I watched the hearings this morning. As the hearings began, Ford looked nervous, vulnerable, and scared and began speaking with a quavering voice. She got a little better with time but throughout she looked credible and, for want of a better word, natural. She was almost in tears when Blumenthal praised her courage in coming forward despite the trauma. I cringed to hear, when asked about what was her most indelible memory of the event, how Kavanaugh and his friend Mark Judge laughed during the assault, that they were having fun assaulting her. She said that she had met Kavanaugh many times before the assault so there was no question of her confusing him with someone else. Although I believed her even before the hearings, I can only say that she showed the entire nation what an honest person she is.
Republican chair Chuck Grassley started with the usual hypocritical speech on civility and defended Kavanaugh, the GOP’s handling of the case, and defending the use of a woman counsel instead of asking questions themselves. Ranking Democratic member Diane Feinstein struck back and introduced the names and evidence of witnesses Deborah Ramirez, Julie Swetnick, James Roche, Liz Swisher, and Lynne Brooks, all of whom the Republicans had hoped to keep out. Senator Kamala Harris contrasted Ford’s call for a full and thorough investigation with Kavanaugh’s lack of calls for the same things. Senators Patrick Leahy, Dick Durbin, Sheldon Whitehouse hammered away at lack of detailed investigation by FBI.
It was not clear what the Republican counsel Rachel Mitchell was trying to do. Her questions tried to lay out a detailed timeline of the events and by focusing on some things that Ford could not remember, seemed to be trying to argue that Ford was not credible and that perhaps she was being backed by democratic partisans. But her performance was weak, and not helped by the process that required her to ask questions in five minute bursts, interspersed by five minutes of the Democratic senators.
Senator Lindsey Graham, after hiding in terror behind the female counsel that the Republicans got for the hearing, was during the breaks and immediately afterwards loudly talking to the press when it did not matter. He reminds me so much of the cowardly Sir Robin, talking big except when it counts.