the New York Times’ Michelle Goldberg, who employs nearly every attack Americans were warned never to use against alleged sexual-assault victims during the Kavanaugh hearings — questioning their motivations, asking why they didn’t file charges, attacking them for not remembering specifics, etc. And yet, even if we adopt Goldberg’s new standards, Tara Reade still emerges as a more credible accuser than Christine Blasey Ford.
For starters, Ford was unable to offer a time or place or a single contemporaneous corroborating witness. Ford offered no evidence that she even knew Kavanaugh. Reade worked for Joe Biden. Reade has offered a specific time and place for the attack.
Goldberg contends that Ford’s case against Kavanaugh was bolstered by “four sworn affidavits” from witnesses whom she’d told that she’d been assaulted.
This is an especially misleading comparison since the charges against Kavanaugh, unlike the ones against Biden, were investigated by the FBI. The question is how many “affidavits” would there be in support of Reade’s allegations if there were an official inquiry into her claims — and one conducted by the authorities, not an “unbiased, apolitical panel, put together by the D.N.C.,” as Goldberg’s newspaper desires?
There are already reportedly at least four people on the record who maintain Reade told them about the Biden incident, including her mother, who reportedly called in to “Larry King Live” in 1993, right after the alleged sexual assault took place, looking for advice; her neighbor, who claims that Reade told her about the assault a few years after it happened; and a friend, who says that Reade told her about the assault in 2007 or 2008.
Every witness that Ford claimed had been at the suburban Maryland party where Kavanaugh allegedly attacked her had no recollection of the assault or even the gathering where it supposedly happened. This group included Ford’s longtime friend Leland Keyser.
If Goldberg’s standard of credibility is measured by the number of “sworn affidavits” in existence, then she should be calling for an investigation into Reade’s story so that the two allegations can be subjected to the same level of scrutiny.
Another reason Ford is a more credible accuser than Reade, argues Goldberg, is that the latter’s story has changed. Goldberg even insinuates that Reade’s neighbor might be lying because she has trouble recalling if Reade relayed the story to her in 1995 or 1996.
That’s another new and convenient standard. It should be mentioned that during the Kavanaugh hearings we were told that it’s normal for victims not to recall every detail about these unconscionable attacks — which makes a lot of sense.
Unlike Ford’s story, which had evolved — changing places, years, seasons, and the number of attackers — Reade’s story has hardly budged, other than in regards to some hazy recollections about when or how she filed a report about Biden. Then again, if having a consistent story is the new measurement of credibility, Reade is at least as reliable as Ford.
Another reason to doubt Reade’s allegations, contends New York magazine’s Jonathan Chait, is that she coordinated “her statements with Bernie Sanders supporters to maximize their political impact.” Others, such as NeverTrumper Charlie Sykes, have insinuated even uglier conspiracies to discredit Reade, pointing out that she once deleted a pro-Putin tweet. Apparently Reade has been working the long con for the Russians since 1993. (Ford, incidentally, deleted her entire social-media history before making her accusations public.)
Unlike Reade, Ford didn’t mention the alleged assault to anyone for around 25 years, until Kavanaugh’s name began appearing in the media as a prospective Supreme Court justice in 2012, and even then, it seems she only specifically cited the judge’s name after Donald Trump nominated him. If you want to maximize political impact, coming forward during a contentious Supreme Court nomination hearing after three decades of silence probably qualifies.
Both Goldberg and Chait also note that Ford’s therapist’s notes corroborate her claims. The notes do not exactly bolster her credibility, though. For one thing, Ford refused to turn over those notes to Senate Judiciary Committee investigators, instead handing snippets to a favorable reporter at the Washington Post. As far as we know, those notes conflict with her testimony regarding the number of attackers and the year. Moreover, why do therapist’s notes from 2012 speak to the credibility of an alleged victim more than a 1993 call from a mother?
It’s not a mystery why liberals want Ford to seem more credible. At first the media completely ignored Reade’s allegations. But once reporters began responsibly reporting the story — a professionalism that wasn’t afforded to Kavanaugh — the same liberals who had demanded we “believe all women” began flailing to rewrite history.
In USA Today, Kirsten Powers argued that “there is no ‘double standard’ in the way Kavanaugh was treated vs. Biden,” because Democrats had merely called for the accusations to be investigated. That, too, is revisionism. Almost every Democratic senator had called for Trump to withdraw the nomination over the assault charges — many of those calls, in fact, were based on even flimsier accusations, recklessly spread by the press and politicians.
It’s possible that Reade’s credibility would suffer, as did Ford’s, if an investigation took a deeper look. Yet, none of the Democrats who dispensed with due process and embraced Ford’s accusations have shown the slightest interest in speaking with Reade. They’ve simply adopted new guidelines for “believing women” and left liberal pundits with the job of justifying their actions — which they dutifully do.
Of course, none of the above is dispositive or unequivocal evidence of sexual assault on its own. We can never really know. But the notion that Ford is a more credible accuser than Reade doesn’t stand up to even the most basic examination. It’s just a flimsy excuse for hypocrisy.