September 21, 2018

Anita Hill and Keith Ellison

“A lawyer for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s accuser, professor Christine Blasey Ford, told a U.S. Senate committee on Thursday that Ford would be prepared to testify next week if the terms are fair and her safety is ensured.” Reuters

The left deems Ford a credible witness and thinks her accusation should be taken seriously. The right does not believe the allegation should disqualify Kavanaugh, as there is not enough corroborating evidence on either side to definitively determine what occurred 35 years ago, and resists further delay of the confirmation process. The Flip Side


While the credibility of Ford’s accusation continues to be debated, the two sides are drawing very different comparisons to the current situation.

The left sees many parallels between Kavanaugh/Ford and the 1991 confirmation hearing of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. “During the televised hearings, which lasted three days, Anita F. Hill, who then taught at the University of Oklahoma’s law school, detailed allegations of workplace sexual harassment by Judge Thomas, who was her supervisor at two government agencies. And Judge Thomas forcefully denied the accusations, claiming they played into stereotypes of black men.” New York Times

The right is focused on Keith Ellison, Deputy Chair of the DNC and the Democratic nominee for Minnesota Attorney General, who has been accused of physical and emotional abuse. On Tuesday Karen Monahan, Ellison’s ex-girlfriend, shared medical records indicating she had told her doctor that Ellison was abusive while they dated in 2016. Another woman, Amy Alexander, previously accused Ellison of abuse in 2005 during an alleged affair. Roll Call, Star Tribune

See past issues

From the Left

The left believes Anita Hill was treated unfairly in 1991 and urges Congress to do better this time around.

“More than a quarter century ago, a university professor named Anita Hill was abused, shamed, and ignored by the U.S. Senate—just for having the courage to go before the Judiciary Committee and describe how she’d been sexually harassed by Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas... Senators tempted to treat Ford unfairly ought to remember how their treatment of Hill helped lead to 1992 becoming the ‘Year of the Woman.’"

American Prospect

“Hill’s testimony was groundbreaking, even if it didn’t spark a full feminist revolution. This time around, our senators have a chance to demonstrate that things really have changed since 1991. And if they don’t, then the rest of us... must make them pay an electoral price so significant they won’t ever again think they can shunt women’s voices aside to clear the way for men ascending to power."

Vanity Fair

Anita Hill herself noted that “there is no way to redo 1991, but there are ways to do better." The Senate should “select a neutral investigative body with experience in sexual misconduct cases that will investigate the incident." Furthermore, it should “not rush these hearings... hastily appraising this situation would very likely lead to facts being overlooked that are necessary for the Senate and the public to evaluate."

New York Times

Many argue that “despite relentless Republican attacks, the benefits provided [by the ACA] -- guaranteed insurance and coverage of pre-existing conditions -- are now seen by many as a benefit to which they're entitled. Moving to Medicare for those who want it is a logical next step toward a single-payer option, one that maintains choice for millions of Americans… 56% of Americans say they support full Medicare for All… [but] when voters are presented with the full details of the Sanders and Warren plans, support falls dramatically… I believe it's critical for Democrats to maintain their advantage on health care going into 2020, and the best way to do that is to reject Medicare for All and embrace Medicare for those who want it.”
Joe Lockhart, CNN

The political calendar and Trump's approach could give grounds for optimism. Kim, who has presided over a limited form of economic development inside North Korea, is under pressure to deliver improvements in the lives of his people… So he has an incentive to try to seek economic benefits or aid from the United States and wants punishing economic sanctions lifted — a potential opening for US negotiators… Kim must realize that his chances of basking in this kind of legitimacy with a US President other than Trump are slim. So if he fears Trump could lose in 2020, he may reason the time may be ripe for a deal. And Trump wants nothing more than a big diplomatic breakthrough months before the election.”
Stephen Collinson, CNN

Regarding the Cadillac tax, “high-premium employer-based plans raise the cost of health care for everyone by encouraging the overconsumption of expensive services. This means that even Medicare and Medicaid face higher prices. Quite aside from its benefits for the health-care market, the Cadillac tax would also have the effect of expanding the tax base and making the tax code more efficient. It would raise revenues by about $15 billion a year… Rather than killing or delaying the Cadillac tax, Democrats should be trying to make it operational. The tax would raise revenue, lower costs, increase the efficiency of the tax code and give the Obamacare individual market its best chance at success.”
Karl W. Smith, Bloomberg

“The two issues with which he is most often associated, support for a balanced budget and opposition to free trade, put him at odds with both of our major political parties. An old-fashioned, soft-spoken Southerner, he nevertheless held views on so-called ‘social issues’ that would be to the left of the mainstream of the Republican Party, both then and now. He was a fervent supporter of the Vietnam POW/MIA movement in the late '80s and early '90s, but he was not in any sense a hawk. Never mind 2003. Perot opposed the first war in Iraq in 1990… Perot's death should be mourned by all Americans who regret the fact that it is no longer possible to make reasoned, non-ideological arguments about questions of public import, and by the devolution of our political life into mindless partisan squabbling.”
Matthew Walther, The Week

From the Right

The right alleges hypocrisy in the disparate treatment of Kavanaugh and Ellison.

