Hope you've had your morning coffee.
What happened last night is the culmination of years of far right wing religious conservatives being given a platform they don't deserve. And it shows just how terrified the people running the Kavanaugh confirmation process are.
Most people don't know the name Ed Whelan. He's considered by the right wing elite to be a great legal mind. In the days when the fight for marriage equality was front and center, Whelan's positions were prominently supported and distributed by anti-LGBT groups, and he was called on to speak against marriage equality.
Apparently, Whelan is good friends with Judge Brett Kavanaugh, and is working to help him get confirmed.
Thursday night, in a mad series (mad as in: odd, desperate, strange, and OMG WTH are you doing?) Whelan shared his theory that Brett Kavanaugh may not be the person who sexually assaulted and attempted to rape Dr. Christine Blasey Ford.
Not that it didn't happen, but just that someone else was the attacker, and Blasey Ford is mistaken.
It was not well-received:
A prominent DC conservative, trying to promote an alternate theory that someone else (and not Kavanaugh) may have sexually assaulted Professor Ford, named that person, showed photographs suggesting Ford confused the two and more. This is stunningly irresponsible.
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) September 20, 2018
Already there's been a Kavanaugh doppelgänger theory, published in of all places The Washington Post, by none other than Kathleen Parker. She wrote on Tuesday, "given the high regard in which Kavanaugh has been held throughout his life, including during high school, it would make the most sense. Could there be a Kavanaugh doppelganger?"
Now the Kavanaugh team is (unofficially) putting out that maybe Blasey Ford was attacked – but she is just mistaken about who held her down, covered her mouth so she couldn't scream or breath, and tried to rape her.
They think this is a good idea.
The Washington Post Thursday night reported this was being discussed by the White House group trying to get Kavanaugh onto the nation's highest court, and describes the the insanity that took place last night, noting that Whelan "is close friends with both Kavanaugh and Leonard Leo, the head of the Federalist Society who has been helping to spearhead the nomination."
"Kavanaugh and his allies have been privately discussing a defense that would not question whether an incident involving Ford happened, but instead would raise doubts that the attacker was Kavanaugh, according to a person familiar with the discussions."
Here's what that looked like, as the Post explains:
Amid the maneuvering, the nomination was roiled further late Thursday by incendiary tweets from a prominent Kavanaugh friend and supporter who publicly identified another high school classmate of Kavanaugh’s as Ford’s possible attacker.
Ed Whelan, a former clerk to the late justice Antonin Scalia and president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, pointed to floor plans, online photographs and other information to suggest a location for the house party in suburban Maryland that Ford described. He also named and posted photographs of the classmate he suggested could be responsible.
Exhibit A, screenshot of a few of Whelan's tweets from Thursday night, offering up a different, possible suspect:
The Post adds:
Ford dismissed Whelan’s theory in a statement late Thursday: “I knew them both, and socialized with” the other classmate, Ford said, adding that she had once visited him in the hospital. “There is zero chance that I would confuse them.”
So the Kavanaugh team is so disturbed their guy is about to lose his confirmation battle they're willing to stoop to this – and even name someone else who they say might have been the attacker.
Here's how a few experts responded to Whelan's crackpot theory.
First, the always spot-on Steve Schmidt:
People drown because they panic, not because they can’t swim. The Whelan email is symptomatic of the utter panic consuming a nomination that hangs by the thinnest of threads and the looming spectacle of out of touch octogenarians like Orin Hatch interrogating Dr. Ford.
— Steve Schmidt (@SteveSchmidtSES) September 21, 2018
Some are calling for the FBI to determine if Kavanaugh was in on this:
The FBI must investigate Whelan’s scheme to see if Kavanaugh played any role, including offering up the name & address of one of his HS classmates so he could be served up as sacrificial lamb. Any participation is disqualifying & investigation is now necessary to a background.
— Joyce Alene (@JoyceWhiteVance) September 21, 2018
Some suggest it appears Kavanaugh did know:
Post doesn’t come out and say it but seems overwhelmingly likely Kavanaugh knew about Whelan’s nutbar theory, possibly played some role in concocting it. https://t.co/LEXPF9l6Tk pic.twitter.com/6Wlgbdy6OS
— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) September 21, 2018
Some are wondering about Whelan's behavior:
I've dueled with Ed Whelan for years. He's partisan, viscous & completely lacking in charity to people who disagree with him. But he's a smart lawyer and I assume he knows the tort of defamation exists. I'm genuinely worried about him. This bizarre behavior is not characteristic.
— Ian Millhiser (@imillhiser) September 20, 2018
And for more, the always perfect Rachel Maddow.
See a mistake? Email corrections to: [email protected]