From the moment former Rep. Katie Hill announced that she was resigning, the washing(ton) machine went into full spin mode.
In her resignation speech from the floor of the House, after compromising photographs appeared on the internet amidst allegations of improper relationships with subordinates, Ms. Hill went on a tirade blaming double standards and “misogyny” for her untenable situation.
“The forces of revenge by a bitter jealous man, cyber exploitation and sexual shaming that target our gender, and a large segment of society that fears and hates powerful women, have combined to push a young woman out of power and say she doesn’t belong here,” Ms. Hill, California Democrat, said.
What she did not mention in her speech is that she was under investigation by the House Ethics Committee for an alleged affair with one of her congressional staffers, a violation of House rules. She denies the allegation.
The nude and compromising photographs of Ms. Hill distributed on the internet included one of which involved the then-candidate sitting nude on a chair brushing the hair of a female 22-year-old campaign staffer. Ms. Hill admitted to this relationship and apologized. In the meantime, the House Ethics Committee launched an investigation into a separate issue involving that allegation of an affair with one of her male congressional staffers, which violates House rules.
This is the situation Ms. Hill would rather you not think about. Make no mistake: The furious spin to cast her resignation as one of enforced victimhood because of photographs and misogyny is simply the preferred narrative to explain away the implosion of a newly elected candidate. This is, in reality, a story about judgment and character, and the lack thereof.
Was the distribution of those photographs of Ms. Hill inappropriate? Yes. The former congresswoman says she is taking legal action on that issue, which she should. Ashley Parker, a writer at The Washington Post and political analyst at NBC News, had this to say: “[T]wo things can be true: Revenge porn is despicable. BUT any lawmaker — male or female — might not have been able to weather this. True equality is female politicians making decisions as irresponsible and arrogant as their male counterparts, and being treated accordingly.”
The Post also noted: “But in resigning, Hill did manage to escape a full investigation from the House Ethics Committee. …” Exactly.
The Democratic Party and media remain committed to perpetuating this favorite narrative of the left that their leaders are victims. Other cases in point: former 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Sen. Kamala D. Harris of California.
For Mrs. Clinton, it was a sexist, misogynist, nation that rejected her. Her blame-game list for losing the 2016 race is still growing. Early on it was, of course, the Russians. Among scores of other excuses, it was also Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont. WikiLeaks. The debate questions. then-President Barack Obama. Low-information voters. Women under pressure from men. Then-FBI Director James B. Comey. And most recently she blamed the “bankrupt” Democratic National Committee.
The fact of the matter is Mrs. Clinton lost because she was arguably the worst presidential candidate in American history. (So far, but the 2020 Democratic nominee will likely bump her from that ignominious perch).
Ms. Gillibrand, a former 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, and Ms. Harris, still hanging on by a thread to her campaign, have both blamed sexism for their lack of rise in the polls.
As Ms. Gillibrand was floundering, Free Beacon reported her explanation to CNN: “I think it’s just gender bias. I think people are generally biased against women. I think also biased against young women. …”
Ms. Harris blames both sexism and racism for her troubles. National Review reported on her comments to HBO about her inability to break through in the campaign for 2020: “Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris described electability as the ‘elephant in the room’ of her campaign and pondered whether America is ready for a woman of color to be commander in chief. ‘Essentially, is America ready for a woman and a woman of color to be president of the United States? … There is a lack of ability or a difficulty in imagining that someone whom we have never seen can do a job that has been done 45 times by someone who is not that person.’ “
What’s remarkable about these claims by women who have already achieved enormous political success as U.S. senators is that they are speaking of their own party and base of voters. After all, they’re failing within the Democratic primary season.
This refusal to take responsibility for one’s actions as women is a slap in the face to every person who has worked diligently to help women ascend the ladder of power. Equality, however, is only genuine when we prove that we are capable of taking responsibility for our actions and the choices we make.
Are women sometimes victims? Absolutely. For those of us who have suffered through an abusive relationship or other hardships, we have found difficult life experiences do not automatically cause our character or judgment to vanish.
Ultimately, we are reminded on a daily basis that the Democratic Party and feminism of the last century delivered the cancer of identity politics to our nation. They have forgotten that the American people want leadership, not slogans and symbols. We want solutions to the issues we face as normals, not scolds blaming us for their failures.
• Tammy Bruce, president of Independent Women’s Voice, author and Fox News contributor, is a radio talk-show host.
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