October 29, 2019

Katie Hill Resigns

Editor's note: We couldn’t be more proud of one of our teammates, Isaac Rose-Berman, who penned his first op-ed this week in USA Today: “How college students can bridge American divides: 'Study abroad' in Alabama or New York.” Please give it a read, and share far and wide!

“Freshman Rep. Katie Hill, a rising Democratic star in the House, announced her resignation amid an ethics probe, saying explicit private photos of her with a campaign staffer had been ‘weaponized’ by her husband and political operatives.” AP News

Redstate first reported the allegations last week. RedState

See past issues

From the Left

The left argues Hill is being held to a double standard, and criticizes the release of the photographs.

“If, as has been alleged, she had a consensual sexual relationship with a staffer in her congressional office, the 32-year old Democrat should have earned a slap on the wrist. To show how seriously Congress has taken that sort of thing (not), it wasn’t even until last year that the House changed its rules to prohibit sexual relationships between members and their employees. And wouldn’t you know it — the first lawmaker to fall afoul of the new House rule is a woman, and an unabashedly bisexual woman at that…

“Quite apart from the harsh double standards faced by female politicians — they can’t be too shrill, they have to be likable, on and on — Hill is also being punished, or punishing herself, for one colossally fantastically unbelievably stupid move: Posing for nude photographs, alone and with a woman who appears to be a lover, while running for Congress.”
Robin Abcarian, LA Times

“Revenge porn is a scourge that some legislators, including those in Hill’s home state of California, have criminalized. In revenge porn cases, an angry ex (usually, though not always, a man) publicizes nude or sexual photos of someone (usually a woman) they want to humiliate and whose reputation they seek to damage. While we don’t see sexually active men as morally questionable, we still live in a world where sexually active women are branded as sluts and shamed them for their sexuality — which is exactly what’s happening to Hill…

“Publishing sexualized photos of a U.S. congresswoman to facilitate her former partner’s revenge fantasy crossed a bright line. If nothing else, this moment should push legislators all over the country to institute stiffer penalties for revenge porn — both for those who release these photos and for those who publish them.”
Jill Filipovic, Medium

“I am not saying that Katie Hill didn’t show a serious lack of judgement. Any sexual relationship with a subordinate is almost always unethical… It would have been right of her to publicly apologize for this lack of transparency and ensure a fairer course moving forward… [But] Katie Hill is a not a predator. She is not a rapist or sexual assailant

“Her crime is far worse than that in our society: she is a woman — a bisexual woman at that — who has lived beyond the ludicrous, impossible restraints we put on women’s sexuality, particularly those in the public eye. Men in power, particularly white men, are permitted a hero’s journey in their indiscretions, a moral arc in which they can make mistake after mistake — because even the most horrible transgressions are called ‘mistakes’ when you’re a white male — and transcend to a higher plane of humanity that better informs their leadership style. Women who transgress even slightly are pilloried and burned at the public stake as an offering to whatever moral gods our society supposedly worships.”
Elizabeth Anora, The Independent

“Former Republican Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana? In 2007, he admitted to having been previously involved in a Washington prostitution ring while in office. In 2010, he was reelected to the Senate. Republican 2020 presidential candidate Mark Sanford? He completed his second term as the governor of South Carolina after he admitted in 2009 that he'd had a taxpayer-funded affair. In 2013, he once again ran for and won a seat in Congress. Physician and Republican Rep. Scott DesJarlais of Tennessee? A divorce trial transcript released in 2012 documented that he'd previously had multiple affairs with patients and had pressed one of them to have an abortion…

“And this is to say nothing of President Donald Trump, who has remained unscathed by the allegations that more than a dozen women have publicly leveled against him, ranging from unwelcome advances to sexual harassment and assault… There's plenty to parse regarding the news about Hill. But one of the most important elements is this: Forgiveness, when it comes to the messiness of politics, is a privilege not evenly distributed. More specifically, it's disproportionately withheld from women and Democrats.”
Brandon Tensley, CNN

