Conyers the albatross that Dems deserve
There are sexual harassers, and then there is John Conyers, the Democrat from Detroit who made his congr es si on al office an adjunct of his libido.
The evidence suggests that Conyers believed that as a 27- term congressman, he was entitled to the Washington, D. C ., equivalent of the Ottoman imperial harem.
He routinely hit on his female staffers, and his office was ad en of sexual intrigue—allegedly featuring a jealous wife and a vindictive mistress—that properly belongs in a Bravo reality show if the network ever extends its franchise to Capitol Hill.
A political party is rarely provided an easier test case for its bona fides.
Cony er sis an 88- year-old man who find sit increasingly difficult to carry out his duties.
He holds an exceedingly safe seat that, should he resign, will be taken over by another reliably pro g ressive Democrat.
In this case, the political cost to the par ty of showing that it’ s serious about“zero tolerance” for sexual harassment is almost nil.
Yet House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, when asked about Conyers on “Meet the Press,” mumbled and looked at her shoes.
She wasn’ t able to summon any dudgeon, let alone high dudgeon, about Co nye rs. The harshest things he said is that “as John reviews his case — which he knows, which I don’ t—I believe he will do the right thing.”
Oh, really? Con ye rs did step down as the ranking member on the House Judiciary Committee.
Otherwise, his careful review of his own case has produced categorical denials that evenPe los imustf ind incredible.
It is true that Con ye rs hasn’t had his day in front of the House Ethics Committee. But neither has Roy Moore. That hasn’t kept P el os if rom denouncing him.
The multiple allegations against Conyers are specific and consistent.
He reached a settlement agreement with one accuser, whose account is backed by affidavits from other employ- ees.
One women said in an affidavit that one of her duties was “to keep a list of women I assumed he was having affairs with and call them at his request and, if necessary, have them fl own in using Congressional resources .” Not having to bother with the logistics of your own mistress es is evidently one of the privileges of being a public servant.
Another accuser, a for mer Con ye rs scheduler, filed a lawsuit that she eventually dropped when a court refused her request to keep it sealed.
In the suit, she says she complained to Conyers’ chief of staff about his unwelcome advances.
The chief of staff told her to write them all down. She couldn’t “due to the extreme amount of time it would require to adequately chronicle these advance sand behavior sand manage her work load.”
At one point, the wife of the congressman accused the scheduler of having an affair with Cony er sand threatened to get her fired.
Just another day at the office of the congressman from Michigan’ s 13 th D istrict.
Pe los i offers two just ifi cations forgoing easy on Co nyers. One is that the congressman is a civil-rights“icon .”
By this logic, being a legend is a little like being a celebrity as described by Donald Trump in the “Access Hollywood” tape — it’s a free pass for g ross behavior.
T he other Pelosi rationale is that Con ye rs“has done a great deal top rot ectw omen .” This makes ideology rather than personal conduct the standard.
The controversy over Conyers ar rives as some liberal Democrats now say that Bill Clinton should have resigned as president for his sexual misconduct. Of course, they could have said that 20 years ago, or even one year ago.
The evasion over John Con ye rs makes it clear that if the Clinton sh ad any political juice left, it would be a very different story.
Whatever Democrats say about sexual harassment should be affixed with a giant asterisk — if it doesn’t suit their political and ideological interests, generous exceptions can and will apply. RICH LOWRY is a columnist with King Features Syndicate.