Apparently, Cory Booker engaged in what we would today call “sexual assault” or “sexual molestation” while he was a student in high school.
“After having my hand pushed away once, I reached my ‘mark,’” he wrote. “Our groping ended soon and while no ‘relationship’ ensued, a friendship did. You see, the next week in school she told me that she was drunk that night and didn’t really know what she was doing.”
One would think that by today’s standards, Booker would be banned from polite society for life. But Booker is a Democrat and so Democrats have sprung to his defense to explain why Booker’s “admission against penal interest” of sexually molesting a young woman is actually honorable while Brett Kavanaugh saying he is innocent is actually a very, very bad thing. This from one of my favorite doofuses at CNN: Chris Cillizza.
And, yes, it’s true that there are some similarities between the two episodes: Both Booker and Kavanaugh were teenagers, and the incidents — admitted to and alleged, respectively — happened decades before they entered public life in any meaningful way. So why is Kavanaugh being raked over the coals — and watching his nomination to the Supreme Court be jeopardized — while Booker just gets a pass?
First, and most importantly, the reason we know about the groping incident involving Booker is because Booker told us about it. He wrote publicly about it — and used it as a way to explain how he evolved as a person. While that doesn’t absolve him of his behavior — just because you admit something publicly and apologize doesn’t mean you didn’t do it — it does make for a very different situation than faces Kavanaugh.
Kavanaugh has never mentioned the alleged episode with Ford publicly before…
What we don’t need amid all of this is an epic bout of “whatboutism.” What Booker did as a teenager wasn’t right. And he has been and will be judged by voters on them. But to turn Booker into a political missile to prove hypocrisy misses the mark. This isn’t about Booker. This is about Ford, Kavanaugh, and how we, together, figure out the right way forward.
The amazing thing is that Cillizza can’t even entertain the possibility that maybe, just maybe Kavanaugh is completely innocent and the fact that there are neither evidence nor witnesses nor even an allegation made under oath might indicate Christine Ford is a fabulist, if not a malicious liar, and not be the symptom of some great societal failing. The closest he can come to this is a parenthetical comment:
(Kavanaugh and his defenders would insist that’s because he didn’t do it.)
So, by sexually mauling a woman and confessing and having his conscience broadened, Booker is a better man. By proclaiming his innocence, whether true or not, Kavanaugh is demeaning the feelings of Christine Ford.
What Cillizza is doing here is taking the same tack of the #MeToo movement as expressed in a column by Matt Bai. Essentially, men owe it to women to confess their guilt whether or not they are guilty because men are always guilty and you have to believe women.
He could have said: “Like a lot of misguided teenagers, I drank irresponsibly, and I have only vague memories of that time. I am certain as I stand here today that I never attacked anyone, and I have no specific recollection of Dr. Ford. But if I or any of my friends were involved in immature behavior that was painful to anyone at the time, I regret it.”
He could have said, in effect: Judge me for my lifetime of service, not for whatever may have happened at 17 that I was too stupid and drunk to remember.
But that’s not what Kavanaugh is saying. He dismisses not only the allegation but the context around it. He says he wasn’t that kind of kid. He says he wasn’t there, in the house Ford can describe in detail.
He makes a victim of her all over again, by essentially calling her delusional. He makes no allowance for the possibility that his own memory is blurred by inebriated youth.
Cillizza is trying to pretend that there is some huge procedural and cultural issue when, in fact, we already have the answer.
The accuser presents their allegation and their evidence. The accused presents their rebuttal and evidence. A third party weighs the evidence and arrives at a conclusion. Another principle is pretty well established: If an accuser keeps something secret for 30+ years and suddenly makes the charge…I don’t care what it is, sexual assault, vandalism, mopery with the intent to loiter…that tends to indicate that the accusation isn’t all that credible. A decades-old allegation with no evidence and no witnesses when faced with a firm denial, must yield a decision in favor of the accused. None of this is rocket science. Some guy named Hammurabi was putting this stuff on clay tablets 5,000 years ago.
But we all know what the real issue is here. Cory Booker is a black Democrat senator. He gets a pass. Keith Ellison, where we have 911 calls and a police report to document his domestic violence, gets a pass because he is a black Democrat running for AG of Minnesota. Brett Kavanaugh? Well, he’s a white guy so screw him because #BelieveWomen…oh, and he’s a Republican, so it’s a twofer.
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