That crackling sound Joe Biden is hearing is not the Rice Crispies in his cereal bowl. It is the sound of ice slowly starting to give beneath his feet.
Two recent articles prompted this piece—one by Cathy Young and the other by Monica Hesse. Unsurprisingly, both Young and Hesse conclude that Christine Blasey Ford is more credible than Tara Reade. Unsurprisingly, I disagree.
It’s not complicated. By every imaginable measure, by any conceivable standard, Tara Reade’s allegation that Joe Biden sexually assaulted her is far more credible than Ford’s.
Passage of Time
Given the passage of time, there is no possibility for a solid factual determination of what happened in either case. In Ford’s case, the event occurred (if it occurred at all) when both she and Brett Kavanaugh were teenagers, 36 years earlier.
Biden’s alleged assault on Reade occurred 27 years ago. Events that might have occurred 27 years ago between adults in a work setting, however, are easier to establish and remember than events that might have occurred 36 years ago between teenagers at a summer weekend party involving alcohol.
Thus, here Reade is a few points ahead of Ford in terms of credibility.
Knowing the Alleged Perpetrator
Many on the Left gloss over the fact that to this day no one has established that Kavanaugh and Ford actually knew each other or even met. In nearly 20 months, not a single journalist has produced one shred of evidence that Kavanaugh and Ford were ever even within one mile of each other. This should be an insurmountable stumbling block—but nothing will stop the partisans.
Young dismisses this difficulty with a breezy “it’s a fact that they traveled in the same social circles.” This sleight of hand raises its own questions. Is it a “fact,” and what, exactly, were their social circles?
Ford went to Holton-Arms School, which was not a Catholic prep school. Ford was also two years younger than Kavanaugh. A two-year age difference is nothing for adults—but it can mean a great deal to 17- and 15-year-olds. Kavanaugh was a rising senior in the summer of 1982—it is easier to see him socializing with rising seniors from nearby Catholic girls’ schools than with a 15-year-old rising sophomore from a relatively distant non-Catholic one.
Nor is it apparent that their social circles, however defined, were the same, or even that they overlapped much. Is it possible that they met somehow somewhere at some social function? It is not impossible—but Ford’s supporters bear the burden of proof on this. One must assume they have searched under every rock and tree, and came up dry.
Tara Reade, on the other hand, worked for Biden. It is clear, then, that they met, and met multiple times.
This factor is overwhelmingly in Reade’s favor.
Blasey Ford’s motivation to lie was always clear—she is a committed Democratic partisan. There was good reason why she erased her entire social media trail before “coming forward.” There was good reason why she hired the particular set of lawyers who represented her. There was good reason why she contacted her congressional representative and then Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), and not someone else. Blasey Ford surely understood the explosiveness of her allegations and their potential impact on the Kavanaugh confirmation. All her protestations to the contrary were bunk, and only highlight her dishonesty.
Deborah Katz, Ford’s lawyer, said last year:
[Kavanaugh] will always have an asterisk next to his name. When he takes a scalpel to Roe v. Wade, we will know who he is, we know his character, and we know what motivates him. And that is important; it is important that we know, and that is part of what motivated Christine.
Young (and others) explain this inconvenient admission by arguing the audio quality is poor, and what Katz actually said was “That is part of what motivated Christine in discharging her civic duty.” (Italics added by Young.) But even if, arguendo, Katz said this, it changes nothing in our understanding of Ford’s motivation to lie—a partisan hit job on a conservative Supreme Court nominee, dressed up as a “civic duty,” is still a partisan hit job.
We should not forget the rage and the despair progressives felt at the prospect of Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court in 2018, or the lengths to which Democrats were willing to go to obstruct and sabotage it. What are a few more lies in the service of their greater cause?
For all the overwrought pathos from every Democratic senator on the Judiciary Committee about the supposed sacrifices Blasey Ford supposedly made in coming forward, she did alright for herself. She went from an obscure psychology professor to being a hero to the Left. She raised nearly $1 million for “personal security.” A memoir and many paid speeches surely await her. She is no victim for speaking out.
