Politics

'The Clinton Affair,' Redux

A&E recently released a six-part mini-series on Bill Clinton's scandals.

Political Editors · Nov. 28, 2018

Ahead of the 20th anniversary in December of Bill Clinton’s impeachment, A&E recently released a six-part mini-series on his scandals titled, “The Clinton Affair.” We know — how did they fit so much material into only six parts?

We took note of a recent New York Times article on one particular episode in Clinton’s affairs — that of Paula Jones. According to the Times:

[Monica] Lewinsky has always been cast as the central female character of Bill Clinton’s scandals, and while that has been hell for her, it has been rather convenient for him. Over two decades, it was easy to forget that the reporting on Clinton’s consensual affair with an intern arose out of an even more damning context: Jones’s harassment suit. (It was Lewinsky and Clinton denying their affair under oath in the Jones case that gave [Ken] Starr the material to pounce.) Paula Jones spoke out against the most powerful man in the world, and when his lawyers argued that a sitting president couldn’t be subject to a civil suit, she took them all the way to the Supreme Court and won. In another world, she would be hailed as a feminist icon. But not in this world — not yet.

Indeed, long before #MeToo became a Democrat/feminist rallying cry, Democrats and feminists were contemptuously dismissing Jones, Kathleen Willey, and Juanita Broaddrick as “bimbos,” trailer-park trash, and pawns in a “vast right-wing conspiracy.” Jones accused Clinton of exposing himself to her, Willey claimed Clinton groped her, and Broaddrick said he raped her while he was governor of Arkansas. All three women were largely ignored by the mainstream media; even Lewinsky’s story was broken by the Drudge Report. NBC famously held its interview with Broaddrick until after Clinton’s impeachment and trial.

Of course, the Times excuses this: “In the ‘90s, these women’s stories cut directly to the biases of the mainstream media: that sexual harassment and assault were tabloid tales and that publishing anything that seemed to sway a political process was ill advised.”

As if accusations against a Republican would have been held to avoid “swaying the political process.” As PowerLine’s John Hinderaker put it, “Clinton skated because he was a Democrat, not because of any supposedly benighted attitudes of the times.”

Clinton doesn’t enjoy the unquestioning support on the Left that he once did, but neither is he the pariah (or inmate) that he should be. Better late than never on more widely airing the stories of his accusers.

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