CHAPTER TWO: MODUS OPERANDI
As THE FIRST baby-boomer president, Bill Clinton has been psycho-analyzed to the hilt. Many authors have delved into speculative analysis of how Clinton's childhood affected his adulthood. His biological father died before he was born, he was devoted to his mother, he grew up loving and hating an alcoholic and abusive stepfather, he struggled to rise above poverty, and so on. Clinton himself, in his autobiography, discusses the way his boyhood experiences -- good, bad, and ugly -- impacted his actions and feelings in manhood. In places his reflection is remarkably candid and worthwhile for gaining an understanding of what kind of boy grew up to be this kind of man.
Even though this book focuses on Clinton's political beliefs, it's critical to remember that politics isn't the only (or perhaps even the most important) factor driving Clinton's misogyny. Young Bill suffered many emotional burdens, and as the bumper sticker says, "Hurt People Hurt People." But our focus here will remain on the way his liberal politics, rather than psychology, influenced his behavior.
Clinton's generalized statements about his feelings toward women, peppered throughout his autobiography, don't divulge anything especially unusual, but they do hint at some self-awareness of a struggle to build meaningful, monogamous relationships. He praises his mother, grandmother, wife, and daughter for their respective roles in his life and also for being strong, independent women. His early experiences with women like his mother and grandmother also imply at least a light-hearted resentment of some kind. For example, when Clinton writes about working on an early political campaign and being assigned to travel the state with the candidate's wife and daughters he says he didn't mind the job because he was "used to being bossed around by women, so we got along well." 
He also admits that as he entered junior high school and adolescence he began to get to know himself a bit and "some of what came into my head and life scared the living hell out of me, including my anger at Daddy [stepfather Roger Clinton], the first stirrings of sexual feelings toward girls, and doubts about my religious convictions." 
Young Bill was a "secret-keeper" who didn't talk about these common feelings of self-doubt that are part of coming of age.  This reluctance to discuss his feelings could help explain how a person who desired to do the right thing could find himself behaving poorly despite an intellectual conviction that women should be treated with respect. He shares a portion of a high school essay he wrote in which he describes himself as "a living paradox -- deeply religious, yet not as convinced of my exact beliefs as I ought to be; wanting responsibility yet shirking it; loving truth but often times giving way to falsity .... I detest selfishness, but see it in the mirror every day."  At that age, Clinton writes that he wasn't sure how to feel about himself. "I didn't do bad things; I didn't drink, smoke, or go beyond petting with girls, though I kissed a fair number. Most of the time I was happy, but I could never be sure I was as good as I wanted to be."  He doesn't say whether he ever outgrew that uncertainty or view of himself as a "living paradox," but with respect to his treatment of women perhaps he didn't.
Summing up his years at Oxford, where he studied as a prestigious Rhodes Scholar in his early twenties, Clinton writes: "Just like that, it was over, two of the most extraordinary years of my life .... I had traveled a lot and loved it. I had also ventured into the far reaches of my mind and heart, struggling with my draft situation, my ambivalence about my ambition, and my inability to have anything other than brief relationships with women. I had no degree, but I had learned a lot."  Those struggles would continually pose the greatest threats to his political career, though he spends little time discussing that throughout the rest of his book.
When Bill proposed to Hillary, she said she loved him but wasn't sure about marrying him. He writes, "1 loved her and wanted to be with her, but I understood her reservations. I was passionate and driven, and nothing in my background indicated I knew what a stable marriage was all about. She knew that being married to me would be a high-wire operation in more ways than one."  This is one of the few passages that shows a fairly direct acknowledgement of unfaithfulness as a personal character flaw. As much as he claims to love his wife, this passage also shows an unintended callousness tinged with sexism: she knew what she was getting into when she married him.
Interestingly, Clinton seems to equate sexual misconduct with "personal demons." Wrapping up his thoughts on the Monica Lewinsky affair he writes:
I also came to understand that when I was exhausted, angry, or feeling isolated and alone, I was more vulnerable to making selfish and self-destructive personal mistakes about which I would later be ashamed. The current controversy was the latest casualty of my lifelong effort to lead parallel lives .... During the government shutdowns I was engaged in two titanic struggles: a public one with Congress over the future of our country, and a private one to hold the old demons at bay. I had won the public fight and lost the private one.  (p. 821).
Hopefully whatever introspective insight he's gained about his behavior has helped him integrate his parallel lives and avoid feelings of shame and paths of self-destruction. But he still offers no recognition that losing his "private" battles with "old demons" caused very real heartache, hurt, and destruction in the lives of the women who apparently embodied a temptation that he could not resist.
