Their Lives: The Women Targeted By the Clinton Machine

Gathered together in one place, for easy access, an agglomeration of writings and images relevant to the Rapeutation phenomenon.

Their Lives: The Women Targeted By the Clinton Machine

Postby admin » Tue Jun 07, 2016 4:15 am

Their Lives: The Women Targeted By the Clinton Machine
by Candice E. Jackson
Copyright © 2005 by Candice E. Jackson

NOTICE: THIS WORK MAY BE PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT

YOU ARE REQUIRED TO READ THE COPYRIGHT NOTICE AT THIS LINK BEFORE YOU READ THE FOLLOWING WORK, THAT IS AVAILABLE SOLELY FOR PRIVATE STUDY, SCHOLARSHIP OR RESEARCH PURSUANT TO 17 U.S.C. SECTION 107 AND 108. IN THE EVENT THAT THE LIBRARY DETERMINES THAT UNLAWFUL COPYING OF THIS WORK HAS OCCURRED, THE LIBRARY HAS THE RIGHT TO BLOCK THE I.P. ADDRESS AT WHICH THE UNLAWFUL COPYING APPEARED TO HAVE OCCURRED. THANK YOU FOR RESPECTING THE RIGHTS OF COPYRIGHT OWNERS.


Image

Image

Image

To Judith, Without your steady guidance I would have nothing to say.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

• Acknowledgments
• Introduction
• Chapter One: Straying or Preying?
• Chapter Two: Modus Operandi (Elizabeth Ward Gracen)
• Chapter Three: Like a Good Little Girl (Sally Perdue)
• Chapter Four: Made for Each Other (Gennifer Flowers)
• Chapter Five: Object of Affection (Paula Jones)
• Chapter Six: She Asked for it Repeatedly (Kathleen Willey)
• Chapter Seven: A Real Don Juan (Monica Lewinsky)
• Chapter Eight: Sounds Like Our Guy (Juanita Broaddrick)
• Conclusion: Another Clinton Presidency? (Hillary Rodham Clinton)
• Notes
• About the Index
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 17110
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Their Lives: The Women Targeted By the Clinton Machine

Postby admin » Tue Jun 07, 2016 4:15 am

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

ERIC JACKSON is a visionary entrepreneur I had the privilege of getting to know when we were economics students at Stanford together. Publication of this book is just one of the projects at World Ahead Publishing, Inc. that owes its existence to Eric's exceptional talent and hard work, and I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to work with him and each of the extraordinary people at World Ahead. David Hodel's contributions are equally important; his input brought structure to what began as a muddle of ideas for this book. Arthur Willner provided insightful critique at a critical stage of the manuscript, and whatever advice I didn't take, I probably should have.

Shelly Jackson, Tami Kumin, and Jim Fite planted seeds for this book, whether they realized it or not, and I am extremely appreciative even though the result may not be what they had in mind. Bill Anderson and Doug Shoemaker are the best research and business partners a girl could hope for, and any successes of mine are due largely to their brilliance and friendship.

Friends and family who stood by me in this effort are too numerous to name. I hope you all know who you are, and how much I love that you love me even when my ideas make you wonder why you do. I can't resist a shout-out to Jen, Jason, and Mary; you guys are the gems of my life, and I can't imagine trudging this road without you. And I am truly blessed with parents, Rick and Jeanine, and two brothers, Richard and Jonathan, who continually inspire me with their passion and conviction.

Much to her dismay, I can't spare Patty Campbell the humiliation of open association with this book. Her support for me during this process knew no bounds, even though after reading the first chapter she wanted a blurb on the book jacket to say: "If God is a Democrat -- and I believe He is -- then Candice Jackson will burn in hell." Hopefully I won't find out if she's right for a good long while, and in the meantime her love and laughter make life worth all the ups and downs. The Campbells, Sayhounis, and Houlihans triple the fun and have become my second family, and I love them dearly.

Finally, each of the women I write about in this book has my genuine respect. Whether they agreed to be interviewed for this book or not, each woman has touched my heart and earned my admiration for their courage and inner strength. I owe them a personal debt of gratitude for standing on the side of truth no matter the consequences they suffered.
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 17110
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Their Lives: The Women Targeted By the Clinton Machine

Postby admin » Tue Jun 07, 2016 4:16 am

INTRODUCTION

WHY ANOTHER book about Bill Clinton? Well, in a memoir the length of War and Peace, Bill Clinton got the chance to tell us about himself. He told us about his personal and political life. He told us about people who influenced him -- his parents, his wife, his political allies, and even his enemies. But some people were glaringly absent from Clinton's best-selling My Life, and this omission was no accident. Yet understanding the effect Clinton had on these unnamed lives is critical for exposing his supposed pro-feminist agenda and gaining insight into the source of his undeniable misogyny: liberalism.

Revisiting the stories of several women who have come forward over the years about their experiences with Bill Clinton is not an exercise in right-wing moral condemnation or political bitterness. As a libertarian, I have little sympathy for the Clinton-bashing performed by moral conservatives throughout the 1990s. But as a feminist, I have a deep interest in reminding myself and others of the serious violations of women's rights Bill Clinton committed in his personal life. This behavior, from a man whose political career was characterized by most feminists as a giant step toward gender equality, is baffling. The explanation for this seeming paradox apparently escaped both the left and right during Clinton's presidency.

Most conservatives missed the political point we'll examine in this book. Instead, the right jumped at the chance to argue for Clinton's impeachment and prosecution for lying and attempting to cover up his affair. On the other hand, most liberals quickly dismissed Clinton's bad behavior as "personal failures" that somehow didn't reflect on his politics. They found it all too easy to write off the women linked to Bill Clinton as "bimbo eruptions."

