In the end this may have been the only compromise available to Pelosi. She couldn’t force him to resign and his allies in the House may have resented any attempt to make him do so, knowing that it would have appeared as though he was stepping down in disgrace. Which, ah, he would have been.
So Conyers gets to finish out his two years, leaving on “his own terms” replete with plenty of pomp and circumstance in the House about his glorious legacy, and then he’s gone. And in the meantime Democrats get to cross their fingers and hope that there isn’t a drumbeat of new accusations against Conyers in the media over the next year that dilutes their “the GOP elected a predator in Roy Moore!” message for the midterms.
The funniest part of this? Conyers apparently plans to wait until just a few weeks after the Alabama election to make his move. If he announced his retirement beforehand, Dems might get a little credit from Alabama voters for trying to clear the bad guys out of Congress. In a very tight race, who knows how that might affect Moore’s support. As it is, no dice.
Sources told Local 4 that Conyers will not seek re-election for a new term in the wake of the scandal, which continues to grow.
Two sources close to the Conyers situation told Local 4’s Rod Meloni that the congressman won’t resign. It’s his intent to announce in January that he won’t run for re-election in 2018.
His lawyer insisted today that he won’t be forced out of office, although really he meant to say he won’t be forced out right now. Meanwhile, here’s a charming tidbit from this morning’s Democratic caucus meeting on sexual harassment via NYT reporter Robert Draper. It’s rare that a congressman says something so offensive that it makes you gasp. Even rarer is him doing it twice in one day:
Also at this morning's House Democratic caucus: James Clyburn compared Conyers' accusers to the child murderer Susan Smith, who initially claimed a black man had abducted her kids. Clyburn said, these are all white women who've made these charges against Conyers.
— Robert Draper (@DraperRobert) November 29, 2017
Susan Smith is the South Carolina woman who locked her two young sons in her car in 1994, rolled it into a lake to drown them so that she’d be “free” to be with her lover, then told police that a black man had carjacked her and driven away with the boys in the backseat. She’s one of the most notorious child murderers in modern American history. This is the moral yardstick for which Clyburn reaches to measure the multiple allegations against Conyers, never mind that many, many more prominent white men in various fields have been accused of harassment by white women over the past two months than black men have. Clyburn is a race-baiter of longstanding, though, and he’s served in Congress alongside Conyers long enough — almost 25 years — that he’s surely heard whispers about his behavior before. This is how he reacts to a few women finally speaking up. He’s a disgrace. No wonder Kathleen Rice walked out of that caucus meeting this morning.
In lieu of an exit question, here’s a real political ad that’s currently running in Conyers’s home state of Michigan. There’ll be plenty of spots that reference the “Pervnado” next year but few quite like this.