From the Right

The right alleges hypocrisy in the disparate treatment of Kavanaugh and Ellison.

“Monahan, an active Democrat, and her son seemingly have no motive to lie about Ellison’s behavior, and three friends of Monahan and her work supervisor also said she confided Ellison’s abuse to them at the time it is alleged to have happened. She has provided medical records showing that she discussed the alleged abuse (and her fear of retribution from Ellison, who is named in the medical record) with her physician and her work supervisor.”

National Review

“Unlike the allegation against Kavanaugh, these charges are recent, specific, and the alleger claims to have documentary proof of the abuse/assault, a video which she has thus far not released publicly. Furthermore, there is another on-the-record allegation of similar abuse in 2005, far more recently than the Kavanaugh allegation, when Ellison was not just an adult but a public figure and running for Congress."

Hot Air

“Over in Minnesota, the media have a full-blown scandal brewing for a high-ranking Democrat who is running for higher office as we speak. They have the ‘who,’ they have the ‘what,’ they have the ‘when’ and they have the ‘where,’ and they have evidence to back it all up. Sounds like the kind of story political reporters would kill for. So where is the coverage?"

Washington Times

Regarding his candidacy overall, “There’s a lot of conventional wisdom in Washington that the early front-runner always loses. And that’s true except when it isn’t… in 1999, George W. Bush dominated the polls and, except for a brief scare from Senator John McCain in the New Hampshire primary, essentially cruised to victory. A key part of Bush’s early success, not just in polls but in fundraising, stemmed from the fact that he was promising a Bush restoration…

“He was offering a referendum on the incumbent president and the scandals and partisanship that defined the end of his administration. He vowed to restore ‘honor and dignity to the Oval Office’ and to be a ‘uniter not a divider.’ The very different context notwithstanding, this is pretty much Biden’s campaign message. The ideological, activist, and Twitter-obsessed base of the Democratic party may not like Biden’s pitch. But it sure looks like rank-and-file Democrats do.”
Jonah Goldberg, National Review

“Not only did [Trump] attack the ‘squad,’ he managed to do it in a way in which no other prominent Democrat can continue to criticize them publicly, lest they be perceived as echoing the president’s contention that they should go back where they came from. At the exact moment the accusations and counter-accusations were set to do lasting damage, Trump just had to jump in and give them an attack that would unify them all. It often seems like Trump would rather have a bad news cycle that focuses on him than a beneficial news cycle that focuses on someone else… Everyone around the president can read a poll and knows that his rage-tweeting is a liability; it is perhaps the biggest liability in a presidency that, with prosperity and a perception of peace, ought to be comfortably cruising to reelection.”
Jim Geraghty, National Review

“If Joe Biden can win his way through the primaries, he’s almost lab-engineered to beat Trump. He doesn’t cause Republican panic, he has the potential to connect with white working-class voters in a way that Hillary couldn’t in 2016, and he has a potential to connect better with black voters than Hillary did… if Biden emerges from [this] crucible, Trump will face a very different challenge than he faced in 2016.”
David French, National Review

“NBC and MSNBC embraced Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts in the first debate of Democratic presidential candidates Wednesday night, treating her like the star of the show. The debate led off with Warren, who had a huge popularity advantage from the start… NBC anchor Savannah Guthrie started it off sounding more like Warren’s press secretary. ‘You have many plans – free college, free child care, government health care, cancelation of student debt, new taxes, new regulations, the breakup of major corporations,’ Guthrie said, before teeing up an economy question. Guthrie even used Warren’s plan to break up tech companies as the foundation for a question for Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey… the round-robin final comments also ended with Warren, as Maddow asked her for the ‘final, final statement.’ That let NBC bookend the entire debate with Warren and Warren.”
Dan Gainor, Fox News

President Trump should be happy. As much as Warren is articulate, obviously intelligent, and energetically supported by Democrats, she would also be far easier to defeat than Joe Biden… Considering Trump's economy, the president is well placed to defeat Warren.”
Tom Rogan, Washington Examiner

A libertarian's take

“The fans who avidly followed the men’s tournament certainly weren’t doing anything wrong. And it’s hard to argue that each of them had a moral obligation to be exactly as interested in women’s soccer. Even if we could stop them from watching the men more than the women, should we?…

“It’s tempting to answer that the fan choices aren’t innocent, they’re sexist. But since we can’t peek into their hearts, to say that definitively, we’d have to assume that men’s greater speed, strength and endurance definitely make nodifference to the sport’s quality. Fair enough, but then why do fans prefer to watch Megan Rapinoe play instead of the sedentary elderly who could presumably use some exercise? Alternatively, maybe pay should be equalized precisely because biology is unfair. But that seems to be an argument for curbing the pay of all top-level athletes, who have to hit the genetic lottery just to get on the field. It might be easier to focus on the distributions across society at large, rather than every individual industry, especially when fundamental biology is in play.”
Megan McArdle, Washington Post

On the bright side...

A night in a cottage made entirely of chocolate? Yours for just €50.

The Independent

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