Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Opportunism In Oklahoma

It's not the sex or Kamala Harris (two things which must never, ever appear in the same paragraph), especially not about Oklahoma state senator Nathan Dahm.  As the video below indicates, the latter

is facing calls to resign after he made "misogynistic" comments about Vice President Kamala Harris in a news release announcing a bill that would ban paper straws. "hatred of paper straws is universal, the Republican senator from Broken Arrow said in the press release issued on Earth Day. "They fall apart and turn to mush quicker than Joe Biden trying to string together a coherent sentence. They collapse like Mitt Romney under the slightest amount of pressure, and even with Kamala Harris.... well, never mind."

Unfortunately unable to resist the temptation either a) to leave bad enough alone; or b) to declare victory and withdraw from impending controversy

in an interview with local station KTVU, Dahm took his comments about Harris a step further, saying "one thing that could be said is you can't use a paper straw for a milk shake, but maybe Kamala Harris could because of her vast experience. Maybe she would be able to get that accomplished."

When the reporter asked him o clarify what that statement meant, Dahm said that people can "do their research.... to figure out how she got trajection into politics."

Evidently, he meant "trajectory," not "trajection," but making up words proved the least of his worries as

Dahm's statement to KVTU seemed to imply that Harris made her successful career in politics through sexual favors. Backlash and calls for Dahm's resignation immediately ensued.

This could be a simple story of ignorance, crudeness, and bigotry amid a slurry of words. Regrettably, it is not because Ms. Harris'

first significant political role was an appointment by her powerful then-boyfriend Willie Brown, three decades her senior, to a California medical board that has been criticized as a landing spot for patronage jobs and kickbacks.

Then 30, Harris was dating 60-year-old Willie Brown, at the time the Democratic speaker of the California State Assembly, when he placed her on the California Medical Assistance Commission in 1994. The position paid over $70,000 per year, $120,700 in current money, and Harris served on the board until 1998.

The medical commission met twice a month, and Harris, a United States senator for California since 2017 and now a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, missed about 20% of the meetings each year, according to commission records obtained by the Washington Examiner.

The seven-member board was largely comprised of late-career former state officials who were semi-retired or biding time before retirement. At 30 years old, Harris was the youngest appointee by some three decades.

Harris and Brown

started dating in the spring of 1994, showing up arm-in-arm at numerous high-profile functions, including Brown’s lavish parties and celebrity galas. He has been separated but not divorced from his wife Blanche Vitero since the 1980s and has maintained a string of girlfriends over the years.

That June of 1994, Harris took a leave of absence from her job as a deputy prosecutor at the district attorney’s office in Alameda County, where she had worked for four years after graduating from law school. Brown appointed Harris to the California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board, a position that paid $97,000 annually, which would be $167,000 in 2019. Five months later, Harris resigned from the insurance board, and Brown immediately appointed her to the California Medical Assistance Commission....

Harris had no medical background, according to a copy of her resume that she submitted to Brown at the time. Her experience consisted of four years as a deputy prosecutor, a handful of summer jobs and internships, and a volunteer position at a hospital fundraising group.

For some reason (insert theory here), fact checkers have focused their attention not on the scent of corruption but whether Brown was married when he had his affair with Harris, which he apparently was not.  However, the affair took place decades ago, the private life of a public official which do not affect their duties is virtually irrelevant, and the alleged adultery was committed by Brown, not Harris, and the former never has run for national office. Kamala Harris did what she had to do to advance her career; she was not the first and won't be the last.

Among the critics of Dahm's remarks are Republicans, such that

"Every single female that I know of in that Capitol has a story similar to tell, including myself," said District 43 Republican Senator Jessica Garvin.

Garvin telling KFOR in Oklahoma City that she was stunned by her colleague's comments, but also not surprised by the content.

"Whether it was during my campaign or when I first got into office, we have these accusations made about us all the time," she said....

Garvin says she doesn't want this one event or others like it to get in the way of women in any workplace.

"I don't want this to be about the fact that I'm the woman and I'm the victim here. I want it to be about expressing to people, especially women, that they shouldn't let comments like this be discouraging to them in that it doesn't make them want to run for office," said Garvin.

Curiously, that's the same Republican state senator Jessica Garvin who was given a 92% rating by the National Rifle Association, is "a very proud supporter of the Second Amendment" who and her husband "always joke about having a small arsenal in our home."

Nathan Dahm's remark was not a joke but an assault upon all women in the workplace, Garvin suggests. However, bragging about having an arsenal in the country with the highest rate of murder in the industrialized world is a joke. Got it.

Garvin's 92% rating from the NRA is eclipsed by adoration by another organization. She fears misogynistic remarks will be "discouraging to" women in any workplace.  She's not so concerned, though, that she isn't one of the most fervent supporters (as is Dahm) of forced birth in the Oklahoma legislature.  She has been rewarded with a 100% rating from Oklahomans for Life, Inc. Forcing women into childbirth is a novel approach to promoting women in the workplace.

The biggest problem with remarks such as those of Nathan Dahm isn't that they are insensitive and offend many people, or even the eagerness of media to focus on the politics rather than the accuracy of the claims made (or in this case, implied). Rather, they give politicians an opportunity to grandstand, to claim victimhood "about the fact that I'm the woman and I'm the victim here."  They allow the opportunistic to obscure their revord, one which would reveal their expression of outrage to be a sham intended to manipulate public opinion. 


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