House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi betrayed the sisterhood. She circled the wagons around Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) and Sen. Al Franken (D-MN), men who have been accused of sexual misconduct. It’s quite serious. Conyers settled a sexual harassment claim back in 2015, using almost $30,000 in taxpayer money. Sen. Franken has allegedly groped multiple women before and after his election to the U.S. Senate. Both men are not resigning. The label of liberal Democrat is still a potent shield against accountability, which was forged under the Clinton presidency. Here, the president of the United States was accused of rape and was re-elected twice. The feminist Left gave him a pass because Bill (Slick Willy) wasn’t a Republican. Democrats tolerated the rape culture they vow to fight. The consequences of which have, well, been on display for the past week or so. If you give a blanket apology and are a liberal Democrat, you get a pass. Period. Down south, in Alabama, Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore is facing even more serious allegations of misconduct. He allegedly sexually molested and assaulted teenage girls. Everyone is telling him to drop out. Frankly, it’s probably for the best, but I can see why he’s sticking around: a) Alabamans don’t like people telling them what to do; b) he won the primary; and c) if Conyers and Franken can stay, why can’t I? It’s a gross double standard. Yes, there are varying degrees here, with Moore’s accusations being far more serious, but it still doesn’t mitigate the fact that all three men have been accused of sexual harassment/misconduct. And yet, only the Democrats are allowed to keep their jobs. You can see how this ole game of double standards has infuriated the right.
Nancy Pelosi, who called the Title IX rollback "a shocking attack on women," citing due process in her defense of Conyers is some a-grade high octane chutzpah.— neontaster ?? (@neontaster) November 26, 2017
With this dithering, the moral high ground, if there ever was one on this issue and I don’t think there ever was one—has been lost with Democrats. Pelosi’s interview with NBC’s Chuck Todd on Sunday’s Meet The Press captured the final fall:
Appearing on "Meet The Press" earlier in the day, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi urged “due process” before making conclusions about Rep. Conyers, saying the congressman is “an icon” who has worked to protect women.
"We are strengthened by due process. Just because someone is accused — and was it one accusation? Is it two?” Pelosi asked.
“John Conyers is an icon in our country. He has done a great deal to protect women - Violence Against Women Act, which the left — right-wing — is now quoting me as praising him for his work on that, and he did great work on that,” she added. “But the fact is, as John reviews his case, which he knows, which I don’t, I believe he will do the right thing.”
When asked specifically whether she believes the accusations against Conyers, Pelosi said: “I do not know who they are. Do you? They have not really come forward.”
She repeatedly said that she wants to see the House Ethics Committee investigation of Conyers play out.
On "Meet The Press," Pelosi was also asked whether she would accept an apology from Democratic Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota, who has apologized after being accused of unwanted touching from multiple women, if no other accusers surfaced.
"His accusers have to accept an apology," Pelosi said. "The victims have some say in all of this, as well. And that has happened in the past. People have accepted an apology, as is coming forth now that I see in the press.”
Now, the failure is not that Pelosi all of a sudden believes in due process on these touchy issues, which in itself is the seat of hypocrisy for her, but that’s for another time. It’s that fact she made Conyers the victim here, which is something that liberal publications, not conservative ones, pointed out. Laura McGann of Vox ripped Pelosi for being that woman, the one where there is a special place in hell for not supporting other women; a flashback to Madeline Albright’s outburst over the lackluster showing of female support for Hillary Clinton. Basically, becoming an enabler of sexual harassment in the workplace due to these remarks. After being torched by the left and right, Pelosi now says she believes a John Conyers accuser (via Washington Examiner):
Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said she believes Melanie Sloan, an ethics lawyer who said she was abused by Rep. John Conyers while working for him two decades ago, after meeting her and hearing her allegations about the longtime Democratic lawmaker.
The meeting came a day after Pelosi raised questions about whether she believed accusers who said they were sexually harassed by Conyers.
“This afternoon, I spoke with Melanie Sloan who worked for Congressman Conyers on the Judiciary Committee in the mid-1990s." Pelosi, D-Calif., said in a statement. "Ms. Sloan told me that she had publicly discussed distressing experiences while on his staff. I find the behavior Ms. Sloan described unacceptable and disappointing. I believe what Ms. Sloan has told me."
Pelosi blamed the nondisclosure rules for reporting harassment as the reason she has not yet spoken to all the women accusers.
Yeah, the timing is interesting. Over at The Daily Beast, Erin Ryan Gloria also took a swipe at Pelosi, namely that she has yet to understand the “me too” movement; the reckoning from women sharing their stories of egregious sexual harassment and abuse that has led to some powerful men losing their careers. For Pelosi, Ryan argues that she only sees “a tasty grandstanding opportunity,” which has blown up in her face:
Pelosi expressed unfamiliarity with the allegations, asking Todd if it was one or two. She called Conyers an “icon.” Todd asked Pelosi if she believed the accusers, and she said she didn’t know who they were because they were anonymous. She called for due process, even though Conyers, as Todd pointed out, had already gone through a process that resulted in him settling with his former employee. It’s not clear what other process Conyers is due. Again, he went through the process. Pelosi told Todd she was sure that Conyers would “do the right thing.”
Sure enough, hours later, Conyers announced that he was stepping down from his position on the House Judiciary Committee. According to a senior Democratic congressional aide, Pelosi had been working behind the scenes for days trying to engineer Conyers’ abdication. Which is all well and good. But if she knew, during the entire interview, that the announcement was imminent, why call him an “icon”? Why not tell Chuck Todd that you were actually doing something about the situation?
In fact, Pelosi’s backroom dealings with Conyers are part of what’s wrong with the current way Congress deals with sexual harassment. The old way— the way that Pelosi and others claim needs to change—is built on secrecy, deference to the power structure, and enforced anonymity.
Not all of Pelosi’s points fell flat. She’s right that sexual misconduct can’t be painted with too broad a brush; that Roy Moore’s alleged deeds are much worse in degree than Al Franken’s. And she seemed to be hinting at another salient point: there’s no reason that the smallest infraction should garner the same punishment as the most egregious, just as there’s no reason that pocketing a package of paper clips from one’s office should garner the same punishment as embezzling millions of dollars from one’s employer.
But zero tolerance sexual harassment chickenhawking doesn’t help solve the problem, especially when there’s somebody in her own party, right under her nose, whose misdeeds deserved something beyond the quietly and privately arranged punishment they received. Solving the old problems in the same old way they’ve always been solved won’t put a stop to them.
In the aftermath, it seems Nancy moved really, really quickly to set things right, but the damage is done. Franken and Conyers are probably not going anywhere. It looks like the war on women took an inward path.