Another one bites the dust

Caught up in Pervnado, Republican U.S. Rep. Blake Farenthold to ‘retire’

By —— Bio and Archives--December 14, 2017

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Caught up in Pervnado, Republican U.S. Rep. Blake Farenthold to 'retire',
This is the guy Rob told you about a few weeks ago - one of the first members of Congress to avail himself of taxpayer money to settle a sexual harassment complaint. We’re talking, after all, about a guy whose track record prior to becoming a congressman included, er . . . this:

Republican U.S. Rep. Blake Farenthold

Turns out he’s a perv and a total jerk to boot? Who could have seen that coming?

And lest you think working for him was one big party in which the good times never stopped, former aide Michael Rekola comes forth to disabuse you of that notion:

Michael Rekola, who was Farenthold’s communications director in 2015, described in an interview with CNN new details of the congressman’s abusive behavior. It ranged from making sexually graphic jokes to berating aides—bullying that Rekola says led him to seek medical treatment and psychological counseling, and at one point, caused him to vomit daily.

One comment from the congressman was especially personal. Rekola was about to leave town to get married in July 2015, when, he said, Farenthold, standing within earshot of other staffers in his Capitol Hill office, said to the groom-to-be: “Better have your fiancée blow you before she walks down the aisle—it will be the last time.” He then proceeded to joke about whether Rekola’s now-wife could wear white on her wedding day—a clear reference, Rekola said, to whether she had had premarital sex.

“I was disgusted and I left. I walked out,” Rekola said. Almost immediately after returning from his wedding, he gave his two-weeks notice.

Those crude remarks in the summer of 2015 marked just one of many instances in which Farenthold made sexually charged comments to or in the presence of aides, Rekola said. During the nine months that he worked for the congressman, Rekola said, he was also subject to a stream of angry behavior not sexual in nature—screaming fits of rage, slamming fists on desks and castigating aides, including regularly calling them “f**ktards.”

Elizabeth Peace was hired to help with Farenthold’s communications efforts in May 2015 when Rekola was sometimes out of the office to deal with his stomach ailment. Peace, who eventually became a full-time communications director, confirmed in an interview that Farenthold regularly called aides “f**ktards.” She also said she was present when Farenthold made the oral sex comment about Rekola’s then-fiancée.

“Every staffer in that area heard it,” Peace said. “It was the most shocking thing I’d heard him say at that point.”

Sounds like a lovely man.

Farenthold says he’s going to serve out his current term but not seek a new one. We’ll see if that holds in the likely event he comes under increasing pressure to clear out immediately.

In case you’re wondering, Farenthold comes from a safe Republican House district, so unless his contituents decide to nominate a Roy Moore type in the upcoming election, there is little chance of Democrats taking advantage of Farenthold’s misbehavior and flipping the seat blue.

Here’s a question that’s bothered me for some time now: What do voters really demand from candidates when they elect them to Congress? Before he ran, Farenthold’s primary gig was as a conservative talk show host. I’m sure that during that gig he gained lots of name recognition and said lots of things to convince conservative voters that he was one of them. He “took stands.” He would “be a fighter.” All of this based on what he said on the radio.

But you don’t really know a person from a platform like that, and the lack of any record in public service or business might have led voters to question whether Farenthold was actually the type of person who could handle himself in the job, represent his district and lead a staff.

Now we know. He wasn’t. Was it really so hard to see that coming?

This whole sexual harassment thing is revealing a corruption in the culture of Washington, and of Hollywood, and of the news media. These are all very secular institutions and none of us should be surprised by any of this - although fairness compels us to acknowledge that some who profess Christ have been found indulging as well.

But the action step for voters is to better assess the character of the people they nominate and ultimately elect. That’s about moral character but it’s also about general seriousness and a life’s track record that shows the ability to pursue and complete serious work. Blake Farenthold had nothing like that in his background. Yet the voters in his district nominated and elected him anyway.

There’s a lesson there if anyone would care to learn it.

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Dan Calabrese -- Bio and Archives | Comments

Dan Calabrese’s column is distributed by HermanCain.com, which can be found at HermanCain.com

A new edition of Dan’s book “Powers and Principalities” is now available in hard copy and e-book editions. Follow all of Dan’s work, including his series of Christian spiritual warfare novels, by liking his page on Facebook.

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