Ohio Senate Candidate Jim Renacci Tries To #MeToo Sherrod Brown
Republicans have quickly developed a pattern of weaponizing the #MeToo movement for their own political ends, while simultaneously crying "witch hunt" in a crowded adult movie theater whenever one of their own is credibly accused. They defended and endorsed Roy Moore for the Senate while happily applauding Al Franken's exit. Now just weeks after Brett Kavanaugh inexplicably became the Tom Robinson of Washington DC, we have slimy Republican Senate candidate Jim Renacci hurling out accusations of sexual misconduct by his Democratic opponent, Sherrod Brown.
Renacci released a statement late Thursday from a former business partner and political donor, Laura Mills, who alleges that a woman disclosed to her that the Ohio senator made an "unexpected, uninvited, unwanted, and sudden advance" in the late 1980s when they were alone together. The statement does not provide a date, a location, supporting evidence or the name of the accuser. By the standards Jeff Flake and Susan Collins use to confirm Supreme Court nominees, we can presume this never happened or, if it did, the woman is clearly mistaken that it was Brown because he denies it.
I don't want to make light of the claim. We all know how creepy men can be even when they know cameras are filming them. But it's weird that Renacci would pursue this line of political attack when he's seen how his own party responds to women trying to "ruin" powerful men's lives by holding them accountable for their gross actions. Lindsey Graham vowed to actively campaign against Democratic colleagues in states Trump won because of how Kavanaugh was treated. McConnell testily railed against "uncorroborated allegations." Where are these guys now that a fellow senator is facing the heat? I guess they're taking their lead from Kavanaugh's oh-so-Christian sentiment that "what goes around, comes around."
Renacci, who trails Brown in polls by double digits, claimed earlier this week that "multiple women" had contacted him to say that Brown had assaulted them. Renacci has hammered Brown for months over a domestic abuse allegation and restraining order his ex-wife, Larke Recchie, filed against him in the 1980s. Recchie strongly condemned these attacks in a campaign ad she filmed that's literally called "Jim Renacci Should Be Ashamed."
Spoiler Alert: Renacci was not ashamed. He apparently supports "believing women" if believing them gets him to the Senate. Renacci's response to Recchie's statement easily makes him a contender for Keith Olbermann's "Worst Person In The World."
"The documentation shows something totally different," Renacci said. "She has multiple affidavits of fear, abuse, fear for her children. God bless her for forgiving him."
And may God also bless her if she breaks her heel off in Renacci's lumpy ass. Lest you find yourself thinking for even a brief second that Renacci gives a crap about victims of sexual assault or women in general, this guy has defended both Kavanaugh and Donald Trump and insisted their allegations were "unsubstantiated."
"When there's no substantiation, you shouldn't be attacking people," Renacci said, while attacking Brown without substantiation. Maybe he thinks "substantiation" means something you wish to be true, in which case my plural marriage with my wife and Jodie Whittaker is totally "substantiated."
But get this: Renacci claims Recchie's allegation from the 1980s holds more weight than Christine Blasey Ford's against Kavanaugh, because of all the "court documents." Did he not just watch Recchie's ad? "I'd like to believe what you're saying to me right now, but I have all these documents from when Paula Abdul was a star. Who should I believe? An actual woman or paper? Don't make me choose!" I also think that if Dr. Blasey had filmed a pro-Kavanaugh ad, we might've skipped even the sham FBI investigation.
Ohio Lt. Governor Mary Taylor has called on Brown to resign because of Recchie's allegations. (She probably also didn't watch the ad.) Taylor leads some sort of Bizarro World #MeToo group, so it looks like #MeToo has asked Brown to resign but it's really just Taylor, the woman who congratulated Kavanaugh on his confirmation. I guess for Taylor sometimes you feel like joining the "mob" and sometimes you don't.
So far, no Democrats have joined Taylor's partisan bandwagon but you never know with them. They often want to look as if they're playing fair against people who never do. Stay tuned.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes reviews for the A.V. Club and make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."