Bill Clinton Is Not The Problem

Once the #metoo floodgates opened giving voice to women who wanted some accountability for the bullies, the conversation found its way to politics via the vile pedophile Roy Moore, to the shock of Al Franken and suddenly veered to Bill Clinton.

Bill Clinton, of course, is a problematic figure in terms of sexual harassment.   He continues to be a conundrum for those who expected that he would be driven out of office just because the VRWC wanted that to happen.  But I am stunned that Bill Clinton is the issue that so many want to talk about in terms of “accountability” moments now.  I probably shouldn’t be stunned — if there is an opportunity to indulge in Clinton Derangement Syndrome, there is an element of the media (I am looking at you NYT) and the usual Clinton detractors who will take the opportunity.  What they won’t do is cycle back to the issues at hand — which doesn’t call for BothSidesism to deal with the very real injustice being addressed now.

I’ll repeat, that I do not doubt that Mr. Bill has issues with women.  But I am very wary of the calls to revisit his behavior in light of the #metoo movement.  And that wariness is in two things.  One is that when Bill Clinton was President, there really was a full court press by the VRWC to take him down.  As someone who lived through it, the thing I know is that it was very difficult to tell what was real and what was made up in this — the same people who were pushing the narrative that the Clintons had Vince Foster killed were the same who were pushing all of the abuse narratives.  Second is Ken Starr.  Starr had $70M of taxpayer money to get Clinton out of office.  And while he started with Whitewater, it expanded to pretty much any scandal they thought would fit the bill.  Starr investigated the claims of all of the women who accused Bill Clinton, immunized many of them and still could not come up with conclusive evidence of anything other than lying about an affair with Monica Lewinsky.  The third is false equivalency.  This is the attempt to ask Democrats why they were not as strident about Bill Clinton’s misbehavior as we are about Roy Moore — and utterly erasing the almost 2 term long investigations into various Clinton scandals.

Was Starr incompetent?  Could be.  But I do know that the claims of these women got a better hearing by the justice system than most homicides do.  If $70M could not produce conclusive evidence of misbehavior by Bill Clinton, why on earth are we still talking about this?

And the false equivalency is just stupid.  In the moment, it was difficult to know where the real stories were and the record is pretty clear that Ken Starr could produce a ton of smoke, but no indictments.

For now, it looks to me that we have entered a new phase of Clinton Derangement Syndrome — this one not so much focused on Bill Clinton as on his supporters at the time.  The effort now is less about Clinton (who, I will remind, is no longer in power and no longer an issue), than it is to get the Clinton supporters to admit that they were wrong.  The Gloria Steinem op-ed (and there were other examples of women going overboard to defend Clinton) that tried to exonerate Clinton back in the day was embarrassing then and embarrassing now.  And most women would not have subscribed to her rationalization and still don’t.  But the Steinem op-ed is a useful stand-in for Bill Clinton’s support.  It is galling to the Clinton Derangement Syndrome crew that this guy never got his comeuppance.  And he left office more popular than when he entered it.  And now it appears that Clinton supporters (read women PLUS Hillary) need to apologize for not helping to bring this guy to account.

You can read a million of these Clinton resuscitations (and listen to these interviews) and not one mentions Ken Starr or the effort to bring Clinton down.  But they *do* want Clinton supporters to provide a mea culpa.  When you read these accounts, you also hear about Hillary Clinton’s efforts to defend her husband.  And these folks are looking for her to don sackcloth and ashes too.  The entire effort is pretty much focused on trying to get someone, anyone to say that they made a mistake in ever supporting either Clinton.  Which has nothing to do with #metoo or the support of pedophilia that is engulfing the GOP right now, or any of the other instances of men who behaved badly with women and who have never faced their accountability moment.

On the other hand, Clarence Thomas still sits on the Supreme Court.  Anita Hill never got the hearing that Paula Jones, Gennifer Flowers, etc got.  She (and her corroborating witnesses) were shut down pretty handily by the Biden-led Judiciary Committee.  Thomas, unlike Clinton, still has his government job.  Of course, the Pussy Grabber In Chief still has a job and there is still nowhere near the effort to deal with his misogyny and assaults as there is in the effort to try to relive the Clinton past. Again.

Instead of fighting one more Clinton battle, it is time to deal with the injustice issues ahead of us.  Trying to force Clinton supporters to recant that support is another Clinton sideshow.  Unless someone figures out where Ken Starr screwed the pooch on his investigation, there is little to be gained except the media show of Democrats still fighting over the Clintons.  No injustices resolved, much less heard.  More Clinton scandal is good for clicks and ratings — especially when you can have Democrats at each other’s throats again for no good reason — but has precious little with dealing with the ongoing injustices highlighted by #metoo.

You don't make progress by standing on the sidelines, whimpering and complaining. You make progress by implementing ideas. -- Shirley Chisolm

47 comments on “Bill Clinton Is Not The Problem

  1. If women were empowered by national healthcare, a right to a job or a universal basic income, putting up with unwanted advances would not be the economic imperative that it is.