The women profiled in this book may not have been Ivy League graduates or leaders in their fields, but they didn't deserve to have their jobs threatened, their reputations smeared, or their tires slashed just because they crossed paths with Bill Clinton. Although many of these women confess to consensual affairs with Clinton, several disclose sexual harassment and even assault. As a recovering victim of sexual assault myself, I understand the pain involved in coming to terms with such an experience. But I cannot imagine the terror involved when your perpetrator is the Leader of the Free World with countless resources at his disposal.

As Clinton, his wife, and their team of political loyalists gear up to promote the paperback release of his memoirs and celebrate the opening of a presidential library geared at securing his "legacy," it's time to discover the chapters Clinton left unwritten and the lives left upended in his wake. Before we laud his presidency or send Hillary in his footsteps to the Oval Office, let's spend some time with seven remarkable women to see how their experiences shed light on the character and politics of a man who once assured us he could feel our pain.
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 17110
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Their Lives: The Women Targeted By the Clinton Machine

Postby admin » Tue Jun 07, 2016 4:16 am

CHAPTER ONE: STRAYING OR PREYING?

IN MANY WAYS, Bill Clinton carne across as a hallmark of our times -- cocky, fun-loving, able to handle himself in a fight. He seemed interested in doing the right thing, whatever that was at the time, but not uptight about it. During the 1992campaign no one in the mainstream media wanted to talk much about the rumors wending their way out of Arkansas. A few cautionary voices were already trying to warn us about the spotty personal history of the man who would be president, but he played the saxophone on late night television, for crying out loud. What's not to like? Unfortunately, jamming with the Arsenio Hall band would not be the extent of presidential firsts visited upon us by Bill Clinton.

Not that Clinton single-handedly introduced indiscretion to the office. Accusations of infidelity sullied at least a dozen administrations, and John F. Kennedy's peccadilloes have become the stuff of legend. Moral outrage in Washington, D.C. often has as much to do with whose ox is being gored as with genuine moral sensibilities. The rules have changed in recent decades, partly due to the fallout from the Watergate scandal. In an unprecedented power shift, investigative reporting brought down a sitting president, and for better or worse our tripartite balance of governmental power saw a fourth institution grafted into the accountability structure. Now an official's private life receives detailed attention, and the modern tradition of mercilessly trying candidates in the press is firmly entrenched. A person's private life is not merely a matter of reputation and public opinion; with a sufficient public outcry, special prosecutors can be summoned and the full weight of the judicial branch can come down on a politician with devastating consequences. It's hard to imagine JFK sitting before a congressional committee or grand jury defending his sexual behavior. Maybe Bill Clinton was just born forty years too late.

***

In retrospect, the socio-political, economic, and cultural indicators as they stood in 1990 should leave us unsurprised that we woke up one day late in January 1993 to the sight of Democrats at their inaugural rally, giddily singing off-key while the words of Fleetwood Mac droned ad nauseall1, "Don't stop thinking about tomorrow ... " from rented speakers. Communism had been defeated in the Soviet Union, Iraq had been halted in its violent bid to annex Kuwait, and the national malaise from the Carter years was dispersed by eight years of booming prosperity and national pride under Ronald Reagan. Most Americans were feeling good about their place in the world, and it was time to turn attention back to problems at home. With the financial rush of the 1980s quickly fading and a voting public irritated at having their taxes raised by a president who explicitly promised he would do no such thing, Clinton's good-natured appeal in 1992 should have been obvious.

Those same factors also help explain the abrupt shift from twelve years of Republican leadership to a Democratic victory. Just over half the presidential elections since 1824 have yielded a winner with more than 50 percent of the popular vote, and only four presidents in U.S. history have ever won 60 percent or more of the popular vote (Republicans Warren Harding and Richard Nixon; Democrats Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson). [1] With control of the White House consistently hinging on such an even split in the popularity of Republicans and Democrats, it takes relatively little pizzazz for an individual candidate to persuade enough voters to swing an election.

And Clinton possessed nothing if not pizzazz. From his MTV appearance disclosing his underwear preference to his down-home renditions of his humble youth, Clinton offered an energetic, charismatic alternative to old-style politics. To hear those who have met him, his charisma is a palpable thing. He has a gift for making a person feel like the most important person in the world when speaking one on one. He is an engaging public speaker and exudes a humor and generosity that many found appealing, especially in contrast with GOP stodginess. His wife, describing seeing him on the Yale Law School campus for the first time in 1970,gushes, "He also had a vitality that seemed to shoot out of his pores." [2] Styling himself a New Democrat and promising to reinvent government, Clinton capitalized on dissatisfaction with the recession of the early 1990s and charmingly won his chance to rule the world.
**
Clinton was not on the national scene for long before rumors and evidence of impropriety began cropping up in earnest. Before long, some people began to realize that Clinton's boyish charm had a flip side -- a weakness for sexual indiscretions that even by 1992had already produced a string of women with tales of extramarital affairs.

The Clintons and their long-time political friends had discussed how to handle Clinton's reputation for philandering well before Clinton's 1992 campaign. Whether Clinton had a "Gary Hart problem" that could derail his plans for ascending to the presidency was a frequent topic as far back as 1987,when Clinton seriously considered running for president. Biographer David Maraniss reports that by 1990, when Clinton decided to seek re-election as governor of Arkansas and simultaneously began pondering a 1992 presidential run, he was irked each time his close political advisors raised concerns about whether he was in danger of imploding like Gary Hart. [3]

In 1988 after Gary Hart had dropped out of the Democratic primary amidst evidence of his extramarital sex life, Clinton and his long-time aide Betsey Wright privately discussed the Hart debacle. [4] According to Wright, Clinton "wanted to believe and advocated that it was irrelevant to whether the guy could be a good president." [5] Much to the chagrin of many on the right, Clinton probably had the pulse of most Americans on that one. Philandering, as such, is rarely a barrier to public approval of an official's job performance. Following the advice of political consultants by admitting early on to marital rough spots while appearing hand-in-hand with Hillary permitted Clinton to benefit from Americans' long history of drawing a distinct line between officials' public and private lives. "If Hillary's okay with it, we should be okay with it," became a familiar tune in editorials, op-eds, and the press. The repeal of many state adultery laws throughout the twentieth century and the infrequent prosecution of adultery in the states that continue to criminalize it [6] seems to reflect an American attitude in favor of sexual privacy and the classification of adultery as more of a personal, spiritual issue than a public, legal one. Gary Hart's downfall was something of an anomaly brought about in large part by his incredibly foolish grandstanding -- he expressly denied extramarital activity and challenged the press to put a tail on him to prove him wrong. They did, and his career never recovered.

