When Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) accused unnamed male senators of sexually harassing her, but chose not to name them, there were really only a couple of ways the story could go.
The harassers must be Democrats, and Gillibrand did not want to name them to shame them. Sen. Gillibrand was, therefore, protecting her own harassers for political reasons.
Or the harassers must be Republicans, and Gillibrand was waiting to reveal their names closer to the mid-terms, to shake up the election and launch the latest offensive in the phony “war on women.” Gillibrand was therefore delaying naming the perps for political reasons.
Either way, Gillibrand knew that there remain sexual harassers in the Senate, but politics stopped her from telling the truth about them.
Well, there was a third possibility — that Gillibrand was making it all up for political and victimhood reasons. But the first two seemed more likely. It’s not a revelation that there are boors in politics and in Congress.
The first possibility was causing Gillibrand problems that she did not anticipate. It was Republican-leaning pundits who spent more time demanding names than anyone else.
The New York Times today kills off the second and third possibilities, and pins the rap on a dead guy.
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Democrat of New York, caused a commotion this month when she revealed in a memoir how her male colleagues felt free to comment rather vividly on her weight. The senator came under pressure to reveal the names of the perpetrators, but declined, setting off a guessing game in Washington.
Probably the most egregious incident was when a senior senator squeezed her waist and told her: “Don’t lose too much weight now. I like my girls chubby!”
It turns out the senator was the late Daniel K. Inouye, Democrat of Hawaii, the decorated veteran and civil rights hero, according to people with knowledge of the incident.
With his deep baritone and courtly manner, Mr. Inouye was revered by his colleagues and was a powerhouse in both Hawaii and the Senate, where he was a reliable supporter of women’s rights.
But in an all but forgotten chapter of his career, the senator had been accused of sexual misconduct: In 1992, his hairdresser said that Mr. Inouye had forced her to have sex with him.
Now that Inouye is dead, he makes an easy target. It’s all very convenient — Gillibrand doesn’t have to name and shame any living Democrats now. The story she created gets to be swept away. And Inouye’s leisure time activities are pretty well known by now, so this revelation lets all the air out of the Gillibrand story.
Sure, as the story notes, Inouye’s activities became a campaign issue in 1992, in the same year that Bill Clinton’s sexcapades became a campaign issue and a plurality of American voters decided that character doesn’t matter. But being Democrats, Inouye and Clinton could wage all the war on women that they wanted. They both won, and were re-elected later on. Inouye carried his harassment of a fellow senator to the grave.
Had either been Republicans, they would have been Bob Packwooded out of office, only to have Joe Biden admit that he misses them now.
Side note: Packwood. Wasn’t that his problem?
Exit question: As we see the Times kick a dead Democrat now that he can’t fight back, what will we eventually learn once Bill Clinton passes on to the next life?