    • Great health care and great jobs doesn’t stop sexual harassment/assault – just like having great health care/great job doesn’t protect a black/brown person from racism. Stop pretending that this issue can be fixed with national healthcare or a universal basic income. That’s not remotely true.

      • Sexual harassment is rooted in economic vulnerability. That is a fact. If you disagree that less economic vulnerability is not part of the solution, please say what public policy solutions you propose.

        • Way more than laws are going to have to change. But a good start would be to make the penalty for a company who retaliates against someone who reports a manager financially ruinous.

  2. There’s so much deflection away from #MeToo (which strikes me as deliberate). The number of times people cite wealthy, power men as the problem – as if, you know, those men, not regular men – is a way to narrow the scope of the problem.

    It’s not only Weinstein, Spacey, Trump, etc.. It’s Dan at the fast food restaurant: Mike at the bank: George, your next door neighbor.

    Btw, Moore is in his own vile category.

    We’ve taken #MeeToo and turned it into “NotMe – It’s those rich, powerful guys.” It isn’t. This behavior can’t be divided into political parties (or socioeconomic groups). Making it about politics means you aren’t listening.

    • Ok, it’s the “regular men” as well. That’s fair enough.

      But I ask you (again) “what public policy solutions do you propose”, if a right to a job and/or national healthcare does not speak to the problem for you?

      I’m listening.

      • I’m all for great jobs/national healthcare – those would make a huge difference, but they wouldn’t solve sexual harassment/assault. I was going to joke and say, “So, women have to make more money than men to solve the power issues?” But that lands us in more (resentment) harassment – the type directed at women who are more successful, or not pretty enough, called a bitch, a tease, etc..

        The solution is for attitudes and cultural norms to change. There are plenty of unemployed men with no health care who don’t harass/assault people.

        • “There are plenty of unemployed men with no health care who don’t harass/assault people.”
          So, only working men, with healthcare harass/assault people?

    • Looks like it is John Conyers as well. Nice.

  3. @ Pandora. NOTHING, will make you happy. If someone says the wall is white, your going to say it’s off white. That is just you. Again, people need to speak up. I’m sorry, but I look at the women in my life. They are strong, “take no shit attitude”. They are successful., Why?? Because of the person’s that they are. The 2nd women that came out of the blue with Al Franken, she told others and NOW she is coming out? Hey, if I knew that happened to my Wife, I would be up in arms.

    NO women should be harassed in any way. They have every right to speak up AND not fear to loose their job. And if they are, shame on the HR department of that company!

    • cassandram

      Speaking up is easier said than done in many instances. Organizations have a million ways to punish complainers and those who will confront the system need to be ready for that. It doesn’t matter how tough you are, if your organization decides you are a problem to be gotten rid of, then you are gotten rid of. If you need your employment or you need some time to get your ducks in a row, stepping up to complain is difficult. And the First Mover is always the real sacrificial lamb. HR departments do not exist to protect employees — they exist to protect the organization.

    • @anono

      Re: “If I knew that happened to my Wife, I would be up in arms.”

      Since it’s never happened to your Wife, you don’t know what you’d be up in.

      • I doubt his wife has never experience sexual harassment. If so, she’s the exception.

    • Actually, Anono, what most of us are having is a discussion of an issue that has shades of gray. You seem to think the answer to this problem is simple – Women need to speak up, and strong women do. Interesting how your solution doesn’t address men changing their behavior, which is the answer to the problem, btw.

      • I have said it before. I think it’s should start at home. We’ve always taught our kids to be respectful of others. When a girl or women says, no. That is exactly what it means, no.

        • Have you also taught them to intervene when they see something happening that they are taught not to do? “minding your own business” often means allowing horrible behavior to continue.

          • “Have you also taught them to intervene when they see something happening that they are taught not to do?”

            For many men, they haven’t been taught the scope of sexual harassment. It seems to be limited to keeping their hands to themselves (and that’s a good thing!) and being respectful (which is kinda vague and isn’t applied universally).

            And while I’m fine with men intervening with men they know, I’d caution men about calling out strangers. Women know strange men can react unpredictably and violently. Men need to be careful in this situation.

            • caution is always a good thing.
              The kind of person who would harass another person in public… where my hypothetical scenario would most likely take place… is a coward going after what he considers “easy prey”. LIke with other predators, simply interrupting their pattern is enough to make them stop. It also becomes at least 2 against one. I personally feel that allies need to be ready to get their asses kicked in fighting for the rights of others.

              • I hear ya, Ben, but please be careful. It’s second nature for women to think about their safety when dealing with strangers – confronting a man in a bar only to find him waiting in the parking lot for you. There’s been some hard lessons learned there.

  4. RabCNesbitt

    Actually Bill Clinton is part of the problem. I consider myself somewhat observant, especially with trends that happen over multiple periods of years, and I noticed a marked change in society as a whole after Bill Clinton’s behavior. His actions were excused and even cheered by a large section of society in this country and abroad. Carrying out and Lying about these sexual escapades actually became more acceptable after Clinton.

