The accusations of assault and swift resignation of New York’s attorney general would have been unimaginable a few years ago.
Other men have abused their power and hidden that from public view. Others have been outspoken and effective in championing a movement then turned out to be the kind of person that movement seeks to remove.
No, such blatant hypocrisy is not the element that raises eyebrows when it comes to the behavior and departure of Eric Schneiderman.
What is truly surprising is that a man who has been so visible and outspoken, so public and combative in legal and political matters, would have been able to get away with this for so long.
And with that recognition comes another, more intriguing one, either promising or troubling depending on your point of view.
If Schneiderman, a man with a national reputation for fighting the Trump administration and widely considered to be the most likely Democrat to one day succeed Andrew Cuomo, could escape scrutiny that long, there must be others watching with nervous anticipation.
Are any of them Republicans? Should they have to worry?
Schneiderman’s immediate resignation belies his objection that there was no proof of the allegations, that while they had nothing to do with his job, defending himself and his office would “effectively prevent me from leading the office’s work at this critical time.”
That’s similar to the explanation offered by Al Franken, the senator from Minnesota who resigned soon after allegations appeared about his inappropriate actions toward women.
And in both cases, one of the people accepting the allegations and pressing for the resignations was Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, the New York Democrat who has emerged as an outspoken leader of both her party and the growing forces in the nation that are not willing to accept either the status quo or the excuses when it comes to issues affecting women, whether that concerns abuse, health care, pay or anything else.
What was even more intriguing and illuminating about the Schneiderman story was the reaction from the Trump family.
Donald Trump Jr. posted a series of tweets as the news unfolded Monday, one of them to show that his father suspected Schneiderman of illicit behavior all along. Schneiderman also had said, "No one is above the law, and I'll continue to remind President Trump and his administration of that fact every day" just last fall and Trump Jr. retweeted it, adding, “You were saying???”
In what we acknowledge is a partisan landscape, one in which people defend their friends and attack their enemies no matter what the facts show, that reaction to Schneiderman is revealing.
Democrats did not, as Republicans usually do these days, defend the accused and demean the attacker. They accepted the charges and demanded change.
Trump Jr. knows that his father faces even more allegations of illicit behavior with even more documented proof, something that would inspire most people to at least be quiet in hopes that nobody decides to compare the two cases.
But his reaction is both expected and typical, something that should encourage Democrats and inform those who are wondering which party deserves support in the coming elections.