“The main question about the strike isn’t moral or even legal—it’s strategic. Soleimani was a supremely powerful leader of a state apparatus, with his own cult of personality, but he was not a terror kingpin. His death doesn’t decapitate anything. He had the blood of tens of thousands of people—overwhelmingly fellow Muslims—on his hands, but he was only the agent of a government policy that preceded him and will continue without him…The only reason to kill Soleimani is to enter a new war that the United States can win… [Yet] No one seems to have thought past the action itself…

“What would [a] war [with Iran] look like? How will Iran fight it? How will the U.S. respond? What credible allies will we have, after Trump’s trashing of the nuclear deal thoroughly alienated Europe? Who will believe any intelligence about Iran’s actions and intentions from an administration that can’t function without telling lies?…What is our war aim, and how can it be aligned with Trump’s obvious desire to be rid of any entanglement in the region? What will happen if Jerusalem becomes a target and Israel enters the conflict? What will the American people accept by way of sacrifice, when nothing has prepared them for this? There’s no sign that anyone in power, least of all the president, has even asked these questions, let alone knows how to answer them.”
George Packer, The Atlantic

“By declaring that the United States will respond with airstrikes to any attacks on American targets or assets, Mr. Trump is drawing a bright red line that Iran cannot cross. And yet, Iran relies on a network of proxy actors from Yemen, Syria, Iraq and Lebanon. Must they all respect Mr. Trump’s red line? There are plenty of hotheads in those proxy forces that will be incensed by the assassination, the same way young men with weapons and minimal discipline often are… Mr. Trump can’t keep an entire region from crossing his red line, making violent conflict all the more likely if the president holds to it…

“It is crucial that influential Republican senators like Lindsey Graham, Marco Rubio and Mitch McConnell remind Mr. Trump of his promise to keep America out of foreign quagmires and keep Mr. Trump from stumbling further into war with Iran.”
Editorial Board, New York Times

Others argue that “Biden was almost the only one on the stage who talked like a normal person. There was a point near the end of the debate when he was talking about getting men involved in stopping domestic violence and he said that we need to keep ‘punching’ at it… I knew that the twitterati and the analysts would tut tut. Ol’ Joe is just out of touch! He doesn’t know you can’t use words like that. Meanwhile, every non-political junkie watching the debate thought there was nothing wrong with this. Biden was just using ordinary language, not worrying too much if it was fully approved by the woke brigade.”
Kevin Drum, Mother Jones

From the Right

The right condemns Hill’s behavior, and accuses her defenders of hypocrisy.

From the Right

The right condemns Hill’s behavior, and accuses her defenders of hypocrisy.

“Flip Hill's gender, and we wouldn't even be discussing it. This was a clear abuse of power by a powerful person over a subordinate… The pattern of behavior here indicates that Hill didn't just wind up in a one-off affair with someone who happened to be younger than her. She deliberately began relationships with people she had the power to hire and fire, and then she violated House ethics rules while doing it…

“The conclusion of this unsavory saga isn't a slut-shaming indictment of third-wave feminism. If Hill happened to have a promiscuous personal life with people not under her pay or in violation of ethics, there's little doubt that she'd be able to ride out the storm… this is, in fact, a #MeToo success story, one that proves that the powerful, even women, can still be held to account.”
Tiana Lowe, Washington Examiner

“There is simply no denying that if a photo leaked of a male congressman, in the nude, brushing the hair of his 22-year-old staffer, and if leaked text messages revealed that that staffer felt like a ‘toy’ for said congressman, none of Hill’s defenders would be standing in that congressman’s corner…

“The media demand that we see Hill as a casualty of patriarchal oppression. This would be hard enough to stomach in its own right, but its downright vomit-inducing when you consider that Hill’s defenders are the very same people who have spent the last several years insisting that consent is murky, if not impossible, when one of the people involved in the act holds significant power over the other. But of course, these MeToo crusaders only meant for that principle to apply when it is a man who is in the position of power. Which is another way of saying that it’s not a principle at all.”
Matt Walsh, Daily Wire

“By claiming that Hill was the victim of a political smear, she and her supporters showed no concern for the vulnerable 22-year-old who was preyed upon by her boss… The same people who demonize males for far less gave Hill a free pass for her egregious abuse of power. The Guardian even helpfully has explained the ethical distinction between men and women committing the same offense: ‘When Hill engaged in an affair with a campaign aide, she did not do so in the context of millennia of men’s sexual violence against women.’ Seriously? This despicable sophistry undermines everything the ‘MeToo’ movement is meant to be about.”
Miranda Devine, New York Post

“If Hill wants to crusade against revenge porn and hold her husband accountable for whatever alleged violations he committed, good for her. It’s a scourge for its victims and should carry significant penalties for those who traffic such images without full consent. However, ‘revenge porn’ — if it was that at all — was only at best the mechanism for Hill’s downfall. Hill made the decision to have a sexual affair with her subordinate in clear violation of House rules…  That’s why she finds herself on her way out of the House, not ‘right wing media’ — with Nancy Pelosi’s boot right behind her.”
Ed Morrissey, Hot Air

“It’s true men often get away with bad behavior, albeit less so in the past few months. Feminism should not reinvent itself to mean women can get away with the same bad behavior. That’s not the kind of optimistic, aspirational, morally infused gender equality we need… Nancy Pelosi this week once again proved her understanding of how normal Americans think about these sorts of contentious issues. In the wake of Hill’s resignation, while the progressive Twitterati has been quick to defend the soon-to-be-former congresswoman, and slow to acknowledge her missteps, Pelosi has been brief but clear…

“As for the tired notion that it’s conservatives who get away with everything and Democrats who always rush to valiantly own their mistakes and, when necessary, step down, let us remember how half the senior politicians in Virginia stand credibly accused of either sexual assault or having dressed in blackface and calls for them to resign have dwindled and died. Men, women, Republicans, Democrats — we should expect more of everyone.”
Daniella Greenbaum Davis, Spectator USA

“If a dozen drones or missiles can do the kind of damage to the world economy as did those fired on Saturday—shutting down about 6 percent of world oil production—imagine what a U.S.-Iran-Saudi war would do to the world economy. In recent decades, the U.S. has sold the Saudis hundreds of billions of dollars of military equipment. Did our weapons sales carry a guarantee that we will also come and fight alongside the kingdom if it gets into a war with its neighbors?… the nation does not want another war. How we avoid it, however, is becoming difficult to see. John Bolton may be gone from the West Wing, but his soul is marching on.”
Patrick Buchanan, The American Conservative

Others note, “I’d hate to be a Democratic member of Congress trying to convince Joe Sixpack that this is a whole new ballgame. The transcript shows Trump being Trump and Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky trying to ingratiate himself with the big dog by, for instance, mentioning that he stays at Trump hotels. Trump’s conversation is typically scattershot, wandering all over the field, leaving a reasonable listener puzzled about what the takeaways are supposed to be…

“I think Joe Sixpack’s response is going to be a hearty shrug. After all that has emerged about Trump so far, his approval rating is closely tracking Obama’s approval at the same point in his presidency. To get Mr. Sixpack’s attention you are going to have to do better than this.”
Kyle Smith, National Review

President Trump should be happy. As much as Warren is articulate, obviously intelligent, and energetically supported by Democrats, she would also be far easier to defeat than Joe Biden… Considering Trump's economy, the president is well placed to defeat Warren.”
Tom Rogan, Washington Examiner

A libertarian's take

“While running for president in 2000, George W. Bush derided ‘nation building’ and said American foreign policy should be ‘humble’ rather than ‘arrogant.’ As president, Bush brought us the disastrous wars in Afghanistan and Iraq… While running for president in 2007, Barack Obama rejected the idea that the president has the authority to wage war without congressional authorization whenever he thinks it is in the national interest… As president, Obama did that very thing in Libya… A few years before his 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump said the U.S. should withdraw immediately from Afghanistan… As president, he sent more troops to Afghanistan…

“Three men with little or no foreign policy experience entered an office where they were surrounded by experts, and they quickly shed their initial skepticism of military intervention… we should worry about a president with little knowledge of the world whose military decisions are driven by anger or domestic political considerations. But it's not clear to me that such a president poses a bigger danger than the experts who have been disastrously wrong more times than we can count.”
Jacob Sullum, Reason

Get troll-free political news.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.