President Bill Clinton’s sexual past is fair game according to Los Angeles Times columnist Doyle McManus. He writes:
Is Bill Clinton’s sexual history fair game in the 2016 campaign? Donald Trump certainly thinks so.
“Hillary is an enabler,” he said in one interview. “She’s married to an abuser!” he said in another. “If she’s going to play the woman card, it’s all fair game,” he added.
The sad thing is, he’s right.
Hillary Clinton does play the gender card, relentlessly. She has frequently reminded voters that she would be the first female president and has cast herself as a champion of women’s causes.
In September, at a college campus in Iowa, she pledged to fight sexual assault, saying: “I want to send a message to all of the survivors. Don’t let anyone silence your voice. You have the right to be heard, the right to be believed, and we are with you as you go forward.
Then she sent her husband, former President Bill Clinton, onto the campaign trail. Although he’s now beloved by millions, he’s both an asset and a potential liability. He was impeached in 1998 after an illicit affair with a 22-year-old White House intern, Monica Lewinsky. He was sued for sexual harassment by a former Arkansas state employee, Paula Jones (he settled with no acknowledgment of guilt). And he was accused of rape by a former campaign volunteer, Juanita Broaddrick; the charge was never adjudicated because Broaddrick waited 21 years before making it.
He goes on to write,
This isn’t about Bill Clinton’s philandering; voters decided what they thought about that long ago. And it would be grotesque to blame his wife for sins he committed against her.
But it’s reasonable to ask whether Bill Clinton, a public figure acting as a surrogate for his wife, lived up to her 2016 standards for treating potential survivors of sexual abuse.
The answer is: He didn’t. Twenty years ago, Bill Clinton and his associates did their best to discredit his accusers. The pithiest, as usual, was James Carville, who said of Paula Jones: “If you drag a hundred-dollar bill through a trailer park, you never know what you’ll find.”
McManus defends Hillary for a comment she made to her friend, Diane Blair, that Monica Lewinsky was a loony tune:
…but that was a private comment that surfaced years later, not a public slam. And at the time, Bill Clinton had falsely assured her that Lewinsky was lying and that there had been no sexual relationship.
Really? Hillary clearly knew about Billy’s tendency to stray by the time Monica hit the headlines. So, she calls Lewinsky a loony tune because her faithful husband assured her that Lewinsky was lying? It looks like McManus feels obligated to run some interference for Hillary. That one doesn’t pass the laugh test.
Nonetheless, McManus is right. If Bill Clinton is called upon to be her spokesman and if she is posturing herself as a champion of women’s rights, it is appropriate to question her consistency.