In all the speechifyin' about the terrible things done to Judge Brett Kavanaugh in the name of politics and ideology and basic indecency (in just Mitch McConnell's speech alone) on the Senate floor this morning prior to the cloture vote to end debate on the nomination of Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court there were plenty of inferences and open allegations from Sen. McConnell how Dr. Ford was misused and abused by persons unknown (but strongly hinted to be Democrats and Senate staffers and again, malign influences which stain the honor of the august Senate of the United States), talk of "no corroboration!" and tales told to people 36 years after the fact ("Hearsay!", McConnell muttered. It can never be said the McConnell ever "thundered"), but no mention of this:
Apparently, a former TV weatherman from Washington, D.C., provided the committee with a sworn statement revealing, allegedly, some details about Swetnick’s personal sexual preferences that are both none of anyone’s damn business and utterly irrelevant to the question of what Kavanaugh might or might not have done all those years ago.
In a sleazy nutshell, the story is that Dennis Ketterer claims that Swetnick approached him at a Washington bar one night and struck up first a conversation and then a brief relationship in which sex was discussed but never performed.
And, Ketterer said, Swetnick never said anything about seeing, knowing or being attacked by Kavanaugh.
Clearly, the only reason for any individual to say any of this, and the only reason for the committee to make it public, is the belief that any women who would approach a self-described fat man in a bar, any women who would choose to discuss sex, is some kind of libertine who, for that reason, cannot be trusted.
Ketterer said that his first impression of Swetnick was that she was probably a prostitute — “high end call girl” was his specific phrasing — because there was no other reason an attractive, well-dressed woman would speak to a schlub like him. Clearly, such a reading of the encounter only makes sense if women aren’t really people, but sexual objects who do or do not make themselves available in bars.
That statement was released by the Senate Judiciary Committee, even while the FBI investigation is treated as the most secret of national security secrets. Apparently that doesn't raise the Majority Leader's ire, or mark a stain on the history and traditions of the U.S Senate. The letter alone, as the editorial points out, makes allegations contrary to all reason, and in Sen. McConnell's words on the floor of the Senate this morning, is pure hearsay:
If nothing else, what all of us should have learned from not only the Kavanaugh case, but from the whole of the #MeToo movement, is that victims of sexual abuse often do not discuss their experiences with those near and dear to them, much less with casual acquaintances.
So, sure, she didn't tell a stranger in a bar, so she must be lying now.
What we now know for sure is that Hatch and others working for the Judiciary Committee have, without question, tried to slime one of Kavanaugh’s accusers in a way that is widely, and accurately, described as “slut-shaming."
Except it is Hatch and his allies who should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves.
Sliming women is much to be preferred over sliming white men nominated for the highest court in the land, who break all the traditions of a nominee by yelling at Senators who dare question him, then publishing a non-apology, non-mea culpa, in a major newspaper, all aimed at winning hearts and minds because he's done such a good job proving how unqualified he is for the position. But even though this process was worse in that Thomas confirmation process (as one Senator said on the floor), McConnell didn't mention the treatment of Ms. Swetnick by the committee on the Senate floor this morning. Maybe that because the Committee's handling of Ms. Swetnick's allegations worked, and the defense of "a little bit nutty, a little bit slutty" does not violate the decorum of Sen. McConnell's Senate, even as it:
.... betrays a positively medieval attitude toward all women as sex objects who cannot be believed or taken seriously.Sen. McConnell spoke, in the voice of the turtle in high dudgeon, of the dark days of Sen. Joe McCarthy, archly implying those days had returned on the backs of, not the Republicans as before, but the Democratic senators in the chamber (he called out several by rank and state, never by name). Funny he didn't denounce this slander from the Senate Judiciary Committee and the "positively medieval attitude" it betrayed. Which sort of sees the McCarthy reference, and raises it, don't you think?
The mole people don't dig this low.