Quantcast

Slut-shaming Bridget Kelly: How she ranks among history’s greatest political sluts

By Tony Ortega
Friday, March 28, 2014 12:12 EDT
google plus icon
Bridge_Kelly
 
  • Print Friendly and PDF
  • Email this page

Thursday night, Rachel Maddow marveled at the $1 million price tag shouldered by New Jersey’s taxpayers for an “investigation” of Governor Chris Christie by a law firm hand-picked by the governor himself. By now you’ve heard the boring stuff — Christie’s lawyers found that he had nothing to do with the George Washington Bridge scandal, yadda, yadda, yadda. But Maddow pointed out that the really juicy stuff to come out of the 344-page report was aimed at two women, neither of whom cooperated with the investigation.

The investigation found that Hoboken mayor Dawn Zimmer’s claims that she was strong-armed over Hurricane Sandy relief funds were “demonstrably false.” How did the sleuths working for Christie determine that? As Maddow pointed out, the investigative team dug up photos of Zimmer at a public event which took place shortly after she had been reminded by one of Christie’s commissioners that she was expected to “play ball” and support a development deal in return for more relief funds. After being reminded that she was expected to come through on the scummy quid pro quo, Zimmer took part in a taped PBS political panel. And then, photo evidence proved, she yawned.

Imagine that. During a PBS taping.

This, Christie’s crack squad decided, was clear evidence that Zimmer was a lying sack of shit.

“A person does not normally yawn when being threatened, coerced, or spoken to improperly,” the report said.

Maybe it’s just us, but we have a hard time seeing a male politician treated this way.

And that becomes abundantly more clear when you see how the report treated another woman who refused to be interviewed by the investigative team — Bridget Anne Kelly, Christie’s former deputy chief of staff famous for her August 2013 e-mail that said, “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee.” A month later, access lanes from Fort Lee to the GWB were shut down for four days, leading to gridlock in the town of Biblical proportions.

However, despite all the subpoenas and hearings and barrels of ink spilled over the scandal since then, we’re no closer to finding out why Kelly thought it was a good idea to create such a traffic mess for Fort Lee. Who was being targeted, and on whose behalf?

The report did contain one new solid piece of information which might help answer the first part of that question. The night before she sent that fateful August e-mail, Kelly got confirmation that Fort Lee mayor Mark Sokolich would not be endorsing her boss for re-election. That timing helps bolster what has been from the beginning the prevailing theory for the lane shutdown — it was political payback for Sokolich’s refusal to endorse Christie. But it still doesn’t really tell us why Kelly thought it made sense to punish Sokolich this way when his endorsement meant so little and Christie was just trying to run up the score in an election he had in the bag.

Again, what was Kelly thinking? Now, Christie’s hired guns believe they have the answer: She was a woman scorned.

Repeatedly, in the voluminous report, there are mentions that Kelly briefly dated Bill Stepien, Christie’s former campaign manager, and that the relationship had ended by August, “apparently at Stepien’s choice.” (Kelly and Stepien didn’t talk to Christie’s lawyers, and the report doesn’t say who supplied the investigative team with their information.)

The message is loud and clear from Christie’s hired exonerators: This was all Bridget Kelly’s idea, because she was out of her mind after being dumped.

“This is called ‘slut-shaming’,” Maddow said on her program Thursday night. And she’s absolutely correct.

Chris Christie’s whitewash report exonerates him by slut-shaming the woman who, so far, has not said a word about the scandal and who could, presumably, open up and make things pretty uncomfortable for the governor. On Thurday, ABC’s Diane Sawyer asked Christie if Kelly could ‘blow the report out of the water’ if she opened up.

“Not credibly, no,” he answered.

Well of course not, who’s going to take a slut like Bridget Kelly seriously after the shaming she got from Christie’s hired guns?

The only question that remains is, how does Bridget Kelly stack up against history’s other women slut-shamed for political gain.

Sandra Fluke testified to Congress early in 2012 that a health insurance program like Obamacare should include birth control. For that, Rush Limbaugh labeled her a prostitute and a slut: “She essentially says that she must be paid to have sex — what does that make her? It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute. She wants to be paid to have sex. She’s having so much sex she can’t afford the contraception. She wants you and me and the taxpayers to pay her to have sex.” Limbaugh paid a price for that utterance. His advertised flew like rats from a sinking ship. Fluke, meanwhile, is now running for a state senate seat in California.

Wendy Davis became an overnight sensation when the Texas state senator filibustered a restrictive abortion bill for eleven hours. The bill eventually became law anyway, but Davis is now running for governor based on her new fame. Her stand for women’s rights, however, predictably made her the target of ugly personal attacks: conservative clown Erick Erickson dubbed her “abortion Barbie,” and her personal story — raising two children while finishing grad school and going through a divorce — has been twisted to make her out to be a heartless opportunist.

Anita Hill was called to testify during the confirmation hearings of Clarence Thomas, who had been nominated to the Supreme Court by President George H. W. Bush in 1991. Hill had been interviewed by the FBI about Thomas, and now Congress demanded to hear her testimony: That her boss, Thomas, had sexually harassed her. What the Senate Judiciary Committee didn’t hear — thanks in part to its chairman, Joe Biden — was the testimony of four other women who all backed up Hill’s version of events. Instead, Hill had to go through the usual “woman scorned” bullshit as Thomas bellyached about a “high-tech lynching” and was ultimately confirmed.

We’re certain you can think of more women who have been slut-shamed in the name of politics. Who would you put on this list? And how would you order them?

[Image: Bridget Kelly with her attorney, still from The Rachel Maddow Show]

Tony Ortega
Tony Ortega
Tony Ortega is Raw Story's executive editor. From 2007 to 2012 , he was editor-in-chief of The Village Voice. He also worked at Voice Media Group's other newspapers in Phoenix, Los Angeles, Kansas City, and Fort Lauderdale. He lives in New York City and is originally from Los Angeles.
 
 
 
 
By commenting, you agree to our terms of service
and to abide by our commenting policy.
 
Google+