In his memoirs Clinton writes of Gary Hart, "I thought Gary had made an error by challenging the press to tail him ... but I felt bad for him, too .... After the Hart affair, those of us who had not led perfect lives had no way of knowing what the press's standards of disclosure were." [7] He continues, "Finally I concluded that anyone who believed he had something to offer should just run, deal with whatever charges arose, and trust the American people." [8] Apparently for Clinton, Hart's error was not philandering but playing truth-or-dare with the press about it. The women's stories revisited in this book make clear exactly what Clinton meant by "deal with whatever charges arose" -- Clinton and his crew proved themselves skilled at a disturbing game of defense and offense best described as "Deny and Smear." As for his ostensible determination to just "trust the American people," the following chapters detail just how much Clinton mistrusted us, preferring always to lie rather than come clean when confronted with misdeeds.

In 1991 Bill and Hillary appeared together at a gathering of Washington political press corps elites amid speculation about his imminent candidacy. Clinton told the press that he and Hillary were "committed to their marriage," having worked through" some problems." [9] Trusting this strategy, a combination of whitewashing the actual nature of their marital problems and posing Bill as a contrite wanderer, the Clintons escaped Hart's fate and landed themselves the Top Job.

Clinton's memoirs devote three paragraphs to his decision to appear with Hillary to comment on their marriage before he ran for president. [10] He's not sure if he did the right thing by addressing the questions about his infidelities. "Character is important in a president," he writes, "but as the contrasting examples of FDR and Richard Nixon show, marital perfection is not necessarily a good measure of presidential character." [11] In other words, we shouldn't care about a president's marital faithlessness. Even if he's right, he misses the point. If Clinton's behavior amounted only to The Bridges of Madison County-style love affairs, perhaps his wife and daughter would be the only women with rights to complain. But that isn't the case. The women profiled in this book reveal Clinton not as a philanderer, but as a sex addict, sexual harasser, and sexual abuser. It's the difference between straying and preying, and it's a huge difference. Clinton's mistreatment of women is surely part of his "presidential character" we should care about. Further, if a correlation exists between his view of women and view of politics, then he deserves classification as a liberal misogynist and should be used to illustrate the dangers inherent in modern liberalism, a political philosophy espoused by another Clinton with apparent presidential ambitions.

***

If Clinton had merely joined the venerable ranks of presidents who also happened to be philanderers, his sex life would have been followed like a soap opera in our voyeuristic society but his behavior would not have provided material for this book. Unfortunately for the many women mistreated by him, Clinton's interactions with women spanning his political career place him outside the category "philanderer" and into much more serious categories like "sex addict/' "sex offender/' and "misogynist."

1don't use those terms lightly. Dictionary definitions of "philanderer" include one who engages in many love affairs, especially with a frivolous or casual attitude; one who has casual or illicit sexual relations with many women; or, one who is sexually unfaithful to his wife. The word comes from an obsolete word, philander, which used to mean "lover." Philandering may be about men who "love" women too much, but sexual abuse, sex addiction, and misogyny have nothing to do with love and everything to do with power and control, often based on a view of women as objects.

A working definition of "sex offender" is a person who commits a sex crime -- i.e., inflicting sexual contact on someone without their consent, by force or threat. Sexual abuse isn't about love or even sexual gratification. It's about feeding a pathological drive for dominance and control. As one sexual abuse victim's program puts it, rape and other sex offenses are about sexualized violence, not about violent sex. [12]

The word "misogynist" literally means "one who hates women," from the Greek words misien ("to hate") and gyne ("woman"). Encyclopedia entries for misogyny use the additional definition "[A]n exaggerated pathological aversion toward women." Far-left feminists have co-opted the word misogynist to denigrate any person who disagrees with their political agenda. For example, journalist Richard Goldstein's leveled the catchy accusation that the George W. Bush Administration practiced "stealth misogyny" by stationing female faces in high-level administration posts while "closing women's offices in federal agencies, defunding programs that monitor discrimination, appointing people who oppose affirmative action and welfare for single mothers to policy-making posts," and waging an "assault on choice" (Le., abortion rights), [13] Liberalism's monopoly on defining women's issues has emboldened leftists to hurl the label "misogynist" at virtually everyone who opposes abortion, reproductive rights, affirmative action, the welfare state, or any other part of the current left-liberal political agenda. That distorted application of the word goes way beyond the core meaning of "misogynist." As I use the phrase here, a "liberal misogynist" is a person who supports women's rights politically yet repeatedly mistreats women personally. Of course, not all misogynists are liberals and vice versa. Yet liberal misogyny is a specific manifestation of misogyny that deserves closer inspection.

