FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Jujitsu Comms

Once Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s name was leaked as Brett Kavanaugh’s anonymous sexual assault accuser during his Supreme Court Justice confirmation hearing a couple of weeks ago, she reluctantly accepted the role of the #MeToo avatar in this historic fight for women’s rights. Ever since, watching her improvise her responses to the Republican Senate’s Judiciary Committee has been a fascinating study in using the hubris of power against itself.

The Republican Judiciary Committee’s singular focus on confirming Kavanaugh at all costs, and its belief it can “plow right through” any opposition – especially that of a “girl” – with naked power has caused them problems they never foresaw.

The Republican White House and Congress don’t seem to get that Blasey and her attorneys understand today’s politics better than they do, that they are about to be swept away by a force stronger and more devastating than Florence, that this is a situation where they could lose both the battle and the war.

The negotiations between the Senate Judiciary Committee and Blasey’s team have bought some time, and time is on Blasey’s side. The longer this takes, the more time Blasey and her surrogates have to pound at Kavanaugh’s and the Republicans’ positions, the more time Trump has to not be able to control his itchy twitchy Twitter thumbs, and the more time reporters have to dig further into Kavanaugh’s background stories. And in a few short days even more has come to light.

Ronan Farrow and Jane Mayer’s story in the New Yorker about new allegations of sexual misconduct by Kavanaugh while a student at Yale University dropped Sunday night, Sept. 23 when the confirmation vote had been scheduled for the week before and was postponed by Basley’s demands for more time. That same Sunday night the ranking member of the Committee, Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA), called for the immediate postponement of the confirmation hearings until all allegations are properly investigated by the FBI. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) quickly called on Kavanaugh to “step aside immediately” for the “good of the country and the integrity of the court.” And now Stormy Daniels attorney Michael Avenatti is claiming he has a client who will step forward this week with even more allegations.

Concurrently, the time has allowed Blasey’s story to seep into the public consciousness, to have its outrage echo and find ever more tweets and retweets (#WhyIdidntreport) to enlist ever more fervent followers and energized activists. And the Republicans get this part – that’s a lot of why they have been insisting on hearing deadlines.

But here’s the part their “rush to judgement” ignores – Blasey and her astute attorneys have other and perhaps better options to communicate their story than the silly charade of the Senate hearing. In fact, that hearing could be their gold mine, the set up for taking this further, their Rope-a-Dope.

If I’m a producer for a TV newsmagazine show, say at 60 Minutes or some similar program, I’ve long ago realized that a review of Judiciary Committee Chair Senator Chuck Grassley’s investigations into the Kavanaugh matter, with its anti-democratic and anti-women antics, its suppression of requested relevant documents, free speech and women’s rights, is a ratings bonanza.  And I’ve already contacted Blasey and her attorneys and offered a platform for what is unlikely to ever come out in this Senate hearing. For Blasey and my program, that incidentally would end up heroically defending the Fourth Estate, this is a win win.

My program could:

+ Provide a national TV platform to Blasey’s other witnesses that the Committee won’t allow to testify at the hearing.

+ Cover the Committee’s optics problems, that all those Republican white men don’t want to be seen questioning a sexual assault victim, and can’t risk one or more of them chewing on their wingtips and giving Democrats footage for campaign ads

+ Assemble the clips and tweets of these Senators already having made up their minds, that for all their concern that Blasey gets heard, they don’t care what she has to say, she doesn’t matter.

+ Review the “#WhyIdidntreport” explosion, the hundreds of thousands of women who have publicly told their stories, often for the first time, amplifying and reinforcing Blasey’s points.

Although Blasey’s team and my program can’t subpoena Kavanaugh high school buddy Mark Judge, we can concisely summarize his writings, his year book statements, his published book and other articles to portray his and his pals’ behavioral modes at the time, and note his and Kavanaugh’s refusal to testify under oath.

And if the Committee moves ahead and votes to confirm Kavanaugh, that pulls the trigger.  I schedule the program to run as soon as possible after that and before the full Senate confirmation vote.

This is blockbuster stuff. Blasey’s team could then follow this up with the easy-to-book talk show interviews the following day. My program’s footage and quotes will dominate headlines for days.

But wait, there’s more.

Haven’t Congressional Republicans figured out that there is no statute of limitations on attempted rape in the state of Maryland, the site of the alleged crime? Blasey could file charges there now, triggering a law enforcement investigation and possibly a trial in a Democratic county and state. And a local District Attorney would have something more than a TV show does for its investigation – subpoena power. How’s that going to look for a Trump Supreme Court nominee, even if the Senate does vote to confirm him – a sitting Supreme Court Justice indicted for sex crimes? Could this be the Republican SCOTUS legacy?

