No. Really. Republicans Have Nothing But Respect For Women.

I know that Zandar already touched on this story, but I have to confess. I really thought I was beyond the possibility of shock at the Republican Party’s fundamental disregard for civilized norms of political life.

But news of the Freedom Works (sic and sick!) bestiality/Hilary video made me gag.  This is simply not acceptable behavior under any construction.  I would like to see every MSM reporter with access to the GOP caucus in the House and Senate ask each member if they denounce or stand by this gesture.  Get the feckers on record. Demand apologies — to Secretary and Senator Clinton, at least — and to women in general.

But beyond that bare minimum of a penalty, of public shaming, of reminding the American public what Washington Republican operatives think is appropriate, I want to draw attention to the part of this story that captures the reality of sex and power in a male-dominated power structure — like that at Freedom Works and the Republican Party of whose apparatus it forms a part.

That would lie in this line of David Corn’s MoJo piece:

Two female interns at FreedomWorks were recruited to play the panda and Clinton. One intern wore a Hillary Clinton mask. The other wore a giant panda suit

Two female interns were “recruited.”  That’s what they’re calling it now.

To the credit of at least one person at Freedom Works, a former staffer there asked “How was that not some form of sexual harassment?”

Well, yeah. You’d kind of think that more or less any organism above the level of a slime mold would kind of figure that asking the two least powerful people in your office to play to your girl-on-girl fantasy for the camera might not actually pass muster in this century of the anchovy.

An aside (to justify the picture below*): At least the lawsuit that should have resulted would be less painful than older options to deal with out-of-line-males…

Peter_Paul_Rubens_-_Judith_with_the_Head_of_Holofernes_-_WGA20269

But apparently not.  Yes, at least marginally smarter folks prevailed and the video, though made, was not shown in public.  But the interns will have the memory of that shoot forever; that’s their experience of Republican politics in action.  FREEDOM!

This is the crux of the matter:  you shouldn’t have to teach leading members of a national political group that women are not simply mute vessels to be filled with whatever sexual fantasy one may have.  That someone had to tells you that we face not just an opposition, but a pathology.

Factio Grandaeva Delenda Est.

PS:  I do know that Freedom Works is not the Republican Party as a whole; I even recognize that many Republicans, including those in or close to power are likely as disgusted by this story as I am.  But this is the harvest of decades of commitment to the idea that men should make key decisions — transvaginal probes, anyone — for women presumptively incapable of managing their own lives.  Its their party, their platform:  they broke it; they bought all the shame that comes with it.

*Here ya go, Aimai: this is a story for which subtlety is beside the point.  So Judith it is…

Peter Paul Rubens, Judith with the Head of Holofernes, c. 1616.

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47 replies
  1. 1
    Scott S. says:

    I think you’re missing who the *real* victims are — namely, those nice folks at FreedomWorks and Matt Kibbe, who have to deal with people saying mean things about them.

    If you brought this story up to most members of the Washington media, they’d probably laugh and laugh and laugh, then buy Kibbe a drink next time they saw him.

  2. 2
    jl says:

    I read once that Thycidides wrote that for Ancient Greeks (or was it Athenians?), freedom means the power to force other people do what you want them to do.

    I think that goes for the political monstrosity we call the current mutated from of the GOP.

  3. 3
    Corner Stone says:

    What is a portrait of Balbricker from Porky’s doing there?

  4. 4
    Zam says:

    They may not be the Republican Party, but aren’t they the head of the tea party?

  5. 5
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    Between shit like this and Steve Doocey talking about her getting a facelift…. do they not realize how badly this is gonna blow back on them if Hillary Clinton does run?

  6. 6
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    Let me see…. Weird bestiality fetish, sexual harassment, taking advantage of subordinates, fear of powerful women…. These guys have issues.

  7. 7
    TooManyJens says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    do they not realize how badly this is gonna blow back on them if Hillary Clinton does run?

    They probably assume that by 2016, nobody will remember or care what they did now. Given the massive case of amnesia our mainstream media outlets suffer from on all kinds of topics (who was right and who was wrong about the Iraq War, again?), that wouldn’t be an unwarranted assumption.

  8. 8
    Bethanyanne says:

    Do remember that Citizens United was originally Citizens United Not Timid, and the acronym was specifically about Hillary.

  9. 9
    mo says:

    Actually, interns are not employees and thus not protected under employment law. If harassed, injured, discriminated against, they really don’t have recourse except under normal criminal law.

    Another reason why unpaid interships are bad.

  10. 10
    Ash Can says:

    @Zam:

    They may not be the Republican Party, but aren’t they the head of the tea party?

    If there were a competent news reporter anywhere in or near DC, s/he would be on the phone to Rand Paul’s office right now if not sooner, with the question of “As the person who gave the official SOTU rebuttal for the Tea Party, what are your feelings on this?”