In the article "Sexual Addiction: Diagnosis and Treatment," [14] Dr. Aviel Goodman describes sexual addiction as a condition where some form of sexual behavior is repeated in a pattern, marked by "recurrent failure to control the sexual behavior," and "continuation of the sexual behavior despite significant harmful consequences." Based on the behavior we'll examine in the following chapters it's not much of a stretch to surmise that Bill Clinton fits the description of a sex addict more closely than that of a mere philanderer. In a 1998 article, The New York Times quoted Dr. Jerome D. Levin, a psychotherapist and author of a book entitled The Clinton Syndrome: The President and the Self- Destructive Nature of Sexual Addiction as advising the president to invoke the 251h Amendment and enter a rehabilitation program for sex addiction treatment. [15] Dr. Don Fava posted on-line a short analysis stating about sexual addiction:

A lack of lasting relationships or frequent changes in parental figures during early childhood leads to the development of a faulty conscience. Such persons cannot experience true love, but rather use others to gratify their own narcissistic needs, i.e. to prove to themselves that they are capable of being loved .... It is interesting to study the psychodynamics of sexual ,1ddiction because many of the same dynamics associated with this disorder lead to a preoccupation with power and admiration as a way of denying shame and humiliation .... Is this our president Clinton? I don't know, but you can bet that a lot of people are analyzing the man this very moment .... [16]


It's debatable whether Clinton suffers from a clinical sex addiction, and for our purposes, it isn't terribly relevant. Whether or not his behavior merits a clinical diagnosis, much of it matches popular descriptions of sexual addiction. Of course, even an addiction cannot eliminate the element of personal responsibility for one's actions; addictions of all kinds are treatable, provided the afflicted person is willing to admit the problem and accept help for it.

Clinton has publicly admitted to a sexual relationship with Monica Lewinsky, and to at least a brief fling with Gennifer Flowers. He has alluded publicly many times throughout his career to marital problems, but has stopped short of confessing to liaisons with any other specific women. Clinton copped to an affair with Flowers during the same deposition at which he denied a sexual relationship with Lewinsky; perhaps he hoped that coming clean about Flowers would satisfy his truth-telling responsibilities and increase his credibility as he continued to deny an inappropriate relationship with Lewinsky. However, when Lewinsky's story broke in 1998 she had the advantage of scientific evidence -- DNA on a certain blue dress -- which eventually cornered Clinton into admitting a sexual relationship with her. Clinton's other conquests have only their own stories to tell, leaving them largely on the losing side of a "Bill-says/she-says" battle.

This is the very situation that most victims of sexual abuse find themselves in, and it often discourages women from coming forward. Women's rights advocates have made great strides in legal and social arenas encouraging women's testimony to be taken seriously, making it more difficult for offenders to get away with abuse by denouncing their accusers as "psychos" making it up or sluts who wanted it. Bill Clinton's politics, it seems, actually helped him avoid accountability. Because Clinton was allegedly a political champion for women's issues, the individuals and groups who pose as advocates against misogyny were -- with few exceptions -- unwilling to stand up for Clinton's women, unwilling to believe their stories, and unwilling to help the rest of us understand that signing legislation strengthening abortion rights doesn't negate the consequences of misogyny in personal behavior, much less the abuse of political power to cover up one's actions.

***

From Clinton's brief affairs with Elizabeth Ward Gracen and Sally Perdue as governor of Arkansas, to his decade-long recurring affair with Gennifer Flowers, to his alleged unwanted advances thrust upon Paula Jones and Kathleen Willey, to his confessed sexual encounters with Monica Lewinsky in the Oval Office and -- if you find her story as credible as I do -- his vicious assault on Juanita Broaddrick, Bill Clinton consistently views and treats women as playthings. He has used his ever-expanding positions of power to seduce, entice, cajole, pressure, abuse, smear, and destroy women unfortunate enough to be caught in his gaze. Clinton's encounters with women undoubtedly include many purely consensual affairs; with respect to these women, the real mistreatment began after the affair had ended, when his physical conquests became political liabilities. Other encounters demonstrate actual sexual assault and harassment, often followed by serious violations of these women's lives when they became threats to his political career.

How is this behavior possible from a man feminists supported as the best-ever president for women's rights? Psychoanalysis may provide a partial explanation for Clinton's mistreatment of women, but our focus is on the explanatory reach of Clinton's politics. Feminists cheered Clinton's election in 1992, and endorsed his re-election in 1996, albeit a bit less enthusiastically after Clinton had, in their view, sold out the feminist agenda somewhat by signing Republican legislation like welfare reform and the Defense of Marriage Act. With respect to the many allegations of Clinton's sexual misbehavior, even some feminists had no choice but to openly condemn Clinton's behavior. By 1998, Patricia Ireland, then president of the National Organization for Women (NOW), felt compelled to release a statement assuring the public that NOW had taken a stance against aspects of Clinton's behavior toward women. [17]

But the double standard was all too clear. If Clinton hadn't been a politician with the power to advance their political agenda -- or worse, if Clinton had been a conservative politician unwilling to advance the feminist agenda -- Clinton's women would have been viewed by women's rights advocates as targets of pathological abuse, and their stories of mistreatment by Clinton would have been met with sympathy for them and anger at Clinton. Instead, the Clinton spin machine has quite successfully made jokes of these won1en, glossing over the plausibility that they suffered real injuries at the hands of Bill Clinton. Revisiting the experiences of the women in this book breaks that spin machine and illuminates the connection between Clinton's misogyny and his liberal politics.

Elizabeth. Sally. Gennifer. Paula. Kathleen. Monica. Juanita. And the man they have in common: Bill. What to make of their stories, and his? The seven women whose stories are recaptured in the following chapters make up a diverse group, each with her unique personality and life experience. There are beauty queens, a singer, an actress, a housewife, a widow, and businesswomen in the mix. Some are quiet and shy, others are loud and ostentatious. Their interactions with Bill Clinton span more than two decades. None of their stories can ever be proved in a court of law, but none has ever been disproved either, leaving the issue of credibility in the realm of Bill says, she says. None of these women went public with their stories until they felt pressured or coerced into doing so. When they did, each experienced severe mistreatment for their trouble. For women like Paula Jones, Kathleen Willey, and especially Juanita Broaddrick, any denigration tossed at them when they came forward only added to the mistreatment they suffered in their actual physical encounters with Bill Clinton. Featuring the stories of Elizabeth, Sally, Gennifer, Paula, Kathleen, Monica, and Juanita necessarily omits other women who have spoken out over the years -- and leaves out dozens of others rumored to have been similarly mistreated. As tempting as it is to delve into these other accounts, the women profiled here suffice as a representative sample from which to examine Clinton's misogynistic pattern and what it says about his political ideology.

