Most Republicans, especially in the mainstream, are eager to suggest that Dr. Christine Blasey Ford really was not the victim of an attempted rape by Brett Kavanaugh (and his friend). But they won't argue that she's lying- that would be politically incorrect and the poor dears are very sensitive to criticism. Instead, she must have been mistaken.
And so we have Ed Whalen, who first laid out his theory in a series of tweets Thursday afternoon, including one naming a "Chris Garrett" and another posting the fellow's picture next to one of Kavanaugh suggesting they currently look alike.
In an "omigod, I can be sued" moment, Whalen then tweeted
“I made an appalling and inexcusable mistake of judgment in posting the tweet thread in a way that identified Kavanaugh's Georgetown Prep classmate. I take full responsibility for that mistake, and I deeply apologize for it. I realize that does not undo the mistake.”
Ellen Nakashima, no backbencher but the national security reporter for The Washington Post, then herself made a serious mistake by attaching to a copy of Whelan's remark "Ed Whelan apologizes."
Similarly, attached to a Daily Beast article arguing that Whalen can be charged with defamation was an "Editor's Note" including "Ed Whalen issued an apology on Twitter."
No and no. Ed Whalen did not apologize. He stated "I made an appalling and inexcusable mistake of judgement in posting the tweet thread in a way that identified Kavanaugh's Georgetown Prep classmate." As the Daily Beast reporter (Jay Michaelson) understands, that leaves the accuser vulnerable to a successful libel suit.
Similarly understanding is Will Bunch, who a few minutes after Whalen's initial series of tweets, maintained (emphasis, significantly, his)
The right is so desperate to confirm Kavanaugh that they're out there smearing a completely different guy -- BY NAME -- and accusing him of sexual assault in order to clear K through "mistaken identity," I hope this guy sues his accusers— Will Bunch (@Will_Bunch) September 20, 2018
The right is so desperate to confirm Kavanaugh that they're out there smearing a completely different guy -- BY NAME -- and accusing him of sexual assault in order to clear K through "mistaken identity," I hope this guy sues his accusers.
Of course, Ed Whalen is not the issue. Neither is the GOP-led Senate Judiciary Committee, which has denied- very likely honestly- having any advance knowledge of the accusation.
That leaves three other possibilities: a) Whelan acted on his own, without any consultation or advice; b) the Senate Judiciary Committee was in on it; or c) Brett Kavanaugh or a critical GOP ally was involved. That classic beachfront property in Arizona awaits you if you believe (a). Vox reports
On Tuesday, we learned that Kavanaugh had met privately with Hatch, who serves on the Judiciary Committee, and told him the accusations could be a case of mistaken identity. Whelan amplified this defense on his Twitter feed.
On Wednesday, Hatch’s spokesperson, Matt Whitlock, retweeted another Whelan tweet promoting a mistaken identity theory, telling people to “keep an eye on Ed’s tweets the next few days.” (After Whelan’s thread came out, Whitlock deleted the tweet and denied having any foreknowledge of what Whelan was planning.)
But don't write off the possibility of the involvement by the nominee himself, as WaPo reporter Seung Min Kim notes
Kavanaugh and his allies have been privately discussing a defense that would not question whether an incident happened to Ford, but instead would raise doubts that the attacker was Kavanaugh.
Of course they have. It's possible, albeit unlikely, that Ford is making this up. People, even women, have been known to be dishonest. But that would require a backbone, so Republicans prefer the "silly little woman" charge (which, conveniently, is what Kavanaugh buddy Hatch recently implied). Clearly, though
Kavanaugh should be asked at his hearing whether he was aware of—in generalities or specifics—or in anyway involved in Whelan’s decision to publicly “non-accuse” his former classmate. https://t.co/N4YNUZPPEH— Susan Hennessey (@Susan_Hennessey) September 21, 2018