Wednesday, October 06, 2010

What rumors have wrought

Female lobbyists are upset that John Boehner has issued a warning to male Republicans not to be alone with them.
But female lobbyists are raising new concerns that access to male Republican lawmakers has been further hampered by a warning made earlier this year by House Minority Leader John Boehner.

The Ohio Republican privately told a handful of male Republicans to avoid getting drunk and partying with female lobbyists at after-hour parties on Capitol Hill, according to a July report in the New York Post.

Some women on K Street, who say they are already at a disadvantage to their male counterparts, are upset about the reports of Boehner’s edict and say it represents yet another obstacle. There are just 17 Republican women in the House compared to 56 Democrats, while the Senate has just four Republican women compared to 13 Democrats.

“What year are we in again? Is this 1960?” asked one female Republican lobbyist. “There’s no problem with congressmen drinking at the Capital Grille [Restaurant] with their male lobbyist-friends, which happens every night of the week. But somehow if they do it with a woman, it doesn’t look good. That’s just an outdated attitude and one reason we don’t have more women in top Republican leadership jobs.”
Yeah, yeah. It's such a shame that Republicans are afraid of the appearance of impropriety. But somehow The Hill gets through this whole story about the wary attitude of Republican males without mentioning the latest story built off of rampant rumor-mongering about a Republican man and a female lobbyist. Just last week Page Six, Dana Milbank, and Salon happily ran with a rumor that Boehner had been having an affair with a female lobbyist. So far there hasn't been such a New York Times story. And the guy who started all this off is a Daily Kos blogger who likes to pull such stunts against Republican politicians.

With such attacks that can quickly rocket from a liberal blogger stunt to the pages of daily newspapers and the web, is it any wonder that Boehner is warning his caucus members to be careful?