Each woman's experience crossing paths with Bill Clinton sadly illustrates a different dimension of the intersection between personal mistreatment of women and political ideology that makes Clinton a shining example of liberal misogyny. The various forms of mistreatment visited upon these women include disregard for their self-esteem, integrity, and psychological wellbeing; chauvinism and male superiority; cruel smear campaigns designed to write them off as trashy sluts; objectification, patronization, and seductive destruction; and outright physical violence. Their collective experience is evidence of a pattern of mistreatment by a man whose sexual behavior long ago crossed the line from "mere" philandering into probable sexual addiction, sexual abuse, and misogyny. As we will see, aspects of liberalism that contributed to such mistreatment include: using any political means to achieve a worthy political goal; relying on intermediaries to enforce political demands; judging the message based on the presumed motives of the messenger; elevating groupism over individualism; trusting in government as superparent; succumbing to government seduction; and most critically, perpetuating the use of force to achieve moral values. Exploring the stories of the seven women in this book will connect the dots between Clinton's misogyny and his political liberalism.

It's only fair to begin our look at these women's stories with a glance at Bill Clinton's version of his own story. Clinton's autobiography, My Life, first hit the shelves in June 2004. Twenty-seven years after his affair with Gennifer Flowers began; twenty-six years after he raped Juanita Broaddrick; twenty-one years after he slept with Elizabeth Ward Gracen and shared a fling with Sally Perdue; thirteen years after his crude advances toward Paula Jones; eleven years after taking advantage of Kathleen Willey; nine years after his first sexual encounter with Monica Lewinsky; and just five years after surviving impeachment, Bill Clinton devoted nearly 1,000 pages to telling his story.

Very few of those pages talk about the women in his life. Even his wife and daughter receive scant attention compared with the book's central purpose (in his words): to tell the story of America during the years he grew up and came of age, and the story of what it's like to be the president leading a great country into a new millennium. Realistically, it's impossible for any number of pages to tell a person's full life story. Clinton has told his the way he wanted to, in his voice, with his perspective. The topics he covers, the vignettes and memories he shares, say a lot about his values and beliefs. I encourage readers to spend quality time with Clinton's memoirs because they convey his point of view on the subjects covered in this book: women and politics. Though his view of women is evident mostly by its absence in his memoirs, Clinton communicates in great detail his reasons for adhering to liberal ideology.

It won't spoil his story to take a peek at what Bill Clinton has to say about the women discussed in this book. It won't take long, either, because he doesn't say much about them. No doubt he would like to leave us with the impression that the women profiled in this book impacted his life so negligibly that they don't deserve his attention, or ours. Of course, that attitude lines up perfectly with his misogyny. He had a devastating impact on the lives of women who crossed his path but they meant little or nothing to him. If he had a strategy in how to deal with women in his memoirs it appears to be: don't mention them at all except to illustrate the depravity of your political opponents. Here's the summary: he briefly mentions by name Gennifer Flowers, Paula Jones, Kathleen Willey, and Monica Lewinsky. He offers little by way of excuse or explanation, and he ignores the existence of the other women profiled in this book.

In a television interview promoting My Life, Clinton said that one of the reasons his political enemies couldn't just "let it go" with respect to his personal failures was that too many people involved in politics today refuse to let politicians be three-dimensional people; politicians are too often forced into cartoon characters labeled good or evil, heroes or villains. I couldn't agree more with that insight. Coming from Clinton it's both wise and hypocritical. As the following chapters show, Clinton helped squash many women into cartoon characterizations rather than allow them to exist as three-dimensional human beings. But it's a good reminder to place in context whatever criticisms we level against Clinton. He too is a complex, three dimensional human being, and painting him into a caricature only obscures truth and accuracy. Clinton's mistreatment of women exists alongside other, better human qualities like compassion for the downtrodden and passion for solving global problems ranging from AIDS to nuclear proliferation.

That said, Clinton's misogynistic behavior merits exposure as one of the darker aspects of his character, not in order to ridicule or judge him, but to better understand its causes in hope that others can avoid such damaging behavior. As a world leader who will influence countless people for decades in the remaining years of his life and for centuries through his legacy, Bill Clinton the man and the politician should be examined from all angles. For better or worse he is one of the people to whom history will turn to gauge society's successes and failures du ring the 1990s and on whose shoulders future generations will place praise and blame for myriad developments. When it comes to women's rights, perhaps in time Bill Clinton will be viewed as a person who illustrated some of the risks inherent in liberalism's attempt to ensure gender equality by government coercion.

His story, their stories. His version, their version. His life, their lives. They have no scientific or legal proof with which to persuade you of the truth. But neither does he. Spend some time with Clinton's book and this one, and decide for yourself whom you believe.
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 17110
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Their Lives: The Women Targeted By the Clinton Machine

Postby admin » Tue Jun 07, 2016 4:17 am

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." [1]

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." [2]

Young Bill was a "secret-keeper" who didn't talk about these common feelings of self-doubt that are part of coming of age. [3] 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." [4] 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." [5] 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." [6] 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." [7] 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. [8] (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." [9] 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." [10] 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." [11]

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, [12] 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. [13] 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. [14] 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." [15] 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." [16] 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." [17] 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." [18]

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, [19] 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." [21] 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. [22]

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." [23]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. [24] 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. [25] 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." [26]

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. [27]

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," [28] 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. [29] 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." [30] 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." [31] 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." [32] She continued, "That never happened. It's completely false. It insults all women who have been sexually harassed." [33] 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." [34]