"Old demons" suggests a long, deeply rooted history of struggling with how to treat women, and might be perceived as a typically Clintonesque vague and partial admission that he didn't tell us the whole story. Some women not mentioned in his memoirs, including some of the women profiled in this book, may indeed be part of his struggle with old demons. While he perhaps feels that he owes us no further explanation, we owe it to ourselves and history not to ignore these women's stories, and to learn from them what we can about misogyny, politics, and the impact of both on real people.
As a Southerner, Clinton grew up surrounded by a Bible Belt culture that thrives on the motto, "Sin, repent. Move on."  According to the witty, fascinating expose Sex ill the South, "The deal in Dixie is that everybody does it but no one talks about it. Because no one talks about it, sex is encased in a plain brown wrapper making everything about it taboo, taciturn, and twisted, with just a smidgen of sin to top it off."  Bill Clinton, the book contends, is a perfect example of this attitude toward sex, with his own Clintonian spin on the subject: "sin, repent, and sin again." 
In addition to his regional upbringing, Clinton's childhood and youth may also help explain why he gravitated toward the political beliefs he adopted. It is true of most of us that the family, culture, and experiences we grow up with heavily influence our social and political views. I grew up with parents who started their own small business. My early years were full of stories from my parents about how taxes and regulations made it more difficult for them to succeed, so I gravitated toward a conservative Republican orientation. Of course, childhood influences can be cast aside in adulthood, when other life experiences and thoughts take over. For instance, conservative author David Horowitz spent his youth as an ardent Communist, Hillary Rodham Clinton calls herself a former "Goldwater girl" and Young Republican,  and I exchanged conservatism for libertarianism soon after college.
Between his personal background and the general social conditions that existed as he came of age in the 1960s, it is unsurprising that Bill Clinton found his ideological home on the left side of the political spectrum. The left's call for peace during Vietnam, its faith in government's ability to provide for the basic needs of all people, its emphasis on racial and gender equality, and its core themes of fairness and social justice, would all have appealed to a young Bill Clinton.
Clinton attached himself at a tender age to far-left campaigns and movements, including the 1972 campaign of George McGovern. He opened up a McGovern for President headquarters in New Haven while attending Yale Law School even though local Democratic leaders were not supporting McGovern in the primary.  He delivered New Haven for McGovern at the Connecticut state convention that year, and New Haven was one of the" few places in America that voted for McGovern over Nixon" in the general election.  He was immediately, immensely successful at persuading people to see things his way, targeting his efforts for McGovern on anti-Vietnam sentiment.
McGovern ran on getting out of Vietnam and cutting defense spending, using the money saved to fix the domestic problems of "rebuilding our cities, renewing our rural economy, reconstructing our transportation system, and reversing the dangerous pollution of our air, lakes and streams."  In good leftist fashion, McGovern wanted to accomplish these things by managing the economy to impose "an adequate money supply, reasonable interest rates, and the selective use of wage and price guidelines."  As Bill Clinton the politician would later do, McGovern tried to appeal to America's middle class fears, promising that government could "allay the anger of many working middle-income Americans burned by inequitable taxes, unpleasant neighborhoods, and shoddy goods and services."  A true leftist, McGovern also insisted that government could cure every ill, from "the lingering curse of racism" and "the plight of hunger" to "bad housing, and poor health services." 
After his early taste of politics Clinton focused on running for office immediately after obtaining his law degree. He lost his first campaign for U.S. Representative in Arkansas, but soon found a place in Arkansas state politics as attorney general and then governor. When it came time for Clinton to run for president, he had taken to heart McGovern's resounding defeat by Richard Nixon. Clinton had discovered how to repackage liberalism to appeal to a winning coalition of interests. He was the New Democrat in a whole new era of American politics.
In the novel and movie Primary Colors,  we find a remarkable expose of how it might have gone for the Clintons on the road to the White House. Particularly notable is a speech by Libby, close friend and troubleshooter for fictional candidate Jack Stanton and his wife Suzie. (The Libby character was patterned after Clinton loyalist Betsey Wright, whom we'll meet in the next chapter.) Upon learning that the couple is planning to throw a below-the-belt punch at a political opponent, she marvels at how far the two have fallen from their idealistic youth. Libby threatens to go public with proof that Jack believed he had gotten the babysitter pregnant. Libby closes her tirade:
You see Jack, she hasn't even heard. She's isn't even upset that you f***ed your seventeen year old babysitter. And you know why? It's never the cheat that goes to hell, it's always the one who he cheated on. That", why you can still talk in that tender hearted voice about being in it for the folks and Suzie here can only talk in that voice from hell about your political career ...
