Now, didn’t I just this week exhort all women to get out and vote so that misogynistic males do not occupy Congressional seats?
So I read with incredulity this Gail Collins’ piece on one such character, Scott DesJarlais, who not only managed to get his seat into Congress but, inexplicably, would seem to be heading for re-election.
You’ll want to read the entire column, “It’s a Can’t-Lose Year” −which contains some hilarious bizarre reminders about other congressmen, including Rand Paul − but since I’m focusing here on how the hell women can vote for Scott DesJarlais, chew on these bitter morsels about The Man himself:
Wow, it appears that Republicans in Tennessee just gave a vote of confidence to a right-wing congressman-doctor who has a history of having sex with his patients and encouraging the women in his life to end inconvenient pregnancies by abortion.
This would be Representative Scott DesJarlais, one of the most conservative members of the House of Representatives. The vote in Thursday’s primary was so close that they may still be recounting on Inauguration Day.
DesJarlais had argued that his sins — which included affairs with patients that won him a fine from the Tennessee Board of Medical Examiners — were all in the distant past.
DesJarlais was first elected during the big anti-Obama Republican sweep of 2010. The stories of his sexual transgressions weren’t really confirmed until the end of the 2012 campaign. But, since then, voters have heard quite a lot about how their anti-abortion congressman’s first wife had two abortions with his consent. DesJarlais said in his divorce trial that the first was “therapeutic” and the second was because “things were not going well between us.”
The transcript from the divorce proceedings also included a phone conversation in which DesJarlais nagged an ex-lover to end her pregnancy. (“You told me you’d have an abortion, and now we’re getting too far along without one.”) He claimed he actually just wanted her to admit that she was making the whole pregnancy story up. In the annals of explanations, it ranks right up there with “I’m leaving you because you’re too good for me.”
It was quite a bit of information for the voters to get past, but many of them did. Maybe the key was right-wing radio hosts, who stuck with their Tea Party favorite. Maybe it was his second wife, who campaigned loyally at his side in yet another example of why being a political spouse is the worst job in America.
Maybe it was God. “I’ve heard him say ‘God has forgiven me’ many times,” said Chas Sisk, the state government reporter for The Tennessean.
Okay, I really have to consider amalgamating the Global War Against Women with The god Problem. I’m just not sure how I’ll squeeze it into the above title line. (The Global god War Against Problem Women? Let me work on that. In the meantime:)
Maybe it’s my Northeast coast superiority showing itself, but I must point out that when Anthony Weiner’s textural transgressions were brought to light, he was forced to resign his congressional seat. He did not have actual physical affairs with his patients. He did not maintain an anti-abortion credo while simultaneously demanding that an ex-lover and his wife abort their fetuses.
And he did not declare that his god had forgiven him many times. If I remember, he was more concerned with his wife.
Yet Anthony Weiner is no longer in Congress but it appears that Scott DesJarlais will be.
Tennessee women, if you put this guy back into office, you will have a lot of explaining to do.