Bill Clinton, Reconsidered

Well, this is refreshing. Caitlin Flanagan excoriates feminists for letting him off the hook for decades for his sexual abuse. I wonder if this also means that the truth will finally come out about all their other corruption and crimes, now that they seem to have been defenestrated?

It takes some serious gall to spend 20 years pimping Bill and Hillary Clinton like they're the last prostitutes in town, and finally admit he's a sexual predator only after they're most useful as a cudgel against Republicans.

— Mo Mo (@molratty) November 14, 2017

[Update mid-morning]

Hell has frozen over. The NYT has defended Juanita Broaddrick.

[Update at noon]

The thing is, going after him now — when they don’t need him anymore, and when they’re trying to hustle Hillary off the political stage for 2020 — doesn’t make up for what they did then. Rather, it underscores it.”

[Wednesday-morning update]

The dam seems to be bursting. Now Democrats are saying that the years of defending Bill Clinton were morally indefensible. Gee, ya think? That’s why I swore never to support another Democrat two decades ago. Even Matt Yglesias now realizes he was wrong, and that Clinton should have resigned. But he still has this wrong:

In the midst of the very same public statement in which he confessed the error, Clinton also mounted the defense that would see him through to victory — portraying the issue as fundamentally a private family matter rather than a topic of urgent public concern.

“I intend to reclaim my family life for my family,” he said. “It’s nobody’s business but ours. Even presidents have private lives. It is time to stop the pursuit of personal destruction and the prying into private lives and get on with our national life.”

To this line of argument, Republicans offered what was fundamentally the wrong countercharge. They argued that in the effort to spare himself from the personal and marital embarrassment entailed by having the affair exposed, Clinton committed perjury when testifying about the matter in a deposition related to Paula Jones’s lawsuit against him.

What they should have argued was something simpler: A president who uses the power of the Oval Office to seduce a 20-something subordinate is morally bankrupt and contributing, in a meaningful way, to a serious social problem that disadvantages millions of women throughout their lives.

But by and large, they didn’t. So Clinton countered with the now-famous defense: “It depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is.” Ultimately, most Americans embraced the larger argument that perjury in a civil lawsuit unrelated to the president’s official duties did not constitute high crimes and misdemeanors.

It’s wrong on two levels. First, both things were terrible (and as Flanagan notes above, the behavior with Lewinsky destroyed the credibility of the feminist argument against relationships in the workplace of disparate power). Second, he (as do and did most Democrats) continues to minimize what Clinton did legally. No, he didn’t merely “commit perjury.” He suborned perjury from others, including Betty Currie, Monica Lewinsky, and Linda Tripp, via bribes, and physical threats to the family of the latter. This was a major obstruction of justice in order to prevent another woman upon whom he had predated with the power of the state, from getting a fair trial. And he did this after having taken an oath to see that the laws were faithfully executed. As George Will wrote at the time, Bill Clinton may not have been the worst president, but he was probably one of the worst men to ever be president.

I’m glad that the scales are finally falling from some eyes over this, but some of the blindness persists.

[Update a while later]

If Roy Moore wins, it will be because of Democrats.

[Update a few minutes later]

Michelle Goldberg struggles to figure out what to say.

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