Here is a fictionalized description of a liberal misogynist: someone who can use and abuse women in his personal life while claiming his behavior doesn't detract from his political merit because the policies he advocates serve a greater good. Because he's in it for the folks, he and his supporters (and even his wife) can excuse his behavior as weakness for which he can be forgiven. For character Jack Stanton, this means he can commit what is probably statutory rape against a young woman, abandon a child he helped create, and betray whatever trust his wife placed in him, while still claiming to stand for the rights of the little people and women everywhere. This is more than simple hypocrisy.
The essence of this fictional character's outburst amounts to our first identification of a tenet of liberalism that plays a role in tolerating misogynistic behavior.
In modern liberalism, political goals justify any political means to achieve them. For example, leftists uphold the goal of nondiscrimination based on race or gender, and feel completely justified using any and all political means to try to accomplish that goal. The impact of their chosen means on individual people, and the burdens they impose on real people in pursuit of their objective, can be conveniently ignored or dismissed as small prices to pay in pursuit of such a worthy cause. Anyone who objects to the means selected to achieve the goal is attacked as heartless and as a terrible person who wants racial and gender discrimination to continue.
Let's pick on a favorite issue that continues to divide liberals from conservatives: affirmative action. Liberal ideology gives pride of place to the goal of racial and gender equality in all areas of society -- housing, employment, education, the military, etc. Liberals make no distinction between ensuring nondiscrimination by the government against citizens, and nondiscrimination among private people. With the target of complete nondiscrimination established, liberals over the past thirty years have included affirmative action programs as one of their favorite political means to achieving their goal.
Sidestepping the debate over whether affirmative action is actually effective at accomplishing the objective of eradicating discrimination, liberal advocacy of affirmative action dismisses the very real prices paid by individual people who end up injured by affirmative action. Some injuries are psychical, consisting of having freedom of choice taken away by affirmative action requirements. For example, a company that contracts with the government may prefer for any number of reasons to hire subcontractors who happen to be white or men (or worst of alt white men), but affirmative action policies take this choice away from the contractor regardless of the harm it may cause his business by limiting his subcontracting options. (Loss of freedom of choice is given very short shrift in American politics today, unless the choice lost is one to abort an unwanted pregnancy.)
Other injuries caused by affirmative action policies arc of a different nature. Consider a white or Asian applicant to a government- funded college who is turned away because an applicant with similar credentials and test scores got a boost in her application score just for being born African American. The first applicant has suffered a very real loss of opportunity, denied on the basis of something entirely out of her control: race. Willingness to accept inflicting that kind of injury on people is one of the aspects of affirmative action that sharply divides liberal and conservative ideologies. Liberals insist that if such cases do occur, it's worth the suffering of those applicants for the greater good of making sure candidates of racial or ethic minority groups are admitted.
Conservatives and libertarians, on the other hand, maintain that political force (the threat of which compels both the contractor and the university in our example) should only be used in limited circumstances. There are ways to achieve worthy goals that do not involve government compulsion. Liberals, however, see political force as a valid means to any end they deem worthy, regardless of the negative impact use of such force has on individuals who pay the price.
Here is where liberalism dovetails with misogyny. For a man who is psychologically disposed to undervalue, mistrust, or dislike women, adhering to a liberal belief system that views individual injuries as mere sacrifices for a greater good can encourage him to behave as a misogynist. It is easier work rationalizing a trail of human wreckage in the wake of careless one night stands, girlfriends on the sly, unwelcome sexual advances, and infidelity to a marriage, when your politics dictate a willingness to accept the sacrifices of others for the sake of achieving your noble goals.
When any individual woman becomes a threat to your political career, the obvious choice becomes silencing, discrediting, bribing, or threatening her to prevent the downfall of your own rise to power, because, after all, your rise to power is for the greater good. Just think of all the women you'll be helping with your policies; a few real-life casualties of your personal behavior just don't matter all that much. When your politics say that the use of governmental force is a legitimate means to any sociopolitical goal, it's easier to look yourself in the mirror after using personal force as a means to a sexual goal. Armed with the ideological conviction that your exercise of political power is for the greater good, an exaggerated sense of your own importance to the world can ease your conscience when you regretfully have to ruin a few lives to prevent certain women from dragging you off the throne.
