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May 23, 2006

Comments

Antigone

I dunno Hugo...

I feel if a person has truly internalizing the values s/he proports, her or his personal life should be matching up. I mean,I was more convinced that Kerry truly supported woman working becuse Teressa Heinz was working, and her own life during the campaign that I believed W. supported it, because his marriage to Laura wasn't the same. (Not that it over much matters, I voted Green).

I guess I'm okay with people having a few slipups, but there has to be true demonstration of what a politician will do and believe. It bothered me a great deal when I heard about Lewenski because I felt betrayed: here was a guy that was supposed to be a supporter of woman's rights, and he was taking advantage of his role as president (I don't think one can argue that an intern is on the same playing field as the president). I didn't care so much about the infidelity to his wife: that was a private matter between the two of them. I cared about his infidelity to me as a feminist and a citizen and as a litle girl who wanted to look up to her president.

The same holds true for any leader: I expect their personal and political life to match up somewhat. I don't want to give a pass to anyone who fails at their duty, though I'd like to think I could forgive them if they did.

The Gonzman

There's a world of difference between those whose past behavior has been changed, and those whose bad behavior is ongoing; the more so when a cloud of lies and coverups about ongoing bad behavior surrounds it.

To put it plainly - I do not trust a person to keep large commitments who cannot keep small ones, and secondly, I hardly regard marriage vows as merely small commitments. The Clintons painted themselves as a loving, faithful, Christian, family values couple. No photo-op of them piously walking into church, hand in hand, toting Bibles, was passed. They have nobody but themselves to blame for the stench of rank hypocrisy that surrounds them where ever they go. And whether anyone else does it is besides the point - I note those others who have had their hypocrisy brought to light, with more than snide whisperings, have been held up to equal public scorn.

It's been trendy for years to dismiss what went on with Clinton as "just sex," but it isn't - it is the position, and how desperate he was to hide it. If my garbage collector is cheating on his wife, and someone threatens in private to expose him - what difference does it make to me? What can he be blackmailed into doing? Heck, if Clinton had said "Well, yes, I did have sex with that woman - Miss Lewinsky" it would have been a whole different thing. Sure, he'd have been pilloried - rightly so - as a cheating S.O.B., but nobody could have said "Look how frantically he's trying to hide it - just how far would he go to hide it?"

That's the combination: How far would he go? In fact, how far DID he go? And what damage can be wrought by the President of the United States as opposed to a garbage collector?

Our leaders have to be beyond reproach in these respects for the reason that bribery and blackmail are trains that go to the same station. And when you have demonstrated that you will lie, cheat, and make all manner of moral compromise to achieve or keep power, your fitness for it cannot but be called into question.

Bill Clinton failed that test of Character. And Hillary will have to answer as to how much she aided and abetted it - what did she know, and when did she know it? And you know good and well if it was someone on the other side of the political aisle of you, the exact same questions would be asked.

evil_fizz

And Hillary will have to answer as to how much she aided and abetted it - what did she know, and when did she know it?

I disagree. The failure of character is on the person who commits adultery, not the spouse who doesn't make a big stink about it.

The Gonzman

It raises the question for Hillary because even after it was exposed, she turned on the attack about the "Vast Right Wing Conspiracy."

It speaks to a hunger for power, not a hunger to serve. And I mistrust it greatly.

Antigone

Or possibly, a hunger to keep her private life private. That might be a motivation here. Or, she actually does love her husband and didn't want to see him get pilloried. Any motivation we give them is our own projection, and not grounded in any facts. And, it's none of our business. How does being the wife of a cheating husband make you a bad person?

The Gonzman

One Word: Enabler.

I cannot begin to even count the times I have heard it piously proclaimed, and most frequently from feminists, how sexual harassment (Lewinsky), crude behavior (Paula Jones), shaming the victim (James Carville on Paula Jones), Rape (Juanita Brodderick), simple adultery (Gennifer Flowers), and so on, and so on, and so forth; are inexcusable, horribly disrespectful, signs of a self-esteem neurosis, and so on and so on and so forth.

