Christine Blasey Ford has either developed a case of cold feet or she’s playing footsie with the Democrats. Neither one of those options is useful if she wants to stop Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court.
It would certainly be understandable if Ford decided not to go through the brutal spectacle of a committee hearing. Since she’s told her story, she and her family say they have been subjected to what must be terrifying insults and threats.
Any woman in the public eye can tell you about that.
In this age of anonymous Twitter postings, a brief appearance on TV can elicit the most hateful and misogynistic messages, some of them downright frightening. So, I can imagine how awful the missives headed Ford’s way must be.
But she made the choice to reveal her identity, knowing that it would upend her life. Now, she needs to tell her story to the people who will decide whether Brett Kavanaugh ascends to the Supreme Court -- the members of the United States Senate.
Absent that, she has put herself and her family in harm’s way to no end.
The confirmation will proceed.
If Ford’s lawyers are insisting on an FBI investigation in the hopes of finding some corroborating evidence of a decades-old alleged crime, that’s again understandable, but highly unlikely to happen.
And if they are taking that tack because the Democrats want to delay the confirmation process in the hopes of jettisoning Kavanaugh and energizing female voters, that’s likely to backfire.
As it is, some Republicans who had said they needed to hear from the accuser before they would vote, are now getting restless, saying that she’s been invited to testify in any way that’s comfortable for her -- in private or public, with senators or staff—and that she should do so.
The Democrats’ insistence that the Kavanaugh nomination is being railroaded sounds like politics as usual, rather than concern for a wronged woman. Perhaps they hope that the longer they string this out, the more unlikely it will be for the president to restrain his Twitter finger and that he will say something to outrage women voters.
Some Republicans in the Senate are already stepping onto treacherous terrain by suggesting that Ford is “mixed up” or “confused.” Give them a few more days and who knows what they might say.
But so far, they and the White House have, by and large, played it smart. They have repeatedly stated that Ford be respected and heard. They have focused their fire on Democrats -- not her. And as the week has progressed, and no other woman or fellow high-school partygoer has come forward, they have renewed their support for Kavanaugh, who has unblinkingly denied the allegations.
If Ford took this life-altering step because she believes that Brett Kavanaugh should not serve on the Supreme Court, then she must come forward to tell that to the Senate. And then it will be up to the members to decide what to do.
As it is now, without her testimony, it is almost certain that Judge Kavanaugh will soon become Justice Kavanaugh.
Cokie Roberts is a political commentator. Opinions expressed in this column do not necessarily reflect the views of ABC News.