For the record: on Bill Clinton

44_bill_clinton_3x4-1We’re about to have another dumpster fire of a town-hall debate, in about an hour or so, and I’m going to attempt to liveblog the thing again, although I continue to make no promises that I’ll actually survive the thing.  I wanted to get one thing out of the way before the debate starts, however, in anticipation of a certain participant attempting to make hay of Bill Clinton’s record with women.

I had a conversation with my wife the other day about, were Clinton somehow younger than he is now and not so obviously addled (I really do think the man is seriously unhealthy) and if he ran for President– you can see how this hypothetical gets convoluted quickly– knowing what we know, or suspect, about him, would either of us vote for him?  Bill Clinton was the first Presidential candidate I ever cast a ballot for, in 1996.  I wasn’t old enough to vote for him in 1992, but I would have.

We ended up agreeing that, with his we’ll say shady reputation, it was highly unlikely that nowadays he’d even manage to get the nomination in the first place.  My wife brought up the example of John Edwards, who you may have heard of, but certainly not recently.  For the non-family-values party, the Dems certainly don’t seem too big on adulterers.

But: I voted for a guy in 1996 who has been accused of rape and multiple instances of sexual harassment, and would have voted for him again in 2000 had the Constitution not prevented it, and by that time he’d not only been accused of rape and sexual harassment but he’d been caught in an affair that was at best squicky about the power relationship between the two legally-consenting adults involved.(*)

I would not, in 2016, vote for a man with such a record.  I suspect in 1996 I simply brushed the entire thing off.  In 2016 the number of women involved and the skeevery of the affair we know he had are more than enough to prevent me from ever voting for him again, or anyone like him now.  I don’t know what the hell happened with Juanita Broaddrick, Paula Jones, or any of the rest of them, but one of the big differences between me now and me in 1996 is my deliberately cultivated habit of believing women when they accuse people of this shit now.  I will still defend Clinton’s presidency.  I will not defend him as a person, and I wouldn’t vote for him again.  Those three things can all be true at the same time.

And it should go without saying that not a bit of this has any reflection on the job Hillary Clinton would do as president.  None of us are being asked to vote for Bill again, and Bill’s nature as a sexual harasser is not a relevant issue to Hillary’s suitability for the presidency.  Trump will try and confuse the issue; he should be scoffed at.  Hillary is no more responsible for Bill’s activities than any of Trump’s three wives (one of whom has sworn under oath that he raped her, by the way) are responsible for his.  Hillary has chosen to remain married to her husband; her reasons are hers, and are none of my business.

Still glad that I get to vote on Wednesday, by the way.

(*) I looked up the timeline: I coulda sworn this happened earlier, but apparently Broaddrick’s allegation that Clinton had raped her happened in 1999, after both of his elections, and she denied it happening while being questioned under oath during the Paula Jones case.  I’m not interested right now in digging further to see if I’m thinking of a different person, and I don’t think the timeline changes much, honestly.

One thought on “For the record: on Bill Clinton

  1. I don’t think I’d vote for him now either, and it’s on account of that deliberately cultivated habit of believing women when they say they have been assaulted.

    But in 2000? I would have struck a match and burned the original copy of the constitution with my own two hands if it would have allowed him a third term. I was way younger then, and the impeachment pissed me off. It was on C-Span every day for weeks, and my elders were constantly telling me I was wrong about the whole way the law was being turned against him. Then when it was my turn to talk, I wasn’t allowed to respond, really, because the guys trying to put that shit in my head were sickly old men, and the women would not allow me to hit back out of fear the old men would fall over and have heart attacks.

    And also the whole militia thing the Conservative Movement did and used Clinton as an excuse to stir some crazy shit and incite the violence. That is the second thing I hate them for. The first thing I hate them for is poisoning the houses of worship I grew up in to the point that I just had to sever the ties completely. I was happy to think of God as an old white dude before all that stuff happened. They forced me to go through all these contortions and get myself to the point where, decades later, when I need a prayer to get me through the day, I talk to the Universe itself. That’s probably not the worst thing on balance, but lots of pain went into it.

    They did a number on the south, back in the day, and it’s our own damn fault because we let it happen. Practically begged for it.

    What I want in the here and now is for us as a group to stop being stupid. I want my grandson and his inevitable children to have opportunities on the scale my parents had, instead of on the scale I had. I don’t want him to have to choose between a welding job straight out of high school or going $100K in debt to get an engineering degree. I want him to have real options.

    Not sure how we do that at this point.

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