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," [35] 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. [36] 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." [37] 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. [38]

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?" [39] 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." [40] 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." [41] 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." [42]

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. [43] 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 [44]) 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. [45] 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. [46] 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. [47] 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. [48]

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), [49] 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. [50] 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, [51] 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. [52] 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. [53] 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." [54] 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. [55]


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. [56] 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.
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 17110
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Their Lives: The Women Targeted By the Clinton Machine

Postby admin » Wed Jun 08, 2016 4:00 am

CHAPTER THREE: LIKE A GOOD LITTLE GIRL

IN THE SUMMER OF 1992, the Democratic National Convention took place in New York. On July 16,the Democratic Party formally named Clinton its 1992 presidential nominee. The next day on her syndicated television show, Sally Jesse Raphael interviewed a woman named Sally Miller Perdue, then a fifty-three year old former Miss Arkansas who had an affair with Bill Clinton in 1983.

The Los Angeles Times ran a biting piece in its calendar section, barely concealing its contempt for "Sally Jesse (There's Nothing She Won't Do for Ratings) Raphael" and blasting her for allowing Sally Perdue to "smear Clinton's character." [1] The opening line: "Oh, my. What's a poor talk show host to do?" On the show, Raphael said she and the show's producers went "back and forth" about whether to do the Perdue interview, deciding to air the show "with a bit of skepticism and a bit of reluctance." [2] The Times reporter wrote in mock sympathy, "You could feel her anguish, her humanity." [3] To Raphael, Sally Perdue said she didn't want her story told in a "slimy or bimbo way," nor did she want Republicans to exploit her story. [4] When someone in the audience asked Perdue if she was trying to damage Clinton's campaign, Perdue said she'd never want to do that. When asked if she believed Clinton truly supports women's issues, Perdue answered, "I think he's saying what people want to hear." [5]

Not even a week later, Michael Isikoff reported for The Washington Post, "The Clinton campaign is conducting a wide-ranging effort to deflect allegations about the Democratic nominee's private life and has retained a San Francisco private investigator, Jack Palladino to discredit stories about women claiming to have had relationships with the Arkansas governor." [6] Isikoff quoted Clinton aide Betsey Wright (a woman who worked closely with Clinton since their days on the McGovern campaign and who later served as the basis for the aforementioned character Libby in Primary Colors [7]) as saying that since the Democratic National Convention earlier that month, nineteen women had alleged sexual relationships with Clinton, in addition to the seven women that were already "being monitored" by the campaign. [8] Wright, who claimed credit for the moniker "bimbo eruptions," dismissed the allegations as "Scud missile[s] on American politics" and the women who leveled them as gold-diggers. [9] Isikoff reported, "In recent months, Palladino's activities have helped the Clinton team douse a number of stories that threatened to revive the issue of the governor's private life." [10]

When Betsey Wright and the Clinton team learned that Sally Perdue was planning to claim an affair with Clinton, Palladino, the investigator, "began calling former associates and estranged relatives of the woman [Perdue] seeking damaging comments about her credibility." [11] Finding at least one such "estranged relative" of Perdue's, the Clinton camp passed that person's name to interested journalists who had begun making inquiries into Perdue's story. Isikoff concluded, "The approach appears to have worked. Although Perdue later told her story on [Sally Jesse Raphael], no major news organization has reported the account." [12] Cinching Clinton's ability to quash Perdue's story, Isikoff noted, is that "Perdue has no corroboration for her account, and Clinton denies even having met her." [13] In a move disconcerting to her, Arkansas state troopers would later corroborate Perdue's account.

In January 1994, just weeks before Paula Jones went public, foreign papers reported Sally Perdue's story as if it were breaking news. Perdue gave an interview to the London Sunday Telegraph, disclosing details of her four-month affair with Clinton.  [14] From August to December 1983, Perdue told the British newspaper, Clinton came to her home in Little Rock at least twelve times, where the two of them shared their love of music, goofed around, and yes, had sexual relations. At the time, Perdue was a local radio talk show host in Little Rock. Perdue said she used to play the piano at her home, accompanying Clinton on his saxophone. "He had this little boy quality that I found very attractive," she reminisced. "When I see him now president of the United States, meeting world leaders I can't believe it...I still have this picture of him wearing my black nightgown, playing the sax badly .... How can you expect me to take him seriously?" [15]

Clinton had Arkansas state troopers assigned to the government's mansion deliver him to Perdue's house for these rendezvous. "They'd pull up in a wooded area about 30ft from the house and wait there. When Bill was ready to come out he would signal using my patio light, flicking it on and off." This corroborated the stories from state troopers who had alleged in December 1993that they had been used by Clinton to finesse his extramarital activities. Perdue said the affair ended abruptly over political differences of all things; in 1984she ran unsuccessfully as mayor of her home town, Pine Bluff, Arkansas. As a Republican. Against Clinton's wishes.

Perdue described Clinton as a "showman," a "brilliant actor," and as a man who "craved approval and needed the constant affection of women." Perdue continued, "I think this whole business needs to come out into the open so that the American people can make up their minds," but doubted that the American press would be willing to help much.

