Grayson Issues Apology for Calling Woman a "Whore," Weiner Apologizes for Calling Grayson Bad Food -- and Why They're Both Jerks
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This morning finds the Democrats' two fiercest health-care reform advocates apologizing all over themselves. Testosterone levels on Capitol Hill reached a toxic mark this week, beginning with news that a health-care hero was apparently an intemperate sexist.
When Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Fla., from the floor of the House of Representatives, called out the Republicans for their obstruction of health-care reform, I loved him. The Republican health-care plan, he said, amounted to this, "If you're sick, die quickly."
The whole progressive movement then embraced Grayson in a group hug, and he became the man of the hour, with appearances on virtually every show on MSNBC and beyond. At last, a congressperson who wasn't talking in newspeak or dilly-dallying with wonkish euphemisms; he was was telling it like it is.
Then Monday brought word of a troubling utterance by the good congressman. Last month, on the Alex Jones Show, Grayson referred to former Enron lobbyist Linda Robertson as "a K Street whore." Robertson is
an a former adviser to Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke. It took a month for the remark to surface inside the Beltway, but surface it did, with enough velocity to make a splash.
In a move of inexplicable idiocy, his spokesperson actually defended the horrifically sexist remark. As TPM's Eric Kleefeld reported:
Grayson spokesman Todd Jurkowski stood by the Congressman's comments, telling the Orlando Sentinel in an e-mail: "She attacked the Congressman and his efforts to promote a Republican bill to audit the Federal Reserve. She actually questioned his understanding of the difference between fiscal and monetary policy. This is [a] person who used to be the chief lobbyist for Enron attacking the intelligence and motives of a Congressman who used to be an economist."
Today, I'm not loving Grayson so much . I don't care how he was attacked by Robertson; there's no excuse for using that word. "Whore" is a gendered term. When applied to men as a substitute for the term "sell-out," it's the brutality of the word's inherent sexism that offers the sting. It is a word that has no place in the public discourse, any more than does "bitch" or the N-word.
Grayson's congressional colleagues were quick to distance themselves from him. Fellow health-care tiger Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y., described Grayson as "one fry short of a Happy Meal," Politico reported.
At last, Grayson issued a belated apology this morning:
"I offer my sincere apology," Grayson said in a statement, just hours after his spokesman defended his comments. "I did not intend to use a term that is often, and correctly, seen as disrespectful of women."
Amen to that.
And then Weiner came up with one of his own, according to AP/Huffington Post:
"Alan Grayson is a friend and an extraordinary member of Congress. No obviously playful comment from me should distract from the important role Rep. Grayson has played in focusing on the true and tragic costs of our broken health care system," he said in a statement. "He is a leader and a patriot."
Everybody happy now?
Adele M. Stan is AlterNet's Washington bureau chief.