Elizabeth Ward Gracen, born Elizabeth Ward on April 3, 1961, in Ozark, Arkansas, was majoring in accounting at the University of Arkansas when she won the title of Miss America in late 1981.By the end of 1982she had married her high school boyfriend and the couple moved to New York City to study acting. In 1983, when she was 22, she met Governor Bill Clinton while on a visit to see her parents back home in Arkansas. 20She was doing a public service announcement and he offered her a ride back in his limousine. After a flirtatious limo ride they went to the vacant apartment of a friend of Clinton's at the Quapaw Tower in Little Rock. The rendezvous lasted all of two hours, and by her own account "was not a huge success."  Clinton called her when she got back to New York, but she told him she was uncomfortable pursuing the relationship and they never spoke of it again. That should have been the end of her story, but instead it was only the beginning.
Her marriage fell apart the following year but her acting career gained some momentum. When her name surfaced in the 1992 presidential campaign, Gracen issued a public statement at the request of Clinton operatives denying she'd ever had sex with the candidate. 
Reportedly, Gracen got her big break in show business a week after her manager met with two Clinton pals, Hollywood producer Harry Thomason and campaign chairman Mickey Kantor, in 1992. The film work took her to Croatia and then Brazil. Gracen initially said she felt offended at the idea that Clinton had anything to do with her job offers and protested, "I've worked really hard for all I've got." The timing of events, however, continued to raise suspicions that Clinton tried to help her in exchange for her silence. She prefers to attribute her sudden career successes to her decision to pose in the May 1992 issue of Playboy, but even that nudge helped her career in large part due to her fling with Clinton. Today, her manager insists that contrary to previous reports, her appearance on the cover had been part of the Playboy deal from the start, and that Gracen was "very disappointed" that the magazine "used" her interview comments about Clinton to help sell the issue. Mostly because of the Playboy publicity, Gracen said, "I was very high-profile at the time," explaining why she was offered a role, without an audition, in the movie Sands of Time, filmed in Croatia in 1992.  Her current manager tells me that Gracen remains" doubtful" about whether Clinton had any involvement with her career.
In 1993 Gracen landed a guest appearance as immortal con-artist Amanda on the Highlander television series. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the series, the tagline for Highlander was "There can be only one." One might wish that Bill Clinton followed the same motto. Her television character proved sufficiently popular to bring her back the following season, and she stayed for the run of the show. Her public silence appeared to have paid off, though for years she continued to deny that any career advancement carne as a quid pro quo from Clinton -- "If the president of the United States was on the phone pulling strings for me, I'd be on Seinfeld. I'm not standing on the front of the Titanic with Leonardo DiCaprio, am I?" she retorted to one reporter.  Six months later, though, she sounded less sure of Clinton's noninvolvement with her career, admitting that after she agreed to deny the affair in 1992 she "suddenly got a very good acting job, a mini-series in Croatia, and then I got another good, long-lasting role in Brazil." 
When lawyers for Paula Jones began trying to serve Gracen with a subpoena in late 1997, her life became a bit more complicated. Her name arose in Paula Jones's lawsuit against Clinton when a friend of Gracen's, Judy Ann Stokes, stated under oath at her own deposition that when Gracen had privately confided in Stokes about the encounter with Clinton, Gracen had been "tearful" and had said the sex was not something she had wanted. 
Around Christmas in 1997 a mysterious caller Gracen could not identify warned her that a subpoena was underway and advised her not to be around. She spent the next few months "jet-setting between the Caribbean, Canada and Paris,"  trying to avoid being served-and being hounded by more threatening phone calls. She told The New York Post she was "physically scared," and has been quoted as saying that while on vacation in New York unidentified men in suits, let in by the innkeeper, ransacked her room.  Under this kind of pressure, she hired attorney Bruce Cutler, best known for serving as John Gotti's lawyer.
In 1998, caught in the middle of rumors about being forced into sex with Clinton, Gracen finally came clean and admitted to having a one-time affair with former governor Clinton. During her initial interview about the fling in the spring of 1998, she said, "I had sex with Bill Clinton, but the important part to me is that J was never pressured ... We had an intimate evening. Nothing was ever forced."  She was coming forward to avoid getting dragged into the Paula Jones case. Since her affair with Clinton was consensual and she wasn't a state employee, her story had no relevance to Jones's claim of sexual harassment and wasn't something she wanted to discuss. "The lies gain credibility every day that I don't address them ... This is something I don't want to talk about at all. It's no one's business."  When asked what she thought of her friend Judy Stokes's deposition testimony about the sex between Gracen and Clinton being forced, Gracen said, "1 never told her that Bill Clinton pressured me or harassed me. I don't know why she said that. It baffles me."  She continued, "That never happened. It's completely false. It insults all women who have been sexually harassed."  Gracen added, "I was very young, but] always knew what I was doing. It's behavior I wouldn't recommend to any young woman, no matter what degree of glamour or glitter there seems to be at first." 
