The Politico today suggests that Democrats may be reluctant to let Bill Clinton campaign for them in the midterms, given the #MeToo movement and the party’s desire to rally women against our sexual predator president. Good!
Most of the quotes from Democratic operatives and elected officials are, predictably, a little milquetoast—lots of on the one hand this and on the other hand that. But Democrats are “harsher and firmer” when they’re allowed to talk anonymously: “Don’t come to their states, and don’t say anything about their campaigns. They are still worried about saying it out loud, but they don’t want him now, or maybe ever.”
The piece doesn’t mention Juanita Broaddrick, the woman who accused Bill Clinton of raping her in 1978. In fact, the piece doesn’t specifically mention or detail any of the accusations against Bill Clinton, so, if you’re unfamiliar, it is work looking at Broaddrick’s account, per BuzzFeed.
They arranged to meet one morning in the coffee shop in the hotel where the seminar was held. At the last second, Clinton called up to Broaddrick’s room and asked if they could meet there instead, since there were reporters in the lobby below. She said yes. Minutes after entering her room, he tried to kiss her, she says, biting her upper lip, hard.
Shocked, Broaddrick says, she resisted Clinton, even telling him she was not only married, but having an affair with another man (who would later become her second husband). He ignored her, she says, and pushed her on the bed and raped her. Afterward, she says, he put his sunglasses on and told her to get some ice for her swollen lips before leaving the room.
“There was no remorse,” Broaddrick told me. “He acted like it was an everyday occurrence. He was not the least bit apologetic. It was just unreal.” She rushed to the door and locked it, she says, afraid that someone would come back in to kill her.
Two of Broaddrick’s friends who had also attended the nursing conference found Broaddrick in tears, her lips swollen and blue. She told them what had happened but made them swear not to tell anyone else. She was scared of retaliation, didn’t think anyone would believe her, and blamed herself for allowing Clinton to come up to her room.
Vox’s Dylan Matthews wrote an extensive and fair take on the Broaddrick case last year, including some truly despicable quotes from longtime Clinton ally Sidney Blumenthal:
Blumenthal also cites reporting from Conason and Lyons suggesting that Broaddrick had asked the Van Buren Press Argus-Courier, her local paper, to photograph her nursing home in 1990 upon the visit of Gov. Bill Clinton. “This was hardly the attitude of a rape victim toward her predator,” Blumenthal writes. This assertion, that a “true” rape victim would cut off all contact with their rapist, is rather misleading and pernicious, and maintaining contact with an alleged assailant is hardly proof that a victim is lying.
Go read the Vox piece if you want to learn more about the case; I won’t re-litigate all the details and counter-arguments here. Suffice it to say, Democrats are currently dealing with a very delayed reckoning on how they responded both to old allegations made against Clinton and his well-documented conduct in office.
Someone might consider Clinton’s absence from the trail a loss, or missed opportunity. His political charms, though a bit diminished these days, are real. But his retirement ought to come as a great relief: It hopefully means party can finally move on from his political legacy, which looks worse and worse every year.
From the 1994 crime bill, which Clinton defended in 2016, to the repeal of Glass-Steagall that contributed to the 2008 financial crisis, Clintonism is bankrupt and discredited. Whatever arguments one believes about whether and why those things were necessary at the time, they do not make Clinton a good standard-bearer for the modern Democrats. The faster the book finally closes on that era of the party, the sooner Democrats can get to finding new standard-bearers, who actually, you know, represent what the party should stand for.
In the meantime, I don’t know, find literally any Democrat who hasn’t spent decades ducking credible rape or sexual harassment accusations to do your campaigning for you.