Never has a man of so little importance received so much attention. In the midst of his first and only term in the US Senate, Steve Daines probably hoped he could just keep his head down, not draw too much attention to himself, and keep running statewide races in Montana on corporate money.
He certainly didn’t want to cross Senator Elizabeth Warren, a woman more intellectually gifted and principled than Daines could ever hope to be. He certainly didn’t want to be the presiding officer of the Senate when Republicans orchestrated a sexist, un-American spectacle to deny speech rights to Senator Warren during a debate. Assuming he knew who Coretta Scott King was, he certainly didn’t want to prevent her letter from being read into the record of the Senate.
One can almost see him cowering in the video during the exchange when his taskmaster, Senator Mitch McConnell, made him silence Senator Warren. Looking like a rodent caught out in the light, Daines emitted so much fear that viewers could practically smell it through their screens as he fearfully and robotically repeated the words he was told to say.
And he’s taken a beating for it. When not hiding out on conservative news outlets, he’s taken a beating on social media from his constituents, both on Twitter and his official Facebook page, where the people he absolutely fails to represent have called him out for his misogyny and cowardice.
So what’s a craven politician to do? Perhaps consider offering an apology? Or an olive branch to Senator Warren, especially given the newfound Republican concern for comity and respect in the Senate? No, of course not. Senator Daines is fundraising on his sexism.
Today he sent out this letter begging for money to able to continue his important work silencing female leaders and offered this ad attacking Senator Warren, surely a testament to the values of decency he pretends to champion.
Senator Daines may have fooled some with his milquetoast persona and issue-free approach to campaigns, but don’t be fooled: he represents the worst of the deep-seated Republican misogyny that powered their campaign against Hillary Clinton and drives their policies to defund healthcare for women. That Senator Daines, who possesses facial skin so tightly pulled against his skin that one can practically see the cosmetic surgery scars would rely on the Trump playbook of attacking a woman, both for her appearance and for having the temerity to stand up to men, is not just hypocrisy, but evidence that he is no better than the violent criminal he helped propel into the White House.
And all of this to help confirm a bitter little racist to be the next Attorney General.
It’s a transparent joke, of course, for Senate Republicans to hide under the mantle of respect when they have waged an all-out war on Democrats, especially women, for decades. It’s a joke for Senator Daines, whose concern for women seems to extend only to silencing them, to pretend otherwise. But it’s no joke that this man is in the US Senate–and it’s time to remind him that women and the men who respect them won’t tolerate his retrograde, unprofessional, and crude behavior any longer than we must.