Politics

Republican men remind us how repugnant their treatment of women really is

Meanwhile, Republicans on Capitol Hill went on the attack. They had backed Dr. Blasey Ford into a corner and proceeded to pummel her with shame, blame, and shade, declaring everyone else in the episode a victim besides her. “Slime” came to my mind. Every one of them. I briefly considered tweeting out all their vile quotes with the word “Slime” attached to it. I don’t know—even doing that didn’t seem like it would be satisfying or even come close to capturing how truly repulsive their treatment of Dr. Blasey Ford was. But here’s a list of quotes that truly ticked me off.

GOP Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT): “I think this woman, whoever she is, is mixed up.” 

“This woman” is a PhD. You’re a fossil, Hatch, and if anyone is “mixed up” it’s you. Please go back to Utah to quietly petrify.

GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, on not hearing from Dr. Blasey Ford after he tried to ambush her with his sham hearing: “It kind of raises the question, do they want to come to the public hearing or not?”

The only question it raises is whether you could find a way to be a bigger misogynist jerk, Grassley.

GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) had an extra special slight: “This has been a drive-by shooting when it comes to Kavanaugh,” he said. “I’ll listen to the lady, but we’re going to bring this to a close.”

I’ll listen to “the lady’s” story about the “drive-by shooting” she’s committing. I mean, really, are you effing kidding me? Pure slime.

Then came the GOP episode of Who’s the real victim here? (Hint: It wasn’t the woman who’s been doing trauma therapy for years, got trashed for trying to do her civic duty, and has since been forced into hiding through death threats.)

“I feel so badly for him that he’s going through this,” Trump said of Kavanaugh, “This is not a man that deserves this.”

And Kavanaugh’s old buddy and alleged third person in the room, Mark Judge, really outdid himself by accusing Dr. Blasey Ford of victimizing him in a letter in which he declined to testify.

“I did not ask to be involved in this matter nor did anyone ask me to be involved,” wrote Judge, who authored a memoir about his misspent youth as a blackout drinker. “The only reason I am involved is because Dr. Christine Blasey Ford remembers me as the other person in the room during the alleged assault.”

Time to throw a pity party for Judge, who basically found a way to profit off of all of his drunken escapades with his buddies, like “Bart O’Kavanaugh.”

But if Republicans hadn’t acted deplorably enough throughout the week, they really stepped up their game by week’s end. On Friday afternoon while Dr. Blasey Ford was detailing the death threats she had received to the FBI, she received the official GOP counter-offer regarding the terms of her testimony at 2:30 p.m. ET and was given a 5:00 p.m. ET deadline to respond—ya know, a little something to work into the mix during her low-stress talks with the FBI. 

Republicans rejected nearly every major request Dr. Blasey Ford made in order to testify. She asked for Thursday, they countered with Wednesday. She asked for other witnesses to be allowed, they said, no. She asked to testify after Kavanaugh, they declined. (What they said they would do was truly the least they could do—limit media access at the hearing and ensure her physical safety.) When her lawyers responded that they needed 24 hours to consult with Dr. Blasey Ford, Grassley gave them until 10:00 p.m. ET.

Good god, Chuck Grassley, are you insane? This is a woman who was traumatized enough by what happened in high school that she told a friend she’s afraid of sleeping in a bedroom without two exits (i.e. a second way out); a woman who finds confined spaces so uncomfortable that she may end up driving across country from California to Washington rather than flying.

If there was some justice in all this, it came when, just before Grassley’s random 10 p.m. deadline, Dr. Blasey Ford’s lawyer wrote a letter requesting one more day to consider their options. But attorney Debra Katz did so in spectacular fashion, detailing for everyone Republicans’ deplorable treatment of her client.

“I was stunned to see that the Judiciary Committee noticed Judge Kavanaugh’s vote for Monday morning, in the midst of our ongoing discussions regarding the terms and conditions under which Dr. Christine Blasey Ford could testify before the Committee,” Katz wrote Judiciary Committee staffers Friday night. “Incredibly, you did so well before the 10:00 p.m. deadline you had arbitrarily imposed just hours before,” Katz added, noting the disingenuousness of the GOP’s posture during negotiations. 

“The imposition of aggressive and artificial deadlines regarding the date and conditions of any hearing has created tremendous and unwarranted anxiety and stress on Dr. Ford. Your cavalier treatment of a sexual assault survivor who has been doing her best to cooperate with the Committee is completely inappropriate.”

Katz revealed that while she believed the two camps had engaged in productive discussions on Thursday, Grassley chose to deliver his counter-offer “through the media,” insisting that her client appear at the hearing “on a date I had expressly told you was not feasible for her.” So the Wednesday date Grassley ultimately offered had already been identified as a nonstarter for Dr. Blasey Ford.

Katz declined to review every one of the “misstatements” Judiciary staffers have made, simply acknowledging that it was now “abundantly clear” to her the GOP staffers had been tasked with “pressuring Dr. Ford to agree to conditions you find advantageous to the nominee and also with denying Democratic members of the Senate Judiciary Committee any input about how this hearing would proceed.” Katz said she had urged Republicans to include Democrats in the discussions and Republicans had refused.

Katz said that she notified GOP staffers around 4:00 p.m. ET that she would not be able to consult with Dr. Blasey Ford immediately because of her client’s ongoing meeting with the FBI. Yet less than a couple hours after Katz requested a day to review the proposal with her client, Grassley again went to the media first to deliver the ultimatum that he must receive a definitive answer about Dr. Blasey Ford’s participation by 10:00 p.m. on Friday night. 

Seriously, just imagine for a second that you’re in high stakes negotiations and every time you walk away from the table, you receive your follow up responses through the media. What kind of fresh hell is that?

Katz concluded that 10:00 p.m. deadline was “arbitrary,” with the sole intent being to bully Dr. Blasey Ford and deprive her of the opportunity to fully weigh the “life-altering implications” of testifying. “She has already been forced out of her home and continues to be subjected to harassment, hate mail, and death threats,” Katz wrote, requesting one additional day.

I quoted the letter at length here because it was simply so satisfying to see put into writing what we had been witnessing all week: Republicans truly were doing everything possible to appear as though they were negotiating in good faith while they were in fact retraumatizing a victim of trauma in a premeditated effort to bully her out of sharing her story. Appalling. Frankly, I can’t really even find the words to relay the sense of outrage I feel about the GOP’s abuse of Dr. Blasey Ford. 

I can only hope that tens of millions of women across America who feel that same sense of outrage show up at the polls in November to send Republican lawmakers a message: We will not be bullied out of telling our stories and we will not allow you to sully our integrity or thwart our convictions about the right and honest way to participate in our democracy. The women of America are not done yet, not by a long shot.




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