With his deep baritone and courtly manner, Mr. [Daniel] Inouye was revered by his colleagues and was a powerhouse in both Hawaii and the Senate, where he was a reliable supporter of women’s rights.
But in an all but forgotten chapter of his career, the senator had been accused of sexual misconduct: In 1992, his hairdresser said that Mr. Inouye had forced her to have sex with him.
Her accusations exploded into a campaign issue that year, and one Hawaii state senator announced that she had heard from nine other women who said they had been sexually harassed by Mr. Inouye. But the women did not want to go forward with their claims.
This is, I swear to God, the first that I have ever heard of this. Apparently it was a 1975 (and afterwards) alleged incident that came up in the 1992 election, and it got buried. Thoroughly. Way down deep, and the ground tamped down with a shovel. Why? …Well, the NYT of 1992 was unusually blunt:
While few public figures here impugned the 40-year-old hairdresser, [name removed for purposes of privacy], neither did they raise their voices in curiosity or censure of Mr. Inouye. In large measure, political, civic and business leaders chose guarded silence, which some of them attribute to fear that the party machine, which controls nearly all state and Federal positions and programs here, might derail their careers or strip their projects of government money.
And, of course, Sen. Daniel Inouye voted the way that the old, white males who really run the Democratic party thought that Inouye should vote. Buys a lot of… consideration, no? …Although, to be fair (and yes, I winced when I typed that word): in comparison, I suppose that calling a co-worker chubby and touching her in an overly-familiar fashion might seem to be, comparatively speaking, better behavior than the Senator had shown previously.
Moe Lane (crosspost)
PS: For the benefit of any Democratic staffers who might be assigned to read this site: please tell your legislators to not touch people inappropriately, or to sexually harass them. In case nobody’s ever mentioned it before – and, judging from recent history, nobody in the Democratic party has – that sort of thing is morally wrong.
PPS: I downright encourage any would-be apologist for Sen. Inouye to use the argument that a woman can be forced into having sex, yet not have it be rape, ‘because she did not fight back.’ After all: what’s the point in half-bathing in filth and self-loathing? If you’re gonna do it at all, you might as well dive right in.