In April 1998, Gracen appeared on NBC and apologized to Hillary Rodham Clinton. "What 1did was wrong, and I feel very, very bad about it now .... That's not the way a woman should treat a woman,"  Gracen said. That kind of remorse and sense of responsibility Gracen felt as the "other woman" is understandable and even admirable. But if Gracen thought she was playing into the Clintons' good graces by rescuing Bill from allegations of rape and apologizing to Hillary, she was sorely mistaken.
In the summer of 1998, Gracen got another call from the same voice that had warned her about the subpoena, this time telling her she'd better shut up about her affair with the president or she could lose her career or be audited by the IRS. According to her lawyer, letters from the IRS soon began arriving at her parents' address, which was not listed in her tax filings, claiming she hadn't filed returns and threatening to seize her wages and property.  One of her lawyers, Vince Vento, said at the time, "She pays her taxes .... She's really square. I don't think anybody wants to take on the government .... She just feels it's completely unfair .... The only person who would benefit would be the president of the United States, unless there's some other agenda out there."  Gracen's manager told me that looking back, the IRS incident "was bizarre," but Gracen is" doubtful that Clinton had anything to do with it." Maybe her tax number just carne up coincidentally, but maybe not. She isn't the only Clinton woman to receive an unexpected IRS audit after going public -- Paula Jones and Juanita Broaddrick, whose stories we'll examine in later chapters, also found themselves on the wrong end of IRS investigations. 
In a 1998 interview Gracen said of Clinton, "Every week on the show I battle evil. But all those evil people have a charming side. Have I made my point?"  In an interview about her television role on Highlander: The Raven in August 1998 she admitted, "It's been a nightmare .... I was dragged into the media; my family and friends were staked out."  In another 1998 interview she concluded, "This whole thing is a car wreck. Everybody's damaged .... It's about power, egos and agendas. It's very Machiavellian. It's scary for all the women involved."  She regretted that she'd been dragged into what she called "this horrible chess game" and said, "1 think Clinton is a very dangerous, manipulative man and I've had to be very careful." 
Luckily for Clinton (though not for Gracen), whatever negative impact he had on her life has since been overshadowed by an even more dangerous, manipulative man.  Her experience with this man was even more frightening because instead of just a one-night stand, as with Clinton, it was a man she'd allowed into her life for two years. In late 1999, Gracen discovered to her shock that the man who had been her lover and business advisor for two years was actually a conman. While she knew him he used the name Pat Augustus, posing as an investment banker and international businessman who swooped into her life just in time to help her handle the press when the Clinton scandal began to catch up with her. In the end Augustus forced her into bankruptcy and left her terrorized. He went to such lengths to manipulate her, lie to her, and steal from her, that she is left bewildered about the truth of much of what occurred in 1997 and 1998. Once she discovered that Augustus (later arrested and charged with fraud and embezzlement in Paris under the name Pat Austin ) was deceiving and swindling her, she had no way of knowing how much of the harassment she'd suffered in 1997 and 1998 had come from Clinton's cronies looking out for his career, and how much had come from Augustus himself.
Looking back now, Gracen's present manager tells me, "Austin [a.k.a. Augustus], not Clinton, was the true villain." Augustus was posing as a protector and friend, but in reality he manipulated and frightened Gracen "into believing she was involved in a political tug-of-war that could threaten her livelihood, her family, her life." Gracen's manager continues, "She will never [know] exactly what happened, but she is certain she was misinformed during the time." He also insists, "She regrets making some of the comments she made in 1997/1998." How much of Gracen's suffering was due to Clinton, and how much to this supposed conman boyfriend, is a question apparently even she cannot answer, but it's still clear that Gracen made a grave tactical error by indulging in an affair with Bill Clinton.
The kind of intimidation and harassment Gracen suffered as a potential witness against Clinton isn't exactly a far cry from Clinton's modus operandi. When it comes to scaring off women who threaten his career, reporter Suzi Parker has her own story about Bill Clinton.
