The Boys’ Club

Residents of Indiana who follow the news have come to know the state’s current Attorney General, Republican Curtis Hill, as an arrogant and self-important grand-stander– and an African-American version of his hero, Donald Trump.

In more ways than we previously appreciated, evidently.

Hill has been popular with culture warrior Republicans who voted for him and can thus reassure themselves that their anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim, anti-social welfare positions aren’t racially motivated.

Since taking office, Hill has pursued a radically right-wing agenda; he has also spent an exorbitant amount of taxpayer dollars “upgrading” his office. Personnel turn-over since Hill assumed control of the AG’s office has been high, and has cost the state an estimated $3.6 million– suggesting a working environment that is less than collegial– and scuttlebutt is that he routinely pisses off his fellow office holders, Republican and Democrat alike.

Now, Hill is accused of groping four women–a state legislator and three staffers– at a legislative reception. According to one of them, as quoted in several media reports,

An intoxicated Hill put his hands on her back, slid them down her back, put them under her clothes and grabbed her buttocks, according to the memo. She told him to “back off” and walked away, but Hill approached her again later and again reached under her clothing and grabbed her. She again told him to “back off,” according to the memo.

I realize that this is not an unusual story in our era of #metoo. But then it gets interesting– and by “interesting,” I mean “infuriating.”

The party at which these events occurred was in March. Following the allegations, top legislators, including top Democrats, initiated an investigation. No information about the accusations or the subsequent investigation was communicated to female Democratic legislators, even those in leadership positions. The women lawmakers became aware of the allegations only when they became public, and they became public only because the Indianapolis Star obtained a leaked eight-page memo prepared by the law firm hired to investigate the allegations.

The legislative leaders–including two top male Democrats– issued a joint statement along the lines of “nothing to see here, let’s move along,” in which they agreed that an investigation had been completed and “the matter has been addressed with the Attorney General to the satisfaction of the employees involved.”

Really? From what I hear (admittedly, via the gossip grapevine) the “employees involved” are anything but satisfied. Meanwhile, the public remains in the dark about the nature of the “resolution.”

Hill, of course, indignantly denies everything, and I’m sure he’ll continue to deny engaging in inappropriate behavior, at least until other women come forward. (Let’s face it, if the #metoo movement has taught us anything, it’s that previously well-behaved men in their 50s don’t suddenly and inexplicably begin grabbing women’s buttocks.)

Tawdry and inappropriate behavior aside, here’s my question: Why did the legislative “boys club” close ranks ? I understand why Republican legislators would try to bury an embarrassing episode of gross behavior by one of their own, but why did two top Democratic legislators initially join them? Why weren’t Democratic women in leadership even informed of the allegations and investigations?

If anyone is wondering why so many women are running for political office, this sort of infuriating behavior by the “good old boys” of both parties might offer a clue.

In Washington, both male and female Republicans have demonstrated their willingness to put party above country. (And yes, Susan Brooks, we’re all looking at you.)

Here in Indianapolis, at least some male Democratic legislators are evidently willing to put gender above party. The camaraderie and mutual back-scratching of the good old boys’ club is evidently more important than a few affronted women–or even scoring political points.

After all, boys will be boys.

 

 

40 thoughts on “The Boys’ Club

  1. Considering the “state” we are in politically, I think the good ole boys need to step aside and let us women take over. What could possibly go wrong that hasn’t happened? We women have managed households for forever and the men just want to make war and give more tax money to the already greedy. It’s time we level the playing field in this world and show the men how it’s done. If memory serves, that’s how Iceland is doing it now. If it wasn’t so bloody cold up there, I’d consider moving there. I tell you what, women are fed up and we’re not going to take it anymore. 2018 is the year of the women!

  2. Like I’ve said, Trump is accelerating progressive activism across the country which is the silver lining of his offensive actions. Ocasio-Cortez is killing folks on Twitter…she’s the real deal.

    I’m very impressed with Tulsi Gabbard from Hawaii. She quit her chair at the DNC when she learned of their strategy to sabotage Bernie Sanders in the primary. She also has a military background and is calling for peace in the Middle East. #Rare

    I’m with Sheila; I doubt Curtis just discovered alcohol and groping women in bars. There is a long history of this behavior. The women need to come forward, and those staffers need to go to the prosecutors and press charges. His actions were a felony.

    Once again, the power structure is comprised of both political parties which are controlled by monied interests. None of them want this power structure to fall, but that is our only hope.

    Ocasio-Cortez was outspent 10-1 by Joe Crowley’s corporate donors, including Eli Lilly. He still lost, and this is what is needed across the country.

