I’ll confess to assuming that by this point we’d probably have heard the last of former California Democratic Congresswoman Katie Hill, at least in terms of her political career. The now-famous “throuple” participant voluntarily left her seat in Congress amid investigations into allegations of inappropriate sexual relationships with both campaign and Congressional staffers of both genders serving under her. (Stop that. I know what you’re thinking.) But like a bad penny, she seems to keep showing up in my news feed. As it turns out, she’s written a book that was recently published by Hachette Book Group. Titled She Will Rise: Becoming a Warrior in the Battle for True Equality, the tome is described as a memoir, so she’s clearly dealing with her own life story.
But so what, right? Lots of people who leave politics go on to write books, particularly if they’ve been involved in any sort of scandal that the media finds juicy enough to drive a lot of clicks. But is this more than that? In a review of the book published at the Free Beacon, satirist Andrew Stiles suggests (in perhaps a tongue in cheek fashion) that this could signal a new chapter in Hill’s life where the former rising Democratic star might see her star rising for a second time. But could it be true?
Hill, 33, may have been snubbed out of a speaking slot at last week’s Democratic convention, but that doesn’t mean she’s no longer considered a “rising star” within the party. On the contrary, her new memoir, She Will Rise: Becoming a Warrior in the Battle for True Equality, suggests a political comeback is imminent.
As she makes clear in the book, Hill remains conflicted about her decision to resign, which came after nude photos of her were published in RedState and the Daily Mail, along with revelations that she had been part of a romantic “throuple” involving her now ex-husband and a female member of her campaign staff. She seems unsure as to whether resigning—even though many of her Democratic colleagues urged her not to—was the right thing to do, or whether she was forced to resign because of misogyny. “I, like so many other women, was used to show what happens when we scorn men,” she writes.
Hill is also apparently conflicted about whether the #MeToo movement’s “zero-tolerance policy” is a good thing (when applied to men), or whether it’s really fair to punish women like her for “any transgression whatsoever.”
Allow me to offer some additional disclosure upfront. I haven’t read this book and I’m unlikely to order it. I already have too many excellent books waiting on my nightstand that I haven’t gotten around to reading yet. But going strictly by Andrew’s review, we may be getting a better look inside the workings of Ms. Hill’s mind for those of you who choose to pick it up.
One of Stiles’ first observations is that Katie Hill remains “conflicted” over her decision to resign from Congress. That much at least is understandable. It was a huge turning point for her. Making the call whether to stay and fight, risking even worse trouble if an ethics investigation found her on the wrong side of the rules, or to leave had to have been tough. Walking away after being accused of any sort of ethical transgressions is tantamount to admitting your guilt in the court of public opinion.
But beyond that, it truly sounds as if Katie Hill still just doesn’t get it. She is still viewing her departure has having been “forced on her” by the forces of misogyny, demonstrating what happens when a woman “scorns” a man. That’s clearly a reference to her ex-husband leaking nude photos of her. She continues to act as if the publication of the personal photos was what really brought her down.
But that’s nonsensical on the face of things. If anything, the publication of the photos made her more of a sympathetic figure among her fellow Democrats and likely some Republicans as well. There’s been a huge backlash against what’s known as “revenge porn” and it’s been heavily pushed by female candidates from both parties. If anything, Hill would have been seen as a champion in the fight against such things.
She also seems to imply that some people had a problem with her bisexuality and the clickbait nature of all the headlines referencing her relationship with a female staffer. Again, that’s backward thinking. We’ve been in the midst of the LGBTQ rights ascension for quite a few years now. If anything, branding herself as being bisexual would only raise the value of her stock in the Democratic Party.
In the end, the only reason that Hill is no longer a member of Congress is that she engaged in a sexual relationship with a subordinate on her campaign staff (which she admitted to) and was facing allegations of another such relationship with a member of her Congressional staff. There is no political movement that supports such things. Relationships with those you hold career power over are unacceptable. And while I’m sure there’s something of a double standard applied in such matters (men sleeping with female staffers is treated more harshly), that doesn’t make it right when the reverse is the case.
Until this reality sets in for Katie Hill, I can’t imagine her being welcomed back into the Democratic fold or being offered a chance to restart her political career. But then again, what do I know? Stranger things have happened.