Patterico's Pontifications

11/29/2017

Congressional Black Caucus Member: Elected Officials Are A Protected And Entitled Class

Filed under: General — Dana @ 1:36 pm

[guess post by Dana]

It is being reported that some members of the Congressional Black Caucus are encouraging Democratic Rep. John Conyers to resign in light of recent revelations about sexual misconduct allegations and a taxpayer-funded payout made to an alleged victim. However, according to one staffer’s comments, the priority seems to be more about protecting Conyer’s legacy than anything else.

This morning, Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.) demonstrated a staggering level of tone-deaf arrogance when he revealed his belief that the standards of accountability for an elected official caught up in sexual misconduct allegations should be less than those from private industry facing similar circumstances. The stunning revelation happened when Clyburn and the chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, Cedric Richmond (D-La.) were confronted by reporters who questioned the different standards, citing those in the entertainment industry who have lost their jobs as a result of sexual misconduct scandals:

“Other men in other industries have faced similar accusations, and have gotten out of the way – resigned, stepped down far faster than he has,” a reporter said in the video, referring to Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.).

“I don’t know, you would have to give me some examples,” Richmond responded.

“Harvey Weinstein, Charlie Rose, Matt Lauer,” reporters said.

“Who elected them?” Clyburn said before getting on an elevator. The doors closed before he clarified the remark.

That’s right. Politicians are elected, therefore they shouldn’t be held to the same standards as anyone else. They are a protected and privileged class of elites that should be handled with kid gloves. Call me crazy, but in my world, I expect them to be held to an even higher standard of accountability, given that they are elected by the people, as well as their salaries being paid by the people. Clyburn’s smug conceit adds clarity to why Congress is so loathed by the vast majority of Americans.

This morning’s revelation is also unsurprising given that last week, when the allegations against John Conyers were made public, Clyburn initially said that “Sexual harassment is a very serious matter and cannot be tolerated,” but immediately followed that by expressing doubts about the accusers.

I maintain that the danger of these politicians is, not only do they believe themselves to be in a class above the rest of us, they do so because they have learned that they can get away with their bad behavior, including that of sexual impropriety toward subordinates and staffers. They’ve done so for decades because the established system has allowed them to. And in spite of all the current demands to overhaul sexual harassment policies in Congress, when the terms “icon” and “legacy” are being used by powerful Democrats to shield a member facing serious allegations, I don’t think an overhaul of this built-in “perk” that comes with being a member of Congress will actually include any teeth.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)

–Dana

45 Responses to “Congressional Black Caucus Member: Elected Officials Are A Protected And Entitled Class”

  1. Hello.

    Dana (023079)

  2. Roy Moore wants to know if “elected” and “appointed” are interchangeable terms, to cover the next two weeks.

    urbanleftbehind (5eecdb)

  3. Elected Officials Are A Protected And Entitled Class

    Seems like they always have been, right from the birth of the Republic.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  4. These people of color need to get a job. My pick for next perv is David Brooks.

    mg (60b0f7)

  5. Clyburn has a point. An employee is hired by his employer and can generally be fired if his actions are an embarrassment to the employer and its image.

    Elected officials are not employees — their mandate comes from their constituency. Absent impeachment or expulsion, the only remedy is to have the voters vote him out.

    Scoundrels are sometimes elected despite their being scoundrels. If the people of their state or district want that (or don’t mind, or think the alternative is worse), then they have the same mandate as someone who is a saint.

    Bored Lawyer (998177)

  6. @4. “When correctly viewed; Everything is lewd; I could tell you things about Peter Pan;
    And the Wizard of Oz, there’s a dirty old man!” – Tom Lehrer

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  7. not only do they believe themselves to be in a class above the rest of us, they do so because they have learned that they can get away with their bad behavior,

    Just equal under the law and it’s quite a stretch to say former second-class citizens should now accept the standard that kept them an underclass.

