Surprise: Kirsten Gillibrand has had a change of heart about Bill Clinton

A low, cynical politician even by the low, cynical standards of Washington. You may remember that Gillibrand inherited her Senate seat in New York from Hillary Clinton when Clinton resigned to become Obama’s Secretary of State. But there was a problem before Gillibrand was appointed to the vacancy: New York is a very blue state but the upstate region she came from wasn’t very blue itself, and neither was she as a member of the House. She was a centrist Democrat, relatively tough on immigration and supportive of gun rights. That would need to change if she was to be appointed to Hillary’s seat, though. And so it did, instantly. Gillibrand transformed into a doctrinaire liberal almost literally overnight. If holding on to Clinton’s seat required her to swap political identities in a heartbeat, no problem. A lefty pal sneered yesterday that she’s a Democratic version of Marco Rubio but that’s actually unfair to Rubio. There are things, like interventionism, that he clearly believes in deeply. I’m not sure there’s any equivalent policy set with Gillibrand.

One of her prized issues over the past few years has been punishing sexual assault, both in the military and on campus. An excellent cause in principle but Gillibrand lied about the prevalence of the incidents and backed the Obama DOJ’s campus kangaroo courts in the name of punishing the accused. Her zeal for the issue was good branding for 2020, though. She’s going to run for president as a younger, more politically astute Hillary Clinton, a would-be woman president who takes women’s issues Very, Very Seriously. How seriously?

This seriously:

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Democrat of New York, who holds Hillary Clinton’s former seat, said on Thursday that Bill Clinton should have resigned the presidency after his inappropriate relationship with an intern came to light nearly 20 years ago.

Asked directly if she believed Mr. Clinton should have stepped down at the time, Ms. Gillibrand took a long pause and said, “Yes, I think that is the appropriate response.”…

“Things have changed today, and I think under those circumstances there should be a very different reaction,” Ms. Gillibrand said. “And I think in light of this conversation, we should have a very different conversation about President Trump, and a very different conversation about allegations against him.”

The excuse du jour among liberals for not being harder on Bill Clinton in the late 1990s is that, well, they were younger then and perhaps more naive about just how common and destructive workplace sexual harassment is. Gillibrand was 31, though, already an attorney hard at work for one of her firm’s most lucrative clients, Philip Morris. She wasn’t a kid. And she volunteered for the Hillary For Senate campaign just a year after Lewinskygate. “But wait,” you might say, “her fondness for Hillary doesn’t necessarily mean a fondness for Bill. Hillary’s not the one who played ‘hide the cigar’ in the Oval Office.” True.

But if being around Bill Clinton bothered Gillibrand, she did a fine job of hiding it over the years. Here’s how deeply she believes in believing the victims and punishing sex offenders:

She’s a fraud. And Clintonworld knows it better than anyone:

Philippe Reines is one of Hillary’s longest-serving and most loyal lackeys, trusted enough to have played the role of Donald Trump opposite her in her debate prep last year. A candygram like this from Reines is essentially formal notice to Gillibrand that the Clintons will oppose her in the 2020 primaries, to the extent that that still matters in the Democratic Party. But never mind that. The people who should be angriest about her pathetic flip-flop on Bill Clinton are her allies in the movement to raise awareness about sexual assault. Seth Mandel is right: The more she and other Democrats have these expedient eleventh-hour epiphanies about Bill Clinton’s improprieties, conveniently timed for the precise moment that they no longer have a partisan interest in defending him, the more casual observers will interpret political rhetoric about sexual misconduct as just part of a partisan game. I hope Democrats can do better than her for their nominee in 2020 — although even if they can, Gillibrand is unfortunately a very plausible contender for VP. Capitol Hill rewards cynicism and she’s a pro’s pro.

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Jazz Shaw 3:01 PM on January 26, 2023