Sen. Susan Collins is lying.
Let’s just make that clear, because Susan Collins should not be under the impression that anyone, anywhere is buying onto her third man theory, the insulting, cowardly and toxic theory that Dr. Christine Blasey Ford was definitely assaulted when she was fifteen years old and that Sen. Susan Collins “believes” her, but Collins also believes that Dr. Ford is completely mistaken about the face she saw inches from hers, as a hand covered her mouth to keep her from screaming and a drunken friend turned up the radio so that other party-goers would not hear her attempts to escape. Susan Collins says she “believes” all parts of Dr. Ford’s testimony except for her absolute “100%” certainty that her assailant was a young Brett Kavanaugh. Instead, Collins “believes” Kavanaugh when he said, in evasive and rage-fueled testimony, that he didn’t do it–so it must have been someone else.
Collins is lying, and everybody knows it. What Susan Collins means is that she believes Brett Kavanaugh is currently too Important to have done it. Too central to the conservative cause; too much a celebrity. He has grown from a drunken lout of a boy to a man with powerful friends. He has appeared on television, and in the papers, and is the latest golden child of a movement devoted to unthreading the laws and restitching them into a hammock for the ruling class. Collins has no problem believing that Dr. Ford correctly described Brett Kavanaugh’s social circle–his drinking friends. She would have no hesitating in believing Dr. Ford if Dr. Ford had named any of those other names as her assaulter. But Brett Kavanaugh is simply too important to the moment to have done it–he denied it on the grandest of possible stages, after all–and therefore he did not.
Susan Collins is lying. She is a coward. She claims to have, through great thought and diligence, come to the one conclusion that would require her to do not a damn thing. If she said she thought Dr. Ford was lying, the condemnation in her home state would melt the shingles off her house. There would be calls for her resignation; the papers would treat her with unbridled contempt. So Collins says she believes every element of Dr. Ford’s testimony except the part that would require Susan Collins to take action in her current circumstance: rejecting a man she does not want to reject. Rejecting an ally. Rejecting a man who is Important, in a way that Dr. Ford and Kavanaugh’s other accusers are not Important.
It’s a nonsensical position. It is a conspiracy theory, this notion that Dr. Ford would know and be able to name, decades later, the members of Brett Kavanaugh’s personal drinking circle but be somehow confused about whether Brett himself was the face who threw her onto a bed and put his hand over her mouth to keep her from screaming. Collins and others can only believe it by discounting every other witness to Kavanaugh’s behavior; all those who said he drank to excess. All those who said he was a prolific, belligerent, and sometimes-violent drunk. The woman who came forward to describe a similar alcohol-fueled assault. The classmates who backed her up. Kavanaugh’s willing participation in not one, but two of the most alcohol-obsessed and virulently misogynist groups on his college campus. His anger when confronted with his drinking habits, his evasiveness, his non-responsiveness. The written proof of the aggressive drunkenness of his high school social circle, of their contempt for the women around them, of their high-school eagerness to claim predator status.
Susan Collins chose the one lie she could chose that would allow her to gain praise for “believing” Kavanaugh’s victim without lifting a single finger to do something about it, because that is who Susan Collins is. Dr. Ford was assaulted by a mystery man, but Brett Kavanaugh, the known drunk, the sexist, stumbling product of the worst frat and the worst decisions, is now too Important for it to have been him.
Let’s not pretend it’s anything otherwise. Her claims should land with the appropriate thud; Collins has played this game too many times and in too many circumstances, this game of pretending at a supreme gullibility that a sitting senator could not possibly have. This notion that she is simply an idiot, unable to parse the nuances of the evidence presented to her or who is willing to believe the obvious lies of a fellow senator who has promised her this or that in exchange for a capitulation that Susan Collins was always, from the first moment, seeking to give.
Senate Republicans consider Brett Kavanaugh Important, and therefore Brett Kavanaugh, they declared while sneering–sneering!–at women protesting in the halls and on the steps, was not the person Dr. Ford saw above her. It is Orwellian. It is authoritarian. It is, in the end, another step towards fascism, towards the separation of those that should rule and those that should be ruled and the plain pronouncement that no law or ethical norm should bind those that rule simply because they rule and can say so.
But Susan Collins did not stumble on her decision. Susan Collins is lying. Susan Collins crafted the only possible proclamation that would let her keep her claims of having ethics while dodging the act of proving it, and she did that on purpose. She, like every other Republican making the same claim, is lying to protect an Important Man, and every American who heard their own voice in Dr. Ford’s testimony knows it for a fact.
This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.