Patterico's Pontifications


John Conyers Steps Down From Committee Leadership Position

Filed under: General — Dana @ 3:35 pm

[guest post by Dana]

As we know, Nancy Pelosi gave an erratic and hyper-partisan defense of John Conyers this morning. Following this, John Conyers announceed that he was stepping down. From his committee leadership position, that is. There is no resignation. He is not being shown the door while he hangs his head in disgraced shame. He denies everything. And that’s because he knows, just like Nancy Pelosi knows, “zero tolerance” to Democrats facing allegations of sexual misconduct and harassment means next to nothing. And while Pelosi may have prattled on about “zero tolerance means consequences,” we all know the warning comes with no teeth. It’s just Pelosi gumming a warning. Just ask Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Ca.), who has been working on behalf of victims of sexual harassment by lawmakers and elected officials, and said:

The allegations are very serious, and that’s why the Ethics Committee needs to move very swiftly, not wait years, but very swiftly. Staff up if necessary to determine whether or not those allegations are accurate. And if they’re accurate, I do believe that Congressman Conyers should step down.

We say zero tolerance, but I don’t believe that we put our money where our mouths are.

Or, you can ask Al Franken, who plans to return to work tomorrow with nary a slap on the wrist.

And because of Pelosi’s “zero tolerance,” the biggest problem of all still remains, and that is that these elected officials know that they can get away with this awful behavior if they have a “D” after their names.

Here is John Conyers’ statement:

“After careful consideration and in light of the attention drawn by recent allegations made against me, I have notified the Democratic Leader of my request to step aside as Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee during the investigation of these matters,” Conyers said in a statement Sunday afternoon.

“I deny these allegations, many of which were raised by documents reportedly paid for by a partisan alt-right blogger,” the statement continued. “I very much look forward to vindicating myself and my family before the House Committee on Ethics.”

So telling that he attempts to lay this at the feet of a terrible “alt-right blogger,” given that we all know you don’t make a $27,000 payout using taxpayers’ money for nothing, and that there’s a reason why that these documents exist in the first place. But no matter how much obfuscating or pointing to squirrels Conyers does, it won’t undue his past actions, nor change the kind of man he is.

Further, in a rather pathetic manner, he implores you to believe that he is still relevant and needed by the nation:

“To be clear, I would like very much to remain as Ranking Member,” he added. “There is still much work to be done on core concerns like securing civil rights, enacting meaningful criminal justice reform, and protecting access to the ballot box.”

So, if for some crazy reason, you were wondering if there will be calls by Democrats (or the media) for Conyers to step down – really step down – wonder no more:

Congressional Black Caucus Chairman Cedric Richmond (D-La.) and assistant Democratic leader Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) reached out to some CBC members over the Thanksgiving recess to take the temperature of the caucus, according to multiple sources. The group is arguably the most powerful bloc within the House Democratic Caucus and is fiercely protective of its members, particularly Conyers, who was a founding member.

Multiple Democratic sources said they don’t expect widespread calls for Conyers to resign from the House altogether — at least not yet. Privately, according to aides and lawmakers, there is an effort to preserve Conyers’ legacy on issues ranging from voting rights to the creation of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday as much as possible while trying to avoid the appearance of washing their hands of multiple serious sexual harassment accusations.

It would also be reasonable to assume that the MSM will avoid asking too many pressing questions of the iconic Conyers.

Here is Pelosi’s reaction to Conyers stepping down:

“Zero tolerance means consequences,” Pelosi said. “I have asked for an ethics investigation, and as that investigation continues, Congressman Conyers has agreed to step aside as Ranking Member.”

In true Clintonian fashion, it all depends on what the meaning of “zero tolerance” is. In any other non-partisan world, zero tolerance would mean just that, and Conyers would have been compelled to resign. But we’re in Pelosi’s wacky world of moral relativism, where words don’t mean what you think they mean until it is convenient and necessary for them to mean that.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)


Sunday Music: Bach Cantata BWV 116

Filed under: Bach Cantatas,General,Music — Patterico @ 1:00 pm

The title of the cantata is “Du Friedefürst, Herr Jesu Christ” (O Prince of peace, Lord Jesus Christ).

Today’s Gospel reading is Matthew 25:31-46, the parable of the sheep and the goats:

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

“He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

“Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

The text of today’s cantata is available here, and portrays Jesus as both the one who will come in glory to judge the living and the dead — but also the Prince of Peace who will show mercy to those who repent.

Happy listening!

[Cross-posted at RedState and The Jury Talks Back.]

Nancy Pelosi’s Defense of John Conyers: A Classic Case of Hyper-Partisanship

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 11:30 am

Hyper-partisanship has been on display by the left for years. The left defended Ted Kennedy, who got drunk, ran off a bridge with Mary Jo Kopechne in the passenger seat, and delayed calling police so they would not see how drunk he was. The left defended Bill Clinton, who not only abused his power with an intern and allegedly raped a woman, but lied about it under oath and used the power of his office to smear truthful women. I could go on and on, but you get the idea.

