Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens has admittedly done enough wrong, at least by Republican standards, that a resignation would not be out of order, but the Kansas City Star’s call to impeach Greitens is seriously wrong for any number of reasons.
Editorialist Melinda Henneberger argues that what Greitens did to the woman in question (K.S.) was “coercive on its face” and an “assault.” Hennenberger cites the confession K.S. made to her now ex-husband as evidence of the assault, “I didn’t even know. I was just numb. I just stood there and didn’t f—ing know. He stepped back, and I saw a flash through the blindfold, and he said you’re never going to mention my name, otherwise there will be pictures of me everywhere.”
Henneberger claims this confession was made the day after the above incident. The ex-husband claims he surreptitiously taped his then wife four days after the event. As Greitens defense attorneys argued in an April 8 motion, however, “K.S. acknowledged that for months after the alleged ‘invasion of privacy,’ K.S. continued to see the defendant willingly. One of those events took place that very same afternoon on March 21, 2015, and another just days later.” Then too, K.S. has always admitted she was the one who initiated the affair.
The defense also notes, “K.S. now admits that in June of 2015, she transmitted images via Facetime of herself to the Defendant while she was in a state of partial nudity.” This was three months after the “assault.”
Henneberger also seems unaware that open-minded young women, presumably like K.S., have created a massive demand for books and movies depicting the willful surrender of women to sexual bondage and submission. The 50 Shades of Grey series alone has resulted in more than 100 million book sales and more than $1 billion in box office receipts. The Christian right, to be sure, is not driving this demand.
Another complication is that K.S. is not entirely sure she did not conceive the episode in a dream. Said she in her deposition, “I haven’t talked about it because I don’t know if it’s because I’m remembering it through a dream or I – I’m not sure, but yes, I feel like I saw it after that happened, but I haven’t spoken about it because of that.” The prosecution knows this. Henneberger apparently does not.
Finally, in her urge to impeach Greitens Henneberger seems to misunderstand the behavior required to impeach a sitting governor, this despite the fact that she cites the standard for impeachment. Impeachment involves not just crimes, she tells us, but also “misconduct, habitual drunkenness, willful neglect of duty, corruption in office, incompetency, or any offense involving moral turpitude or oppression in office.”
The critical phrase here, one that Henneberger passes right over, is “in office.” If the “assault” in question ever happened, it happened two years before Greitens took office.
Liberal editorialists like Henneberger maintain an impossibly flexible position on the role of women in society today. They cannot decide whether women are strong, forceful and self-reliant or whether they are docile, easily led, and readily abused. Rather than working through the conundrum, liberal editorialists simply choose the image that fits best in a given narrative. That strategy is insulting to women and unjust to men. It’s time for a rethinking.