Parker is a freelance journalist in Arkansas. In 1998she was working with a whistleblower, a physician on contract to provide services in the Arkansas state prison system. Under a pseudonym, this whistleblower had written a fictionalized account of the dangers he observed in the Arkansas prison system's plasma program. Throughout the 1980s and early 1990s (while Clinton was governor) the prison system permitted prisoners to sell their plasma for $7 per pint.  The plasma was then sold to Canada. The catch: the prisoners' plasma was so poorly screened that over 42,000 Canadians were infected with Hepatitis C, and thousands more with the HIV virus.  Despite attempts by the FDA to shut down the prison plasma program, Governor Clinton and his cronies kept the company collecting and selling the prison plasma licensed and in business.  Because the private company (run by a Clinton friend and supporter) kicked back half its profits to the prison system on plasma it sold, "plasma became a profitable enterprise" for the prison system, the prisoners, and possibly Clinton's friends and political supporters. 
The Canadian government finally traced the infected plasma back to the Arkansas prison system, yet the American press largely failed to pick up the scandal. Parker worked tirelessly on the story, exposing the history of the plasma program and the involvement of key political figures, including Clinton. After publishing a lengthy piece (one of the first and only stories on this scandal to appear in American media),  Parker began receiving mysterious, threatening phone calls in the middle of the night. A couple of months later, Parker published an article about a press conference at which a group of hemophiliacs infected by the tainted Arkansas blood threatened a lawsuit against the Canadian government and possibly against Bill Clinton and other Arkansas officials.  While attending the press conference Parker says she knew she was being watched and followed, perhaps by government agents, "It was creepy," she told me, but she continued reporting on the surfacing scandal.
That is, until May 1999, when the plasma scandal whistleblower's clinic in Pine Bluff, Arkansas was firebombed; on the same night, the hemophiliac group's office in Canada was burglarized,  The hemophiliac group had been working closely with the whistleblower to prepare the threatened lawsuit on behalf of Canadians infected with Hepatitis C and HIV from tainted Arkansas prisoners' blood.  Between the intimidating phone calls she'd been receiving and the violent arson and burglary patently designed to deter investigation into this scandal, journalist Suzi Parker got the message and backed off.
It's not in a reporter's nature to quit a story, but by 1999 Parker had been in Arkansas long enough to see how Clinton operated and to feel genuinely frightened for her safety. While we may never know who actually set the fires and burglarized the offices, Parker tells me that she is convinced that Clinton and his associates were behind the intimidation tactics. If they were, then they escaped any repercussions, When Canadians eventually filed a lawsuit, they named only Canadian officials and companies. The American press more or less ignored the story -- and the connection between this Canadian health care tragedy and the governor of Arkansas who kept the tragedy in motion for so many years.
Whether or not Elizabeth Ward Gracen's career boosts came as a quid pro quo for her years of silence about her affair with Clinton, she moved on with her life and built a successful career for herself. After a friend testified about her having sex with Clinton years after the fact she began receiving an ongoing string of veiled threats, putting her in fear for herself and her family. Only then did she speak out about their affair. Trapped in Clinton's tangled web of women who could derail his career, Gracen found herself hounded, audited, and threatened to the point of stating in one interview that she wanted Clinton to do a cameo on her modern-day swashbuckling show so she could cut his head off.  After being taken for a ride by her conman boyfriend, Gracen today is at a loss to know which bizarre, intimidating incidents in her life to attribute to that man and which to Clinton. The details will never be known for certain, but her life-damaging encounter with Clinton is our first illustration of Bill Clinton's liberal misogyny in action.
Nothing about Elizabeth Ward Gracen's liaison with Bill Clinton constituted sexual abuse. He didn't force himself on her, she responded willingly to his advances, and while she regretted her choice to sleep with him, at least it was her choice. Gracen is certainly not alone on a long list of women with whom Clinton had consensual affairs. She's on another list, however, of women whose lives have been significantly damaged by Clinton and his cadre in attempts to prevent them from ruining his career. While Gracen is one of Clinton's women who did not suffer physical abuse at his hands, her encounter with Clinton harmed her in very palpable ways. For her trouble, she isn't even footnoted in My Life.
Gracen's story highlights a particular feature of Clintonesque mistreatment of women: when push comes to shove, his life is a thousand times more important than theirs. For whatever reason, Bill Clinton could not resist climbing into bed with Gracen in 1983,and when he feared that choice could harm his career, he (1) asked her to lie about it publicly, (2) played the benefactor providing career assistance as insurance for her silence, and (3), pressured her with mafia-style anonymous threats and possibly used his political office to sic the IRS on her when (1) and (2) failed to keep her quiet. While we may not be able to prove in a court of law that the threats came from Clinton, it seems almost certain that they came from a Clinton associate looking out for his career. All of it added up to one notion: nothing about Gracen as a person mattered to Clinton nearly as much as his own political ambitions. Not her self-esteem, not her integrity, not her peace of mind, not her financial life. Some hero for women's rights.
