I agree with a lot of what’s in this 17-minute look back at the Monica Lewinsky story (though the bit about Kavanaugh is a stretch). It’s just another painful reminder of how desperate the left was at the time to defend Bill Clinton and how quick they were to abandon any pretense of principle in judging this. Once the affair became public, Lewinsky became fodder for comics and Clinton defenders around the world who used derogatory language to attack her looks and behavior. As Bash puts is, she was called “a floozy, and a slut” and fat. Bash says that in the wake of the #MeToo movement, “she would be more respected” and adds, “She was so disrespected.”
Fair enough but as Bash surely knows, Bill Clinton had been dealing with “bimbo eruptions” since before he was elected in 1992. By 1998 it was a well-established pattern. Any woman who came forward was called a liar, called ugly, called a tramp. This behavior wasn’t invented from scratch to go after Monica Lewinsky, she was near the end of the line. It was Clinton’s top adviser James Carville who once said: “Drag a hundred-dollar bill through a trailer park, you never know what you’ll find.” He was almost certainly referring to Paula Jones a couple years before anyone had heard of Monica Lewinsky.
“I remember so vividly, women in the president’s own cabinet coming out of the White House and defending him even when they knew what, frankly, he did was wrong, “Bash said. There are clips of Madeleine Albright and Janet Reno doing just that. But they weren’t speaking on their own. They were defending the boss, just like the Clinton machine had been doing for nearly a decade at that point.
There’s a screenshot in the clip below of a poll showing 50% of women at the time believed the story was part of a “right-wing conspiracy” rather than the result of Clinton’s actions. Why did so many women believe this? Bash explains it was because “he very much supported abortion rights, because he supported family leave policies, because he supported other policies that women said were incredibly important to them.”
This is the same kind of reasoning that apparently led Harvey Weinstein and Jeffrey Epstein (both friends and supporters of Bill) to think they’d get a pass for their behavior. After all, they also had the correct ideology and supported the correct (left-wing) policies. The #MeToo movement was a rejection of all that. It said men can no longer buy public-sector offsets for their egregious personal behavior toward women. #MeToo is a much-belated rejection of the devil’s bargain Clinton’s defenders accepted in the late 1990s.
About 12 minutes into this there’s a section focusing on Brett Kavanaugh who worked for Ken Starr during the impeachment. Bash says that Kavanaugh pushed Starr to ask detailed personal questions and then contrasts this with clips from Kavanaugh’s own confirmation hearing. She concludes, “The shoe was on the other foot during his confirmation and he didn’t like it very much. The irony is pretty real.”
Well, no. The irony is not pretty real unless Brett Kavanaugh is the same guy as Bill Clinton. The reason Kavanaugh didn’t like being accused of gang-rape, among other things, is because he was innocent of those charges. Certainly, there was never any corroboration for any of the claims made about him other than that he drank too much as a teenager. Dr. Blasey Ford’s claims were the most credible but even her story had significant gaps and could not be corroborated by her good friend who was supposedly at the party in question. This is very different from Bill Clinton who has admitted to having multiple illicit relationships and who eventually lost his law license over perjury.
At the end of the clip, Bash concludes, “It’s not that Monica Lewinsky was a positive character that got a raw deal. Sleeping with any married man, never mind the leader of the free world next to the Oval Office, probably not a good idea.” She continues, “Having said that, the way she was described, the way she was treated, in the wake of that, you wouldn’t see that today, nor should you.”
Close, but no…well, nevermind. I think the point Bash is sort of missing is that what’s really changed here is that Bill is no longer president and the media and the left no longer have anything to lose by throwing him under the bus. If Hillary had won in 2016 and Bill was in the White House, it’s fair to wonder if there wouldn’t be plenty of women still demanding we leave Bill alone.