Media scrutinizes Kavanaugh but gives Ted Cruz challenger a pass

Rest assured that if there’s a rumor that, in third grade, young Brett Kavanaugh yanked on the ponytails of the girl in the second row (war on women!), The New York Times, NBC News and phalanxes of their journalistic colleagues will be all over it.

Meanwhile, Rep. Beto O’Rourke had a pair of felony arrests in his mid-to-late 20s, including a reckless drunk-driving incident in which he crashed into a car and allegedly tried to flee from the scene. The cases appear to have mysteriously disappeared without serious prosecution, notwithstanding that O’Rourke continues to deny basic facts outlined in at least one police report.

So, what really happened? We don’t know. See, O’Rourke is a Democrat.

O’Rourke appears to be quite the character, notwithstanding the media’s indifference.

In the wee hours of the morn on Sept. 27, 1998, at age 26 (i.e., considerably older than Kavanaugh was at the time of his alleged misconduct), O’Rourke lost control of his car while speeding eastbound on route I-10 in El Paso. According to the police report, after he struck a truck, O’Rourke’s Volvo careened through the center median and finally screeched to a halt facing eastbound on the westbound side. Police say that O’Rourke attempted to flee from the scene of the crash but was stopped by a witness who, simultaneously, had to warn oncoming traffic of the danger.

When he was ultimately apprehended, O’Rourke told police he’d had only two beers. In reality, a breath test indicated a blood-alcohol level of 0.136, well above the 0.10 legal limit — a fact police discovered after he slurred his words so badly he could barely be understood and could not pass simple walking tests.

The point here, we should stress, is not that people can’t redeem themselves. The question is whether we should tolerate a blatant double standard in the media reporting on which we rely to make important decisions.

The Cruz campaign has asked about the incident, but O’Rourke has denied the police report’s allegation that he tried to leave the scene. So . . . did he? And did he make false statements to police about his alcohol intake after crashing into another vehicle at a high speed (but, luckily, not killing anyone)?

We don’t know. His name is not Kavanaugh and he’s not a Republican. We are told it is vital to find out what Kavanaugh did and how much alcohol he consumed while doing it. In O’Rourke’s case . . . not so much.

By the way, the drunk-driving incident is not a one-off, an aberration in an otherwise uneventful early adulthood. About three years before the car crash, O’Rourke was arrested for allegedly burglarizing a campus building at the University of Texas at El Paso. He reportedly claimed the incident was a college prank, but he was not a college student at the time.

Meanwhile, as a first-term lawmaker, O’Rourke skirted a 2012 law that barred members of Congress from profiting on initial public offerings of stock based on information not available to the public. A House Ethics Committee memo warned members to avoid such IPOs as Twitter’s, which was about to launch. O’Rourke, who says he did not see the memo (but was nevertheless required to follow the law), bought Twitter shares, then quickly sold many of them as the stock rocketed higher in value.

After he found out that Legistorm, a congressional news site, had caught wind of the transaction, O’Rourke fessed up to the Ethics Committee that he had engaged in several IPO trades. The congressman agreed to sell off IPO shares he was still holding and send the Treasury Department a check for what he said was the amount of his profits. The matter appears to have been dropped without any law-enforcement investigation.

Oh, and he said he was sorry. Clearly . . . nothing to see here, right?

The point here, we should stress, is not that people can’t redeem themselves. The question is whether we should tolerate a blatant double standard in the media reporting on which we rely to make important decisions.

Like Brett Kavanaugh, Beto O’Rourke is seeking one of the most important positions in the US government. Unlike Kavanaugh, O’Rourke will have no swarms of reporters combing through files and tracking down witnesses about the details of years-old misconduct — misconduct that, in O’Rourke’s case, is not merely “alleged” but actually happened. There will be no television-spectacle hearing. He will be treated with respect, not treated as if he were a criminal suspect.

It’s good to be a Democrat.