At least Clinton called her the morning after (well, soon after). At least when she told him she'd rather not do it again he had the decency to accept the rejection. In a superficial sense, he boosted her self-esteem, perhaps, by expressing his desire to see her again and then taking her rejection in stride. If she felt any temporary feeling of pride or conquest at the chance to rebuff the governor, though, it was short-lived. Nothing about Clinton's subsequent treatment of Gracen exhibited a care in the world for her self-esteem. To the contrary -- that this so-called supporter of women's rights relentlessly persecuted her for becoming a potential witness against him surely diminished her personal sense of being competent to cope with the basic challenges of life.
Asking (and expecting) Gracen to lie about their affair also showed a complete lack of regard for Gracen's integrity. Rather than stand willing to face consequences that might flow from his own choice, Clinton expected Gracen to help him cover it up. A well-known Twelve Step program tells its members, "We're only as sick as our secrets." Clinton never intended to permit Gracen the personal autonomy to choose whether and when to share her secret about a sexual encounter; his public image trumped her right to direct the course of her own psychological well-being. As if it wouldn't have been bad enough to ask her to keep quiet, she was pressured to lie about her experience. Most moral codes, whether Judeo-Christian in origin or not, consider honesty a key virtue. Clinton's earnest request that Gracen lie about their affair showed disdain for Gracen's integrity, further illustrating his lack of concern for her as a person.
When the stuff began hitting the fan, the Clinton cadre showed no regard for Gracen's peace of mind or financial security. In fact, they defined the success of their efforts by the destruction of both. Anonymous threatening phone calls and IRS audits put Gracen through mental and emotional trauma. They affected her day to day life by forcing her to hide from process servers to avoid ending up stuck between an intractable judicial system and the thugs responsible for Clinton's dirty work. The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects a person from being forced to testify against herself. The U.S. Supreme Court has explained that the purpose behind this constitutional right is to protect a person from facing the Cruel Trilemma of (a) perjuring herself, (b) telling the truth because she was forced to testify and thus implicating herself, or (c) refusing to testify and then facing contempt of court charges. When Gracen found herself facing these three options, her only way out, as she saw it, was to escape service of the subpoena in the first place.
More than some other Clinton women, Gracen played along with Clinton's game as much as she could. She lied for him, kept quietly going about her life, and tried desperately to escape subpoenas that would have put her in the nasty position of either committing perjury in his defense, or exposing their affair and risking retribution.
Perhaps sensing she would crack under the pressure and go public, or perhaps hearing rumors that Gracen had no intention of lying under oath, the Clinton scandal team took care of business. Amidst threats of personal and financial harm, Gracen took the advice of her lawyer and told her story to the press. Though she may not have realized it, she chose the route other Clinton women have chosen: going public, even years after their sexual encounters with Clinton, in order to raise their public profiles enough to feel a bit safer. Maybe Gracen thought the rumors about Clinton raping her provided her with additional security; by going public she could "help" him by quelling those rumors.
At the same time, she probably hoped that declaring once and for all the consensual nature of her fling with Clinton would encourage the Paula Jones lawyers to lose interest in her as a witness, since her testimony about a completely voluntary sexual interaction shouldn't have been very valuable in helping Jones prove a pattern of sexual harassment. Perhaps that's also why she denied for months that Clinton had helped her career; Jones's lawyers were trying to prove a pattern of Clinton boosting the careers of women who had consensual affairs with him and harming careers of those who refused his advances.
It's hard to blame Gracen for wanting to stay out of the legal mess and be left alone by the media, lawyers, thugs, and IRS. She, and we, will never know whether her life would have been more or less complicated if she had stayed quiet until and unless forced to answer questions under oath at a deposition. All we know is that despite her best efforts to build her own life after crossing paths with Bill Clinton, the experience severely impacted her life for years.
Clinton's behavior toward Gracen says something about his own self-esteem that sheds light on why he mistreated her the way he did. The National Association for Self-Esteem (NASE) has adopted a definition of self-esteem premised on two aspects: competence and worthiness. As psychotherapist Nathaniel Branden puts it, self-esteem is "the disposition to experience oneself as being competent to cope with the basic challenges of life and of being worthy of happiness."  Clinton's behavior toward Gracen, on the other hand, closely matches up with the ASE's description of a person with low or false self-esteem:
[B]ehaviors that might be described as egotistic, egocentric, conceited, boasting or bragging, bullying, taking advantage of, or harming others are defensive behaviors indicative of a lack of self-esteem ...[and) should not be confused with authentic, healthy self-esteem. 