    The Koch’s fought the country club GOP and has won control. All the GOP in Indiana feeds at the Koch trough.

    Remember, the GOP carves up the districts to their liking so those Democrats who are allowed to run for areas deemed “D” are party controlled spots. The prosecutors and judges aren’t any better. They too play the game if they want to rise in power.

    Party over people has been the game for a long, long time. Economic interests use the parties to get what they want and make deals. None of which help the broad population…just the interests of the parties involved.

    I’m sure the prosecutor and judges have been informed of Curtis’s actions just in case. They’ll have his back just like Hollywood and The New York Times had Harvey Weinstein’s back a decade ago when the charges first surfaced. They let him off the hook, but he continued grabbing ass.

    Unless a bunch more women step forward, the prosecutor will ignore it, and Curtis will owe them one. That’s the game which has nothing to do with morality or ethics or values or principles. Those ideals are for campaign speeches–not the real world.

  3. Having been victimized by sexual harassment during my years working for Indianapolis city government; I can attest to the fact that it is more often covered up due to fear of job loss and because support staff speaking against those in supervisory levels is ignored. The “MeToo” club has expanded with the lines being opened to report these verbal and/or physical “attacks” – and they are attacks against victims. There doesn’t seem to be statistics maintained on the predators; I suggest using the term, and the name, “WienerGate” for that club. The term fits and the name of the that predator should not be lost in the annals of history, along with the names Bill Clinton and Donald Trump, et al, of the times we are living through now. I believe it was New York City several years ago where the “John List”, names of men found with prostitutes was regularly published; they weren’t arrested but the girls were. Long considered a “victimless crime”; the”good old boys’ club” members were sent home accompanied by the grins and smirks of officers arresting prostitutes. Today; Stormy Daniels, a porn star, has become a cult heroine; wouldn’t you love to peek into those names listed in her “little black book”!

    “Here in Indianapolis, at least some male Democratic legislators are evidently willing to put gender above party. The camaraderie and mutual back-scratching of the good old boys’ club is evidently more important than a few affronted women–or even scoring political points.”

    When putting gender above party comes to the forefront; it has always been the “good old boys’ club” who come out on top – no pun intended.

  4. AgingLGrl,

    “Considering the “state” we are in politically, I think the good ole boys need to step aside and let us women take over.”

    No argument here. If men speak out with the truth, they risk being asked to leave the “Boy’s Club.” Very few can afford to do that.

  5. There is a march to support the victims THIS SATURDAY, July 7, at the State House (Capitol Ave. entrance) at 2:00. Folks are encouraged to spread news of the march, bring your family and friends, and bring self-made posters indicating MeTOO wants action against A.G. Hill. If the political powers that be won’t take action, let the public gather in large numbers to speak loudly, saying we’ve had ENOUGH of powerful men illegally groping women and asking them to show more skin without consequences.

    The victims need our support. The victims are NOT getting support from their legislative leadership. Lets make sure BOTH the legislative leaders AND the victims know that we’re not standing silent for sexual assault, sexual harrassment , and cover-ups for the groper ANY LONGER. What would these leaders do if the A.G. had similarly assaulted their wife or daughter or granddaughter or their staffer? I’d be willing to bet the police would have been engaged immediately.

    So come to the State House March this Saturday afternoon. Bring some friends and some posters. The Governor and the A.G. need to hear your message.

  6. An addendum; NOT to lessen Bill Clinton’s guilt on any level but…has anyone else questioned why Monica Lewinsky followed him around to public appearances until being alone with him “to do the deed”, she saved that blue dress with semen stains? Was it her great love for the man which made the dress and the stains a romantic keepsake or was it pre-planned to obtain physical evidence against him at some future date? Just askin’

  7. There are at least three protests scheduled for this coming Saturday afternoon. All in the general area of Monument Circle/State House. Working together they might create a large crowd. Bring your signs: “Me too” “Families Belong Together” and I can’t remember the third!

  8. My semi-educated guess is that the bipartisan legislative leadership wanted to get rid of the Curtis Hill “investigation” quickly before it began to look at the actions of various male legislators. Female legislators would have pushed for that move, and the male legislators didn’t want to open the can of worms.

    Not all male legislators are lecherous, of course, but being in a position of power can lead some to abuse that power for their own gratification.

  9. As a Republican office holder, Mr. Hill is exempt from consequences of his assaults on women. He need only have some Evangelical preacher claim he is a man of good faith, who has sought forgiveness. Only Democrats get impeached or forced out of office by such behavior. That makes the actions of those Indiana Democrats even more appalling.

