The sexual misconduct reckoning that’s sweeping the nation does cross party lines and political persuasions. Republicans and Democrats are in the crosshairs. Liberal media figures have also fallen. Yet, the Left is still engaging in the Bill Clinton protocol, circling the wagons and trying to downplay the accusations. Right now, Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) has four women, two of which wish to remain anonymous, alleging that he groped them. Leeann Tweeden who fired the first salvo also said that Franken forcibly kissed her during a 2006 USO tour in the Middle East. The other Democrat in the news is Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), who has had sexual misconduct allegations lobbed against him, with financial settlements providing a paper trail of possible bad behavior.
The Democrats are in a tough bind. Yes, Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore has been hit with horrendous allegations of sexual molestation and abuse. Yet, it’s hard for Democrats to play holier than thou given how they treated Bill Clinton’s accusers. Moreover, given that there’s been an epiphany from some on the Left that they were just terrible people during the Clinton presidency, it’s also hard to cast aspersions on the voters of Alabama who are going to vote for Roy Moore next month. Guy exposed that yesterday debating this subject with Democratic operative Zac Petkanas on Fox. Guy asked Petkanas if he would vote for Bill Clinton, an accused rapist, if he were running against someone like Ted Cruz; Petkanas dodged proving Guy’s point that yes—Democrats would still vote for Bill even with all these allegations. Both sides have egg on their face with these atrocious actions. What counts is the reaction—and Democrats have been playing some gymnastics on this, especially their allies in the news media. With Conyers, Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC) went so far as to say the women accusing Conyers could be lying (via CBS News) [emphasis mine]:
A member of House Democratic leadership told the New York Times he isn't sure if the sexual harrassment claims leveled against his colleague Rep. John Conyers "have any real substance."
While many of his Democratic colleagues say the accusations should be taken seriously, Rep. James Clyburn, D-South Carolina, doubted the accusations levied against Conyers to the New York Times. Conyers has denied the accusations, after Buzzfeed News reported that he settled a complaint with a former staffer who said she was fired because she wouldn't give in to his sexual advances, and another former scheduler accused Conyers of "daily" harassment in a lawsuit she eventually dropped because the judge refused to seal the case.
"You can't jump to conclusions with these types of things," Clyburn said, despite the documented complaints. "For all I know, all of this could be made up."
Wait—isn’t the rule that all women should be believed no matter what? Is Clyburn suggesting that some due process should be involved in these cases? Isn’t this part of the “war on women”? Even the Associated Press reported on the rather dangerous political waters Democrats have to navigate due to the allegations lobbed against Conyers and Stuart Smalley:
Democrats have been quick to support the “me too” chorus of women — and some men — who have stepped up to allege sexual misconduct and name names. But now “me too” stains the Democrats, too, putting them in an awkward place as they calibrate how forcefully to respond.
Allegations against Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota and Rep. John Conyers of Michigan are part of the newest chapter in the hot-potato politics of sexual predation for the party, which has its own fraught history on the subject.
The latest revelations have prompted a hard look back at the way Democrats and their allies once circled the wagons around President Bill Clinton, dismissing allegations that extended to serious assault as mere dalliances or the tales of “looney” women.
In her 2016 presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton drew a clear line on behalf of women who allege sexual assault, saying flatly: “You have the right to be believed.” But she equivocated when asked if her husband’s accusers from another decade should be believed, too: “I would say that everybody should be believed at first until they are disbelieved based on evidence.”
The pressure’s on now to act without equivocation.
Grabbing a woman’s behind at the state fair isn’t in the same league as molesting a child [Moore’s allegation].
Still, the Democrats have a predicament.
“They don’t want to look tolerant on this issue by saying, ‘He wasn’t as bad as so and so,’” said Dan Lublin, a political science professor at American University.
“They need to appear strong,” he said, and not focus on gradations in misbehavior. “They’re going with ‘unacceptable.’ And it is a dilemma, because you don’t know how far that will go.”
Kathleen Dolan, chair of the political science department at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, said the party’s history with this issue is important to remember.
“Certainly, Democrats, from an ideological perspective, and on gender egalitarianism, should be the party or people we’d expect to be taking the lead on awareness of the decades-old problem of sexual harassment and sexual assault,” she said.
“That’s complicated in part by the history of the party debate when Bill Clinton was in the thick of his stuff. ... There’s evolution, because the Democrats could perhaps with some accuracy say in the ’90s we tolerated so much of what we shouldn’t have.”
Yeah, that part about Hillary saying all victims deserve to be believed; guess Clyburn missed that too. Also, Lady Macbeth reportedly was in on attacking Bill’s accusers, so this is just a lack of self-awareness that’s beyond appalling. I have a funny feeling that the whole narrative is going to be a) it’s only bad when the Republicans do it; b) it’s bad, but liberal Democrats vote the right way; or c) well, I’ll just let ABC News’ Matthew Dowd say it:
Every leader (and each of us) is human and flawed and makes mistakes, but there is a difference between those who are flawed who work for the common good and those who are flawed who could care less about the common good. Huge difference.— Matthew Dowd (@matthewjdowd) November 22, 2017