VP Harris to discuss 'empowering girls' with Bill: Why can't the Democratic Party quit Bill Clinton?

You may have heard that Vice President Kamala Harris will be getting together Friday with former President Bill Clinton for a discussion about “empowering women and girls.” It’s an event put together by the Clinton Foundation and Hillary and Chelsea will be there as well:

Highlights of this week’s virtual meeting include key discussions with: President Clinton and Vice President Kamala Harris on empowering women and girls in the U.S. and around the world; President Clinton and Stacey Abrams on expanding participation in democracy; Secretary Clinton about how young people can lead with empathy and kindness; Chelsea Clinton on the latest global efforts to combat COVID-19; and other leaders around climate change, social justice, systemic racism, and civic engagement.

So the first woman Vice President will discuss empowering women and girls with a man notorious for his behavior toward the women around him. How does that happen exactly? Juanita Broaddrick, who has credibly accuse Bill Clinton of rape, responded with outrage:

A day later she made this analogy:

Virginia Giuffre, who was groomed as a sex slave by Jeffrey Epstein, also found the willingness to show up for Bill Clinton shocking:

And Rose McGowan, who was (allegedly, but I believe her) raped by notorious sexual abuser Harvey Weinstein, pointed to Clinton’s history and asked VP Harris about her soul:

Lindsay Boylan, who has accused Gov. Cuomo of sexually harassing her, tweeted this:

I’m not even scratching the surface here with the responses to this. Lots of people are just wondering if this is real or a hoax. Many others are suggesting it sounds like an Onion headline. I think this guy really summed up the message of this event.

It’s a good question: Why can’t Democrats quit Bill Clinton. He hasn’t been president for 20 years and no member of his family is an elected official. So why do the stars of the Democratic Party keep showing up for him? Today NBC published an opinion piece on this question:

Why can’t the Democratic Party quit Bill Clinton? He’s a political millstone around its neck. If the party is going to be truly welcoming to women, and benefit from their energy and leadership, it’s got to let him go.

The author points to this 2018 interview in which a finger-wagging Bill Clinton explained why he didn’t owe Monica Lewinsky an apology as proof that even after all this time Bill hasn’t change. Daily Beast writer Erin Gloria Ryan really nailed her description of the interview at the time:

Instead of remorse, Clinton offered a brand of sleazy obfuscation that has come to personify the gaudy detachment political elites still have from the moment in which we live.

There was the self-pity (“I left the White House $16 million in debt”), the argumentum ad populum (“Two-thirds of the American people sided with me”), and the clever, vague distractions (“you typically have ignored gaping facts in describing this”). There was even the misdirection. “I’ve apologized to everybody in the world,” he said when asked whether he’d expressed sorrow to Monica Lewinsky…

But above all, there was the moral preening that, when distilled to its purest form, is just a ham-fisted attempt to avoid taking responsibility. How could he, Bill Clinton, have been bad to Monica Lewinsky if he, Bill Clinton, had been so good for women elsewhere?

Bill hasn’t changed and hasn’t reflected. So, getting back to the NBC piece, why is the Democratic Party still with him?

While the Clinton Global Initiative’s conference isn’t even a Democratic confab, it’s easy to conflate the two, particularly when Clinton himself takes such a high-profile role, and especially when he presumes to discuss female empowerment with the first female vice president.

Hillary Clinton has decided to stay with her husband for reasons I don’t understand, but it’s none of my business. For far too long, though, the Democratic Party has shown the same misguided loyalty. Bill Clinton is not going to change. So it’s up to Democrats to show that in the era of #MeToo, Clinton’s past misconduct is no longer something that can be rationalized.

It’s not hard to see what Hillary got out of sticking with Bill. But at this late date, what does the Democratic Party get out of it except a bunch of baggage and fresh shame it chooses to ignore?