It appears that the Big Dog may not be an unmitigated plus for Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign.
I argued ast week in Townhall that contemporary feminists are not as likely to turn a blind eye to Mr. Clinton's sexual behavior as nineties feminists.
Jonah Goldberg makes a similar argument–albeit more wittily. First, to recap history, for those youths among us:
[W]hen the time came for feminists and the media to choose between sticking to the zero-tolerance principle they worked so hard to establish and throwing a Democratic president under the bus, they chose to hold a fire sale on their principles.
Gloria Steinem, feminist matriarch, raced to the op-ed page of the New York Times to declare a “one free grope rule” for lechers. “There is nothing inherently wrong . . .” wrote Katie Roiphie, also in the Times, “with [Monica Lewinsky’s] attempt to translate her personal relationship with the President into professional advancement.”
Clinton’s baron-and-the-milkmaid act with an intern, declared feminist author Jane Smiley, was simply an admirable “desire to make a connection with another person.”
But his betrayed wife was his shield:
So here’s the fun part. A big source of Bill’s appeal to feminists was none other than his wife. She was more left wing than Bill. She was also not just a career woman, she had a chip on her shoulder about it. “I suppose I could have stayed home and baked cookies and had teas,” she famously snapped. “But what I decided to do was to fulfill my profession which I entered before my husband was in public life.”
I have no objection whatsoever to career women. Indeed, I’m glad that the term “career woman” itself sounds a bit archaic to the contemporary ear. But the important part of that line was her shot at traditional mothers. It was her version of sneering at the “bitter clingers,” and a lot of female journalists shared her contempt and resentment.
So how is this going to play today:
Bill is popular, very popular. Despite the fact that pretty much no one thinks he mended his ways after he left office, all of the sophisticated people think criticizing his “personal” behavior is boorish and deranged. At the same time, feminists have finally completed their restoration project. The last stones have been mounted atop the wall of Zero Tolerance 2.0.
And then, as Jeffrey Epstein’s flight attendant once said, Bill Clinton comes out of nowhere to bite her on the ass. Whereas Bill was supposed to be Hillary’s “not-so secret weapon,” he’s now a liability. It’s schadenfreudetastic to watch liberals forced to choose between the Scylla of the Hillary campaign and the Charybdis of the feminist project.
Of course, liberals are mad at . . . conservatives (and Donald Trump) for pointing it out. I particularly love the subhead on this Slate piece. “The right hopes to turn the feminist consensus on rape against the Clintons.” Ah yes, those terrible conservatives, how dare they take feminists seriously!
This will not, Jonah says, spell the end of the Hillary Clinton campaign, but it is more difficult for feminists in the post-progressive consent age to ignore Bill Clinton's behavior.
Donald Trump was the only GOP candidate ruthless enough to bring up this matter. It does make it more–uh–complicated for Hillary Clinton, who enabled her husband's behavior, to play the "war on women" card. Be interesting to see whether a non-Trump candidate would avail himself of this strategy in the general election.