Correct. Trump is really good at “driving a media agenda.” He takes bold, beyond-the-Overton-window positions; he gets combative in interviews, he insults critics, he insists solutions are simple and that only a conspiracy of the malevolent and foolish stands in the way of enacting them.
.. I used to joke that Bill Clinton was the only guy who could distract attention from a fundraising scandal by getting into a sex scandal.
.. Trump figured out how to overload the system, generating so many headline-grabbing surprises, controversies and personnel changes that few if any really had the time to leave a lasting impression.
.. just during a couple months in the campaign, we saw Trump contending that a federal judge couldn’t rule fairly because “he’s a Mexican;” mock Carly Fiorina’s face; get into a war of words with a slain soldier’s father. Any one of those would have defined and politically destroyed a lesser-known figure.
.. Think about how Obama and the Democrats spent almost all of 2009 and a chunk of 2010 focused on what became Obamacare. But the amount of consistent focus — and presidential persuasion — needed to pass a legislative agenda is completely different from the amount needed to dominate a news cycle.
Every time it seems the president has zeroed in on an issue, and appears determined to see it through — guns and immigration are just the two latest examples — he moves on to something else. And Congress, which isn’t designed to respond swiftly to national events and the wishes of the White House even in the least distracted of circumstances, simply can’t keep up.
The constant whiplash of priorities is getting on lawmakers’ nerves.
“It’s unbelievable to me,” said Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine). “The attention span just seems to be. . . it’s a real problem.”
Congressman, I know you didn’t write the rules, Grassley did back in ’95, and I like Senator Grassley. I think he’s done a phenomenal job on most issues, but are you going to say tonight that you will fight for removal of mandatory counseling and a confidentiality provision in any future legislation?
.. Rep. Costello: The legislation that I have would remove the mandatory counseling. It would also make a Member of Congress personally liable if they engaged in this type of behavior.
Laura Ingraham: What about the names? What about the names? You guys get to keep secrets or do we know who you are? Not you, but you know what I’m saying.
Rep. Costello: The name of the Member of Congress or if it were someone on their staff would be included – that would have to be reported within 60 days of the end of the year. There would also be a survey done every year so that you have staff conveying what they feel the culture is on Capitol Hill.
Their proposal would overhaul the process for filing harassment claims as laid out under the 1995 Congressional Accountability Act and processed under the Office of Compliance. The bill would:
- Waive 30-day requirements each for counseling and mediation sessions before a formal complaint can be filed
- Create a new, optional in-house victims’ counsel position to provide legal advice and representation for complainants
- Eliminate requirements that complainants to sign nondisclosure agreements as a condition for filing a complaint, although nondisclosures are still allowed as part of a negotiated settlement
- Create an online system to initiate complaints
- Require lawmakers to pay out of pocket for any settled claim where they are identified as the harasser. Other claims are still paid for by taxpayers
- Require public disclosure of the employing office when a claim is settled and to disclose the settlement amount
- Require an anonymous “climate survey” of congressional employees every two years
- Extend all employer protections to interns, fellows and pages
.. Rep. Ryan Costello, R-Pa., another cosponsor, said he believed lawmakers would support more transparency for settled claims. “We are employers,” he said, “so how we would process that, how we would handle an employee if they were mistreated, or they did raise a concern, speaks to the character and integrity of how we operate our offices.”
Jackie Speier was a 23-year-old congressional staffer excited about her new job on Capitol Hill when her chief of staff got her alone in a room. The 50-year-old grabbed her face and stuck his tongue down her throat.
Now, four and a half decades later, the Peninsula congresswoman is leading the charge in Congress to clean up what she calls a culture of sexual harassment in the Capitol.
.. “I’m embarrassed to say it, but I think Congress has been an enabler of sexual harassers for a long time,” Speier, a Democrat who represents San Mateo County, said in an interview this week.
.. Speier is now the lead sponsor of a bill that would reform the Office of Compliance, the obscure congressional office that investigates — and, activists say, often covers up — sexual harassment.
.. The office “was really created to protect the harassers,” Speier said.
.. Her legislation would shake that up, prohibiting nondisclosure agreements as a requirement to start an investigation
.. The bill, which was introduced in the Senate by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, a New York Democrat, has received bipartisan support.
.. “It does seem like it’s an Animal House up there right now — it’s disgusting.”
.. But Speier said that she knows that national attention can be fickle, and thinks that she and other advocates may have a limited window to pass reforms while the focus is on sexual harassment.
.. Leeann Tweeden, a Los Angeles newscaster, said she decided to publicly accuse Sen. Al Franken, D-Minnesota, of harassing and groping her after interviewing Speier and hearing her story. Tweeden wrote in an article that she came forward because she wanted to have the same effect on other victims of harassment “that Congresswoman Jackie Speier had on me.”
.. Speier has said she knows of two current members of Congress, one a Democrat and the other a Republican, who have been accused of sexual harassment. Neither of those is Franken or Rep. John Conyers