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User Machavity's answer to How did the Kavanaugh confirmation move so quickly despite the serious allegations? cites an uncompelling David French National Review piece which, among other things, argues by implication that alleged witness' Mark Judge's denial of the alleged outrage should be taken seriously. French wrote (emphasis mine):

Consider the following, undisputed facts about her testimony and the evidence she’s provided. Not one of the witnesses that she’s put forward have backed her version of events – not even her own friends. At best they’ve said they have no recollection of the party.

By Ford's account Judge was one of the witnesses, and a more careful and less partisan author would take pains to weigh the respective witnesses' relative degrees of objectivity and credibility, rather than neglecting to mention such worrisome variables.

I left a comment about that:

That David French National Review piece seems uncompelling. Mark Judge himself has written about his own terrible alcoholism, including, in his teens, several drunken blackouts, and times when he'd wake up without remembering a thing, (also forging fake IDs for himself and his friends, drunken driving, evading arrest, serial vandalism, alcoholic rages, parental bailouts, etc). French expects a dishonest lad prone to drunken blackouts to be able and willing give and honest and accurate recall of crimes witnessed while drunk.

(The alcoholism is most relevant, it manifested not in isolation but as part of Georgetown Prep's illegal heavy drinking "slap on the wrist" culture; Judge and Kavanaugh were members of a Senior year underage drinking club that drank 100 kegs of beer, (How much? 775 gallons if it was quarter kegs, or else 1,550 gallons if half kegs). Given 100 Seniors, that's 7-15 gallons per capita, but surely many Seniors would not have been drinkers, leaving more for those who were drinkers. It's plausible that neither Judge nor Kavanaugh would ever be able to remember the alleged crime, if they both drank themselves into a stupor thereafter.)

This good-faith and relevant comment seems to have been quickly deleted. So I'm very curious why...

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I think you are referring to this comment:

That David French National Review piece seems uncompelling. Mark Judge himself has written about his own terrible alcoholism, including, in his teens, several drunken blackouts, and times when he'd wake up without remembering a thing, (also forging fake IDs for himself and his friends, drunken driving, evading arrest, serial vandalism, alcoholic rages, parental bailouts, etc). French expects a dishonest lad prone to drunken blackouts to be able and willing give and honest and accurate recall of crimes witnessed while drunk.

I deleted it because it lead the comment thread into an off-topic direction.

  1. The comment before already pointed out that National Review is a partisan source
  2. The comment was mostly about Mark Judge, not the topic of the question (the Kavanaugh confirmation hearing)

This is not the only comment I deleted there. Hot network questions about controversial topics always attract a large number of chatty comments. In order to not give the impression that this website is a debate club, we need to cut a lot of comments.

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There were a couple problems with that comment:

  1. It makes out and out false claims about the article it is allegedly discussing. Reading that comment, I would think that Mark Judge's statement was the centerpiece of the argument. Instead, it never appears. The closest:

    Consider the following, undisputed facts about her testimony and the evidence she’s provided. Not one of the witnesses that she’s put forward have backed her version of events – not even her own friends. At best they’ve said they have no recollection of the party. Her friend, Leyland Keyser, went further, declaring through her attorney that “Simply put, Ms. Keyser does not know Mr. Kavanaugh and she has no recollection of ever being at a party or gathering where he was present, with, or without, Dr. Ford.”

    Mark Judge was one of the individuals who denied it. But he wasn't actually mentioned as doing so. This is the definition of straw man slaying. Ford cited five people as being at the party. She's the only one who claims to remember it. The other four all deny it. Admittedly Kavanaugh's denial might be self-serving. Judge's might be a result of an alcoholic blackout. That still leaves P.J. Smyth and Leland Keyser. Both denied it. And French only cites Keyser. Why? Because she's more credible than Judge, Kavanaugh, or even Smyth. She was Ford's friend, not Kavanaugh's.

    Of course David French didn't mention that Judge was an unreliable narrator. He never quotes Judge directly. The closest he comes to mentioning Judge as saying anything is as a part of a group of people.

  2. It treats Judge as if his drunkenness corroborates her story. While it is true that if Judge and then Christine Blasey had been at a party together, it would be quite likely that he would have been drunk. That doesn't corroborate anything. You could say that about Judge and anyone. Erle Stanley Gardner, the lawyer famous for writing the Perry Mason novels, had an analogy for this. He suggested that this was much like claiming a big kill while hunting and citing as proof that he would show you the tree near where it happened.

    If Judge were not a drunk, that would debunk the Ford story. That he is a drunk corroborates that single point. But it does not say that the incident happened at all or that if it happened that either Judge or Kavanaugh was involved. We're still left that no one else corroborates that she had ever met Kavanaugh or Judge.

This is why the Senate committee never interviewed Judge. He was an unreliable narrator. All that he could say was that he didn't remember the incident. And honestly, he didn't remember a lot of incidents. So he could well have forgotten the night he saved Ford from being raped (remember, Judge was the hero of the story, interrupting Kavanaugh at the crucial moment).

The article mainly focused on how the three accusers were not reliable narrators.

  1. Julie Swetnick recanted.
  2. Deborah Ramirez couldn't even remember Kavanaugh as being the person involved in her incident. She was so drunk that her only memory afterward was penis. Kavanaugh was one of the hundreds if not thousands of men at Yale at that time. There remains no evidence that he ever met Ramirez.
  3. Ford was not able to provide any witness showing that she knew Kavanaugh. Nor could she identify the house where the incident occurred. Some have focused on a particular calendar entry, but French pointed out that that entry did not match the details Ford provided.
    • No girls are mentioned. But she said that she and Keyser were there.
    • She said the house was close to the country club swimming pool. But that house was not.
    • She described it as moving from the country club to the house as a group. But the boys were coming from football practice. They wouldn't have been at the country club.
    • She remembers six people as being at the party but can only remember who five were. But the party is described as including someone she knew well (Squi). Would she really have forgotten the presence of one of the two people at the party that she knew?

