Thursday, April 04, 2019

MeToo In Connecticut

Image result for JIm Himes + Joe BidenThe MeToo movement has arrived finally in Connecticut, the land of steady habits. “Biden accuser rips Democrats,” an April 3rd, above the fold, front page headline in The Hartford Courant screeches.

And the story, written by Neil Vigdor, bulges with quotes.

“The Democrats definitely don’t like to hold their own accountable,” said Amy Lappos, referring to an awkward incident that occurred in 2009, ten years ago when she was a congressional aide to U.S. Representative Jim Himes, during a $1,000 per plate fundraising luncheon held at the home of affordable housing developer Ron Moelis, a Greenwich moneybags.

Present at the Himes event were:  Himes, U.S. Senators Chris Murphy and Dick Blumenthal – who jokes about himself that he has been known to attend the openings of backyard garage doors in Connecticut – Governor Dannel Malloy, Lappos, and Vice President Joe Biden.

Lappos was in the Moelis kitchen along with four or five other volunteers when Biden moved on her. Lappos describes the contact as unwanted and inappropriate. Biden put his hand around her neck and drew her close to rub noses, an unexpected, unsolicited and disturbing invasion, she said, of her personal space.

“I’m a rape survivor and a domestic violence survivor,” Lappos told Vidgor, “but I shouldn’t have to say that to justify keeping people out of my personal space. Joe Biden completely didn’t respect my boundaries.”

According to Vigdor’s story,  Lappos said she came forward because “she was disgusted by the dismissive and caustic responses of Democrats towards [Lucy] Flores, who alleged that potential 2020 presidential contender Biden put his hands on her shoulders and kissed her on the head  when she was a candidate for Nevada lieutenant governor in 2014.”

The MeToo movement has introduced a new, electrified “third rail” into national politics. Democrats, naturally, do not want to be shocked out of office by seemingly unfeeling or unsympathetic responses to charges made by women who may have a justifiable claim against boorish men; on the other hand, Biden is a glad-hander, and a sometimes hair sniffer, according to charges made by other women.

How to avoid the third rail without throwing front-running Democrat presidential candidates out with unwanted wash water?

Nancy Wyman, once Malloy’s Lieutenant Governor, might have stepped into Malloy’s large shoes when he decided not to run for a third term, but she said at the time she wanted to spend time with her grandchildren – so, no thanks. Wyman later accepted a position as Democrat Party Chairman. This is what the Democrat Party Chairman said of Lappos vs. Biden: “I believe women’s concerns about their interactions with men should be voiced, and men need to hear them. But, over three decades in public service, I’ve attended many events and meetings with Joe Biden, and I have seen a warm, caring man who respects women, is devoted to family, and loves his country. I never once felt uncomfortable.”

Nearly all other Connecticut Democrats offered variations on the same theme: Women should be allowed to speak about their uncomfortable interactions with men, but  the  claims made against a prospective Democrat President throw a shroud of darkness over the warm, caring man I know, and therefore... The “therefore” – these claims cannot then be true – is left to molder in the shadows.

Lamont: “Look, I think Joe’s got a 40-year record of serving the country, and people know Joe Biden pretty well.” Be mindful of that third rail Lamont! “So, take a look at the accusations, pay attention to them, but I think people have a good sense of who he is as a man and as a public servant.”

Public service is the secular, political baptismal font that washes away all imperfections.

Forty years after Senator Edward Kennedy left a girl to drown to death in Poucha Pond – the senator left the scene and failed to report the “accident” for ten hours, while he made vigorous efforts to save his political career – Kennedy was proclaimed “the conscience of the Senate” at his well-attended funeral. He was, everyone may agree, a fine public servant.

Blumenthal, whose moral sensibilities seem to be aroused only by presumed Republican misbehavior: “Joe Biden is a dedicated, caring public servant, but women should be supported for speaking out.”

Himes was not available for comment, Vidgor reported.

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