    Admiral Ben burn (b3d5ab)

  8. While I don’t necessarily agree, I think maybe I understand the point Clyburn was trying to make.

    Weinstein, Rose, Lauer, et al., were contractual employees, fired by the company that hired them.

    Elected officials are in a somewhat different position, as there is no CEO (or whatever) with the authority to fire them. They are (in principle) working for the constituents of their districts who put them in office, so Clyburn may be suggesting that only the voters have the moral authority to remove them from office.

    If one is charitable, Clyburn is saying Conyers’ constituents are entitled to have the final say on who represents them.

    Whether you view it as a matter of entitlement, there will inevitably be a difference between a boss firing a hired employee (which can be done essentially at will), and a house of congress deliberating the extremely unusual step of expelling an elected member.

    Dave (445e97)

  9. Predator home companion icon john needs to retire.

    mg (60b0f7)

  10. “Sexual harassment is a very serious matter and cannot be tolerated,” but immediately followed that by expressing doubts about the accusers.

    The first is not necessarily contradicted by the second. You can have zero tolerance for sexual harassment AND demand appropriate process and evidence at the same time–though there are a lot of people trying to get us to believe that anyone who doubts an accuser is pro-sexual harassment or pro-rape or whatever.

    Frederick (64d4e1)

  11. I don’t feel inclined to give Clyburn the benefit of the doubt. I see no reason to do so. I think this is also partisanship at work. Democrats are circling the wagons around Franken and Conyers. Further, this “easing out” of Conyers and focus on protecting his legacy speaks about their priorities.

    Dana (023079)

  12. Like it or not, elected officials do have to answer only to their constituents; otherwise you have tyranny. That’s why there is an impeachment process and why “They shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place.”

    Frederick (64d4e1)

  13. #8 nice grouping of shots.

    Admiral Ben burn (b3d5ab)

  14. @Dana: I think this is also partisanship at work. Democrats are circling the wagons around Franken and Conyers. Further, this “easing out” of Conyers and focus on protecting his legacy speaks about their priorities.

    You are probably right, but the specific sentence I responded to is not necessarily evidence of that.

    It is when the demand for scalps is at its most heightened, that it is most important to insist that a reasonable standard of evidence to be applied; else you get what used to be called McCarthyism.

    Frederick (64d4e1)

  15. I don’t feel inclined to give Clyburn the benefit of the doubt. I see no reason to do so. I think this is also partisanship at work. Democrats are circling the wagons around Franken and Conyers. Further, this “easing out” of Conyers and focus on protecting his legacy speaks about their priorities.

    What if Conyers resigns or is expelled, and wins the election to fill the seat?

    (One might ask the same about Franken, but it seems a lot less likely to happen)

    Dave (445e97)

  16. Interesting, acording to Robert Draper of the New York Times Mag:

    Also at this morning’s House Democratic caucus: James Clyburn compared Conyers’ accusers to the child murderer Susan Smith, who initially claimed a black man had abducted her kids. Clyburn said, these are all white women who’ve made these charges against Conyers.

    Okay then.

    Dana (023079)

  17. Obviously Dana recognizes there are no democrats in attendance here. I’ve seen no bulwark built to insulate party from charges of abuse by anyone here except Rumpublicans.

    Admiral Ben burn (b3d5ab)

  18. In fact the Redemption process in this category has been rejected by all of the accused conservpervs.

    Admiral Ben burn (b3d5ab)

  19. Clyburn is playing the race card, yes, but that does not mean he has less-than-zero tolerance for sexual harassment any more than he does for murdering children.

    Black men have been falsely accused by white women, have they not? Red State Fact Checker says “True”.

    Frederick (64d4e1)

  20. Whereas the liberals are coming to Jesus in droves.

    Admiral Ben burn (b3d5ab)

  21. Confession versus denial.

    Party distinctions.