None of that says that such a party never happened. Just that that calendar entry is not consistent with the party she described except that the people she mentioned were there.

Ford says that it's 100% that it was Kavanaugh. But no one asked her about displacement. Displacement is when someone under trauma moves attribution from one person to another.

Ford describes the incident as scarring the remainder of her high school years and part of her college years. That's an awfully strong reaction for an incident where ultimately, nothing happened. But that would make perfect sense if she had more of a relationship with her assailant and simply couldn't face the betrayal of her feelings that way. Kavanaugh wouldn't fit that, but Squi would. And quite possibly there was yet another boy who has not yet been mentioned that would.

In 2012, Ford could have read that Kavanaugh went to Georgetown Prep and that could have reminded her of the incident. In the liberal media, Kavanaugh is often depicted as a demon who is going to rip up the liberal judicial achievements of the 1960s. So rather than blaming the person who had betrayed her, she displaced her feelings onto someone she did not know but whom she found unlikable.

Is that what happened? We don't know. She's an unreliable narrator. Any of the following are possible:

  1. She deliberately and knowingly lied about Kavanaugh to keep him off the Supreme Court so as to keep up the value of investments in abortion-related businesses. She used her psychology background to make up a realistic story and to beat the polygraph examination.
  2. She displaced a real incident from the actual perpetrator to Kavanaugh. She passed the polygraph because she really believed it. And because the baseline was wrong. She was already under stress from her grandmother's death, so the baseline questions showed a high stress level. The lying tells disappeared in that noise.
  3. She described an incident that she witnessed but in which she did not participate. I.e. Kavanaugh and some other young woman had an encounter that Ford witnessed and interpreted as attempted rape but which the young woman might have regarded as horseplay. Over time, she convinced herself that she was involved.
  4. She described her side of an incident that young Kavanaugh would have described differently.
  5. Kavanaugh attempted to rape her.

All of those are possible. Unfortunately, we have no real evidence saying that one is true and the others false. She's an unreliable narrator. She has forgotten most of the details (assuming that they ever existed). That's perfectly normal for a thirty-six year old memory, particularly one about trauma. But it also makes it impossible for Kavanaugh to refute.

Or take Keyser. Why did she deny the existence of the party?

  1. She was never there.
  2. She was there but doesn't remember it.
  3. She was there, remembers it, but doesn't want her parents to know that she drank beer at a party with boys when she was fifteen.
  4. She was there, remembers it, doesn't care about the beer, but doesn't want to talk about how she lost her virginity there after Ford witnessed the beginning of a consensual sexual encounter with someone in whom both young women were interested.
  5. She was there, remembers it, doesn't care about the beer, but doesn't want to talk about how she lost her virginity there after Ford left her there to get drunk with an attempted rapist.
  6. She just doesn't like Ford.

Again, all possible. No evidence for one explanation over another. It's not even exhaustive. We could come up with more explanations. #4 and #5 include speculative possibilities that would explain motivations if they were true, just as most anti-Kavanaugh arguments include unfounded speculation.

The ultimate problem here does not really relate to what Kavanaugh may or may not have done at seventeen. You and everybody else who is anti-Kavanaugh are against him for completely different reasons. If the story had come out when Ford first made contact with the Washington Post, I would have joined the call for Kavanaugh to withdraw. Why? Because I thought then and still think now that Margaret Ryan would make a better Supreme Court justice. But by the time the allegations actually came out, it was no longer a question of who would be the nominee but whether the nominee would be confirmed in time to start the new term.

There was an FBI investigation. It exonerated Kavanaugh as much as it could be expected to do. Is there anyone who switched from anti-Kavanaugh to pro-Kavanaugh as a result? Maybe Joe Manchin.

This delayed Kavanaugh's confirmation by about two weeks. Democrats were openly saying that if they produced enough delay, they might take the Senate and be able to block a nominee.

The new claim is that the FBI did not do a thorough enough investigation. If you really believe that, then tell Ford to make a complaint in Maryland. Her story, if corroborated, would support an indictment for assault with attempt to rape, a felony with no statute of limitations in Maryland. The Maryland Attorney General is a Democrat with no reason to try to cover up for Republicans. If anything, the incentives go the other way, to investigate even if there is no basis.

I tend more to the side that comments on Politics.SE should always be temporary. They are only supposed to be used to comment on the post, not to make false claims about the post's sources.

  • Thanks for taking the time Brythan. Most of this answer is not about Judge, and seems more like a valiant non-Meta answer to a different question. Re "out and out false claims about the [David French] article": maybe I'm slow today... please quote any specific incorrect claims from my comment. I certainly have no desire to post errors, but am still fuzzy as to at exactly which word it was, (in your view), where said comment might have went off the rails. – agc Oct 12 '18 at 13:54
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    As I said, "French expects a dishonest lad" has no basis in the article. French doesn't expect anything of Judge. He doesn't cite him as a source. He does cite Keyser. Your comment is essential "Judge is a horrible witness so French article irrelevant." But the article does not use Judge as a witness. – Brythan Oct 12 '18 at 22:31
  • French's neglect to cite or mention Judge either as a source, or as a non-source, was the curious part. See revised Q. – agc Oct 13 '18 at 20:02

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