On Tuesday, in their eagerness to pile dirt on the political grave of Alabama Senate Republican candidate Roy Moore, the Left finally decided to throw over serial sexual abuser Bill Clinton. It took them a quarter-century to do so, and they waited until Clinton was no longer a viable figure in their movement — until he had lost all draw and fundraising capacity. And they hemmed and hawed about just why it had taken them so long to give credibility to Clinton’s myriad accusers. But Bill Clinton’s days as a respected public figure are finally over; thanks to Donald Trump and Roy Moore, the Left finally had to face down its own hypocrisy.
It began with a shocking op-ed from Michelle Goldberg in The New York Times, titled “I Believe Juanita.” Goldberg explains that she now believes the rape allegations against Bill Clinton — but she didn’t before because right-wingers were engaged in a vast right-wing conspiracy. In other words, any time it’s politically beneficial to ignore “politically motivated” allegations, ignore them; you can always buy it back decades later.
Goldberg begins by smacking the Right for pointing out MSNBC’s Chris Hayes, who finally came forward and admitted that “Democrats and the center left are overdue for a real reckoning with the allegations against him.” The Right, she says, only cares about Hayes’ comments because they’re trying to defend Moore. But that’s a lie: the Right cares because it was the Left’s standards on sexual morality that set the bar so low, and that now makes it okay for so many to pooh-pooh sexual abuse allegations. The Left’s newfound enthusiasm for victims’ rights is rather convenient — everyone should have been standing with credible accusers from the beginning.
Goldberg continues by acknowledging that “we should look clearly at the credible evidence that Juanita Broaddrick told the truth when she accused Clinton of raping her. But revisiting the Clinton scandals in light of today’s politics is complicated as well as painful. Democrats are guilty of apologizing for Clinton when they shouldn’t have.”
But, she adds, Democrats weren’t wrong to malign Clinton’s accusers at the time. After all, “looking back at the smear campaign against the Clintons shows we can’t treat the feminist injunction to ‘believe women’ as absolute.” What follows is paragraph upon paragraph of excuse-making for savaging Clinton’s alleged victims. Goldberg explains that “It’s easy to imagine an outlet like Breitbart leveraging the ‘believe women’ rallying cry to force mainstream media coverage of dubious accusations.”
Except, of course, that the Left has routinely ignored non-frivolous accusations — blaming their capacity to ignore those accusations on Breitbart is backward logic at best. But according to Goldberg, that’s just why the Left ignored Paula Jones and downplayed Kathleen Willey and dismissed Juanita Broaddrick, correctly: “The Clinton years, in which epistemological warfare emerged as a key part of the Republican political arsenal, show us why we should be wary of allegations that bubble up from the right-wing press. … In this environment, it would have been absurd to take accusations of assault and harassment made against Clinton at face value.”
That’s nonsense. Those allegations were likely true. This is precisely the same argument some Moore backers are using to dismiss the current allegations: The Washington Post was hitting Moore at a politically convenient time, so the allegations should be ignored. The whole point of believing women who are credible is that their credibility is not entangled in the politics of the situation.
The rest of Goldberg’s piece finally acknowledges that she thinks Bill Clinton is a rapist: “It’s fair to conclude that because of Broaddrick’s allegations, Bill Clinton no longer has a place in decent society.” But it’s clear that to Goldberg, the true enemy is the political right: “But we should remember that it’s not simply partisan tribal loyalty that led liberals to doubt her.” Except that it was. And Goldberg knows it. Given the opportunity, it’s also pretty clear that Goldberg would malign another alleged rape victim, all the while blaming the “Right” for forcing her to do so.