    • I don’t remember the cheering. I also don’t remember a marked societal change. That would be like saying that Clarence Thomas set porn and sexual harassment trends, or Clark Gable set profanity trends. These problems are bigger than one person.

      • Hillary defended him. Meaning she defended his actions!

        • A wife defending her husband is not unusual. It’s pretty much the norm.

          • Not when he did the things that he did. Now you are condoning sexual harassment, by supporting Hillary.

            • Nope. I’m saying it’s the norm that spouses defend each other and tend to rely on denial and a narrative that lessens the pain and humiliation. It’s why spouses tend to blame the other woman/other man, while those of us on the outside tend to blame the cheaters.

    • cassandram

      There was no cheering. If there was, it was after it looked like the VRWC failed in their project to eliminate him. Failed enough that Clinton emerged with pretty high approval ratings and Congress did not. If we want to make use of your logic, we should say that the societal change happened when Clarence Thomas was confirmed as Anita Hill and her corroborating witnesses were told they were being petty or that they exaggerated what happened.

  5. I’m beginning to think that some people view sexual harassment as grabbing a women’s rear, etc.. It’s so much more. It encompasses a lot of things like:

    1. Saying women are emotional/hysterical/not logical
    2. Implying a promotion relied on sexual encounters/flirtation/or the “Boss wants to have sex with her” thereby diminishing professional accomplishments
    3. Talking about “Women drivers” or “How women love to shop” or “women aren’t good at math/science” or any other stereotype applied to women
    4. Rating women on their looks/attire (good or bad). In fact, using phrases like “I’d do her/wouldn’t do her” (Can we bury these phrases, please) or joking about “Make me a sandwich” (An oldie, but a goodie) play into gender roles that make women objects, not subjects.
    5. Laughing with your male friends using any example above, or worse
    6. There’s more than these examples.

    Yes, some people dismiss these as microaggressions, but let me try and explain why they matter in ungendered terms. When you’re outside and get one mosquito bite, it’s annoying, but not a big deal. However, if you get 20 or 30 mosquito bites you’ll probably move inside. A lot of times, men (one mosquito) dismisses a women’s reaction to what he said (which isn’t a big deal) while not realizing that the same thing happened 19/29 times (or more) before he said what he said.

    • You lost me at “talking about woman drivers” and “how women love to shop”.

      Are you kidding me? Exactly what kind of society do you want?

    • You missed a great deal. And you are, the one who have blinders on!

  6. Pandy lives in her own little world;
    I’m always right, your always wrong. Or maybe it should be I’m always left, very far left.

  7. RE Vanella

    Could you address xyz’s comment? Saying women love to shop is sexual harassment. Is that what we’re doing? Asking for a friend…

    • No, but it is sexist. Everyone shops. Many women abhor shopping. Many men love shopping. “bening” sexism allows for more sinister expressions of sexism to slip by. How about try avoiding gender hased generalizations.

    • That would be interesting if that’s what I said. I was discussing stereotypes that feed into how we treat women and impacts their careers. Those examples diminish women while lumping them as a group, and not as individuals. It feeds the same beast.

  8. RE Vanella

    You should reread what you wrote. You wrote sexual harassment encompasses much more than x. It includes… etc.

    You always pull that classic “that’s not what I said.”. Lame.

    It’s a dumb stereotype to be sure. You explicitly including it in what “encompasses” sexual harassment is, well, I best not say say what it is. Don’t what to trigger you.

    • How are those examples any different from “Jews love money” “Black people all know how to play bass guitar” “Asians are bad drivers”? It feeds into, and is a part of the bigger problem. Im sure you dont think there is one thing that we can change to fix the problems in our society….

    • Why are you so hostile? Serious question, because you’re developing a pattern.

      And I will say that constantly throwing out stereotypes about women to women is a way of lessening them. When women are constantly being dismissed with stereotypes it very well can constitute harassment. If a women is speaking and a man says something about her shopping or says he will drive to the meeting because, you know, women drivers, or when a woman engineering major is told women aren’t just as good as men in math it creates an environment that limits women. The people saying these things are demonstrating their sexism through behavior (like my mosquito example) that piles up to harassment.

  9. RE Vanella

    You should probably first define the word encompass. Then figure out how what you said doesn’t address what I said. It pretty straightforward.

    I’ll go do something productive anywhere else. Be safe.

  10. RE Vanella

    I’m hostile because we have a huge fight on our hands and your sloppy thinking & sloppy writing is worse than neutral. It’s counterproductive.

    I will leave you to your safety. Good day.

    • Oh, I see. I’m doing it wrong.

      Not sure why we can’t have a discussion.

      • cassandram

        I’m hostile because we have a huge fight on our hands

        You can’t have a discussion because you are pretty clearly not part of the *we* here, P.

      • The victim as well as the harasser may be a woman or a man. The victim does not have to be of the opposite sex. See, you only see one side!

        • Where did I say the victim could only be a women?

          • “It encompasses a lot of things like:…………”
            Look at your post from November 21st. You say women in almost every one of your list. Oh that is right, you are never wrong! Happy Thankgiving Pandy!

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