Strangest Senate hearing in history? Yep, it sure is

Congratulations, my fellow Americans.

We likely are witnessing the most bizarre Senate confirmation hearing in the history of the republic.

Brett Kavanaugh is trying to protect his nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court against an allegation by a college professor that he assaulted her when they were both in high school.

Kavanaugh has denied the allegation vehemently; Christine Blasey Ford, the alleged victim, has just as vehemently asserted the veracity of the accusation she has leveled.

The weirdest part of this hearing has been the way the Senate Judiciary Committee conducted its questioning.

Republicans who support Kavanaugh didn’t question Ford directly. Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley brought in a ringer, a sex crimes prosecutor from Arizona named Rachel Mitchell to speak on behalf of Republican senators. The panel’s Democratic members did question Ford directly.

When it was Kavanaugh’s turn to answer questions, he fielded them from senators from both parties.

I have drawn one conclusion from the tactic employed by the GOP side with regard to Ford. It is that the GOP senators — all of whom are men — don’t have the confidence to ask a female accuser intensely personal questions involving an alleged sex crime.

What might have spooked them? It must be that they couldn’t engage in a discussion without uttering something, anything that observers would deem offensive.

So they handed the heavy lift off to the prosecutor who, in my view, did a credible job on behalf of the Senate committee Republicans.

Still, it was downright weird to watch a surrogate do the work that should have been done by the men who comprise slightly more than one-half of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Indeed, this confirmation process is exhibiting signs that it is hurtling toward an equally weird conclusion.

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