The Democrats aimed at Roy Moore, but Bill Clinton was standing in their way.
So Bill Clinton is now a smoldering husk of humanity.
After Hillary Clinton’s presidential loss, it became both convenient and useful to discard her alleged sexual predator spouse — a man the media feted repeatedly last year as a halcyon of decency. Now, Bill could safely be relegated to the semen-stained ashbin of history.
And so Bill Clinton has become the Barry Bonds of politics: a once-celebrated superhero, now disgraced. This week, a New York Times columnist said she believed Juanita Broaddrick, who first accused Clinton of rape some 25 years ago; The Atlantic also ran a better think piece talking about Clinton’s status as a suspected predator.
Now, it’s the execrable Matt Yglesias at Vox.com, in a 2000-word essay about just why Clinton should have resigned from office in 1998.
Yglesias admits that at the time, he wanted Clinton to stay: he was “glad to see Clinton prevail and regarded the whole sordid matter as primarily the fault of congressional Republicans’ excessive scandal-mongering.” But, Yglesias now admits, “I think we got it wrong. … What we should have talked about was men abusing their social and economic power over younger and less powerful women.”
It was far from the most egregious case of workplace sexual misconduct in American history. But it was unusually high-profile, the facts were not in dispute, the perpetrator had a lot of nominal feminist ideological commitments, and political leaders who shared those commitments had the power to force him from office. Had he resigned in shame, we all might have made a collective cultural and political decision that a person caught leveraging power over women in inappropriate ways ought to be fired. Instead, we lost nearly two decades.
Yes, yes we did. Funny how Democrats are realizing that right about now. Say, how are they feeling about Bob Menendez resigning? Any word on that?
Ygelsias says that Republicans shouldn’t have bothered going after Clinton for perjury. Instead, they should have used the feminist line that Lewinsky had been cudgeled into her affair — they should have said that Clinton’s seduction of Lewinsky was “morally bankrupt and contributing, in a meaningful way, to a serious social problem that disadvantages millions of women throughout their lives.” Which, of course, wouldn’t have worked, since the Left at the time suggested that Monica was a slut who wanted Bill, not a victimized innocent pressured by the most powerful man on Earth. Had the Right suggested that Bill used his superior position to get Lewinsky to service him, the Left immediately would have called them sexist for depriving Lewinsky of “agency.” That’s the beautiful convenience of Leftist sexual morality: it’s utterly malleable to the political needs of the moment.
Now Yglesias is all about the feminist take on power relationships, however. He says:
Had Clinton resigned in disgrace under pressure from his own party, that would have sent a strong, and useful, chilling signal to powerful men throughout the country.
Instead, the ultimate disposition of the case — impunity for the man who did something wrong, embarrassment and disgrace for the woman who didn’t — only served to confirm women’s worst fears about coming forward.
Then Yglesias shows his hand: it’s easy to dump Clinton overboard 17 years after he left office. But that doesn’t mean that Democrats should dump Menendez overboard, it turns out. He writes that Menendez should hang on to his seat until Democrat Phil Murphy takes office. He then adds that had Clinton stepped down, Gore would have become president. No problem! So sexual harassment is bad, unless it means losing something politically.
Yglesias openly admits that now is a great time to destroy Bill precisely because it means nothing:
But now that Hillary is out of electoral politics and has emerged as a bigger draw and more potent political force than her husband, there’s no excuse for Democrats not to look back on these events with more objectivity. Fifty-something leaders of organizations shouldn’t be carrying on affairs with interns who work for them regardless of whether the affair is in some sense consensual.
And then these people wonder that so many Republicans are willing to back Roy Moore.
Yglesias admits that Democrats “blew it.” What he fails to acknowledge is that if given the same stakes today, they’d blow it again. And so, in all likelihood, would he.