For the most part, Kirsten Gillibrand has been a quiet voice for progressive causes in the Democratic Party. The biggest waves she's made up until recently involved criticizing women's treatment in the military, and rightly so. Sexual abuse has been swept under the carpet by our Armed Forces for far too long and shining the bright light of publicity on it is a good thing.
In light of her strong position on women's issues and keeping the Roy Moore/Al Franken scandals in mind, Senator Gillibrand was confronted with a moral dilemma recently. She was asked if she thought Bill Clinton should have resigned as President because of HIS sexual misconduct while in office. Senator Gillibrand hesitated at first. I'm sure she paused to consider the political ramifications of what she was about to say. But then she gave a frank and forthright answer. Her answer was YES!
This caused a bit of an uproar in Democratic Party circles. Uproar? Now THERE'S and understatement if ever I saw one! She was labeled a traitor and an ingrate. Many influential Democrats ominously hinted that she would face determined opposition should she DARE to seek the Democratic Party's Presidential nomination in 2020. And all because she had the moral courage to tell the truth.
Bill Clinton's sexual misconduct has been the dirty little secret of the Democratic Party for nearly forty years. Yes, President Clinton was and is a brilliant politician, the best stump speaker I have EVER heard. He led the Democratic Party back to being a force in Presidential politics after twelve years wandering in the political desert. And he was a GOOD President. I think it safe to say that the country was better off for his occupying the Oval Office for eight years. But that cannot excuse the fact that he relentlessly pursued women and, worse, lied to a grand jury. For his perjury alone he should have either resigned as President or been convicted on the impeachment charges leveled against him. THAT is the truth. An inconvenient truth, but the truth nevertheless.
We've seen and heard many who would consider themselves progressives condemn the behavior of both Roy Moore and Al Franken. These men have been labeled sexual predators and criticized for it and this is as it should be. Condemning evil is a good thing. But doing it selectively is NOT! And that was the moral dilemma confronting Kirsten Gillibrand. She understood that the reason rampant sexual abuse is so prevalent is the silence of the victim. Her history indicates that she felt compelled to confront the evil of sex abuse whenever and wherever she could. And then she was confronted with the reality of Bill Clinton's past behavior. And she simply couldn't ignore it. She had to face up to the fact that sexual conquest has been a major part of Bill Clinton's mindset for years. If she was to condemn Roy Moore or Al Franken or Bill Cosby or anyone else, how could she remain mute when confronted with the reality of Bill Clinton?
Another unfortunate and inconvenient truth is that politics breeds hypocrisy. Conservatives are quick to condemn Bill Clinton and Al Franken for their sexual escapades. But they go strangely silent when confronted with a Roy Moore or a Donald Trump. When it comes to sexual harassment or abuse, there ARE no exceptions there ARE not excuses. Evil is evil, pure and simple.
In one sense, one can argue that Bill Clinton has already paid for HIS crime, having undergone the ignominy of being only the second President in United States history to have been impeached. But he wasn't removed from office. He refused to resign. And he did everything in his power to cover up even the slightest suggestion of his inappropriate conduct. But that doesn't take away the reality of his past bad behavior, and no amount of liberal bluster can CHANGE that.
So all you liberal critics of Kirsten Gillibrand out there, why don't you sit down, shut up, and contemplate the error of your ways. If you can exonerate Bill Clinton for doing some "good" things, then you have to exonerate Al Franken, Richard Nixon and a whole host of other objects of derision for the good that they did too. And I get the feeling that a good word about Richard Nixon will STICK in a good liberal's throat!
Filed under: Politics