Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez lays down the gauntlet

Those days of silent submission are long over:

“In front of reporters, Representative Yoho called me, and I quote: ‘A fucking bitch,’” she said, punching each syllable in the vulgarity. “These are the words Representative Yoho levied against a congresswoman.”

Then Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, who excels at using her detractors to amplify her own political brand, invited a group of Democratic women in the House to come forward to express solidarity with her. One by one, they shared their own stories of harassment and mistreatment by men, including in Congress.

Republican men are bad enough when they are on the mic, on the Congressional record. They will use thinly-veiled innuendo to viciously attack the character of whoever is testifying, and lash out at their female colleagues every chance they get. But one on one they're even worse, especially when there are no other witnesses around. Democratic men are not completely immune to such misogynistic behavior, but we police our own pretty thoroughly. AOC has the potential of being not just a firebrand, but a good leader herself, by giving others the opportunity to tell their stories:

Representative Pramila Jayapal, Democrat of Washington, recounted how a male Republican lawmaker had once lashed out at her during a debate on the House floor, sternly calling Ms. Jayapal, 54, a “young lady” and saying that she did not “know a damn thing” about what she was talking about. Ms. Jayapal did not name the lawmaker, but she was referring to Representative Don Young, Republican of Alaska, whose insults of Ms. Jayapal were captured on video in a 2017 incident that was widely reported at the time.

Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Democrat of Florida and the former chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, recounted her own experiences as a “20-something lawmaker” in Florida’s statehouse and again as a member of Congress in her 30s.

“Few women here watching have not felt a man’s bullying breath or menacing finger in our face as we were told exactly where our place was at work,” Ms. Wasserman Schultz said.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the most powerful woman in Washington, offered her own account: “I can tell you this firsthand, they called me names for at least 20 years of leadership. You’d say to them, ‘Do you not have a daughter? Do you not have a mother? Do you not have a sister? Do you not have a wife?’ What makes you think you can be so — and this is the word I use for them — condescending?”

The truth is, they probably treat those family members just as badly, depending on the circumstances. Statistically speaking, home is the most dangerous place for women (and young girls). But even if it wasn't, men should not have to "envision" female family members to keep them from misbehaving towards other women. If they have to be guilt-tripped into acting right, they were not raised properly in the first place.

As for Yoho's "apology," it's not even worth the ink used to quote it:

Mr. Yoho offered some words of contrition on Wednesday for the episode, but he declined to apologize to Ms. Ocasio-Cortez for his language, denying that he had used the phrase and arguing that his passion stemmed from his concern about poverty.

A spokesman for Mr. Yoho said he used a barnyard epithet to describe her policies, not insult her.

“The offensive name-calling words attributed to me by the press were never spoken to my colleagues, and if they were construed that way, I apologize for their misunderstanding,” Mr. Yoho said on the House floor. He concluded, “I cannot apologize for my passion or for loving my god, my family and my country.”

Honestly, Steny Hoyer needs to retire if he (originally) thought that was a sufficient apology. It's not only insincere, it's an outright lie. He was most certainly speaking directly to AOC when he said it, and I'm glad she decided to not let him weasel out of it.

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