Amanda Terkel shows that rank misogyny remains a thing among powerful Democratic donors:
Gillibrand wasn’t the only senator to publicly call on Franken to step down, but she was the first (but only by minutes) in a wave of female senators ― who were eventually joined by many of their male colleagues on the same day, Dec. 6 ― to do so. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), however, reportedly told Franken in private that he needed to go beforehand.
But Gillibrand has received the brunt of the blame for what happened, with many of her detractors saying the reason she came out against Franken was that she’s an “opportunist” who was positioning herself for a presidential run in 2020. Some Democratic Party donors have been reconsidering whether they would support her in a primary.
Most prominently, Gillibrand has attracted the ire of billionaire George Soros, who has long funded Democratic candidates and causes. Soros recently said he wasn’t sure whom he was supporting for 2020, but that it absolutely wouldn’t be Gillibrand. He accused her of going after Franken, “whom I admire,” to “improve her chances” for president.
“If standing up for women who have been wronged makes George Soros mad, that’s on him,” Gillibrand said in a statement to HuffPost. “But I won’t hesitate to always do what I think is right. For nearly a year, we have seen countless acts of courage as women and men have spoken hard truths about sexual assault and sexual harassment and demanded accountability.”
HuffPost spoke to dozens of elite donors who contributed significant amounts of money to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. Gillibrand, at one time, was part of the tight, loyal Clinton world. The Clintons were early supporters of hers and Hillary wrote the forward to Gillibrand’s book.
Many of these donors said that either they were unhappy with Gillibrand or knew plenty of people who were. The 2020 race is still years away, but as donors start to shop around, her comments on Clinton and Franken could be a factor.
“I viewed it as self-serving, as opportunistic ― unforgivable in my view,” said Rosalind Fink, a New York donor. “Since then, I have not purposely attended any fundraiser where she was there. And there is absolutely no way I will support her.”
Fink said she condemned Franken’s behavior, but she believed the Senate should have investigated the allegations thoroughly before forcing him out.
“I think it was a big mistake,” said Irene Finel Honigman, another Clinton donor from New York, adding, “I was not that impressed with her to begin with. I think she certainly had potential, but as for many people, this kind of sealed the deal.”
Another donor, who like many others asked to remain anonymous in order to speak candidly, called Gillibrand a “ruthless opportunist.”
“That’s the knock on her, and that’s what this proved,” he said. “She saw an opportunity to be out front, and regardless of the ramifications, she took it.”
Michael Cohen has a good column about this too.
Anyway, we’ve been through this, but to summarize:
- Franken resigning was obviously the right thing, and no the eight accusers were not all the product of a Republican ratfucking operation.
- Leaving aside the merits, making the resignation about Gillibrand for this is transparently idiotic. As Terkel says, she had Schumer’s ex ante approval, and virtually every woman in the Democratic caucus (including more powerful people like Patty Murray) also called for Franken to resign almost immediately. If it’s disqualifying for Gillibrand — which of course it shouldn’t be — it’s also disqualifying for Sanders and Warren and Harris.
- Accusing a female politician of being “ambitious” or “opportunistic” — in other words, observing that she’s a politician — is about a purely undistilled as misogyny can get.
- And that aside, how goddamned clueless do you have to be to think that calling out powerful men for harassment is a good career move? I mean, really.
…great point about the unique version of “due process” invoked by Franken dead-enders:
I have (personally) been very interested to hear what due process means in this context. Apparently it: extends to nonstate actors; includes entitlements to privileged professional positions that no one is actually entitled to; & requires avoiding acquiring information. 🤷♀️
— Leah Litman (@LeahLitman) August 1, 2018