Well? Are these things that are truly believed? Or empty rhetoric and mere posturing? Much less severe allegations, with much less proof have resulted in the loss of careers and scorn heaped upon the wives of REPUBLICAN politicians by the left. Their self esteem was questioned. It was Hillary herself who snidely said things to the effect, "I believe Bill, I'm not some hill-jack trailer trash just standing by her man."

These are things brought in to question by the self-same people in Hillary's camp; but suddenly when they find themselves hoist with this selfsame petard it's "different."

I'm sorry, but the whole, "Let's decry it as perhaps a bit of bad form when the dog we turned loose years ago is now butting us on the bum" is more than just a little disingenuous. The point is not that I find such noble sentiments as are being voiced unfit, unworthy, or contrary to the rightful order of things; to be frank, I question their sincerity since I don't see retractions and apologies offered to your opponents (BTW - Libertarian - I don't need it) such as Packwood, Gingrich, Thomas, and Co. offered, especially in light of the ongoing attacks on Rudy Guiliani and Jeb Bush cited above by Hugo.

It stinks. Something Rotten in Denmark.

Hugo

I agree that it always, always, always stinks to use the private sexual failings of public figures against them. This means, of course, not mentioning the Gennifer Flowers of the world.

It's why I've always considered "outing" to be so repugnant, even when it involves outing a man or woman who votes to support anti-gay legislation. I could rant about a certain congressman or a certain Senator (I can think of two men screaming to be outed in Congress), but I won't do it. Private lives deserve to stay private.

This is not to say that morality doesn't matter. It does matter, enormously. But the sins of others ought to be the private concern of the sinner, those whom the sinner has sinned directly against, and God. No one else.

evil_fizz

Incidentially, Hugo, applause for your mention in Slate.

Hugo

Oh wow, thanks for the heads up, evil_fizz. Sweet! Slate!

The Gonzman

Again, Hugo, this is one thing when said sin is being repented, amends are being made, it's a one shot deal, etc. and etc.

Such things, however, do not occur in a vacuum. When you have a pattern of ongoing behavior, lies and coverups, aiding and abetting the lies and coverups, the power one weilds in a position, the potential for damage ...it becomes a different story. Trueely private behavior has no potential for impacting public policy; but a president who desperately wishes to cover up a peccadillo, and is willing to abuse the public trust to one degree or another to do so.... Remember your Ethics classes. The appearance of evil. In matters of public trust, character matters. NIXON was a very able and astute administrator, and politician, if you will remember.

And I reject utterly the whole idea of "Private lives" being distinct. Part of the price of power and celebrity is a surrender of an amount of privacy, varying on the degree of power and/or celebrity. When you make yourself a public figure, it is part of the cost.

Antigone

Gonzoman, I googled that quote, and I couldn't find any direct speaking (just people on blogs saying that she said it). Perhaps you could help me out?

And I dón't see Hillary as an enabler. You're dumping scorn on someone who didn't do anything: like putting a mom in jail when her husband/bf/whatever kills her kids for "failing to protect them". You are attacking the wrong person.

The Gonzman

http://www.cmt.com/artists/news/1471365/04182003/wynette_tammy.jhtml

'Bout halfway down. 60 minutes. 1992.

In 1992, the song gained additional notoriety when presidential candidate Bill Clinton and wife Hillary were interviewed on CBS-TV’s 60 Minutes. The program aired shortly after lounge singer Gennifer Flowers began alleging that she had an affair with Clinton. During the 60 Minutes interview, Hillary Clinton proclaimed, “I'm not sitting here as some little woman standing by my man like Tammy Wynette.”

Also note: It was Hillary herself who snidely said things to the effect, "I believe Bill, I'm not some hill-jack trailer trash just standing by her man."

Happy to be of service.

Xrlq
I've had plenty of moments where I've felt exasperation with both Bill and Hillary, but I've never ceased to feel that they are both, to paraphrase Lear, far "more sinned against than sinning."

That's an odd thing to say about a man who was credibly accused of raping one woman while serving as attorney general of his state, flashing and threatening the employment of another while governor, and sexually assaulting a third while President.

