At last, a harsh reckoning has come for sexual harassers and abusers.
Last month’s outing of the loathsome Harvey Weinstein triggered an avalanche of accusations, fanning out from Hollywood. Oliver Stone, Ben Affleck, Kevin Spacey, Steven Seagal, George Takei and many lesser-knowns were revealed as alleged sexual predators.
The recriminations moved from entertainment to the media at large, as women accused commentator Mark Halperin, editor Michael Oreskes and critic Leon Wieseltier of behavior ranging from the caddish to the criminal. This led to the worlds of sports and gastronomy until finally, right where we all knew it would end — the world of politics.
Here in Arizona, several women accused state Rep. Don Shooter of unwanted sexual advances, leading to an official investigation and his suspension as chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.
But nationally, the main creep in the crosshairs is Alabama GOP Senate nominee Roy Moore, who apparently trolled food courts for teenage girls when he was twice their age. Some victims allege criminal behavior but the former justice (he was booted from his state’s supreme court twice) refuses to end his foundering campaign.
Democrats rightly ripped into Moore, whose scandal-soaked populism makes him Alabama’s answer to Joe Arpaio. But after days of invective about sexual improprieties, a few liberals began looking nervously at their own history.
In this post-Weinstein world, the Democratic Party’s moral compromises are beyond disturbing. And no one best exemplifies this than Bill Clinton.
The 1990s began as a feminist decade. Anita Hill claimed that now-Justice Clarence Thomas sexually harassed her in televised testimony full of lurid detail. This emboldened women from all walks of life to share their own tales of harassment – much to the shock of predators who rose to power in the Mad Men era.
Just one year later, the Democrats chose Bill Clinton as their presidential nominee.
It’s been 20 years since the sex scandal between Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky rocked the White House and the nation. The man in the center of another scandal, Harvey Weinstein reportedly tried to help Clinton.
In 1992, Clinton’s staff trashed his many female accusers, trying to prevent them from derailing his walk to the White House. The ugliest claim came from Juanita Broaddrick who alleged Clinton had violently raped her in his hotel room. Gennifer Flowers, Paula Jones and Kathleen Willey accused him of other predations which his campaign derided as “bimbo eruptions.”
The liberal establishment responded to Clinton’s pattern of abuse with rage. Not at their skeevy president, but at his female accusers. “Drag a hundred-dollar bill through a trailer park,” Clinton strategist James Carville said, “you never know what you'll find.” Even then-Clinton fan Donald Trump called Jones “a loser” trying to take down a president.
What Clinton was accused of was worse than most of the sexual predators being targeted today. Far worse. Yet the Democratic Party and many feminists fiercely defended him.
Gloria Steinem penned an op-ed for The New York Times claiming, “Even if the allegations are true, the President is not guilty of sexual harassment.” Betty Friedan said that Clinton’s “enemies are attempting to bring him down through allegations about some dalliance with an intern ... Whether it’s a fantasy, a set-up, or true, I simply don’t care.”
The reason Democrats sided with Clinton in the 1990s was simple. He had a D after his name. Clinton supported their issues, and they’d be damned before letting those Republicans get a win.
Today, we’re seeing the same mentality in reverse. Roy Moore has an R after his name and a large number of Republicans will do anything to stick it to the media and the left. Even if it means voting for a guy who used to cruise the local mall looking for teenage girls.
The old boys-will-be-boys culture might be on the way out in Hollywood. But until voters drop their amoral tribalism, it might remain in politics for years to come.