    I’m not overly fond of the #Metoo movement, as it fails to differentiate between boorish behavior and actual assault, but this clearly is a case of the latter and should be addressed.

  10. The reason for the cover-up and silence could also involve, Quid pro quo (“something for something” in Latin) by the Democrats, that is let’s keep all our dirt under the rug.

    Items:

    1.) The Catholic Church for decades swept under the rug, and covered up sex crimes. Even some colleges and universities have been exposed (no pun intended) to have permitted and/or looked the other way when allegations of gross sexual misconduct were reported.

    2.) Jerry Sandusky at Penn State, who was convicted of 45 counts relating to the sexual abuse of young boys and remains in jail to this day. The case ruined the once vaunted reputation of legendary Penn State coach Joe Paterno, who died in 2012, and who may have concealed the child rape allegations from authorities.

    3.) Then there is the more recent case of USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University Dr. Larry Nassar, who was sentenced to up to 175 years in prison after pleading guilty to seven counts of criminal sexual conduct. The pain of the victims was exacerbated by reports that Michigan State failed to do enough to stop Nassar. The university and the assault victims eventually reached a settlement of $500 million.

    I would agree with Sheila’s statement – “Let’s face it, if the #metoo movement has taught us anything, it’s that previously well-behaved men in their 50s don’t suddenly and inexplicably begin grabbing women’s buttocks.”

  11. I was at the Carmel 4th of July parade yesterday and lots of politicians were in the parade. As most of you know this city is pretty strongly Republican however, I was pleasantly surprised when the Republican candidates went passed by little area of about 50 people there was no waving or clapping. When the Democratic candidates went passed there was waving and clapping. Gives me a small sense of optimism for the mid-term elections.

  12. Women are girls first as are men, boys. If a mother cannot tolerate men at home or on AIR for bids on political offices, look in both Central Committees at the Cover-ups 1974 to 1994 at Indiana’s best Schools in the NCAA. Here we are looking for those A.A.A.A.,A.A. BOOKS of LAW as encoded morals as of Boy Scouts of America Bankers and GSA WITNESSES for all those Yellow Buses Career Days, Fort Ancient and Sunwatch, Treatyline Council and Crossroads Hiawatha Canoe Camp Trips, Swimming Contests at Scottsburg rare Cotton Mouth Water Moccasin Turtle Island Caves. S121: Give the APPEARANCE of Being Fair at Job Fairs.
    It is the Tortoise for that Supreme Court Plaza Voice of the Turtle, not the White Rabbit Gal.

  13. When the people elect fools and miscreants into office, you get foolish, and disgusting behavior.

    The answer? Stop electing bad people.

  14. Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. Democracy is about freedom, not power, because those in government serve at the pleasure of the voters.

    What if though worker/consumer/voter/tax payers can be seduced through the screens that we surround ourselves with into believing that by voting for X they share the power of X? Who is corrupted then?

    There’s lots of speculation here about what the differences are between Democrats and Republicans or more pertinently in my view liberals and authoritarians. What if it boils down to that authoritarians just don’t see value in truth when it’s clear that in lying there is much power to be gathered within our political system. Of course the field of lying blurs lines within many things like advertising and speech making or in a modern times even science.

    We used to vote for honor. We used to value truth. It’s part of the Great Enlightment that life should be lived in concert with reality to the degree that humanity can determine what it is.

    Now we accept the obfuscation of truth and reality easily. Look at the movies made now which will so obviously never be reality but get accepted by the public as expressing reality.

    We’ve be trained. One of the purposes was to remove democratic obstacles to power. Another one was to confer dollars on people for products that offer no real value to us consumers. It’s all the same. Lying is the new truth. The old truth is merely an obstacle to get around. Democracy is only one of the values sacrificed at the alter of mindlessness.

  15. What do we expect? It’s Democracy. Curtis Hill is a buffoon. The political parties are full of buffoons. The legislature is full of buffoons. The people are well represented.

  16. Indeed, Pete. The entire structure of our economy, and in an intensely consumerist capitalist country most of our society, is based on the provision of instant gratification. Virtually none of it is built around discipline and honor. We reap what we sow.

  17. I agree with everything in this post, but want to make one suggestion that I think would be useful for readers. The parenthetical “(And yes, Susan Brooks, we’re all looking at you)” should be a part of virtually every post Sheila makes unless and until the reprehensible Ms. Brooks decides to no longer be complicit.