Clinton exhibited neither a sense of worthiness nor competence in his mistreatment of Gracen, perhaps suggesting a lack of authentic self-esteem on his part. Devoid of a sense of worthiness, any feelings of competence he garnered in bedding a Miss America beauty queen amounted only to arrogance in conquest. Lacking a genuine sense of his own competence to cope with life, he relied on a sense of entitlement to get what he wanted. He succumbed to narcissism and expected good feelings to be handed to him rather than earned. That is, instead of earning the reputation he desired among his constituents, the press, and his family, he acted as if a good reputation was something he deserved regardless of whether his character, demonstrated through his behavior, merited it. When Gracen threatened to tarnish the carefully sculpted reputation he thought he had going for him, he had no qualms about sacrificing hers for his. Clinton the politician may have garnered praise from feminists as a champion of so-called women's rights, but Clinton the man had no trouble treating individual women like Gracen with utter disrespect, expressing through action a belief that he is inherently superior to and more important than his women.
Clinton's mistreatment of Gracen flies in the face of what the women's rights movement has struggled to achieve for over a century. The year 1848 marked a turning point for women's rights in this country. Elizabeth Cady Stanton wrote her Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions, presented at the women's rights convention held in Seneca Falls, New York.  An enduring, eloquent portrait of the struggle for women's rights, Stanton's Declaration of Sentiments called not for government help in obtaining abortions and affirmative action for women in the workplace, but for certain legal reforms to equalize the law's treatment of men and women, like equitable divorce laws, granting women the right to vote, and removal of laws that permitted men to forcibly control and punish their wives. Stanton also appealed to men's consciences for social acceptance of women into all aspects of life, including church and government affairs, education, and the professions.
Outraged by what she viewed as the tyranny by which men ruled over women, Stanton wrote, "He has made her morally, an irresponsible being, as she can commit many crimes with impunity, provided they be done in the presence of her husband ... He has created a false public sentiment by giving to the world a different code of morals for men and women ... He has endeavored, in every way he could, to destroy her confidence in her own powers, to lessen her self-respect, and to make her willing to lead a dependent and abject life ... "
Bill Clinton's mistreatment of women flouts so many of these original feminist goals it's hard to know where to start. We've seen that Clinton's treatment of Elizabeth Ward Gracen contributed to her moral denigration by asking and expecting her to lie for him. Clinton's apparent expectation that he can have affairs with impunity but that a woman who dares disclose her part in an affair with him should be publicly and personally hounded helped "create a false public sentiment by giving to the world a different code of morals for men and women." Gracen's experience with Clinton doubtless left her with diminished "confidence in her own powers" and lessened her self-respect. Finally, Clinton demonstrated no belief at all in Gracen's "right and duty" to promote righteous causes of her choosing and participate equally "both in private and in public, by writing and by speaking." Clinton's mistreatment of Gracen embodied what Stanton called an "authority adverse" to the self-evident truth of women's equality "to be regarded as ...at war with mankind."
Liberal misogyny is personal in its effect on real-life women, but some of its causes are political. Betraying all the principles women like Elizabeth Cady Stanton fought for, a liberal misogynist like Clinton uses political power to make abortions more accessible while truly treating women as second-class citizens in the sense railed against by the early women's movement. Problematically, the very ideology that equates women's rights with political support for reproductive rights turns a blind eye to personal, misogynistic behavior when it involves one of their favorite sons. Modern feminists have almost completely lost sight of the original goals of the women's movement, twisting the goal of equality of the sexes into political agendas pushing exclusively leftist policies. Liberalism holds that a worthy goal justifies any political means to achieve it. Clinton found this strategy useful; his worthy goal of attaining high office for the benefit of women everywhere justified using any means necessary. With this kind of a mindset, it's easy to understand why he would not hesitate to use intimidation against a former lover like Gracen -- not to mention a muckraking journalist like Suzi Parker -- to prevent any individual woman from getting in the way of his lofty political aspirations.
Because modern liberalism has strayed so far from the original, exemplary goals of feminism, today's liberal ideology helps create a particular strain of misogyny that praises only political intervention in women's lives and glosses over the way women are actually treated on a personal level. As a woman, Gracen can thank Bill Clinton for the politically-imposed "protection" of being able to walk into an abortion clinic without harassment from protestors, but sadly, also has him to thank for repeated assaults on her personal equality, integrity, and psychological well-being.
With a protector like this, it's no wonder that this former Miss America once felt it necessary to flee her own country.