    Yeah, yeah. I know…

  11. 11
    Zam says:

    @Ash Can: yea exactly what I was thinking. Didn’t he or Bachman have the freedom works website on their backdrop during their speech. Can’t really look it up while at work so I’m not entirely positive

  12. 12
    Biff Longbotham says:

    Anybody catch if Beck or Limbaugh (heavily in bed the both with FreedomWorks) have made any mention of Pandagate? The way they both slagged Move On with the faux Bush/Nazi ad smear is making my Schadenfreude Alert meter buzz with excitement!

  13. 13
    aimai says:

    @Bethanyanne:

    Yes, precisely this. Citizen’s United was Roger Stone’s thumb in the eye to women everywhere–and he was a Nixon operative originally, wasn’t he? But his is really not your grandfather’s political party of any kind. I mean–its not like I think Nixon and Agnew, Reagan, etc… were gentlemen but they really kept this stuff to the gridiron club at that time, didn’t they? They kept their misogyny on the downlow–they would have hired hookers to do this in a live show, not asked good little Republican interns to do it.

    I want to agree with Tom in the original post that what caught my eye was the fact that they forced two female interns to do it, rather than having a male intern play the panda and/or both roles. It speaks to their inborn contempt for women and their desire to play amateur porn night on the donor’s dime.

  14. 14
    Ash Can says:

    @Biff Longbotham: I’m sure they would/will cite it approvingly, to the delight of their audiences. Since when has misogyny, hatred, and/or immaturity been a problem for them?

    On the other hand, Rand Paul is an actual office-holder, and a fairly prominent federal one at that. I’d love to see someone get his reaction on record.

  15. 15
    geg6 says:

    @Bethanyanne:

    THIS.

    I, personally, will never forget that and I tell every woman and most men I know that very fact and tell ’em to look it up if they don’t believe me.

    And using a couple of interns for this? And probably unpaid interns, as most are these days? Sick mother fuckers, Matt Kibbe and friends are, aren’t they?

  16. 16
    nancydarling says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: But, but, they thought they were being funny.

  17. 17
    japa21 says:

    Pelosi should demand that the House have a vote on a resolution condemning Freedom Works for this. I seem to recall the Republicans dfemanding a vote to condemn MoveON in 2004 when someone uploaded an “ad” showing Bush’s face morphing into Hitler. MoveOn did not create that and removed it as soon as they found it. Yet the GOP basically forced Dems into voting for the resolution. Freedom Works holds full responsibility for this.

  18. 18
    The Fat Kate Middleton says:

    @aimai:

    But his is really not your grandfather’s political party of any kind.

    And just to underscore the truth of that observation, we’re told that Fox & Friends went out of their way this morning to make fun of 102-year-old voter Deseline (sp?) Victor. Sickening.

  19. 19
    geg6 says:

    @The Fat Kate Middleton:

    Jeebus. WTF is wrong with these people? How do you make fun of a 102 yo woman? Why do you do such a thing? Hell, my college students wouldn’t be so mean spirited or immature.

  20. 20
    JoyfulA says:

    @japa21: That was the Petreus Betray Us newspaper ad.

  21. 21
    gene108 says:

    But this is the harvest of decades of commitment to the idea that men should make key decisions

    Tom, you left out the 20+ decades of rabid hatred towards Hillary.

    This hatred includes a firm conviction by right-wingers I know that even if Hillary didn’t murder Vince Foster, it doesn’t show that she has enough of a conscious or capacity for remorse that she would never murder someone for political advancement.

  22. 22
    Patricia Kayden says:

    “But the interns will have the memory of that shoot forever; that’s their experience of Republican politics in action.”

    Why didn’t they quit in protest? I’m pretty sure they’re alright and working on the next video about now.

  23. 23
    dmbeaster says:

    @Scott S.:

    If you brought this story up to most members of the Washington media, they’d probably laugh and laugh and laugh, then buy Kibbe a drink next time they saw him.

    Exactly. Cue the whine about libs having no sense of humor. And this is conservatard “humor” on display.

  24. 24
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @aimai: Why are we assuming that the female interns were forced into this? There are many Republican women who hate Hilary Clinton and other Democratic women (including Mrs. Obama) as much as their male counterparts. I’m not understanding why the female interns are getting off the hook.

  25. 25
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @aimai:

    It speaks to their inborn contempt for women and their desire to play amateur porn night on the donor’s dime.

    Wasn’t there a scandal during Michael Steele’s tenure as RNC chief about GOP donor money being spent on staffer trips to a live-action BDSM club out in Calif, or did I just imagine that? After a while it gets hard to sort out the snark and satire from what actually happened with these folks.

  26. 26
    Mnemosyne says:

    Well, that gives me another internet video to avoid, along with “Two Girls One Cup.”

    Add me to the list of folks who are extra creeped-out at making the interns do this.

