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With ‘Impeach Kavanaugh,’ Democrats find another way to lose

Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.Michael Reynolds-Pool/Getty Images/File 2018/Getty Images

How many ways can Democrats lose the 2020 election?

For starters, there’s “Hell, yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47” and your private health insurance. And, the latest: Impeach Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

The response from several Democratic presidential candidates to an oddly presented New York Times report about a book that revisits the sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh is another sign of their Pavlovian prostration to the left. It could easily reelect a hate- and tweet-driven president whose unfavorability rating is 54 percent, according to the latest Real Clear Politics average.


There really wasn’t that much new in the Sunday Review news analysis by Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly, the two Times reporters who have coauthored a new book, “The Education of Brett Kavanaugh: An Investigation.” It was known at the time of last year’s confirmation hearings that people had witnessed or heard about the Yale incident allegedly involving Kavanaugh and Deborah Ramirez when they were both freshmen. It was also known the FBI did not thoroughly investigate the incident, in which Kavanaugh supposedly exposed himself to Ramirez during an alcohol-infused dorm party. The book’s authors do offer this startling new detail: Ramirez’s legal team gave the FBI a list of at least 25 individuals who may have had corroborating evidence — and the FBI interviewed none of them. They also present a previously unreported story about Kavanaugh exposing himself that sounds similar to the Ramirez incident. Max Stier, a Yale classmate of Kavanaugh’s and Ramirez’s who now runs a nonprofit organization in Washington, notified senators and the FBI that he witnessed it. But the FBI did not investigate that report, either, the authors report.

Stier, however, declined to speak publicly. The female student allegedly involved in this second Kavanaugh incident declined to be interviewed and has told friends she does not recall it.


In response, Senators Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, Beto O’Rourke, and Julian Castro all immediately called for Kavanaugh’s impeachment. That left Joe Biden, yet again, as the voice of reason. “We need to get to the bottom of whether the Trump Administration and Senate Republicans pressured the FBI to ignore evidence or prevented them from following up on leads relating to Justice Kavanaugh’s background investigation, subsequent allegations that arose, and the truthfulness of his testimony to the Senate,” the former vice president said in a statement.

I believe both Yale incidents deserve full investigation. And I believe Christine Blasey Ford’s allegation that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were both high school students. Republican-led roadblocks to uncovering the truth about Ford’s allegation, assisted by a narrowly focused FBI investigation, are legitimate reason for anger. The Times’s report absolutely raises serious questions about an FBI investigation apparently driven by the desire to protect President Trump’s nominee. But to go from demanding answers from the FBI to demanding Kavanaugh’s impeachment smacks of crowd-pleasing overreach — as long as the crowd tilts left.

It also plays right into Trump’s hands. He, predictably, used the Democrats’ impeachment demands to fire off a tweet in Kavanaugh’s defense, urging the justice to “start suing people for liable” – a misspelling he later corrected to “libel.”

In the same way, O’Rourke played into Trump’s and the NRA’s hands when he joyfully proclaimed his plan to take away assault-style weapons during last week’s Democratic debate. On CNN’s “State of the Union,” Senator Chris Coons, Democrat of Delaware, said O’Rourke’s statement “will be played for years at Second Amendment rallies with organizations that try to scare people by saying Democrats are coming for your guns.” On the same show, Pete Buttigieg added that with Trump and Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell “at least pretending to be open to reforms,” why not make the most of the opportunity?” Good question, but of course O’Rourke responded by attacking Buttigieg for displaying “calculation and fear.”


But what about that other calculation, based on fear of the left? Isn’t that why Warren is all-in with Bernie Sanders on Medicare for All? Taking private health insurance from millions of Americans who don’t want to give it up offers yet another line of attack to a president determined to paint Democrats as the loony left.

Why make it easy for him?

Joan Vennochi can be reached at vennochi@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @Joan_Vennochi.