Liberal media outlets are finally coming forward to speak out against former President Bill Clinton.
Vox’s Matthew Yglesias says Democrats “got it wrong” when sheltering Clinton and not demanding his resignation.
In 1998, the American public learned that Clinton had an affair with Monica Lewinsky, which Clinton denied repeatedly. During a now-infamous House press conference, Clinton said:
But I want to say one thing to the American people. I want you to listen to me. I’m going to say this again: I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky. I never told anybody to lie, not a single time; never. These allegations are false. And I need to go back to work for the American people. Thank you.
But it turns out that, yes, Clinton did have sexual relations with that woman. He lied under oath and should have resigned for it.
Yglesias now agrees that Clinton should have “resigned in shame.”
I think we got it wrong. We argued about perjury and adultery and the meaning of the word “is.” Republicans prosecuted a bad case against a president they’d been investigating for years.
What we should have talked about was men abusing their social and economic power over younger and less powerful women […]
It was far from the most egregious case of workplace sexual misconduct in American history. But it was unusually high-profile, the facts were not in dispute, the perpetrator had a lot of nominal feminist ideological commitments, and political leaders who shared those commitments had the power to force him from office. Had he resigned in shame, we all might have made a collective cultural and political decision that a person caught leveraging power over women in inappropriate ways ought to be fired. Instead, we lost nearly two decades.
In the midst of the very same public statement in which he confessed the error, Clinton also mounted the defense that would see him through to victory — portraying the issue as fundamentally a private family matter rather than a topic of urgent public concern.
“I intend to reclaim my family life for my family,” he said. “It’s nobody’s business but ours. Even presidents have private lives. It is time to stop the pursuit of personal destruction and the prying into private lives and get on with our national life.”
To this line of argument, Republicans offered what was fundamentally the wrong countercharge. They argued that in the effort to spare himself from the personal and marital embarrassment entailed by having the affair exposed, Clinton committed perjury when testifying about the matter in a deposition related to Paula Jones’s lawsuit against him.
What they should have argued was something simpler: A president who uses the power of the Oval Office to seduce a 20-something subordinate is morally bankrupt and contributing, in a meaningful way, to a serious social problem that disadvantages millions of women throughout their lives […]
As the current accountability moment grows, we ought to recognize and admit that we had a chance to do this almost 20 years ago — potentially sparing countless young women a wide range of unpleasant and discriminatory experiences, or at a minimum reducing their frequency and severity. And we blew it.
Liberals such as Yglesias are right to say that what Clinton did was wrong. It was. And yes, he should have resigned. Leftists let their love for Clinton get in the way of thinking rationally, and Democrats should not have defended him as they did.
Yglesias also seems to think that Clinton’s actions constituted sexual harassment in the workplace. He argues “a person caught leveraging power over women in inappropriate ways ought to be fired.”
In legal terms, it’s called “quid pro quo harassment.” It occurs in the workplace, much as Yglesias suggests, when a person of power uses authority to receive sexual favors in exchange for job benefits.
Bill Clinton lied to the American people, and he lied under oath, but it’s unclear if his relationship with a woman in her twenties really constituted workplace harassment.
Nevertheless, Lewinsky did make certain demands, after their affair, in exchange for her silence. The New York Times reported that “there was definitely a quid pro quo as far as Monica Lewinsky was concerned.”
There was definitely a quid pro quo as far as Monica Lewinsky was concerned. She explains to the office of independent counsel that she left the White House ”quietly.” She did not reveal her intimate relationship with the President. Therefore she felt that she was owed a job.
”I don’t want to have to work for this position,” she said in a recorded conversation, ”I just want it to be given to me.”
Ms. Lewinsky’s tenacious pursuit of a new job is reflected in one late-night phone conversation with the President. She wanted to talk about getting a new job at the White House, and she recalls that he finally said, ”I don’t want to talk about your job tonight.”
The report makes it clear that Mr. Clinton is not the one who thinks of offering her a job outside of Washington to buy her silence, but that she is the one who pushes for it relentlessly. According to Ms. Lewinsky’s testimony, it was, in fact, her idea that Vernon Jordan be called in to help with her job search because of his connections in the private sector.
She submitted a ”wish list” to the President of five New York public relations firms that she wanted to work for, and then explained that she didn’t want to be anybody’s administrative assistant, an unusual demand for a 24-year-old entering a field in which she has little or no experience.
The case that Clinton committed sexual harassment in the workplace is not nearly as strong as the high crime case against him for felony perjury.
Vox is right to finally denounce Clinton and admit that the Democratic Party failed to push for Clinton’s resignation.
But what a coincidence it is that liberals have finally gotten around to admitting this after it’s clear that Hillary Clinton won’t be the president.
Clinton’s extra-marital affair with Monica Lewinsky was morally wrong. But he shouldn’t have resigned from office for lying to his wife. That was not a high crime.
He should have resigned for lying to the American people and to Congress.