Hugo

XRLQ, I don't know whether those allegations are true or not. If so, they are grievious sins indeed -- but the hatred, the bile, that the Clintons engendered in so many far outweighed any sins, no matter how despicable, that they committed.

I've never understood the antipathy the right in this country had towards the Clintons; I don't understand why so many of my fellow progressives splutter with inarticulate rage at President Bush. I found both Clinton and Bush to be intensely likable men with massive (and very different) flaws.

mythago

Xrlq, if it were really horror at sexually bad behavior or rape, then the conservatives assailing Clinton would have reacted with equal venom to Strom Thurmond. The hatred was there before the accusations, not as a result of them.

The Gonzman

I've never understood the antipathy the right in this country had towards the Clintons

It's the deceit, the miasma that surrounds them of the end justifying the means. They reek of craving power, and seem to be willing to bend any rule to get and/or keep it, and are Nixonian in that respect.

Jimmy Carter was far more liberal, at least in pronounced policy, and far less competant; however he does no engender the same revulsion because he is fundamentally an honest person.

What further engenders the disgust is the fawning hypocrisy of the left - these same people who but a few years previously pronounced Clarence homas as unfit to sit on the Supreme Court because unsupported allegations "cast a shadow" over him, made excuse after excuse to justify and dismiss far more serious proven actions; abuse of power, perjury, sexual harasssment, getting sexual favors from a subordinate; from a person with far more power to direct public policy. There is no doubt that had Willim Clinton been a republican, those same defenders would have called for his head on a platter.

Xrlq

Hugo:

XRLQ, I don't know whether those allegations are true or not. If so, they are grievious sins indeed -- but the hatred, the bile, that the Clintons engendered in so many far outweighed any sins, no matter how despicable, that they committed.

Huh? Since when does the gravity of the alleged sin of intensely disliking a politician approach that of forcible rape? The only way your "more sinned against than sinning" argument can possibly hold water is if you argue that you do know whether the allegations are true, and specifically believe they are not. Of course, if you take that position, the "more sinned against than sinning" line is as silly as it is trivially true; of course Bill Clinton was more sinned against than sinning if in reality, he didn't sin at all.

I don't know if you watched Broaddrick's interview with Lisa Myers, but I did, and she came across as extremely credible. Between her general credibility, her lack of any known motivation for lying, and Clinton's basically nonexistent response (in stark contrast both to his own routine smearing of other accusers, and the vociferous denials from three lacrosse players who appear to have been falsely accused of the same offense), I think it more likely than not that he committed the offense in question - and would rightly have been booted from office if NBC had run the story in a timely manner rather than sitting on it until after the impeachment trial had been completed.

As for Jones's less serious but hardly unserious accusation, money talks & B.S. walks. Innocent defendants with deep pockets frequently waive court costs, drop counter-claims or even pay token amounts to make nuisance suits go away. No one pays $1 million to make a nuisance suit go away, especially over allegations which, if proven in court, would almost certainly have resulted a lot less than that amount in actual damages.

As for Willey, maybe she's lying, but what for? She was a Clinton volunteer, not anyone with any history of antipathy toward the Clintons or the Democrats. But once she told the world what happened, she was rolled over by James Carville's smear machine like the rest. Talk about people who were more sinned against than sinning themselves!

Mythago:

Xrlq, if it were really horror at sexually bad behavior or rape, then the conservatives assailing Clinton would have reacted with equal venom to Strom Thurmond.

I don't know what you are talking about. Did Thurmond rape anyone? Assuming for argument's sake that he did, there's a pretty good reason why conservatives, particularly those of us who hail from anywhere other than South Carolina, might have spent more time assailing President Clinton than Senator Thurmond. I'll give you three guesses as to what that reason is, and the first two don't count.

The hatred was there before the accusations, not as a result of them.

