Cony­ers the al­ba­tross that Dems de­serve

The Hazleton Standard-Speaker - - OPINION - RICH LOWRY

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.

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