Sexual Harassment “Moment” May Bring Down One Powerful Woman as Well
They’re dropping like flies in New York, Washington, Los Angeles, and even Minnesota. Man after well-known man is seeing his career brought to an end by a flurry of sexual harassment and assault allegations. In just the past week, we’ve seen Matt Lauer, radio star Garrison Keillor, and NPR new chief David Sweeney join a Hall of Shame that is growing bigger with every passing day. But while we await the inevitable “jumping of the shark” that this moment in history will bring – the moment when a man gets fired for an offense so utterly trivial that the door suddenly slams shut on this feminist awakening, or the moment when an accuser gets caught in a baldfaced lie – it may be that at least one powerful woman sees her career disintegrate right along with the men.
The woman is House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, the Democrat who has been painting herself as a powerful voice for the feminist cause for lo these many years. A hard-left liberal straight out of San Francisco, Pelosi was one of the loudest, shrillest voices when the Access Hollywood tape came out last year. She was one of the first ones in front of a microphone when the Washington Post came out with their initial Roy Moore stories. But when it came to one of her own – Rep. John Conyers – suddenly Pelosi traded in her feminist, “believe all women” credentials for a species of partisan hackery that was embarrassing to watch.
In an interview with NBC’s Meet the Press last Sunday, Pelosi hesitated when host Chuck Todd asked her about the allegations against Conyers. After just saying that we were standing at an important time for women in history, Pelosi suddenly found herself defending her Democrat-in-arms.
“We are strengthened by due process,” said the same woman who has referred to Moore as a child molester. “Just because someone is accused…John Conyers is an icon in our country. He has done a great deal to protect women – Violence Against Women Act, which the right-wing is now quoting me as praising him for his work on that – he did great work on that. But the fact is, as John reviews his case, I believe he will do the right thing.”
Pelosi’s sniveling defense of a Democrat brought outrage even from her own party. In comments to reporters this week, Rep. Kathleen Rice of New York said that Pelosi had done more than any recent man to set the woman’s movement back.
“I think that her comments on Sunday set women back and — quite frankly, our party back — decades,” said Rice. “I think that we ceded the moral high ground on Sunday when our leader said on ‘Meet the Press’ that John Conyers was an icon and we don’t even know who these women are, when she was fully aware that the woman in question was bound by a nondisclosure agreement.”
There is some merit to Pelosi’s call for due process – although it gets a little weaker when Conyers has already been caught paying off his accuser – but you can’t have it both ways. You can’t call for due process when it’s a Democrat and grab your pitchfork when it’s a Republican. Even the most jaded, cynical liberal can see through that charade. With an opportunity to put her principles on display, Pelosi revealed she has none. And in a year where many in her party are already beginning to doubt her leadership, her blunder last Sunday could be the final nail in her coffin.