If you thought the defense of alleged serial sexual harasser Rep. Steve Lebsock of Adams County couldn’t get any more bizarre after his recent press campaign asserting that a self-administered polygraph examination “proved his innocence,” all we can tell you is you must have forgotten about ex-Rep. Gordon “Dr. Chaps” Klingenschmitt.
In a former Colorado Statesman op-ed published this morning, Klingenschmitt…well, read it for yourself:
Amidst the wave of sexual harassment allegations from Hollywood to Alabama to the Colorado State Capitol, and as an evangelical Republican who condemns sexual harassment and sexual immorality, I will hereby argue why my friend Rep. Steve Lebsock should immediately switch from Democrat to Republican. [Pols emphasis] Lebsock and I served together as state representatives, often dueling in friendly opposition on the local government committee. He’s a moderate Democrat and I’m a conservative Republican, so we rarely agree, but to Lebsock’s credit he scores highly on the Principles of Liberty scorecard. Lebsock is a pro-gun, smaller-government, pro-liberty Democrat, which surprises some, but not me. He votes 71 percent of the time with Republicans, not Democrats, on bills concerning individual liberty and property rights, and 31 percent with conservatives overall. It wouldn’t be a big stretch for Lebsock to caucus with Republicans.
But imagine everyone’s shock and sadness when hearing Lebsock’s fellow Democrat, Rep Faith Winter, accused him of once having invited her to engage in sexual immorality. Lebsock denies the allegation; he did publicly state he apologized to Winter “for offending her.” Rep. Winter says she refused Lebsock’s alleged advances, and her faithfulness to her husband is admirable, just as I’ve also cherished faithfulness to my wife of 26 years. As an evangelical I oppose sexual immorality. However, this new-fangled Democrat Party opposition to consensual sex outside of wedlock is hardly consistent with the Democrat legislative agenda; in fact, it’s hypocritical. I’m delighted that House Speaker Crisanta Duran has suddenly become puritanical in her beliefs, yet she’s duplicitous to have removed Lebsock from a committee, or to permit a vote to expel him from the House.
[N]ow Democrats face a choice, and can’t have it both ways. They can’t promote sexually immoral legislation with their votes at the state-house, while at the same time calling for government invasion of consenting adults’ bedrooms. That’s intellectually inconsistent.
As we think readers can readily observe, there are, to understate it considerably, some problems with former Rep. Klingenschmitt’s reasoning. First and foremost, when we are discussing sexual harassment, we are not in any way discussing “consensual sex outside of wedlock.” The whole point is that harassment is not consensual. Conflating the two is the first sign that Klingenschmitt does not have anything like a helpful opinion–which we of course hope you already knew. Once Dr. Chaps starts conflating the whole range of Democrats’ “sexually immoral legislation” with harassment–we assume this is everything from LGBT rights to women’s reproductive rights–where he’s going with all this is horrendously unmistakable. But again, not terribly surprising.
As for the suggestion that Rep. Lebsock switch from Democrat to Republican? We believe that the first choice of Lebsock’s victims would simply be for him to resign, so they don’t have to deal with him at the Capitol in any capacity. With that said, the increasingly stark contrast between the response of Democrats to sexual harassers exposed in their midst vs. Republicans both locally and nationally would seem to create conditions in which Lebsock switching parties could make all kinds of sense.
And on balance, the optics of a Democrat accused of serial sexual harassment seeking refuge in Donald Trump’s Republican Party might actually be too good for Democrats to pass up! Whether to the GOP or into early retirement, we do suspect Lebsock’s Democratic House colleagues hope the door doesn’t hit him where the Good Lord split him.
As Dr. Chaps himself would say.