Now consider Tara Reade. She is a Democrat with no obvious motive to lie about the Democratic nominee. It is certainly not obvious what her motive to lie could have been in 1993 as she surely could not have anticipated Joe Biden would be her party’s nominee in 2020.
In sum, whatever one thinks of the ultimate truth of the allegations themselves, Blasey Ford had a clear and obvious partisan motive for lying, while Reade did not.
This factor, therefore, is also overwhelmingly in Reade’s favor.
Every single witness named by Blasey Ford contradicted her story in every detail and in all details. Blasey Ford’s friend Leland Keyser—who at the time of the confirmation hearings took the position that she supported Ford, but had no specific recollection of the events in question—now explicitly denies that the party described by Ford ever happened or that she ever met Kavanaugh.
Keyser is a Democrat. She could have stuck with “it might have happened, but I can’t recall the specifics, even though I believe Christine is telling what she believes is the truth.” But Blasey Ford’s friend (probably now a former friend) is unequivocal that the events Ford describes did not happen. Keep in mind that Leland Keyser was Blasey Ford’s sole “witness” as to whether she and Keyser had ever met Kavanaugh.
Blasey Ford’s parents did not attend the hearing when she testified. The media glossed over this—yet it is highly significant. The people who know Christine Blasey Ford better than anyone refused to lend their presence or name to the Kavanaugh hit job or to enhance their daughter’s credibility by being there. A strong inference is that they were torn between their love for their daughter and their own private certainty that her story is fabricated.
Tara Reade has five contemporaneous witnesses to whom she told her story, in varying degrees of detail.
Biden defenders often focus on the fact that she didn’t tell every detail to her brother. But it is silly to expect that she would have told all the gory details to every person in whom she confided, perhaps especially a brother. (Democrats certainly never applied this requirement to Blasey Ford.) How many women use sentences like “My Boss, Senator Joseph R. Biden (D-Del.), pinned me against the wall, pushed his hand under my dress, and then inserted a finger into my vagina” in conversations with their relatives and friends? Expecting this kind of specificity from every Reade witness 27 years later is absurd.
The substance of Reade’s story—as told to multiple people—has remained consistent all these years. No witness has come forward to contradict her. The best Biden could do was to trot out a few ex-staffers with “Joe Biden never did anything like that to me,” or “I never saw anything like that.”
This factor, therefore, is clearly in Reade’s favor.
It is remarkable that in Blasey Ford’s case, there actually was documentary evidence. The problem for her was that Kavanaugh’s calendar from 1982 supports his version of the story—and contradicts Ford’s. It was not definitive proof, but it certainly raised additional questions about Blasey Ford’s story. It is something.
Blasey Ford had no documents (or anything else) in support of any detail of her story from 1982. She has refused to provide her psychiatrist’s notes from 30 years later. Could it be that those notes contain inconsistencies with her verbal testimony or other statements? Otherwise, why not produce them? At a minimum, Ford’s refusal raises questions about her overall credibility.
Documentary evidence in support of Tara Reade’s story is in Biden’s papers. We must make the logical inference from Biden’s refusal to open his records. Biden’s buddies at the University of Delaware are in charge of his archive—and are we certain we can trust them to produce relevant documents, and not destroy any inconvenient ones?
Biden’s letter to the secretary of the Senate requesting documents regarding Tara Reade’s sexual harassment complaint was very narrowly and carefully phrased—but Reade’s complaint was not styled or titled as a “sexual harassment complaint.” Nor did Biden ask for release of records relating to other women who might have filed complaints against him.
This factor, therefore, is also in Reade’s favor.
Credibility and Reputation of Accuser
It is beyond doubt that Christine Blasey Ford lied about many things.
At a minimum, she lied about her “fear of flying” preventing her from coming to Washington to testify (despite regularly flying cross country, to Hawaii, and other international hotspots). Blasey Ford (and her lawyers) were playing games, using her supposed “fear of flying” as an excuse to delay and drag out the process.
Blasey Ford also lied about adding a door to her house because of the psychological “trauma” she suffered in 1982—the real reason (it came out weeks later) was that she was converting part of the house into a sublet apartment.
Tara Reade, on the other hand, is available any time to anyone who is willing to listen to her. She has yet to be caught in an overt lie.