Perdue also came forward with a chilling account of being threatened into silence by Clinton associates. In August 1992, she said, a Democratic party operative named Ron Tucker grilled her and then threatened her not to talk about her liaison with Clinton. If she agreed to behave like a "good little girl" she would be set up for life with a federal job and a regular monthly paycheck. Of course, there was a flip side: "If I didn't take the offer, then they knew that I went jogging by myself and couldn't guarantee what would happen to my pretty little legs. Things just wouldn't be so much fun for me any more. Life would get hard." The FBI reportedly acknowledged that a third party overheard the threats and filed a complaint. [16]

Perdue turned down Ron Tucker's "generous" offer and found herself fired from her job as a college admissions officer at Linwood College in Missouri. After she found her car suspiciously damaged and received anonymous phone calls and hate mail, she kept quiet, "went into hiding," and moved to St. Louis, working in a home for adults with Down Syndrome. [17] Apparently her Sally Jesse Raphael interview had not been well-received by the Clinton machine. On coming forward again in 1994, Perdue said "I was forced into the open because troopers mentioned my name last month. The media started pursuing me. I hold no animosity toward Clinton, but I greatly dislike the tactics of Democrats who have tried to portray me as some bimbo. If I speak out now, maybe the truth will come into the open." [18]

Not likely. The Economist (United Kingdom edition) reported in February 1994 that "NBC had filmed an interview with Miss Perdue before she spoke to the [London] Sunday Telegraph, but it has not yet broadcast it." Apparently, The Economist concluded, "The heavyweight American press has considered it beneath its dignity to carry the story." [19] The London Sunday Times quoted a Newsweek reporter admitting that "the press is willing to cut Clinton some slack because they like him and what he has to say." [20] Not until the press had been through denials about Paula Jones, Kathleen Willey, and Monica Lewinsky would they later turn on Clinton.

The Boston Globe published an editorial in March 1994 by a staff writer who opined:

In the past several weeks, much new evidence has surfaced indicating that Bill Clinton consistently and recklessly lied about what one can no longer call his private life. His former bodyguards, the Arkansas state troopers, have told many a bawdy tale of skirt-chasing. Sally Perdue, a former Miss Arkansas, says she was threatened into silence during the 1992 campaign. An Arkansas state employee named Paula Jones says she was sexually harassed by Gov. Clinton in 1991.

Big Media has ignored these stories, which have been relegated to publications popularly (and inaccurately) viewed as marginal: The Washington Times; the American Spectator; London's Sunday Telegraph (!) ....

It's not that the allegations of sexual misconduct are incredible. On the contrary, "everybody believes the troopers," says one news magazine editor. Rather, it is because many male editors identify with Bill Clinton. Who hasn't had trouble with his marriage, as candidate Clinton candidly confessed before entering the 1992 race? [21]


This editorial summed up the general sentiments of public and press for the first couple of years of Clinton's presidency. In May 1994,not long after Paula Jones emerged on the scene, The Washington Post acknowledged that Sally Perdue's story existed -- but only in an article denigrating the British press for picking up stories on Clinton's sex life that the American press wouldn't touch. [22]

Sally Perdue rarely spoke up publicly after 1994.In 1996,author Roger Morris (not to be confused with political consultant Richard "Dick" Morris, who worked with the Clintons starting in 1977 and also has written books about them) released a book, Partners in Power: The Clintons and Their America, [23] citing Sally Perdue as one of several people willing to admit she had seen Clinton use cocaine. Morris, an experienced political biographer (and a liberal) known for his books on Richard Nixon, Alexander Haig, and Henry Kissinger, wrote that Clinton's biological father and his stepfather had been notorious womanizers, and their behavior was tolerated by Clinton's mother. As Clinton rose to power in Arkansas state politics, Morris reports, Clinton's own womanizing went from bad to worse, and Morris accused Washington's "culture of complicity," including major media and Beltway insiders, of sloughing off evidence that Clinton had physically and verbally abused women. [24]

In an article published by The Toronto Sun in July 1996, (apparently American media wouldn't publish him on this topic) Roger Morris revealed more details of Sally Perdue's "break-up" with Bill Clinton:

When she told him she was thinking of running for mayor of Pine Bluff, Clinton bristled. "You'd ...you'd better not run for mayor," he warned her, and the relationship ended in an angry argument. He was clearly upset that she had crossed a line, Perdue remembered. A "good ole boy," as she recalled him, he had wanted a "good little girl" as an intimate. "I don't think he really wanted me to be an independent thinker at that point," Perdue would say. [25]


The "good little girl" line would come back to haunt Sally Perdue when it was thrown in her face as a threat after Clinton had announced his bid for president.

By mid-1997 the Paula Jones sexual harassment lawsuit against Clinton was in full swing, garnering widespread media attention to Clinton's history of encounters with women. Sally Perdue made many lists of women whom commentators speculated the Paula Jones lawyers hoped to depose. By March 1999, even Investor's Business Daily weighed in with an article reporting the "diverse" group of women, including Perdue, who "charge that Bill Clinton personally assaulted them, or, through his 'agents' or 'people,' threatened to do them or their families physical harm." [26] IBD even quoted the president of a renegade state chapter of NOW that broke ranks with the national organization over Clinton's behavior and warned White House female staffers to be careful: "Mr. Clinton is an abuser of women .... Is there anyone there to protect them? Can they report an assault safely, or will they and their families be threatened?" [27] IBD cautioned, "To be sure, there is no direct proof that Clinton or anyone working on his behalf bullied women." [28] After running through the long list of women who have openly complained against Clinton or his cadre, IBD reached Sally Perdue's name and quoted Arkansas Democrat-Gazette columnist Gene Lyons as saying, "Sally Perdue's a nut ... I wouldn't believe anything she says." [29] (The following year, Lyons co-authored a book purporting to uncover the right-wing plot to sabotage Clinton's career. [30]) The nuts-or-sluts smear tactic, as the National Organization for Women eventually called it, proved useful against many women.

By January 2001 when The Weekly Standard tried to contact the "Women of the Clinton Scandals" to follow up on their lives, staff writer Matt Labash couldn't even track down Sally Perdue, [31] though at one point she had told a media representative she intended to write a book on her encounters with Clinton. [32] She never did publish such a book, and Clinton's autobiography makes no mention of her.