    Admiral Ben burn (b3d5ab)

  22. Moar Moore denial

    Walter Shaub, the former director of the Office of Government Ethics, immediately pounced on Conway’s flagrant Hatch Act violation. And he wasn’t alone. Richard Painter, former White House lawyer to George W. Bush, called Conway’s endorsement of Moore from the White House a “firing offense.”
    The White House has comically suggested that Conway’s comments disparaging Jones while she stood in front of the White House representing the Trump administration did not amount a political position on her part.
    “Ms. Conway did not advocate for or against the election of a candidate, and specifically declined to encourage Alabamans to vote a certain way,” Raj Shah, the White House principal deputy press secretary, said in a statement.
    Notes Shaub, “Only in a world of alternative facts could Conway’s televised words amount to anything other than advocacy against Jones.”

    https://shareblue.com/kellyanne-conway-officially-under-investigation-for-endorsing-alleged-pedophile/

    Admiral Ben burn (b3d5ab)

  23. @Dave:What if Conyers resigns or is expelled, and wins the election to fill the seat?

    I imagine they would refuse to seat him if he had been expelled, I find it hard to believe they couldn’t. Jim Traficant was expelled, went to prison, and ran for reelection from prison, but didn’t win.

    I don’t think anyone in Congress has been elected while incarcerated, but that HAS happened in the Irish Parliament, and I think releasing them and letting them serve was a political decisions.

    Frederick (64d4e1)

  24. There is actually at least one precedent, by the way, for Conyers to return.

    Democratic Rep. Preston Brooks of South Carolina was the cousin of Senator Andrew Butler.

    In 1856, abolitionist Sen. Charles Sumner of Massachusetts gave a speech in which he compared Butler’s support of slavery with prostitution:

    Of course he has chosen a mistress to whom he has made his vows, and who, though ugly to others, is always lovely to him; though polluted in the sight of the world, is chaste in his sight. I mean the harlot Slavery.

    Brooks, claiming that Sumner would be too cowardly to accept a challenge to a duel, instead confronted Sumner on the Senate floor, and beat him senseless with his cane. Sumner barely survived, could not return to the senate for three years, and endured severe pain from his injuries for the rest of his life.

    Incredibly, the attempt to expel Brooks from the House failed.

    He then resigned his seat, and was re-elected in the special election, and to another full term shortly thereafter.

    There is a happy ending, of sorts – Brooks died of natural causes before the start of the next session of Congress. The telegram announcing his death said:

    “He died a horrid death, and suffered intensely. He endeavored to tear his own throat open to get breath.”

    So there’s that.

    Dave (445e97)

  25. Re Matt Lauer — Trump may get his wish after all, with the entirety of upper management at NBC canned in the aftermath.

    The Variety article says women complained to NBC management about Lauer. But Lauer and the Today Show were such cash cows for NBC, they protected him.

    The guy had a button installed on his desk that allowed him to lock his office door without having to get up. That allowed him to made advances to female producers and production assistants without fear of anyone walking in.

    The story said he had a whole stable of co-workers over the years, as he felt it was safer that way rather than get involved with on-air personalities or other celebrities.

    This will now move to the Board of Directors of Comcast, owner of NBC, to determine what needs to be done.

    The Comcast Board is a bunch of people you never heard of, but when you look at their Bios, they are titans of industry. Former CEO and Chairman of Pepsi, former CEO and Chairman of Yum Brands, Former Chairman of Mellon Bank of New York, Former CEO of Childrens Hospital in Philadephia, etc.

