In the absence of witnesses willing to testify, it will probably be impossible to know with reasonable certainty who is telling the truth–Brett Kavanaugh or Christine Blasey Ford—about their alleged encounter 35 years ago. But there is a pretty straightforward way of assessing who is probably telling the truth. Merely ask: what possible motivation does each of the two individuals have for lying?

For Brett Kavanaugh, as for Clarence Thomas a quarter century before him, the question of motivation answers itself: he wants to be on the Supreme Court.

For Christine Blasey Ford, as for Anita Hill, the question is hard to fathom. Why in the world would a woman want to bring on herself the widespread public embarrassment, not to mention calumnious assaults from multiple predictable sources, that would result from such a lie? The question of her motivation can only be answered through highly improbable, if not lurid, speculation. Is she being secretly paid by an anti-Trump billionaire? Does she have a masochistically twisted personality that relishes the opprobrium that will come down on her? The least implausible but still rather far-fetched possibility is that she is an anti-Trump schemer who aims to become a hero of the left, no matter the consequences to her personal life. Right-wing conspiracy theorists will manage to believe something along these lines. Reasonable people will not.

In all probability, Ford is telling the truth, which means that Brett Kavanaugh will perjure himself when he denies it before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

(OK, there is still another possibility: Ford is telling the truth, but Kavanaugh honestly doesn’t remember what happened. He was drunk and that kind of behavior was so unexceptional for him that this particular incident has faded from memory. This is not a defense that his supporters are likely to offer.)

One comment

  1. Jeffrey Herrmann September 18, 2018 at 5:20 pm

    Or you could ask Mark Judge whether it happened.
    You know, Mark, that friend of Kavanaugh since prep school whose yearbook entry reads “Certain women should be struck regularly, like gongs.” That friend of Kavanaugh who informatively depicted their prep school as a nest of debauchery where students attended “masturbation class,” “lusted after girls” from nearby Catholic schools and drank themselves into stupors at parties. The Kavanaugh friend who has also written repeatedly about his thoughts on sexual violence even today. The Kavanaugh friend who still thinks if a man “is any kind of man, he’ll allow himself to feel the awesome power, the wonderful beauty, of uncontrollable male passion,”
    Not that we should judge Judge Kavanaugh by the company he has kept.
    I’m just sayin’ ….

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