Republicans only hope would be Blasey’s acknowledged disinclination to continue to be in the spotlight, and the increasing pressures on her and her family should she choose to do so. But the Republicans’ bullying and bullshit in their sham of a hearing may be the catalyst for pushing past that, and making this the national movement that destroys them.

This is not rocket science. Surely some Republican comms strategists must have seen this and told the Committee. Nevertheless, they persist.

Steve Stallone is the former political editor of the San Francisco Bay Guardian, former Communications Director of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU), former president of the AFL-CIO’s International Labor Communications Association and former secretary of the Pacific Media Workers Guild, CWA-TNG Local 39521. He is currently semi-retired and freelancing out of Oakland, CA. He can be reached at: steve.stallone@gmail.com

More articles by:

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

Weekend Edition
June 14, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Michael Hudson
Trump’s Trade Threats are Really Cold War 2.0
Bruce E. Levine
Tom Paine, Christianity, and Modern Psychiatry
Jason Hirthler
Mainstream 101: Supporting Imperialism, Suppressing Socialism
T.J. Coles
How Much Do Humans Pollute? A Breakdown of Industrial, Vehicular and Household C02 Emissions
Andrew Levine
Whither The Trump Paradox?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: In the Land of 10,000 Talkers, All With Broken Tongues
Pete Dolack
Look to U.S. Executive Suites, Not Beijing, For Why Production is Moved
Paul Street
It Can’t Happen Here: From Buzz Windrip and Doremus Jessup to Donald Trump and MSNBC
Rob Urie
Capitalism Versus Democracy
Richard Moser
The Climate Counter-Offensive: Secrecy, Deception and Disarming the Green New Deal
Naman Habtom-Desta
Up in the Air: the Fallacy of Aerial Campaigns
Ramzy Baroud
Kushner as a Colonial Administrator: Let’s Talk About the ‘Israeli Model’
Mark Hand
Residents of Toxic W.Va. Town Keep Hope Alive
John Kendall Hawkins
Alias Anything You Please: a Lifetime of Dylan
Linn Washington Jr.
Bigots in Blue: Philadelphia Police Department is a Home For Hate
David Macaray
UAW Faces Its Moment of Truth
Brian Cloughley
Trump’s Washington Detests the Belt and Road Initiative
Horace G. Campbell
Edward Seaga and the Institutionalization of Thuggery, Violence and Dehumanization in Jamaica
Graham Peebles
Zero Waste: The Global Plastics Crisis
Michael Schwalbe
Oppose Inequality, Not Cops
Ron Jacobs
Scott Noble’s History of Resistance
Olivia Alperstein
The Climate Crisis is Also a Health Emergency
David Rosen
Time to Break Up the 21st Century Tech Trusts
George Wuerthner
The Highest Use of Public Forests: Carbon Storage
Ralph Nader
It is Time to Rediscover Print Newspapers
Nick Licata
How SDS Imploded: an Inside Account
Rachel Smolker – Anne Peterman
The GE American Chestnut: Restoration of a Beloved Species or Trojan Horse for Tree Biotechnology?
Sam Pizzigati
Can Society Survive Without Empathy?
Manuel E. Yepe
China and Russia in Strategic Alliance
Patrick Walker
Green New Deal “Climate Kids” Should Hijack the Impeachment Conversation
Colin Todhunter
Encouraging Illegal Planting of Bt Brinjal in India
Robert Koehler
The Armed Bureaucracy
David Swanson
Anyone Who’d Rather Not be Shot Should Read this Book
Jonathan Power
To St. Petersburg With Love
Marc Levy
How to Tell a Joke in Combat
Thomas Knapp
Pork is Not the Problem
Manuel García, Jr.
Global Warming and Solar Minimum: a Response to Renee Parsons
Jill Richardson
Straight People Don’t Need a Parade
B. R. Gowani
The Indian Subcontinent’s Third Partition
Adolf Alzuphar
Diary: The Black Body in LA
Jonah Raskin
‘69 and All That Weird Shit
Michael Doliner
My Surprise Party
Stephen Cooper
The Fullness of Half Pint
Charles R. Larson
Review: Chris Arnade’s “Dignity: Seeking Respect in Back Row America”
David Yearsley
Sword and Sheath Songs
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail