Monday, February 12, 2018

Stand By Your Man

Or Big Trouble in Brotopia

You can almost hear Tammy Wynette singing Stand By Your Man as Kellyanne Conway tries to defend Rob Porter from his ex-wives, both of whom have accused him of sexual abuse.  Jennie Willougby, one of those ex-wives, wrote this essay for Time.  Interesting that Hope Hicks, who is purportedly dating Porter, has been mum on the subject.  Just the same, Conway is once again trying to provide cover for a White House that resembles Trump's infamous "locker room."

I'm more inclined to believe Jennie than I am Kellyanne.  After all, she lived with the man and probably has a much better idea who he is than does Conway.  For Trump's mouthpiece this is all part of a smear campaign against the president, taking down those around him.  For his part, Trump also defended Porter, although he apparently wasn't too happy Hope hadn't given him a head's up on the breaking story, as one of Rob's ex-girlfriends had alerted her to the White House aide's history of domestic violence.

Trump has surrounded himself with strong virile men, along with a few tough women, to pump up his image of being a man's man.  After all, this is what appeals to the base of the Republican Party.  As a result the White House has become a "brotopia" where you can easily imagine the guys sharing their latest conquests at the gym.

The guy who should be reining this in, John Kelly, is further enabling this attitude by defending Porter rather than expressing his regret over the incident, although he apparently offered his resignation once again.  All those years in the military I guess has inured him to incidents like these.

Guys will be guys.  You have to keep your testosterone level high if you want to compete in politics.  Just ask Bill Clinton.  However, the big difference is that Bill tried to keep his excessive libido under wraps.  Not so with the Trump White House, which looks like they start their Friday night by watching The Wolf of Wall Street.  Kellyanne sitting on the sofa with her feet curled up underneath her and flipping through her smartphone as the guys root on Jordan Belfort.

What is worse is old farts like Orrin Hatch coming to the rescue of Rob Porter.  This is the same senator who teamed up with his conservative colleagues to mercilessly grill Anita Hill when she had the temerity to accuse Clarence Thomas of sexual abuse.  Porter, a Mormon, is apparently considered a fine upstanding man based on his religious identification, even if he and his wife Jennie had spoken to their bishop about the domestic violence.  Jennie was asked to stand by her man.  It's a good thing Orrin is retiring, otherwise he might face the same ignominy that has befallen other crusty old patriarchs.

This good ol' boys network is still alive and well despite the sexual abuse allegations rocking Hollywood.  Politicians apparently consider themselves immune to such allegations, unless you are a relative newby and on the wrong side of the political aisle as was the case with Al Franken, who stepped down after multiple allegations of sexual misconduct.  The charges against him pale in comparison to Rob Porter, who is accused of physically beating his wives.

These accusations didn't emerge recently.  Both wives have long accused Rob Porter of domestic violence, and it seems so too have his numerous girlfriends, but it took the #MeToo campaign to see their complaints come to light.  Nevertheless, the White House is treating this like an isolated incident despite the 20 complaints registered against Trump himself.

As with Bill Clinton you get the feeling that what will ultimately bring Trump down is the highly toxic atmosphere of sexual abuse.  It's not only been rumored that His Trumpness has been flirting around the White House but that no woman is safe in these hallowed halls.  Of course, one can argue as I am sure Kellyanne will, that this has always been the case, but we live in a new world, one where a man is answerable for his actions, especially when it comes to sexual misconduct.

If Donald Trump wants due process for Rob Porter then he should be held accountable as well.  After all, this is a man who not only falsely accused Obama of not being born in the USA, but insisted that the so-called Central Park Five should be executed for a crime they turned out not to commit, not to mention the thousands of other unsubstantiated allegations he has leveled at business and political rivals.  Or, as Kristen Gillibrand has suggested, "if he wants due process for the over dozen sexual assault allegations against him, let's have Congressional hearings tomorrow."

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