  18. I believe that this gender alliance between Republicans and Democrats sorings from the likelihood that this sort of behavior is common on both sides of the aisle. So this is the one area in which the miscreants can find common ground. As long as they circle the wagons and hide the facts from their female counterparts they can avoid the consequences of their crimes. I believe that electing more women to office will help, but men have to start confronting other men over their bad behavior and telling them it is unacceptable. The code of silence that afflicts so many so-called brotherhoods is largely to blame for the fact that there are no consequences for offensive and criminal behavior. If we want things to improve, people need to be held accountable.

  19. I applaud the planned marches for this weekend and if I were practicing law in Indianapolis as I once did, I would be delighted to represent pro bono women in suits against politicians of any political stripe, race, creed or gender in matters sexual. We did not elect these people to play power games with sexual overtures; we elected them to do the job of legislating, enforcing legislation, and determining whether such legislation is constitutional, as in Madisonian tripartite government. That we are even having this conversation is disgusting to the core. The AG should resign – yesterday.

  20. Peggy Hannon,

    “As a Republican office holder, Mr. Hill is exempt from consequences of his assaults on women. He need only have some Evangelical preacher claim he is a man of good faith, who has sought forgiveness. Only Democrats get impeached or forced out of office by such behavior. That makes the actions of those Indiana Democrats even more appalling.”

    How dare you make such a truthful statement.

  21. Here’s the tough question. Should liberals react to the success of authoritarian lying by adopting a similar strategy as means justified by the ends of proportionate influence in DC?

  22. Pete; the answer to your question is a resounding NO! The DNC has enough problems to work out without lowering the party to the current level of the RNC. They have done nothing but sink lower over the past 20 years or so; once in the gutter it is difficult to crawl back out…and if you do, you are covered with filth that doesn’t wash away.

  23. He’s like a radio station on the web with me getting an email from his office just about every other day regarding his latest accomplishment or some conference he’s attended. It’s way more than slightly humorous that such a media hog has run aground the way he has given his alleged conduct. Unfortunately, unless this scandal cranks itself up and he’s forced to resign over his misdeeds, we’re stuck with this buffoon until 2020.

  24. JoAnn, I see the answer to the question the same as you do but unfortunately not everyone does. I keep hearing complaints that the DNC is incompetent because they stay on the high road rather than focus only on elections. To me if lying is the only way to get elected the country is already swirling the bowl and nothing matters.

  25. Nancy Papas and Margaret McGovern gave us information about Saturday’s protests. Thank you, I find this very helpful every time someone tells us where we can act. I’ve posted Teresa Bowers TO DO List from June 30 to keep reminding myself where I can do something. I’m wondering about phoning and writing to Democratic incumbents and candidates to drive home Vernon Turner’s suggestion: stop bashing Trump, hit issues that matter. Thanks to those of you who brink us back from the brink of despair, which isn’t easy.

    I was part of IBFAN (International Baby Food Action Network) in Europe in the 70s, working to stop the deadly sale of infant formula in Third World countries. The Nestle Boycott was a very effective tool against a corporate giant, and the efforts of many worldwide led to the WHO Marketing Code for Breastmilk Substitutes. Boycott is powerful if it can be organized. Where can it be used today? These days looks like it effectively concentrates on scaring away advertising on a “wrong cause” platform.

    Enough money was gathered in the 70s to buy one share of Nestle stock so that a Swiss member of IBFAN could not be stopped from sitting quietly in closed shareholder meetings. I wonder if some liberal group or individual could buy stock in Sinclair. The Pravda posting by Professor Kennedy was very unsettling about our hopes for the future.

  26. Pete,

    The issue isn’t about lying. It’s about CIVIC COURAGE. The Democratic Party is devoid of it. So all we end-up with are these well intended, fruitless, leaderless, marches which do more harm than good. They display how impotent we are to the opposition. The result is that the opposition becomes more and more adventurous, knowing their opposition doesn’t have the will to confront them.

    What is stopping a MARCH AGAINST FASCISM or a GENERAL STRIKE?

    Nothing, except POLITICAL COWARDICE.

  27. Kudos to the person that leaked the memo from the law firm that conducted the investigation.

    It is now up to all of us to call our legislators and demand that they do what is right and put pressure on Hill to resign. We need to keep demanding that they take action and not let this issue be ignored. Hill has got to go!

    By the way, Hill spent over $300,000 redecorating his office. I would like to know how and why he was allowed such an exhorbitant amount of money to spend frivolously. I would also like to know why we taxpayers are forced to pay for his multiple trips to DC so that he can rub elbows with power brokers who can open doors for him to acquire more power.

  28. Brian Bosma and David Long were furious when the memo was leaked. They are probably spending more on an effort to find out who leaked this info and will make sure that person is punished.