Regrettably, Rachel Mitchell, who questioned Blasey Ford, did not ask about Ford’s high school nickname “Party Girl,” or about her reputation for binge drinking in high school. Is it relevant? It is especially relevant in this case, where no physical evidence exists, the documentary evidence contradicts her story, all the witnesses Blasey Ford named denied the events happened, and all we have is Blasey Ford’s foggy memories. Her personal credibility and reputation are shaky at best.
Young questions Tara Reade’s credibility based on a few strange posts of hers about Vladimir Putin. Young says:
Further doubts about Reade’s credibility are raised by her bizarre posts about Vladimir Putin, hailing not only his leadership but his “sensuous image,” “combination of strength with gentleness” and “reverence for women.” The issue is not that Reade is a Russian agent; it’s that she seems to be, to put it politely, an oddball.
The problem with Tara Reade being an oddball based on her admiration for Putin is that most of the Democratic Party is in that same oddball boat. Until very recently, most Democrats, from Barack Obama on down, had a fairly favorable view of Putin. Only when it became useful in the context of the Trump-Russia collusion hoax did Democrats flip from Putinophilia to ersatz Putinophobia. Tara Reade is no more of an oddball than any other Democrat.
The totality of circumstances on this factor favors Reade.
Consistency of the Story Over Time
Blasey Ford’s story evolved over time. Crucially, it evolved as investigators were discovering serious factual inconsistencies that could not be explained easily—such as the year when the events supposedly occurred (Blasey Ford shifted her story from mid-1980s to 1982), distances between the country club and the house where the party supposedly took place, the interior and layout of the house (no house that fit the description could be found), how she got there, and how and when and with whom she left. There were mentions in the press that she received a “recovered memories” treatment from her psychiatrist—a treatment that is now widely regarded as charlatanism.
Blasey Ford’s (and her progressive allies’) explanation for all this is that she suffered such a terrible psychological trauma that it is understandable that her memories would be foggy (and wrong) on many details—but the “essence” of her story, as Joe Biden would later say, is real. Perhaps women find it perfectly normal that Blasey Ford can’t remember key details? After I published this piece about the Kavanaugh confirmation in October 2018, a woman emailed me, mentioning her own experience:
I was sexually molested when I was 12 years of age (58 yrs ago), I remember every disgusting detail. I ran home, told my parents immediately, I told my husband of 51 years when we were dating, told all my close friends and family and our daughter. What Ms. Ford has testified to is beyond any reason or logic
A foggy memory is a convenient construct for explaining away inconsistencies—but it’s one thing when someone’s memory is just one piece of the puzzle. It’s quite another when the entirety of a case is based on a woman’s foggy memory.
Tara Reade does not claim foggy memory. Reade does not claim to forget details, nor does she change them to fit the evolving media narrative.
Considering the totality of the circumstances, this factor is overwhelmingly in Tara Reade’s favor.
Reputation of the Accused Respecting Women
Until the confirmation hearings, Kavanaugh had a spotless reputation. Multiple background checks over many years have never uncovered even a shred of impropriety. That reputation had to be torn down—and the vehicles for that, aside from Blasey Ford herself, were Julie Swetnick (and her lawyer, Michael Avenatti, who is now wearing orange), and Debbie Ramirez.
Conservatives owe Avenatti and his client a debt of gratitude. Were it not for his peddling of the fantasy that Kavanaugh, at age 17, organized and led a teenage rape gang that raped countless college women on multiple occasions, who can say how it all would have turned out? Would Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) have said “enough, already,” without Swetnick and Avenatti? Would Senator Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.) have channeled his inner Margaret Thatcher without those two scam artists?
The Ramirez story was never intended to be believable—only to add just enough bad odor to the entire sordid confirmation affair for just enough people to say, “yeah, that Kavanaugh fella . . . maybe there’s something there, maybe, just maybe, he ain’t quite the straight arrow he pretends to be.”
In brief, three decades after graduating from Yale, Debbie Ramirez spent several days examining her memories and consulting with friends and her lawyers, and concluded that it was possible that while she was drunk out of her skull in her dorm, Kavanaugh’s friend produced Kavanaugh’s penis for her to touch. Despite an exhaustive media investigative effort that rivaled the search for the elusive Higgs Boson, no confirmation of this ludicrous “incident” was ever unearthed.