  27. 27
    jl says:

    @Patricia Kayden:

    ” were recruited ” makes me think it.

    But, yes, perhaps the interns thought it was no big deal. But the words “were recruited” is an indication they were not “all in” on the project.

  28. 28
  29. 29
    Ronnie P says:

    As Patricia Kayden says, I don’t think we have any evidence that interns were forced into this. Interns are adults, not children.

  30. 30
    Ash Can says:

    @Jim Treacher: Primo example.

  31. 31
    Woodrowfan says:

    @jl:

    I dunno, that could mean “do this or get fired” as well as “who wants to make a funny video about Hillery?” and getting volunteers.

    That said, young interns MAY have willingly acted in this vile video but there’s no excuse for the supposed adults for 1) making it and 2) asking the interns to participate. Young people can do stupid things, but what’s the adults’ excuse?

  32. 32
    Woodrowfan says:

    apparently fellating the then-secretary of state

    Um, how does one perform fellatio on a woman? Did I miss something in sex ed class back in the day?

  33. 33
    Sue DeNim says:

    Nice choice of a subtle visual metaphor, Levenson (Modern title would be “Judith gets some head.”)

  34. 34
    Ohmmade says:

    Not to take the side of Freedom Works on this but this post seems to assume the interns were forced into this. Are we assuming these interns don’t have the same idiologies as the rest of Freedom Works? Do you believe they had no idea who they are working for or what kind of specific agenda the organization pushes?

    It’s just an aside, and having worked for corporations with many powerless interns, but my gut reaction is that everyone involved would be going ho about this video or else they wouldn’t be interning for such a bunch of ferocious jackals and liars.

    I could be totally wrong but I’m not feeling safe to assume the interns aren’t just a couple of Malkin wannabes.

  35. 35
    Bulworth says:

    conservative family values

  36. 36
    IowaOldLady says:

    How does it occur to someone to make such a video? To take a fantasy and bring right out in the open where other people will see it and even take part in it? In what kind of organization is that considered acceptable behavior? This is a workplace, for god’s sake.

  37. 37
    UncommonSense says:

    @Bethanyanne: I wish more journalists would remember that.

  38. 38
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Patricia Kayden:

    I think people are less condemning of the interns because, frankly, we’ve all done stupid shit in our early 20s. If a frat house had made this video, it wouldn’t have been very surprising because, again, stupidity and the early 20s go hand-in-hand a lot of the time.

    What’s noteworthy is that a bunch of supposed adults in their 30s and 40s (and older!) actually planned and arranged the video. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised when purported adults pull juvenile pranks, but it’s pretty nauseating any time you see some douchebag in his 40s wearing his ballcap backwards and pretending to still be a 22-year-old “bro.”

  39. 39
    ruemara says:

    @Patricia Kayden: This. I have, admittedly, a very limited array of conservative friends. The hate some of the women have towards, MichO and Hilz, just as disgusting as the men, and sometimes worse. Yeah, they don’t say any of it to me because I am their one scary black friend, but I also know their facebook feeds.

  40. 40
    jefft452 says:

    “You’d kind of think that more or less any organism above the level of a slime mold would kind of figure that asking the two least powerful people in your office to play to your girl-on-girl fantasy for the camera might not actually pass muster in this century of the anchovy.”

    That wouldn’t even pass muster back in the century of the fruit bat

  41. 41
    Trollhattan says:

    @Jim Treacher:

    Palin blew a panda? I had not heard that before, but to expand on the thought I gotta ask: which Palin?

  42. 42
    mai naem says:

    Matt Kibbe looks like a creepy rapist/child molester. Not just unattractive but creepy looking. That is all I have to contribute to this conversation.

  43. 43
    mai naem says:

    @Patricia Kayden: There was some Republican pundit(not Coulter) who wrote a book about Hilary, I think, during her Senate career who I saw on CSPAN who was just dripping with nastiness. Mona Charen??? This was unhealthily verging on obsessive mean.

  44. 44
    Bill in Section 147 says:

    As someone who has umpired in youth leagues I am just going to have to step in here and invoke the mercy rule. The team from Reality is so far behind that there is no point in continuing.

    Furry porn. Lesbian or transgendered fantasy porn. Fever dreams about Hillary Clinton. I am sure anyone could have recruited two interns to come up with a stupid idea but it takes a special kind of sick idiot to make/produce/fund a venture like this. There would have been a lot of opportunities to slap yourself on this way before somebody deciding a few days before it aired that maybe it was inappropriate.

  45. 45
    El Cid says:

    This whole “rebranding” thing seems like it’s proceeding swimmingly.

  46. 46
    murakami says:

    I’ve never seen this painting before but I think I’m instantly in love with it. The wikipedia article on this story, and the several paintings depicting the heroine, shows other wonderful depictions.

  47. 47

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