While anyone who knows me knows I feel the Republican party has many problems and it is in fact ready to die a painful death at the hands of its leader Donald Trump, this problem is one that I think is more systemic and predates Trump by many years. You see there are currently two high-profile Republicans dealing with accusations of sexual misconduct at two different degrees. The first is Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio, who, it is alleged, did nothing as an assistant wrestling coach at Ohio State to stop a serial sexual abuser of students in his charge. The other is the Attorney General of the State of Indiana, Curtis Hill. Hill was the most popular Republican in the last election garnering more votes than the Republican Governor and the current President who easily won the state. Hill is accused of groping a female elected official and several legislative aids at a party at the end of the legislative session.
Both men have denied the accusations, while Jordan has changed his story from not knowing about the situation to basically suggesting it was locker room talk and not an official reporting of the behavior, Hill have vehemently denied the charges and had a press conference to say so. But here is the thing. Their actions have only made things worse.
The accusations against Jordan grow out of a probe by the university into the doctor who was the alleged abuser. In the process they spoke to several athletes who claim that doctor touched and/or ogled them inappropriately. The stories are disgusting. Now one wrestler suggested the Jordan knew about it and that became a news story. Jordan's denials and efforts to call these men liars actually brought out more and more wrestlers confirming that Jordan knew what was going on and acted as if it was a joke. While Jordan is not being accused of participating, like the situation at Penn State, he is being accused of not dealing with the situation in an appropriate manner. My guess is he will have no repercussions for this because amazingly the same people who attacked others for sexual misconduct (and I believe allowing sexual abuse to go on unabated is sexual misconduct) are loudly defending Jordan without knowing the whole story and even after he admitted knowing something was wrong. Some are even calling it part of a deep state conspiracy against Jordan. Seriously, all he had to do was say "I had no direct knowledge of the abuse and its extent. I apologize for not being pro-active in my role as an assistant coach but I did mention a concern to my boss at the time. I believed the university would handle it and thought they had. I am hurt that I helped cause pain to young men in my charge and I hope they will forgive me". It is easy, and hell he doesn't even have to mean it. But he gins up the foil-hat crowd with deep state nonsense and more truth runs out of the grip he is trying to put on the story. At some point he can no longer deny it.
Now Hill is another matter. While he thinks that accusations are politically motivated as does Jordan, but the problem is that the accusations suggest he was a bi-partisan groper. After his press conference one of the alleged victims came forward with a convincing story that includes witnesses of the AG touching her inappropriately. She was a Republican staffer and someone who has worked for many in the GOP. Hill also suffers from having no support from the leading Republicans in the state. The Governor, the Speaker of the Indiana House and the Republican candidate for the US Senate have all called for Hill's resignation. They feel he can't fulfill his duties and the evidence is strong in their favor. While he should be assumed innocent of the charges, the investigation clearly has created a firestorm around him both from his political opponents and allies.
I am not sure that either way of handling a scandal of this kind is the right way, but somewhere there is truth and we should be seeking it. For Jordan the truth keeps changing because people have come forward, and for Hill, his truth so far hasn't. But at the heart of this is a clear issue. In a political climate where people are more likely to circle the wagons than seek answers truth is a causality. In Hill's situation the partisanship is not an issue and that is good. I hope the women, if they are truthful, (and oh I believe them) will get justice. As for Jordan, his district may like his crazy firebrand approach to attacking anything he deems against his vision of what America should be but if there is a way I too hope he will be made accountable if this accusation are true (and I believe they are).
Yesterday, America and world watched in stunning horror as a lead counter intelligence officer in the FBI was harassed, threatened and personally attacked by members of Congress because he had the audacity to open a counter-intelligence probe into the Russian attacks on our elections and at the same time be a flawed human who expressed his disgust with Donald Trump ( and to be fair Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and many many others). The partisan attacks on this man to suggest that the probe into Russian interference to benefit Donald Trump was a witch hunt and should end. Today the Department of Justice indicted 12 Russians for hacking the DNC, the Clinton campaign and the DCCC during the election and disseminating the information through with Russian intelligence officers who are known to have contact with Trump confidants. If only the GOP cared, do you?