    No way they sit still for what the upper brass at NBC has let go on.

    shipwreckedcrew (56b591)

  26. How many violations until held accountable?

    In June 2017, the OSC issued a warning to Dan Scavino Jr. for an April 2017 tweet that Scavino sent advocating for a primary challenge against U.S. Representative Justin Amash.[36]
    In October 2017, the OSC issued a warning to United States Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley for a June 2017 tweet that Haley retweeted from President Donald Trump endorsing Republican Congressional candidate Ralph Norman.[37]
    In November 2017, former Office of Government Ethics head Walter Shaub filed a complaint against White House counselor Kellyanne Conway charging that her opposition to Roy Moore opponent Doug Jones during a segment on “Fox and Friends” violated the Hatch Act. The OSC did not comment.[38]

    Admiral Ben burn (b3d5ab)

  27. Justice for thee, not for me. Hmmm. Sounds like that would, and did, work perfectly in the antebellum South.

    Ed from SFV (3400a5)

  28. i can see his point

    there’s a lot more at stake for the people what voted for him than just making sure he’s not molesting the “hill staffers”

    there’s some serious issues they wanted him to address I’m sure, so there would be a stronger case for his resignation if if could be shown that he wasn’t able to represent his constituents effectively for some reason

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  29. @25. Note BoD members ain’t exactly a bastion of ‘liberal media elites’ either. So much for that blanket conservative myth.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  30. “Clyburn said, these are all white women who’ve made these charges against Conyers.”

    Is there a known “coal burner” among them?

    Colonel Haiku (63965c)

  31. These people of color need to get a job. My pick for next perv is David Brooks.

    mg (60b0f7) — 11/29/2017 @ 1:55 pm

    Please don’t muck up my post with comments like this.

    Dana (023079)

  32. Clyburn’s record is extremely partisan, with extra helpings of racialism:
    http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/individualProfile.asp?indid=2496

    pst314 (c4e32a)

  33. Meaning he intends to serve out his present term without running for re-election.

    Dave (445e97)

  34. “A writer for The New York Times Magazine and National Geographic tweeted that Clyburn invoked the name of Susan Smith, South Carolina’s infamous child murderer, in his defense of Conyers.

    “James Clyburn compared Conyers’ accusers to the child murderer Susan Smith, who initially claimed a black man had abducted her kids. Clyburn said, these are all white women who’ve made these charges against Conyers,” Robert Draper tweeted.

    When asked if that comment was true, Draper said he verified it through two sources, adding “Clyburn has used the Susan Smith parallel more than once, to members & staffers.””

    Classy.

    harkin (92ce59)

  35. Allahpundit:

    Conyers apparently plans to wait until just a few weeks after the Alabama election to make his move. If he announced his retirement beforehand, Dems might get a little credit from Alabama voters for trying to clear the bad guys out of Congress. In a very tight race, who knows how that might affect Moore’s support. As it is, no dice.

    Dana (023079)

  36. Racist plays the race card. I’m shocked, SHOCKED.

    NJRob (b00189)

  37. Frederick @23

    There’s always Mayor Curley of Boston. I suppose you might consider him an expansion of the Irish precedent.
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Michael_Curley

    I remember Curley being referred to favorably by older members of my family, for whom the only other good Irish politician was JFK. (I am originally from Boston, although I’ve lived in Florida since I was ten.)

    kishnevi (b58549)

  38. harkin (92ce59) — 11/29/2017 @ 6:22 pm

    A second rate race-baiter.

    A good race-baiter would make this a pretext to complain that Congress did not have enough black staffers, so Conyers had no choice but to harass whites.

    kishnevi (b58549)

  39. If he announced his retirement beforehand, Dems might get a little credit from Alabama voters for trying to clear the bad guys out of Congress.

    this is silly and forced

    Mr. Conyers is as obviously guilty as them Alabama honey boo boos are obviously lying. But if you start from the point of view that Alabama republicans are drooling idiots I can see how you could get here i guess.

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  40. Seriously what bizarre wormhole did we traverse in the last 25 years, the UK tried to satirize network but it’s impossible in the current era.

    narciso (d1f714)

  41. Congress needs to eliminate the process that allows them to secretly settle with their victims.
    Time to live by the rules that the rest of us live by rather than passing laws and exempting themselves from them.

    ROCHF (877dba)


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