MSNBC news anchor Chris Hayes has called for a “real reckoning” over Bill Clinton’s sexually predatory behavior that was either ignored or excused by his political supporters.
As gross and cynical and hypocrtical as the right's "what about Bill Clinton" stuff is, it's also true that Democrats and the center left are overdue for a real reckoning with the allegations against him.
— Chris Hayes (@chrislhayes) November 10, 2017
This was followed by a piece in The Atlantic titled “Bill Clinton: A Reckoning” by Caitlin Flanagan.
“The most remarkable thing about the current tide of sexual assault and harassment accusations is not their number,” Flanagan begins. “What’s remarkable is that these women are being believed.”
Bill Clinton’s sexually predator behavior has long been overlooked
Flanagan correctly notes that this is a good things, but she is also quick to point out the hypocrisy of those who are excoriating Roy Moore and Donald Trump, but who turn a blind eye to the predatory misbehavior of Bill Clinton.
Far from being the kind of pariah that Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby, or Kevin Spacey have become – or, in the case of Spacey, is on the path to becoming – is still feted and adored by the Democratic faithful:
Yet let us not forget the sex crimes of which the younger, stronger Bill Clinton was very credibly accused in the 1990s. Juanita Broaddrick reported that when she was a volunteer on one of his gubernatorial campaigns, she had arranged to meet him in a hotel coffee shop. At the last minute, he had changed the location to her room in the hotel, where she says he very violently raped her. She said she fought against Clinton throughout a rape that left her bloodied.
She also notes Clinton’s record shows “a pattern of behavior; it included an alleged violent assault; the women involved had far more credible evidence than many of the most notorious accusations that have come to light in the past five weeks.”
Noted feminist Gloria Steinem brought us the ‘one free grope rule’
She also cites the infamous “one free grope rule,” a 1998 New York Times op-ed by feminist icon Gloria Steinem, who stated that she believed Clinton’s accusers but tried to excuse the then-president’s assaultive behavior.
“Kathleen Willey said that she met him in the Oval Office for personal and professional advice and that he groped her, rubbed his erect penis on her, and pushed her hand to his crotch,” Flanagan writes.
But Steinem downplayed the incident as a mere “pass,” not actual harrassment, and applauded the predatory president because “President Clinton took ‘no’ for an answer,” i.e. he didn’t escalate his assault into full-on rape.
The glaring hypocrisy of this position is no longer lost on many on the Left. As Flanagan notes:
The party needs to come to terms with the fact that it was so enraptured by their brilliant, Big Dog president and his stunning string of progressive accomplishments that it abandoned some of its central principles. The party was on the wrong side of history and there are consequences for that.
The truth and consequences of sexual assault with regard to Bill Clinton and others
Indeed there are – and on both sides. As the left begins to come to terms with its unwillingness to confront its presidential predator, the right needs to recognize that their own hypocrisy may well serve as an indictment in years to some.
The evangelicals currently defending the odious Roy Moore were likely on the front lines condemning Clinton for his predations back in the day. And many of the Republicans who excoriated Clinton’s morality, or lack thereof, have not expressed the slightest bit of concern about a president who was caught on tape bragging about grabbing women “by the pussy,” and then blithely dismissing such reprehensible behavior as “locker room talk.”
The reality is that too many people are willing to excuse predatory behavior from someone on their own team. To be consistent, one needs to be outraged by predators of all political persuasions.
(Photo of Former President Bill Clinton speaking with supporters at a campaign rally for his wife, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, at Central High School in Phoenix, Arizona by Gage Skidmore)