The Clin­ton Play­book

If Moore sur­vives, thank liberals


WE’RE told the time of judg­ment is upon Bill Clin­ton at last. In the wake of the We­in­stein-Halperin-Moore rev­e­la­tions that have shaken the foun­da­tions of the coun­try’s cul­tural and po­lit­i­cal elites, liberals are ac­knowl­edg­ing Clin­ton’s con­duct to­ward women was un­con­scionable.

MSNBC’s Chris Hayes got the ball rolling when he tweeted: “Democrats and the cen­ter left are over­due for a real reck­on­ing with the al­le­ga­tions against him.” This week, The New York Times pub­lished an op-ed called “I Be­lieve Juanita” — thus ac­cept­ing the sin­gle most in­cen­di­ary charge ever lev­eled at the for­mer pres­i­dent.

This one was not about Clin­ton propo­si­tion­ing women, as he did with Paula Jones in 1991. Or hav­ing had af­fairs with them, as with Gen­nifer Flow­ers in the 1980s. Or mak­ing ad­vances on them in the Oval Of­fice, as was the case with Kathleen Wil­ley in 1993. Or hav­ing sought out an underling for sex, as was the case with Mon­ica Lewin­sky in 1995 and 1996.

No, the Times’ Michelle Gold- berg said she be­lieved Juanita Broad­drick, who says Clin­ton vi­o­lently raped her in 1978 when he was Arkansas at­tor­ney gen­eral.

It was painful, Hayes and Gold­berg ac­knowl­edged, to bring these mat­ters up be­cause they feared they’d look like they had some­how sur­ren­dered to a right-wing lynch mob. Hayes com­plained about how “gross and cyn­i­cal and hypocr­ti­cal [sic] . . . the right’s ‘what about Bill Clin­ton’ stuff is.”

Gold­berg said liberals were right to be skep­ti­cal of women’s claims against Clin­ton dur­ing his pres­i­dency due to the right-wing cam­paign to dele­git­imize him: “In this en­vi­ron­ment, it would have been ab­surd to take ac­cu­sa­tions of as­sault and ha­rass­ment made against Clin­ton at face value.”

Just re­place “Clin­ton” in that sen­tence with “Trump” and you have the gist of the con­ser­va­tive de­fense of the cur­rent pres­i­dent.

Yet Gold­berg can­not keep her­self from see­ing a truth that was ev­i­dent dur­ing the Clin­ton pres­i­dency to any­one with eyes to see: Bill Clin­ton was a sex­ual repro­bate whose as­cen­sion to the Demo­cratic nom­i­na­tion af­ter the rev­e­la­tion of his re­la­tion­ship with Flow­ers dur­ing the pri­maries was a hinge mo­ment in Amer­i­can his­tory.

No one be­fore him would’ve sur­vived it. He did by deny­ing it hotly — and was saved from perdi­tion’s flames by his Hil­lary. She sat there on “60 Min­utes” and sup­ported him even as she said she wasn’t the type of woman who’d just “stand by her man.” Later, Clin­ton ac­knowl­edged the five-year Flow­ers af­fair in tes­ti­mony be­fore an in­de­pen­dent coun­sel.

In 1998, when the news of his li­ai­son with Lewin­sky be­came pub­lic, the Clin­tons did it again. Bill said he did not have sex­ual re­la­tions with Miss Lewin­sky, and Hil­lary went on the “Today Show” and said her husband had un­justly been placed in the tar­get sights of a “right wing con­spir­acy.”

If you want to know how Roy Moore of Alabama might sur­vive these charges against him and win the Se­nate race in De­cem­ber, look no far­ther than Hil­lary Clin­ton’s words. Again, re­place “right wing” with “left wing” (or “GOP es­tab­lish­ment”) and you have the en­tirety of Moore’s de­fense.

The Clin­ton play in the wake of the Lewin­sky rev­e­la­tion was to sig­nal to their sup­port­ers and the en­tire Demo­cratic lib­eral-left that any crack in their de­fense of him would al­low a Pu­ri­tan­i­cal rightwing flood to en­gulf the coun­try.

And any­way, even if you be­lieved he’d done it, what had he done? It was a pec­ca­dillo, re­ally noth­ing more than the sainted JFK had done in his trag­i­cally short­ened time in the Oval.

Moore is say­ing ex­actly the same thing to con­ser­va­tives: Al­low your­selves to be­lieve in the truth of these claims and you are go­ing to sur­ren­der this coun­try to god­less­ness and trans­gen­derism.

And any­way, what did Moore do that was re­ally so ter­ri­ble? Af­ter all, Joseph was an older man and Mary was a younger woman, right?

Clin­ton won the ar­gu­ment in 1998. And if you want to see his mon­u­ment, look around. His wife be­came a pop­u­lar Demo­cratic politi­cian in the wake of her 1998 cru­cible. And then, in the last cy­cle, she ran the worst pres­i­den­tial cam­paign in US his­tory and lost the race to a man she couldn’t plau­si­bly or ef­fec­tively crit­i­cize for his con­duct to­ward women.

Af­ter all, hadn’t Hil­lary Clin­ton been mar­ried to the man who had so low­ered the stan­dards for pres­i­den­tial be­hav­ior that he made Trump an ac­cept­able choice?

So many Trump sup­port­ers had watched in dis­gust as Clin­ton es­caped from his due reck­on­ing, sur­vived his im­peach­ment and read­ied to reen­ter the White House as the First Gen­tle­man. And many of them said to them­selves, 18 years later, “if it was OK for Clin­ton to tell Paula Jones to ‘kiss it,’ it’s fine by me that Trump said he wanted to ‘grab women’ by the . . .”

Which means this, Michelle Gold­berg. If you or peo­ple like you had be­lieved Broad­drick in 1998, or Jones in 1994, or Flow­ers in 1992, and said so, here’s what might have hap­pened. Clin­ton might have been im­peached and re­moved, in which case guess who would have been pres­i­dent? Al Gore.

Which means you might not have got­ten Ge­orge W. Bush in 2000. And, most im­por­tant, you wouldn’t have Pres­i­dent Trump today.

Nice work, liberals.

Be­fore the storm: Bill Clin­ton and Mon­ica Lewin­sky in the White House.


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