2012 Election | Fred Thompson | Herman Cain | Rand Paul | Steve King

Republicans: Sexual Harassment Does Not Exist

HermanCainSmilesSlate's Dahlia Lithwick has a hilarious article up on the new nature of sexual harrassment denialism, which depends less on defending the accused ("So-and-so didn't sexually harass anybody because So-and-so is a good and honorable person!") than on imagining the offense out of existence ("So-and-so couldn't have sexually harassed anybody, because the whole concept of sexual harassment is the invention of a conspiracy of humorless biddies out to castrate successful men and take their money!") The article's all about the legion of Herman Cain defenders who've sprung up in the three weeks since we first caught wind of his alleged history of harassment. Below, find the remarkable collection of quotes Lithwick has compiled to illustrate her point. They paint a pretty bleak picture of the right's stance on gender relations in this allegedly enlightened anno Domini, 2011.

Road John Derbyshire, National Review: "Is there anyone who thinks sexual harassment is a real thing? Is there anyone who doesn’t know it's all a lawyers' ramp, like 'racial discrimination'? You pay a girl a compliment nowadays, she runs off and gets lawyered up."

Road Laura Ingraham, The Laura Ingraham Show: "We have seen this movie before and we know how it ends. It always ends up being an employee who can’t perform or who under-performs and is looking for a little green."

Road Kurt Schlichter, New York Post: " ... the only things you need to file a lawsuit are the filing fee and a printer. Facts are optional. … Where sexual-harassment law once protected women from being forced to be the playthings of crude lechers, it’s been transformed to enforcing a prim puritanism that drains the humor and humanity from the workplace."

Road Sen. Rand Paul, quoted at Politico: "There are people now who hesitate to tell a joke to a woman in the workplace, any kind of joke, because it could be interpreted incorrectly."

Road Rep. Steve King, quoted at Slate: "It's a terrible concept to define an action by the perception of the perceived victim."

Road Ex-Sen. Fred Thompson, National Review: "These alleged victims and their lawyers -- no matter what they may say publicly -- are champing at the bit to come forward for their day in the limelight and the inevitable book deal."

Incredible, isn't it? Apart from the plain inhumanity of accusing strangers of dastardly selfishness, sans evidence, because they happen to accuse a beloved public figure of something nasty, the right's wagon-rallying around Herman Cain reveals an extraordinary lack of logical rigor. Taken to its conclusion, it imagines out of existence any misbehavior by anyone, so long as that someone is someone they like. There's no whistle-blowing that couldn't, in theory, be ascribed to some selfish motive or misunderstanding. For example: You could say that Fred Thompson doesn't really think Cain's accusers are selfish money-grubbers; that he's only claiming so because he wants to enhance his profile by commenting loudly on a hot-button issue. But you shouldn't. Because there's just not enough evidence either way.

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  1. Nedu, I don't really care about the Solyndra "scandal" for the exact reason that you cite: "businesses run the risk of going bankrupt all d time." What's irritating is that the media freak out over decades-old, *anonymous* allegations against a Republican, yet yawn and look the other way when something very current involves Obama.

    Wilkby, yes, and their double standard will backfire. Liberals are attacking Cain because he is Obama's challenger, obviously not because he's black.

    Posted by: Max | Nov 6, 2011 10:00:37 PM

  2. Sexual harassment can be a very grey area. I know a man who owns a company that asked a subordinate out on a date and she said no. He did not take no for an answer and asked her a second and third time and she sill said no. Classic sexual harassment? She could have hired a lawyer and sued him.

    He asked her a fourth time and she said she would go out for a drink with him if he promised never to ask her again. They have been married for nine years.

    Posted by: jimsur212 | Nov 6, 2011 11:16:50 PM

  3. @max am yet to see the media bias double standard.i dont consider politico left leaning.as an independent,i personally think his fellow conservatives leaked the yr 10 yr old sexual harrasmenent.anyone who is going to become a presidential candidate should expect stuff like this to happen however cain handled the situation in such a medicore way.why not say it happened and that the issue was rather vague rather than saying you cant remember if their was a settlement and then he stated otherwise.remember rev jeremiah wright and bill ayers during obama s campaign.i personally dont think hermain cane is that smart to begin with.mitt romney seem to be the smartest of them all but everyone is entitiled to their opinion cos am sick am tired of hearing media bias and am yet to see it.

    Posted by: nedu | Nov 6, 2011 11:22:10 PM

  4. Mike128 -- Methinks the lady knoweth not thine Shakespeare (or Anonymous). Or know how to Google.

    Posted by: Anastasia Beaverhausen | Nov 6, 2011 11:44:05 PM

  5. Methinks Brandon's "lil nothings" are great. I like them.

    There ;)

    Posted by: DeeperStill | Nov 7, 2011 3:37:48 AM

  6. Jesus, Brandon, it's not "prosiness" we object too (nor could we, since that isn't even a word) it's your sophomoric editorializing in what should be a straight up news piece. This is not "explication". It's masturbating on the page—and not in a good way.

    Posted by: Christopher | Nov 7, 2011 7:37:54 AM

  7. LOL. I forgot about Paula Jones. Did she ever get around to getting a nose job? Oops! Sexual Harassment!

    Posted by: CarlottaVonFunkenhowzer | Nov 7, 2011 7:43:58 AM

  8. Unlike homosexuality, sexual harassment is a choice one makes- an awful, immoral choice. If you do the crime, you do the time and have to live with those consequences.

    Posted by: Baby Jane | Nov 7, 2011 10:08:48 AM

  9. @Christopher: prosiness is not a word? Merriam-Webster begs to differ: http://bit.ly/vNCA8l

    Posted by: Shullbit | Nov 7, 2011 10:08:48 AM

  10. Nah, completely disagree Christopher. Like Brandons work but loathe your comments. You bring nothing to the table.

    And Brandon, Max as a right wing Obama hater loathed ANYTHING negative about the right written.

    I LIKE opinion pieces but there a lot of nasty peices of work on this site who lwant Towleroad to be a boring website that copy and pastes news.


    Posted by: Rowan | Nov 7, 2011 11:33:58 AM

  11. Love that old Fred Thompson jumped in on this one. He's still hawking that "reverse mortgage" garbage on TV. Now if that doesn't make his opinion close to worthless I don't know what would.

    Posted by: Tyron | Nov 7, 2011 12:49:44 PM

  12. I'm with Rowan. I like to hear real voices. I don't come here to see a computer-generated news aggregation.

    While I think voice can come through in clever selections and arrangements and not just prose, prose should not be off limits. And while I like the intimacy of writers and commenters conversing, I'd rather read more on-point comments with a compelling voice of their own.

    Love you, TR article writers--all of u.

    Posted by: just_a_guy | Nov 7, 2011 1:55:53 PM

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