Who will it be?
Who will be the Florida politician(s) laid low by the kind of sexual assault and harassment scandal which has dethroned one-time Hollywood king Harvey Weinstein?
Please don’t tell me there is no equivalent in Florida politics to Weinstein. After all, politics is show business for ugly people.
The Process — my capitalized term for the ‘business that we’ve chosen’ and involves elected officials, staffers, lobbyists, fundraisers and donors, campaign consultants, and the media which scrambles to cover it all — is nothing if not a patriarchy.
State government is a massive system constructed, partially if not primarily, around a handful of men holding power over everyone else.
The number of women elected statewide can be counted on one hand. Just two women have held the title of Senate President; none have served as House Speaker.
Meanwhile, a lawmaker watches pornography while sitting in the Senate chamber. Another joins a website known for enabling extramarital affairs. A third hires a Hooters ‘calendar girl’ with no political experience as a consultant.
And the rest of us point and giggle while young women were ‘crowned’ Miss Rotunda, a title bestowed on the best-looking female intern each legislative session.
Right after the New York Times revealed the disgusting horrors about Weinstein, a prominent, well-regarded (those two terms are not interchangeable) state lobbyist urged me to examine “whether Tallahassee has a casting couch problem.” This veteran insider clearly believes there is,resigning that they “would not encourage either of my daughters to become lobbyists.”
Indeed, a cottage industry has long existed where some male lawmakers and some female lobbyists intersect. Many of us see it and have said/say nothing.
One lawmaker ON THE VERY NIGHT I proposed to my wife (who worked in the Governor’s office), wrapped his arms around her and squeezed her because he wanted to “feel her breasts one last time.”
And that’s a polite story. God only knows what other women have endured.
It’s just a matter of when, not if, someone will step forward and level a charge.
Yet, in some way, it’s almost ironic that Florida politics, as inept and corrupt as it is perceived, is not embroiled sex scandals more often. Perhaps the bogeymen I believe exist are just in my head?
The lobbyist referred to above tells me I’m not wrong. He sees a similarity between Florida politics and Hollywood, where it was once accepted that women give sexual favors in return for professional advancement.
“These women were young and naive and were simply trying to get their big break,” the lobbyist said. “Tallahassee is no different.”