    I believe we should all keep calling Bosma and Long’s offices with phone calls demanding that Hill resign and keep harrassing thwm with calls until they realize that we are not going to accept this BS anymore.

  29. Pete,

    “Marv, assuming that your are right what can we do?

    RE-ORGANIZE. My partner Professor Harvey Wheeler and I were developing a course for the internet on just that: THE TRANSFORMATION OF PRO-DEMOCRACY ORGANIZATIONS at the time of his death in 2004. A few months later, my long-time companion came down with Parkinson’s. I was her caregiver for the next five years. I couldn’t be away for more than a day, or two at the most. Our work had to be put on the shelf.

    Now there is no time to teach RE-ORGANIZATION. We just have to do it, despite the objections from those who, for whatever reason, are afraid to offend the opposition.

  30. Frankly I see very few liberals holding back on offending the opposition thank God. It’s never been easier or more necessary and we have never had more effective soap boxes to do it from.

  31. So then, Scott Pruitt finally resigns…FINALLY!…and lions eat three rhino poachers in Africa. It’s turning out to be a right pleasant day!

  32. Betty; you are sooooo bad! I missed the news about lions eating the rhino poachers but probably scared my neighbors with my cheering when I saw Pruitt resigned. Too late to save the EPA but we should save a great deal in tax dollars with Pruitt gone.

  33. Pete,

    You’re right about the liberals. Just look what happened to Professor Alan Dershowitz when he became an apologist for the Trump administration. We’re finally getting on the “right track.”

  34. I read an interesting thought on Facebook today from a traditional authoritarian who remarked “see what we have been talking about all along? Powerful
    government is dangerous because it might fall into the hands of people like Trump!”

    Indeed.

    Democracy has now demonstrated that it is not 100% reliable in these times of pervasive entertainment but it can limit the time over which we suffer the consequences of lapses among voters.

    Of course what we’ll have to wait and see is if we are still a democracy in 2020.

  35. It is up to the female lawmaker to engage the police, not a few legislative leaders. Perhaps if other women in the legislature has been informed, they would have been able to reach out to support their colleague. But no one can force the victim to go to the police. From what I’ve read, only his actions towards the lawmaker rise to a criminal offense.

  36. Since we are riffing on the subject of proper and improper behavior in regard to mating rituals: So much in this column of posts made perfect sense that the only statement that irritated my Freudian sensibilities, proper or improper, was: “Here in Indianapolis, at least some male Democratic legislators are evidently willing to put GENDER above party.” (caps mine)

    I see the flaw in writing: …some male Democratic legislators are evidently willing to put SEX above party, which might be true, but likely over-sexes the meaning, which explains the inclination to shy away from using the word SEX in that context.

    My critical feminist friends, plus two sisters, tell me to substitute the phrase — “cultural and attitudinal distinctions regarding the female sex” — for the word GENDER, in order to ascertain whether the intended meaning of the sentence requires the word GENDER or requires the word SEX …or requires the sentence to be rebuilt. I have been warned by the same women that misusing the word GENDER reveals in me a problematic psychotic aversion to talking about SEX. Maybe I am guilty, but I have the same revulsion to talking about GENDER, and I have noticed that nearly the entire population of the United States is now in the dainty habit of substituting the word GENDER for the word SEX…in almost every context. And we cannot even be right half of the time. For example:

    “The effectiveness of the medication appears to depend on the GENDER (instead of the SEX) of the patient.”

    You would think a gynecologist would not be so bullied by the word SEX that she would fear using it even when her message demands it. Linguistically, it is nearly as wrong as an anthropologist saying:

    “In peasant societies, SEX (instead of GENDER) roles are likely to be more clearly defined.”

    The misuse of the word GENDER has become to me the equivalent of UNWARRANTED SEXUAL RETREAT.

    My European friends accuse Americans of being in mid-stampede from anything openly sexual and entirely at the mercy of everything subversively sexual.

    GENDER, the word, regardless of its other convoluted and confusing uses, is very clear in what it says about us.

  37. This leaves me absolutely disgusted and revolted to the point of regurgitating at the mention of any of our state’s male “leaders” of either party. If I could, I would vote them all out of office, even those complicit in the coverup. HRC was more accurate than we knew: deplorables all. And politicians wonder why we citizens no longer put our trust in them. Gee, perhaps because their lips are moving?

  38. Why didn’t the democrats step in? It is more than a “Boys Club”…It is because we do not live in an actual democracy as both parties are owned by the 1% club. They just pretend to fight each other on out behalf. So a little sexual harassment is not a issue since each have much more corrupt issues they can hold against another.

    We need more independent candidates no matter the gender.

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