Dear Monica Wehby: Sorry, But You Can't Polish This Turd

Dr. Monica Wehby is Oregon’s Republican nominee for a seat in the U.S. Senate.

According to Politico, she was accused “by her ex-boyfriend last year of ‘stalking’ him, entering his home without his permission and ‘harassing’ his employees, according to a Portland, Oregon police report.”

A Los Angeles Times report found that her behavior wasn’t confined to a single incident: “Wehby’s ex-husband and former boyfriend both [called] police and [accused] her of harassment in three separate episodes over roughly six years.”

These are difficult charges for any political candidate to contend with, and Dr. Wehby has struggled to put these incidents behind her. But her latest attempt at damage control was rather brazen.

Monica Wehby

According to The Associated Press, Wehby said:

“‘I think that the thing to learn from that is that I am a person who will stand up for what I believe in,’ Wehby said of the police reports. ‘I’m a person who doesn’t easily back down. I will fight for Oregonians with very strong conviction. I’m a very committed, determined person.’”

Did Dr. Wehby just try to sell her alleged stalking as a virtue by suggesting that the same traits that led two former partners to call the police would be useful in her role as a U.S. Senator?

Her blatant attempt to spin those police reports brought two rather crass phrases to mind: She’s trying to “polish a turd” and “put lipstick on a pig.” (To be clear, the “pig” in that analogy is not Dr. Wehby, but the stalking allegations themselves.)

Talk about a double standard. Could you imagine if a male candidate had used a similar approach? It would doom his race, similar to how Todd Akin’s infamous comments about “legitimate rape” led to national ridicule. 

Wehby’s technique of trying to turn a negative quality into a virtue can work in some instances. Ralph Nader turned his curmudgeon-like personality into a more positive image as a “crusader,” and John McCain turned his occasional lack of party loyalty into a more appealing image of being a “maverick.”

But turning stalking allegations into a positive? That’s one step too far—and completely unnecessary, considering that her ex-husband and ex-boyfriend are both reportedly supporting her campaign.

What do you think? Please leave your thoughts in the comments section below.