Friday, October 06, 2006

Bill Clinton: a scapegoat for the ages

Ah, my favorite LA Times opinionista, Jonah Goldberg, takes a stab at the whole blame-Democrats-for-Foley oeuvre:

Self-described progressives are great at whipping up a moral frenzy when it serves their purposes, and hilariously indignant when Moral Majority types return fire in kind.

I prefer to be beautiful when I’m angry, but I’ll settle for hilarious, I guess. But how come “Moral Majority types” aren’t “self-described”?

Remember the national bout of St. Vitus' dance over sexual harassment in the late 1980s and early 1990s?

St.Vitus’s dance? You’re saying that the explosion of awareness of the issue of sexual harassment in the late 20th century resembles the movements of a person suffering from Huntington’s Disease? Wow. Bad writing is a polite word for what that is, dude.

Liberals made sexual harassment their signature issue, rending their clothes and gnashing their teeth over Sens. John Tower and Bob Packwood and Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas, among others. The puritanical zeal of these inquisitions cannot be exaggerated.

Oh, don’t sell yourself short, Goldberg.

First of all, 1.) John Tower did fondle unwilling women in public, yes - but only when he was drunk. And hey, one could argue that Tower was one huge shitstorm waiting to happen and that 41 was well rid of him, but, in any case, Tower was brought down by Paul Weyrich, the conservative founder of Sexual McCarthyism, and not by the Dems.
2.) 29 women came forward to accuse Packwood, a man of no particular interest to the opposition, of sexual harassment and, in some cases, sexual assault. So when I try to think of a word to describe my concern at that time, “puritanical” is not what leaps to mind.
3.) Thomas was head of the EEOC, the government agency that is charged with bringing DISCRIMINATION CLAIMS against employers, so when Anita Hill testified that he, her boss, repeatedly tried to pressure her into sleeping with him, you can see why that might be worth a look see, eh?

And then came Bill Clinton, who was, by any fair measure, a worse womanizer than Thomas or the rest of them.

First of all, are we now talking about “womanizing”? When did that happen? I thought we were talking about sexual harassment and assault.

The Paula Jones sexual harassment lawsuit led, inexorably, to revelations of alleged rape and scandalous behavior with an intern. Forced to choose between power and principle, liberals and feminists held an impromptu fire sale on principles.

“Inexorably”? Do you mean it was unavoidable because Ken Starr was investigating, and sworn Clinton enemy Richard Mellon Scaife was paying witnesses? Because then I’m with you on the whole “inexorable” deal.

Also, conservatives are frequently quick to invoke the charge of rape against Bill Clinton. The charge was made by a woman named Juanita Broaddrick.

And exactly what is the principle that I'm being accused of selling out on? Always believing the woman's side when a famous and powerful person is accused of rape? Is that my principle?

Look, it would be wonderful if women always told the truth about rape. As a women, I hope with all my might and soul that women never ever lie about it. Because it hurts all of us. But, c’mon, folks, Broaddrick’s story was so full of holes that even the Starr Commission couldn’t patch half of ‘em. That’s why she just quietly went away. Because even Starr couldn’t use her.

If I were to insist on believing Broaddrick was raped by Clinton, no matter what my common sense tells me, then wouldn't I be guilty of violating a few other important principles?

And as for the “scandalous behavior”…who the fuck gives a fuck about scandalous behavior??? If all Foley were accused of was “scandalous behavior,” then fuck yeah, let’s bust the motherfucker out of rehab and give him his fucking job back and throw him a big fucking party with 18 year-old male strippers.

Look, I’m a big believer that you don’t have to be 18 to consent to sex. And I’m not yet convinced that Foley did anything illegal. But one thing I do know for certain – that Foley is everything that conservative Republicans purport to be against, and yet they sheltered him in the name of political expediency. That is hypocrisy, pure and simple - whether you supported Clinton or not.

Whereas once feminists insisted that "women don't make these things up," accusations of rape were dismissed instantaneously.

“Dismissed instantaneously”?

Goldberg either has a very short memory, or he's just a big fat liar. Broaddrick's allegations were aired and discussed AT LENGTH in the media.

But when you have someone with an agenda as powerful as Scaife’s and he’s all up in Arkansas feeding well-paid liars to the Starr Commission, I’d say the benefit of the doubt for Clinton was in order, no?