But the media and the Left latched onto Ramirez precisely because there were just enough optics there to create a stain on Kavanaugh’s reputation, with or without corroboration.
To say that Biden’s reputation is less than pristine would be an understatement. Joe Biden is in a class all his own with his long, squalid history of inappropriate groping, fondling, touching, and kissing women and young girls.
The internet is filled with countless “Creepy Joe” videos and photos of Biden, doing things that would be fatal for any Republican politician. If he worked for a private employer, he would have been summarily fired ages ago. There are multiple formal complaints of unwanted groping and touching, attesting to Biden’s true attitude towards women (at least seven such complaints, besides that of Tara Reade).
Recently, it came to light that Biden likes to discuss 14-year-old girls’ breasts with them, seconds after meeting them. (That is from 2008, incidentally, when Biden was 65.) “Creepy” does not begin to describe Biden—who obviously considers himself entitled, and no doubt is not sorry for anything, deep down inside.
Biden’s defenders (and Blasey Ford’s supporters) point out that despite all that unwanted groping, fondling, sniffing, and kissing, Biden hasn’t been specifically accused of sexual assault before. That is true—but Ramirez’s allegation was nothing like Blasey Ford’s either, though that never stopped Democratic partisans from finding that there were “patterns of behavior.” It is easier to believe that a career groper/fondler/sniffer/kisser committed assault, than it is to believe that Kavanaugh, who has never been accused before September 2018 of even looking improperly at a woman, is guilty of assault.
On this factor, Tara Reade wins by a mile.
Reaction of the Accused
As discussed in more detail in this excellent John Nolte article, when Christine Blasey Ford’s allegations surfaced, Kavanaugh demanded an immediate opportunity to address and refute them, and produced every document he had relating to the allegation.
Biden refused to say a word for five weeks, and continues to deny access to his senatorial papers. I have little doubt that full access to all of Biden’s papers (wherever they may be hidden—University of Delaware, National Archives, the Senate basement) will expose even more past misconduct. This is likely the reason he is so terrified of giving the public access.
Kavanaugh’s insistence on his absolute innocence saved his nomination, and for that reason enraged Democrats, who expected him to take the “maybe Blasey Ford misunderstood something, and I am really sorry if something happened” tack. Hesse writes:
While still maintaining his innocence, Kavanaugh could have gone for nuance instead of histrionics, perhaps striking a serious tone about the complicating factors of youth and alcohol in matters of behavior and memory. Something like, “I have no memory of doing this, and I truly believe I am innocent and incapable of such a thing. But I did drink to the point of stupor, as many of my friends have told the news. Nobody wants to know what happened more than I do. Please launch a full investigation; I’ll help however I can.” It would have awarded us so many opportunities for discussion; it would have been such a moment of humility and grace.
No, it wouldn’t have been. Hesse refuses to grasp the fact that when a man is innocent, he needs no nuance, nor does he care about “many opportunities for discussion.” An innocent man doesn’t hide behind faulty memory or complicating factors. Kavanaugh knew he was innocent, and he said so in no uncertain terms. The Left hated it, but thanks to his powerful, unequivocal defense based on his absolute innocence, just enough Americans didn’t buy Ford’s accusations to give Republican senators the backbone they sorely needed.
On this factor, Tara Reade wins hands down.
In the Final Analysis
Many Democratic politicians and left-leaning journalists are today twisting themselves into multi-dimensional pretzels, trying to explain why they so uncritically accepted Blasey Ford’s weak, inconsistent, contradictory, and uncorroborated story, but refuse to extend the same courtesy to Reade. One concocted narrative is that Blasey Ford’s allegations are somehow more credible than Reade’s.
They are not.
If the self-professed women’s advocates were less hypocritical, they would give the same treatment to Creepy Joe Biden that they gleefully inflicted on Brett Kavanaugh. But the ice is starting to crack—whether he wants to or not, Joe Biden will be unable to resist an investigation of some sort for much longer. Creepy Joe may be about to reap the whirlwind.