Analysis: GOP handling of Ford testimony would have to improve to reek

On Thursday, the Detroit News said that Fox News’ Chris Wallace called Dr. Christine Ford’s testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee a “disaster” for Republicans.  He’s right, but not because Ford was wonderful, eloquent or offered any valuable or pertinent information.  He’s right because Republicans didn’t handle it properly.

According to the Detroit News:

Wallace and some others on Fox have used breaks in the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing to say Ford has performed strongly her early testimony. And they’re expressing frustration about the line of questioning by the prosecutor hired by Republicans to question Ford about her sexual assault accusation against Kavanaugh.

The commentators’ assessment is important because the White House says President Donald Trump, who was flying from New York to Washington as the hearing started, was watching Fox’s coverage.

Fox’s Brit Hume put it this way about Ford: “The more hesitant, the more fragile she has seemed, the more credible and powerful she seems to the audience.”

Wrong, wrong, wrong.  The fact, simply put, is this — the handling of this by Republicans reeked.  Even if it was 100 percent better than it was, it would still reek.

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USA Today said that Republicans “remained mostly muted awaiting further testimony from Ford and Kavanaugh.”

Worse yet, Rachel Mitchell, the prosecutor who questioned Ford in five-minute increments, seemed to treat the encounter as a deposition rather than an actual hearing, and failed to ask the hard questions that needed to be asked.

Rush Limbaugh correctly observed:

I know what the Republicans are trying to do. They’re trying to make it look like they are not bullying this woman at all. They are not bullying, they are not gonna treat her unfairly, and they are going to such great lengths to do this that they are not even questioning her. They’ve hired a prosecutor — a female prosecutor, sex-crimes prosecutor — to come in and conduct questions. But it is wholly ineffective if you’re looking for immediate points scored or immediate gain, because you cannot do what she’s doing in five-minute intervals.

Limbaugh also noted the distinction in the way Ford was questioned, telling his audience that in a deposition, one asks “open-ended questions because you’re looking for information.”

He added:

In a hearing, you do the exact opposite. You ask leading questions because you’re trying to make a point. You’re trying to make points, bam, bam, bam, bam, bam. In a deposition, nobody ever sees it. You’re preparing for trial. It’s recorded on video in an office somewhere, never in a courtroom or never in public like this. Depositions are rarely actually seen in toto, and it’s to prepare for trial. This is the trial! This is, even though it’s not, the moment of truth.

“Questions like, ‘So you’re saying this traumatic event happens and you can’t say what happened right afterwards? You’re saying this traumatic event happened, but you can’t say where? You’re saying this traumatic event happened, but you can’t say when for certain? You won’t tell us who drove you home and what you told that person right after this traumatic event?’ Those are the questions that this prosecutor, if this were in court, would be asking,” he said.

As it was, Ford offered no corroboration of her account whatsoever, but did express ignorance of who paid for her polygraph.

There were a number of opportunities to ask pertinent questions, but no one bothered to do so.  Why?

The reason is simple — Republicans, scared of being called names, apparently decided to trade in their backbones for pacifiers, no doubt hoping to mollify critics who might call them names.

Limbaugh called the testimony “frustrating” and “maddening.”

That doesn’t even begin to describe it.

Note to Republicans: It’s time to get a backbone and stop this kangaroo court.  The voters are watching, and if Kavanaugh doesn’t get appointed to the Supreme Court, there will be hell to pay in November.

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