Define "hatred." From the day of his inauguration on, liberal and even moderate Democrats across the country were quick to personalize every criticism of "my President" and brand as "hatred" what was, in fact, nothing more than good old fashioned dissent - the same stuff they are now falsely equating with patriotism. As for your claim that "hatred" of Clinton preceded the allegations, I think you're forgetting how many allegations there were, or how far back they go. The administration was barely a year old when Jones's allegation surfaced, and others still preceded his election altogether. He was known as "Slick Willie" long before he was elected, just as Nixon was "Tricky Dicky" long before Watergate, and for basically the same reason. Or maybe not quite the same reason; while conservatives' beef with Willie really was his slickness, I have hunch most liberals weren't nearly as mad at Dicky for being tricky as they were for exposing Alger Hiss.

evil_fizz

Thurmond fathered a daughter with his 15-year-old black servant when he was in his mid-twenties. I presume that's what mythago is referring to.

Xrlq

EF, that sounds about right. Apparently, Mythago thinks fathering a daughter with a teenager while in your 20s is just as bad as sexually assaulting an aide while in office, sexually harassing a subordinate while governor, and forcibly raping a woman while serving as attorney general. O-kay.

The Gonzman

Thurmond fathered a daughter with his 15-year-old black servant when he was in his mid-twenties. I presume that's what mythago is referring to.

I'd hope then, in such cases, that first such comments would be directed towards people who held Strom Thurmond up as some sort of paragon of statesmanship, and second, that the person directing such comments holds Jesse Jackson up to equal scorn and contempt.

One of the reasons for my acidic contempt of both branches of the Republicrat Party is the vile hypocrisy from both sides - each and every one of you makes excuses and rationalizes behavior from one of your own which is far worse than the behavior you pillory from the other side of your party.

What's worse is the lack of moral courage: For example, Clarence Thomas was sixteen kinds of so and so for an ALLEGED joke about pubic hairs on a coke can, but Bill Clinton is PROVEN to have used his position as a superior to gain sexual favors from a subordinate, and suddenly "that's different." If this isn't bad enough in itself, is the truly appalling and reprehensible part of it is that 99.9% won't admit it was wrong to do it to Clarence Thomas, and issue apologies and retractions, precisely because they want to reserve the right to do the same thing again! It's not a moral conviction, it is the absolute nadir of filthy politics, and it's despicable.

And the Republicans with their excusing of Newt Gingrich and his serial infidelity is no damn better.

It's one of the reasons long ago I said "A pox on both your houses!" and went libertarian.

And I' not a big fan of Jorge Arbusto, either, but by the standard of but "the hatred, the bile, that (Bush) engender(s) in so many far outweigh any sins, no matter how despicable;" considering the hysterical venom coming out of Kos, the DU, Howard Dean, et al, George Bush ought to be on the short list for canonization. But I supose that's "different," too. Being from the "R" branch of the Republicrat party, he deserves hate. Heh. Check his policies, he's more liberal by any objective standard than many card-carrying "liberals in good standing," and I have heard credible arguments that Clinton was a lot more conservative than he is. From where I sit, the only thing that seperates him from "hero" and "goat" is the (R) next to his name on the Nightly News.

Not who he is, or what he does, but what he is. Put whatever lipstick on that pig you want, but in my book ...

I'm not going to say what it is. I've skated close to the edge of personally attacking here, and I'm pulling back from naming the names I have edited out. But the collective of the Democrats and the Republicans should hang their head in shame; but I'm not holding my breath because neither bunch apparently has any. You both want to point the finger and say "Them first, they're worse!" which only further proves to me that any such remorse would be another sham political posturing rather than one arising out of any real conviction or character.

The Gonzman

And, just so I leave no doubt where I stand, I'd vote for an avowed Nazi or Communist before I'd vote Republicrat. At least those people are honest about what they are and what they stand for.

Antigone

Xrlq: Rape is rape.

A 20 year old sleeping with a 15 year old is statatory rape.

Sleeping with your subordinate (she was his maid) is sexual harassment, if not downright rape.

Sleeping with a poor black woman, while you are a rich white man, in times of EXTREME racism, is coercion, if not sexual harrasment or rape.

Hugo

I find it vaguely depressing that the thread continues to focus on the shortcomings and sins (grave as they may be) of public figures rather than the question of whether or not it behooves us to be talking about private lives in the first place...

Vacula

doesn't this answer your question?

The Gonzman

Sleeping with your subordinate (she was his maid) is sexual harassment, if not downright rape.

Does that apply to an intern?

Or only to Republicans?

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