If you’ve ever watched a flock of birds fly – twisting, spinning, diving, like a sheet on a wire on a windy day – it’s amazing how they don’t slam into each other and tumble from the sky. They move with what seems like one mind, as if every movement is part of a plan. Progressives are very much the same way, without the grace.
It’s always been curious to me how a word or phrase can pop up suddenly and exit the mouths of nearly every journalist simultaneously as if it were a cicada waiting for its time to emerge. Anyone remember how the word “gravitas” appeared everywhere in 2000 when candidate George W. Bush selected Dick Cheney as his running mate? It spread faster than a cold on a plane throughout the media, almost like an order was given or a memo sent.
But there was no need for an order or a memo. Those calls aren’t required because the political left is of one mind, a hive mind, when it comes to advancing whatever agenda item or narrative is at the forefront at the moment.
In 2000, it was that George W. Bush is a moron who needs someone with brains on the ticket. Now, it is the need to speak with some level of believable outrage of the allegations of sexual misconduct against Roy Moore in the Alabama Senate race.
I’ve never been a fan of Moore; I tend to dislike people who ignore the law based on their personal opinions or wishes (same reason I oppose people who embrace sanctuary cities), so his collapse not only didn’t bother me, it didn’t surprise me.
With that out of the way, I’ll say I believe the women who accused him of getting physical when they were under the age of consent. I also believed Harvey Weinstein’s, and Kevin Spacey’s, and George Takei’s, and nearly all the others.
Their stories are believable, and the denials have not been. That’s my standard – does this sound like something that could have happened?
That’s why I believed Bill Clinton’s accusers; I could see him doing what he was accused of. It was plausible. And his defense was to attack the accusers. More accurately, he didn’t say much of anything, his defenders did.
Led by Hillary Clinton and George Stephanopoulos, the “bimbo eruptions brigade” set about smearing anyone who dared attempt to tell their story. But it wasn’t just George and Hillary; the entire left-wing establishment, including the media, was right there with them, every step of the way, to protect Bill Clinton from any accusation because they supported his agenda.
Now, as if out of the blue, there is a movement on the left to have a “reckoning” with their actions of the past.
In one 24-hour period, the Atlantic called out liberals, including feminist icon Gloria Steinem, for their complicity in enabling and justifying Slick Willie’s predatory behavior. The New York Times ran a mea cupla piece on the subject, too. And MSNBC’s Chris Hayes and CNN’s Jake Tapper have pointed out how – 20 years later – liberals probably should’ve given Clinton’s accusers a fair hearing and not mockery and dismissal.
But they did offer only mockery and dismissal.
And their “moment of reckoning” is not as much over what they did in the past; it’s to blunt the charge of hypocrisy now. In the case of the Atlantic, the Times, and Hayes, they all took the opportunity of the “soul searching” to take attack conservatives for liberals’ past bad actions.
In the “I Believe Juanita” piece in the Times, writer Michelle Goldberg states, “The Clinton years, in which epistemological warfare emerged as a key part of the Republican political arsenal, show us why we should be wary of allegations that bubble up from the right-wing press.” At the end of the '90s there were about four outlets in the “right-wing press.” No rational person would believe National Review, The Weekly Standard, The Washington Times and a relatively new Fox News Channel had the power to cook up and spread these stories about the philandering president.
No, this is not a “reckoning;” it’s a strategy.
The left’s largest attack of the 2016 campaign, the Access Hollywood tape, was blunted, to one degree or another, by the fact Donald Trump was able to point to Bill Clinton’s past. Voters remembered how journalists ignored or downplayed what Clinton was accused of and how his accusers were smeared. They saw the double standard, and the whole episode was a political wash.
It similarly blunts the attacks on Roy Moore. That is why these liberals are now confessing their previous bad actions – they have no response to the charge of hypocrisy. And they desperately want to attack all Republicans for the charges against Moore.
It’s opportunistic, not genuine. And it rings hallow.
In Politico, Jeff Greenfield points out, “How Roy Moore’s Misdeeds Are Forcing an Awakening on the Left.” It’s not an awakening, it’s a strategy. “Years of excusing Bill Clinton’s sexual misconduct suddenly seems morally indefensible,” the subtitle declares.
“Suddenly”? No, liberals’ “years of excusing Bill Clinton’s sexual misconduct” didn’t “suddenly” become “morally indefensible;” they became a political liability. The Clintons are of no value to Democrats anymore. They have nothing to sell and there’s no one to buy. Now there is no political price to be paid for attacking them and no political gain from defending them.
When every other option is exhausted, you can count on liberals to do their version of the right thing. They didn’t need to be told; they just knew to do it, knew they had to. And they deserve no credit for finally doing it.