Carl Arbogast wrote earlier today about Nancy Pelosi’s refusal to condemn John Conyers on Meet the Press earlier today, but it’s worth a few more words to discuss her hyper-partisanship. If Pelosi were going to apply consistent standards, she would of course be calling for Conyers to resign. But instead, she relied on the classic defenses of the hyperpartisan. Watch as the spin proceeds:

CHUCK TODD: You said there’s now a zero tolerance. John Conyers. What does that mean for him? Right now. In or out?

REP. NANCY PELOSI: We are strengthened by due process. Just because someone is accused — and was it one accusation? Is it two? I think there has to be — John Conyers is an icon in our country. He has done a great deal to protect women — Violence Against Women Act, which the left — right-wing — is now quoting me as praising him for his work on that, and he did great work on that. But the fact is, as John reviews his case, which he knows, which I don’t, I believe he will do the right thing.

CHUCK TODD: Why don’t you?

REP. NANCY PELOSI: I believe that he — Excuse me. May I finish my sentence?

CHUCK TODD: Sure, sure.

REP. NANCY PELOSI: That he will do the right thing.

CHUCK TODD: And is the right thing what? Resign?

REP. NANCY PELOSI: He will do the right thing in terms of what he knows about his situation. That he’s entitled to due process. But women are entitled to due process as well.

CHUCK TODD: But he took advantage of a situation where he had a – the rules of Congress and I know you guys want to change these rules, but he got to hide his settlement, he got to — his accusers had to go through all sorts of craziness, so why is he entitled to new due process in this case?

REP. NANCY PELOSI: No, I I – we are talking about what we have heard. I’ve asked the Ethics Committee to review that. He has said he’d be open – he will cooperate with any review.

CHUCK TODD: Do you believe the accusers?


CHUCK TODD: Do you believe John Conyers’ accusers?

REP. NANCY PELOSI: I don’t know who they are. Do you? They have not really come forward. And that gets to —

CHUCK TODD: So you don’t know if you believe the accusations?


Well, that’s for the Ethics Committee to review. But I believe he understands what is at stake here and he will do the right thing.

Note how she starts with the classic position of the hyper-partisan: “John Conyers is an icon in our country. He has done a great deal to protect women.” In other words, let’s talk about his politics. His politics are more important than what he has been accused of. If you hurt him, you hurt the policies that he stands for.

She looks like a fool and a cretin and a hypocrite saying that, of course. This position is always repellent to the non-partisan observer. It alienates swing voters and makes queasy the stomach of every person who is not a hyper-partisan. But that’s not her audience. Her audience is the hyper-partisans. Because she’s one herself, and she knows how to talk to them.

Then she moves on from that to raising quibbles about the accusations, engaging in sanctimony about due process, and suggesting that everyone will act properly if a process determines that the allegations are really true. Of course, only leftist hyper-partisans can say such things about Conyers with a straight face. Everyone else knows that the process itself will be a hyper-partisan joke, with all Democrats having mentally acquitted Conyers (and all Republicans having mentally convicted Conyers) before it starts.

There’s a reason she starts with the politics of it and only belatedly gets around to the rest. The politics is all that matters. Here’s Allahpundit:

As a Twitter pal notes, this is smoking-gun proof that the recent left-wing navel-gazing over whether Bill Clinton should have resigned 20 years ago is cynical nonsense. Faced with credible allegations against a much less powerful Democrat than Clinton in Conyers, one who’s waaaaaay past the age at which he should have retired and who’s been accused of having lost some of his mental capacity, the leader of the caucus whiffs on demanding that he step down. And worse than that, she cites his “icon” status as a point in his favor. Clinton, Conyers, and basically every male member of the Kennedy family, living or dead, would smile at that. It may be the single creepiest thing she’s ever said in public life.

Indeed. It’s a classic and repulsive example of hyper-partisanship. But what makes it disgusting? Is it her hypocrisy? Is it the laughably transparent phoniness of her arguments? The way her super-wide-open eyes stare while the dumb words come out of her mouth?

Or is it merely her politics that makes this a loathsome display?

In other words: would this appearance be something the right would defend, if Nancy Pelosi and John Conyers had a letter “R” after their names, and voted the way the right likes?

Surely not — right? After all, the single most embarrassing thing about her appearance is the way that she tries to make the offenses of her own side seem “different” than those of people on the right. And every attempt she makes to distinguish the two is openly lame and laughably unconvincing.

And when people try to say “but it’s different when I do it” — yet their reasons are transparently unconvincing to anyone who is not as partisan as they are — they come off looking like idiots, just like Pelosi does here. And that’s embarrassing for them and everyone who supports them.

[Cross-posted at RedState and The Jury Talks Back.]

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