These are the words I originally wrote after Christine Blasey Ford finished testifying to the US Senate today:
‘I believe her. It’s as simple as that. For four hours, I watched Christine Blasey Ford testify to the US Senate and I found her to be an extraordinarily powerful, compelling and credible witness with regard to the sexual abuse she claims to have suffered at the hands of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
I was not alone. Twitter blew up with people from all sides of the political and social spectrum saying THEY believed her too. TV news anchors from CNN to Fox queued up to say they found Ford extremely convincing. And thus I imagine the vast majority of the tens of millions of Americans watching agog from their homes believed her as well.
Because the bottom line is that she was cool, calm, collected, and utterly believable. Her tears, when they came, felt real. Her testimony felt real.
SHE felt real.
These are the words I originally wrote after Christine Blasey Ford finished testifying to the US Senate today: ‘I believe her.’ She felt real
I stopped writing when Brett Kavanaugh walked in to begin his testimony, but this, I felt certain, would be the theme of this column.
There was nothing Kavanaugh could surely say or do that could possibly alter this impression?
I was wrong.
Kavanaugh’s performance was one of the most stunning, raw, breath-taking displays of raw, raging fury that I have ever seen on live television.
He was surging with passion and indignant anger, and emotion; SO much emotion.
He cried, he sighed, he sniffed, he snorted.
And he ranted.
This was a man right on the edge, exploding before our very eyes at what he perceived to be the horrific injustice of what has befallen him.
Kavanaugh’s not just any man.
He’s one of America’s most experienced, respected judges; so a man who until two weeks ago, was considered to be someone of total integrity, someone beyond reproach.
He cried, he sighed, he sniffed, he snorted. And he ranted
And by the time he’d finished, I believed him too. His testimony felt real. HE felt real
And by the time he’d finished, I believed him too.
His tears, when they came, felt real. His testimony felt real. HE felt real.
But they can’t both be telling the truth, can they?
The bottom line is I don’t now know whom to believe, and I defy anyone else to either.
Ford and Kavanaugh were both equally convincing.
They both came over as decent, civilised, eloquent people.
They both were inherently believable.
The facts of this case remain unsubstantiated, disputed and debatable.
It comes down to whom you believe most, and I just don’t know the answer to that question.
Who can say, honestly and with any certainty, where the truth lies?
I can’t, can you?
What I can say though is that this was one of the most disgusting, disgraceful things I have ever witnessed.
For these two previously unknown people to be dragged through such a revolting public court of gladiatorial barbarism for the delectation of a mass TV audience was painful, so painful I could barely watch at times.
Yet it was an absolutely inevitable consequence of the way Washington has spiralled in recent years into a vile cesspit of extreme partisan bullsh*t – fuelled by rampant, vicious social media.
Today was a dark, tragic day for America.
It was a day when the whole country, and indeed much of the rest of the world, tuned in to see two people tortured and humiliated.
I get that Supreme Court nominees have to be vigorously vetted, and have to be held to a different standard of behaviour to the rest of us.
Brett Kavanaugh could be sitting on that court for 30-40 years, making the most important decisions in American law that could have far-reaching effects on the lives of 320 million people.
He HAS to be a man of unimpeachable character.
So yes, he has to be investigated.
And it’s perfectly right and proper that if a woman like Christine Blasey Ford believes she was sexually assaulted by Kavanaugh when she was just 15 years old, then her allegations should be thoroughly examined.
As should any other serious allegations.
I get that Supreme Court nominees have to be vigorously vetted, and have to be held to a different standard to the rest of us. But what we watched today was nothing short of a circus. Kavanaugh looked unhinged – but if I’d been falsely accused of the stuff he’s been accused of, I’d probably be pretty damn unhinged too
But what we watched today was nothing short of a circus – a long, disturbing, wretched circus; a circus watched by a baying global mob, most of whom decided long before the hearings began whom they believed.
Kavanaugh looked unhinged today – perhaps too unhinged to ever sit on the Supreme Court – but if I’d been falsely accused of the stuff he’s been accused of in the past fortnight, I’d probably be pretty damn unhinged too.
He was fighting not just for a place on the Supreme Court, but for his reputation, his dignity, his family.
To see his loyal wife silently weeping throughout his testimony was agonising.
She knows that everything her husband has worked for in his entire life is now imperilled. Every security she took for granted about their family life is now threatened.
To see his loyal wife silently weeping throughout his testimony was agonising. She knows that everything her husband has worked for in his entire life is now imperilled
If Kavanaugh is guilty, then he deserves to be duly punished.
But what if he’s innocent?
What if Ms Ford, who was just a young teenage kid at the time, has got the wrong guy?
I don’t think she’s a liar, but maybe she made an honest mistake.
How do we know for sure?
How will we EVER know?
Where are the cold hard FACTS?
There aren’t any, there can’t possibly be any after 35 years.
What we’re left with is a stinking, horrible mess.
Many feel America has never felt so bitterly divided, and this ugly farce today will just pour fuel onto that blazing partisan fire.
I saw people on Twitter gleefully tearing both Ford and Kavanaugh to pieces all day long, all doing so from a politically partisan perspective.
If the situation was reversed, and Kavanaugh was a Democrat nominee, then all those screaming blue murder against him would be screaming in support of him, and all those currently supporting Ford would turn on her like two-faced rattlesnakes.
It’s not about any attempt at fair justice. It’s about politics.
This was not about any attempt at fair justice. It’s about politics. The Democrats, led by Senator Dianne Feinstein, timed this bombshell to cause maximum damage. She waited to strike. It’s despicable
The Democrats, led by Senator Dianne Feinstein, timed this bombshell to cause maximum damage to the nomination process, and to exploit the inevitable scandalous headlines to influence the vital midterm elections in just 40 days time.
Feinstein knew about Ford’s allegation two months ago. The right thing to do would have been to publicly demand an immediate investigation – including, if necessary, by the FBI.
Instead, she held it back, waiting to strike when the potential political gain was at its most timely.
In doing so, she behaved in exactly the same reprehensibly partisan self-serving manner that Republicans have behaved over previous Democrat Supreme Court nominations.
But that makes her just as bad as them. Shame on Senator Feinstein, shame on the Democrats.
As Senator Lindsey Graham put it today, this was ‘The most despicable thing I have ever seen in politics’
That such an important moment in American history should be reduced to this horrific bear-pit is as absurd as it’s unacceptable.
Every American who genuinely cares about their country should share my outrage about what they watched today.
At one stage, Kavanaugh was actually grilled about flatulence – in the United States Senate by a serving United States senator.
Think about that for a moment.
The whole thing was a complete and utter disgrace.
Or as Senator Lindsey Graham put it today: ‘The most despicable thing I have ever seen in politics.’