Guy touched on this this morning, but it seems that even liberal media outlets are quite appalled by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s remarks about sexual harassment on Sunday’s broadcast of Meet the Press. Politico’s Tim Alberta noted how this media appearance represented the hyper-tribalism in Washington D.C. Vox’s Laura McGann had this itemized breakdown of how Pelosi became that woman; a reference to when Madeline Albright said there was a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women. Of course, she was referring to the lackluster support for Hillary among the sisterhood of the traveling pants during the 2016 election. Yet, more importantly, it was a red flag that women will support the best candidate, not just because they happen to share the same gender. A lot of women distrusted Hillary Clinton, especially those in the Bernie Sanders camp. For Trump, well, he nabbed 52 percent of white women and 62 percent of white working class women last year. But I digress.
McGann referenced being harassed by a male coworker early in her career and how her boss, who she viewed as a role model and a feminist colleague, told her to accommodate him; he had shown up drunk one time and had asked her to drinks with his parents. That was before the desk showing of him in his underwear. McGann said it was a punch to the gut and outlined how Pelosi’s NBC interview has the same effect when she came to defend Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), who paid close to $30,000 in a sexual harassment settlement back in 2015.
In an interview with Chuck Todd on Meet the Press Sunday, Pelosi declared a “zero-tolerance” policy on sexual harassment. Then she stood by Michigan Rep. John Conyers — a powerful Democrat who, it was recently reported, quietly settled a wrongful dismissal case in 2015 when a woman on his staff said she was fired for refusing his repeated sexual advances. Conyers maintains his innocence, though he announced he’s stepping down from his top Democratic spot on the Judiciary Committee while the investigation is ongoing.
Pelosi could have rattled off a set of meaningless prepared sentences to fill air and buy her party time to figure out what to do. Maybe behind the scenes she is working to oust him. But in public, on a popular Sunday show, she ran through a list of excuses for Conyers that are the very reasons women are afraid to come forward and report sexual harassment in the first place:
Conyers is the credible one. He is an “icon,” she told Todd. The woman? “I do not know who they are. Do you?” she asked the host. “They have not really come forward.” (The woman came forward three years ago, dogging her case through an opaque process in Congress that bars her from speaking about it. She spoke to BuzzFeed anonymously.)
Conyers is the real victim. Pelosi is withholding judgment until Conyers gets “due process,” she said. But Conyers got something better than due process. Congress wrote the rules for how sexual harassment claims are handled, exempting members from requirements that most other employers must follow. The woman, meanwhile, got less. She didn’t have a right to free lawyer. She couldn’t speak about her case. And it took months. Then she couldn’t find a job on the Hill. “I was basically blackballed,” she told BuzzFeed. “There was nowhere I could go.”
Conyers is a good man. “He understands what is at stake here and he’ll do the right thing,” Pelosi said, explaining how he’s going to think about what he’s done. He’s the top Democrat on the committee that will be responsible for possible sexual harassment legislation coming soon. “A good deal of that would be done by the Judiciary Committee. And I know that John would take that into consideration.” The woman, meanwhile, first raised her complaints three years ago. Will she get to explain what’s at stake for herself?
Conyers cares about women. “He’s done a great deal to protect women,” Pelosi said, pointing out he worked on the Violence Against Women Act. How, she implied, could he have hurt a woman who works for him?
Conyers’ behavior isn’t so bad. “Was it one accusation? Was it two?” Pelosi said when talking through how she is considering Conyers’s case. In an age of serial predators, maybe one woman’s story shouldn’t count.
The party of women now has a sexual harassment problem. Conyers isn’t the only one; Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) has been put in the crosshairs for his groping allegations, one of which also includes a forcible kiss. The point here is that while Democrats would love to redirect this back at Donald Trump, who does have sexual misconduct allegations, they can’t. They’ve lost the moral high ground. We’re all in the cesspool together and one could argue that this is the collective fault of the political class since such allegations cross party lines. Yet, this tolerance does have its roots in the Clinton presidency. Liberals roll their eyes, but Bill Clinton had rape allegations hurled his way. The Left and the feminist collective said it was fine because Bill is a liberal Democrat. And people wonder why Roy Moore, the GOP Senate candidate in Alabama, doesn’t step down, albeit there is intra-GOP drama with that one, but his supporters remember Bill Clinton. Other pundits do as well; Bill got a pass. He was re-elected twice, but when Republicans face similar, odious allegations, they’re the only ones that have to face accountability. And it’s not like Moore is a standup guy; he’s facing some serious allegations that he molested and sexually assaulted teenage girls.
Yet, this all circles back to Clinton and his pass. Hillary was part of the group that went after Bill’s accusers, attacks that would not be tolerated by today’s liberal base. There is a scintilla of remorse regarding the treatment of Juanita Broaddrick, where some feminists now say that she was probably attacked by the former president, and that the Left and the media treated Bill’s accusers terribly unlike the deference and respect Moore’s victims are being treated with as of late. Larry O’Connor, formerly of Hot Air, also said that Bill getting a pass on this showed the Left’s tolerance of rape culture, which had a profound impact on our culture. The Democrats’ come to Jesus moment on sexual harassment/assault and the lectures are crap. They’re in no position to lecture anyone—and they know it. That’s why they have these soft, and rather horrific, defenses of Franken and Conyers. They’re good men, they’re liberal, they voted for VAWA, and these accusations are not that bad. Is it a lot lighter than the ones facing Roy Moore? Yes—that doesn’t mean it’s not within the same ugly realm of sexual harassment. It’s only terrible when the Republicans do it will become the mantra of the Democratic Party regarding this issue. Then again, we should have expected this. After all, that’s what politics is: the organization of our animosities. So, while tribalism can be ugly—it’s hardly shocking.
The circling of the Democratic wagons around their rotten apples will be a sight to see. As for creating some accountability post-reckoning, don’t bet your mortgage. Politics is going to derail all of this because of the appalling hypocrisy of it all from the Left. Yeah, that "war on women" attack line didn't age well, huh?