And no feminist worth her stripes would ever insist that women have never and would never lie about rape. Feminists writing has always acknowledged, for instance, that many black men in the south were lynched over fabricated charges of rape.

Whereas once zero tolerance was the rule ("no means no"), feminist deity Gloria Steinem suddenly advanced a one-free-grope rule for powerful men.

Uh, “no means no” doesn’t refer to zero tolerance. It’s an attempt to address all the stereotypes of women in movies and tv and literature who say “no” but mean “yes,” because they’re being portrayed as creatures who are incapable of knowing their own minds, see? I can’t believe I had to explain that to you.

And I think the one-free-grope rule is predicated upon an admission or proof of guilt. Otherwise, all the politicians in Washington would be lining up for theirs.

Whereas once even the appearance of impropriety was unacceptable, feminists suddenly argued that everyone should lighten up.

Wow! Goldberg has accused feminists of wanting people to lighten up. That’s got to be a first. I’m going to store this column away for future reference.

Former Sen. Carol Moseley Braun, elected in 1992 — the "Year of the Woman" — as part of the anti-Thomas "backlash," argued that female interns should count themselves lucky in the Clinton White House. After all, she said, "30 years ago, women weren't even allowed to be White House interns."

I lived in Chicago in 1992 and so you should believe me when I say that Braun wasn’t part of the anti-Thomas backlash as much as she was part of the anti-incumbent backlash. The previous senator, Allan Nixon, was an incompetent boob, and Illinois voters had finally had enough of seeing his hands in other people’s pockets. Also, Braun herself turned out to be a party hack of the highest order, and was voted out after one term. I understand that it would serve your purpose to make her some kind of feminist spokesperson, Goldberg, but I’m afraid that she just doesn’t qualify.

I happen to have been fairly active in feminist causes, and was a great devourer of feminist literature and periodicals at the time of the Clinton sexual harassment scandal, and I can tell you that the debate among feminists over even Clinton’s admitted behavior was absolutely rancorous. Sorry. I know that doesn’t fit your little “liberal hypocrite” thesis, but it’s the truth.


david said...

Goldberg's butt has to be hurtin' right about now.

Foley's lawyer repeatedly said on the news the other night that Foley had not had sexual contact wiht a minor. But in DC, 16 (the age of one of the pages in question), while the age of majority, still receives special protection under certain statutes.

Get this: while actual sex with a 16-year-old is legal in DC, using the Internet to solicit a 16-year-old for sex is probably not.

Check it out at:

Phil said...

I hope you sent this, in some form, to the Times for printing.

Chris said...

Another beauty! I love to see RW bullshit dissected like this. The shit they say is so empty and unstable, it crumbles under the slightest scrutiny. I'm with Phil - send it in in some form.

Larry Jones said...

I didn't read the editorial until now, because I no longer consider the Times a credible newspaper, plus it makes my fingers all smudged and inky, so I just don't touch it anymore. But I admire your rebuttal all the same, and I'm jealous of your ability and willingness to take Goldberg's column apart point-by-point like that. When a guy so willfully clueless takes such a dismissive tone with me, I just tell him to fuck off, which I admit may not enhance the dialog.

Anyway, trying to engage here, I guess what Goldberg is saying is that those bad, bad Democrats are using this hurtful and divisive issue for political gain, and he is shocked, shocked! As if the current batch of win-at-any-cost wingnuts would never stoop to such tactics...

On second thought, Jonah, fuck off.

Grant Miller said...

They are grabbing at straws over this. It's 4:30 in Chicago and I'm awaiting some sort of juicy Foley-related annoucement as usually happens late on a Friday afternoon. Wait until everybody goes home and drop the big one. No one notices.

RandyLuvsPaiste said...

You gotta send some form of this to the LA Times. Call them on their shit.

vikkitikkitavi said...

David: Yeah, I think that internet legislation is pure crap, but of course none of our brave legislators would be caught dead not voting for it.

Phil, Randy & Chris: The LATimes has its own problems right now.

Larry: Inserting comments into a piece the author has already structured is a bit of the lazy way to do it, but I don't really have a problem with taking the lazy way.

Grant: I know! Like that Sienna Miller apology! Now it all just gets buried!