I’m writing this while the Senate Judiciary Committee interrogation of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, about Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s alleged rape of Ford, is under way. What I’ve noticed is the two different hearings taking place.
One is the hearing that Democratic senators and prosecutor Rachel Mitchell are undertaking. Mitchell is cross examining Ford, but she is being cautious. Her tone is respectful and understated; she’s not interrupting Ford or rushing her. She is chuckling and working to build rapport with Ford.
Mitchell is pursuing lines of inquiry that are intended to introduce marginal doubt about Ford’s memory and credibility—things about times, dates, places, procedure. Nothing much about the matter of rape at hand, from the parts that I’ve watched on TV, streamed, and listened to on the radio through the morning.
Ford is, of course, a witness for Democrats, so they are making laudatory statements and asking her sympathetic statements. Ford talks mostly like a therapist, or like a scientist, often like your friend’s mom, and sometimes near tears.
Meanwhile, the eleven Republican senators—or at least, their leader, Chuck Grassley—are angry. Grassley speaks loudly. He is agitated, frustrated, maybe even outraged. He is blustering about this offer the committee made to Ford and that procedural point. He is maybe embarrassed about this whole tawdry business. He seems impatient about the delay.
He’s an old man, shouting. That’s what all Republicans seem to be these days.