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I believe Bill Clinton raped Juanita Broaddrick, says a columnist in . . . the New York Times?
Women tell the truth. Well, except for one.
I would challenge you to tell me the difference, but that would be mean because - assuming you'd take me up on it - I'd be sending you down a path on which there is no conceivable way to the pot of gold. There is no difference.
Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, Louis CK, Mark Halperin, Roy Moore . . . all credibly accused by multiple accusers of horrible sexual misconduct, perpetrated solely because the perps were in positions of power and could get away with it, and the victims (all women except for Spacey's) knew they would either not be believed or would pay far too heavy a price for coming forward.
Until the moment in America's culture when that changed, which is where we sit today.
The difference between all this and what's been known about Bill Clinton for a very long time? Absolutely nothing. Except for this: The charges made against Clinton by Paula Jones, Kathleen Willey and Juanita Broaddrick were long ago dismissed in a now-departed political and media culture that preferred to protect powerful men from the consequences of their misdeeds, provided of course these men were Democrats and did the bidding of the culture's heroes and icons.
Is it fair now to revisit the charges against Big Bill in the context of today's very different atmosphere?
Hell yes it is. It was never right to dismiss their stories in the first place. And the worst of these accusations was the one from Juanita Broaddrick, who has been consistent for decades in her story that Bill Clinton violently raped her in an Arkansas hotel room in 1978, when he was the attorney general of Arkansas. Today, support for Broaddrick's story comes from a surprising source: A New York Times columnist named Michelle Goldberg:
Of the Clinton accusers, the one who haunts me is Broaddrick. The story she tells about Clinton recalls those we’ve heard about Weinstein. She claimed they had plans to meet in a hotel coffee shop, but at the last minute he asked to come up to her hotel room instead, where he raped her. Five witnesses said she confided in them about the assault right after it happened. It’s true that she denied the rape in an affidavit to Paula Jones’s lawyers, before changing her story when talking to federal investigators. But her explanation, that she didn’t want to go public but couldn’t lie to the F.B.I., makes sense. Put simply, I believe her.
What to do with that belief? Contemplating this history is excruciating in part because of the way it has been weaponized against Hillary Clinton. Broaddrick sees her as complicit, interpreting something Hillary once said to her at a political event — “I want you to know that we appreciate everything you do for Bill” — as a veiled threat instead of a rote greeting. This seems wildly unlikely; Broaddrick was decades away from going public, and most reporting about the Clinton marriage shows Bill going to great lengths to hide his betrayals. Nevertheless, one of the sick ironies of the 2016 campaign was that it was Hillary who had to pay the political price for Bill’s misdeeds, as they were trotted out to deflect attention from Trump’s well-documented transgressions.
And now they’re being trotted out again. It’s fair to conclude that because of Broaddrick’s allegations, Bill Clinton no longer has a place in decent society. But we should remember that it’s not simply partisan tribalism that led liberals to doubt her. Discerning what might be true in a blizzard of lies isn’t easy, and the people who spread those lies don’t get to claim the moral high ground. We should err on the side of believing women, but sometimes, that belief will be used against us.
Now I realize it's easy to look at this and ask: Where was this when Hillary was running for president and Bill was in the thick of her campaign effort? It's easy to say this now when your newspaper in particular and your ideological tribe in general isn't trying to drag Hillary across the finish line and into the White House. The Clintons are yesterday's news, and given the recent revelations about Hillary's corruption of the DNC, it may be that the tribal imperative of the left has changed from defending the Clintons to burying them, lest they get any ideas and try to come back yet again for another shot at the White House.
I get all that, but even taking that into account, Goldberg's piece still represents a stunning change of course for the left. She clearly struggles to accept the idea that, after decades of attacking and discounting the honesty of these women, the left should have believed them all along. She remains far too willing to excuse those obfuscations.
But even so, this is an extraordinary statement for a New York Times liberal to make: "It's fair to conclude that because of Broaddrick's allegations, Bill Clinton no longer has a place in decent society."
Why yes, that is fair to conclude. But is that what's going to happen? Is a former president of the United States who remains wildly popular within his own party (and much of the public at large) going to given the bum's rush by the political class like Weinstein and Spacey have been given by the entertainment industry? If the Democratic Party decides to be a party to this ostracization, it will not only be admitting that Clinton is a rapist and should probably be in prison, it will also be admitting that it's now drawing this conclusion based on information it's been aware of for decades.
If this really is going to happen, look for Democrats and the media to try to create a moral equivalence between Clinton's criminal sexual behavior and George H.W. Bush grabbing women's butts from his wheelchair. And let's have no doubt: That is despicible behavior. His advanced age is no excuse whatsoever. If anything, it means he should know better.
But as bad as it is - and it's really bad - it's not even close to the things I guess we've all now decided to believe Bill Clinton did.
Welcome, decades late, to acceptance of the truth, New York Times. Good thing you didn't succeed in your efforts to return this guy to the White House as de facto president, which is exactly what he would have been if Hillary had won.
Dan's new novel, BACKSTOP, is a story of spiritual warfare and baseball. Download it from Amazon here!