Quietly, outside the public and media radar, she began working in 2001 in Pennsylvania as director of fund raising and public relations for a Quaker organization called the West Chester Meeting of Friends. [33] In late 2004 her name surfaced again. More than twenty years after her affair with Bill Clinton, the experience still adversely affects her life. Using the name Myra Belle Miller (presumably to deflect precisely the sort of negative attention at the heart of her complaint), she filed a federal lawsuit against the Quaker group complaining that her employers have been sexually harassing her after finding out about her affair with Clinton. [34] Now 65 years old, she still battles an image as one of the sluts who seduced the former president.

***

Sally Perdue -- just like Elizabeth Gracen and reporter Suzi Parker -- experienced serious mistreatment at the hands of Clinton's intermediaries. In fact, her specific, chilling account of attempted bribery and not-so-subtle threats of bodily injury designed to ensure her cooperation strikes all the same chords as Gracen's and Parker's tales.

As with Gracen's story, Perdue's gives us a couple of "Well, at least ... " thoughts to consider before dealing with the heart of the mistreatment issue. Well, at least the sex was consensual. Well, at least she holds no grudge against Clinton, blaming instead only the messengers who delivered the bribes and threats. However, by making a talk show appearance during the 1992 campaign Perdue played along a bit less helpfully than Gracen, and received in return a bit more unwanted attention from the Clinton crowd. Running for mayor of her hometown over Clinton's objections was the first way she failed to behave as Clinton demanded. Refusing point-blank to accept any job offers as bribes for her silence during his 1992 campaign was another. Even without the help of major American media, Perdue made her story known, and that was definitely the wrong move for a "good little girl."

Her story was buried by the early Clinton campaign by making direct threats against her personal safety and feeding disparaging statements about her to curious journalists. Looking back, it's striking that journalists inquiring about Perdue with the Clinton campaign would be deterred on the basis of statements about Perdue made by admittedly "estranged relatives" of hers. I daresay most of us can think of a few relations who would be willing to air a little dirty family laundry in a similar situation. No journalists except Sally Jesse Raphael publicly talked to Perdue's family members and friends who believed and supported her. The Clinton campaign's spin machine worked hard to malign Perdue and bury her story, and when that didn't stop her from talking to the press, switched from name-calling to attempted bribery. When that didn't work, they moved on to intimidation.

Remember that our look into the stories of Clinton's women isn't about whether his extramarital affairs should have disqualified him with voters from becoming president, or whether his adultery should have made him impeachable once in office. This isn't even about whether his adultery and ensuing cover-up included abuses of power (like using state resources to facilitate his liaisons) that should have knocked him out of the race or out of office. If Sally Perdue had simply told her story back in 1992 and Clinton had responded, "So what? That's between me and Hillary," he might still have become president of the United States. If the press had widely reported her account we all would have had a few giggles at the thought of Bill Clinton playing the sax in Sally's black nightgown, but, well, as editors across America concluded, who hasn't had marital problems? Unfortunately for Clinton, for the public, and especially for Sally Perdue, it didn't go down quite like that. The feature of Perdue's story that transforms Clinton's behavior toward her from mere philandering to real mistreatment is his use of smear and scare tactics to bully her into keeping quiet.

Wait, you might be saying, Clinton didn't threaten her personally. Perdue only told us about some Democratic party thug who threatened her. True enough. Except for their break-up, when Clinton made it clear that he wanted her to be a good little girl and not do anything so independent as run for office in Arkansas, Clinton didn't do the dirty work himself. It's even possible that Clinton never personally "ordered" anyone associated with him to take specific actions with respect to shutting up Sally Perdue. Who allegedly recruited Ron Tucker to threaten Perdue may never be known. (For the record, Tucker has denied involvement with the threat against Perdue.) Clinton's personality and position of power suggest that it would be more typical for him to just expect the people around him to take care of that kind of unpleasantness. People like Betsey Wright, whose primary professional goal for a solid decade was keeping Bill Clinton out of hot water.

When Clinton seriously considered running for president in 1988, it was Betsey Wright who sat Clinton down and made him list every woman who could cause problems for him, trying to make Clinton "get past what she considered his self-denial tendencies and face the issue squarely." [35] Biographer David Maraniss writes of Betsey:

For years, she told her friends later, she had been covering up for him. She was convinced that some state troopers were soliciting women for him, and he for them, she said. Sometimes when Clinton was on the road, Wright would call his room in the middle of the night and no one would answer. She hated that part of him, but felt that the other sides of him overshadowed his personal weaknesses. [36]


After making the list with Clinton, "[s]he went over the list twice ... , the second time trying to determine whether any of the women might tell their stories to the press." [37] This was in 1988, and "[a]t the end of the process, she suggested that he should not get into the race. He owed it to Hillary and Chelsea not to." [38] He might have taken her advice in 1988, but by 1991 he knew he would enter the 1992 race. Those closest and most loyal to him would have to fend off the inevitable stories of his relationships with women to the best of their ability. And they did, to the detriment of women like Sally Perdue.

***

Conservative author, intellectual, and activist David Horowitz said in an interview once that the supposed "New left," of which he was a part in his youth, "pushed the Democratic party pretty far to the left and got rid of the Hubert Humphrey wing more or less," though even he and his card-carrying Communist comrades of the day had been quite disillusioned with actual communism after Khrushchev revealed Stalin's brutality. [39] Mr. Horowitz's involvement with leftist and conservative movements, in different periods of his life, gives him valuable perspective on the inner workings of each. [40]

When asked his thoughts about the relationship between today's liberalism and communism, Horowitz quoted James Burnham as saying, "The difference between the Communists and the liberals is that the Communists know what they're doing."  [41] (Burnham was the intellectual force behind The National Review and author of many books, including The Managerial Revolution, which warned against the dangers of exchanging individual freedom for an increasingly bureaucratized, managed society.) Horowitz continued:

Liberalism often departs from the Communist left in terms of its choice of means. They want the same ends but they don't have the stomach for the brutality that's necessary along the way. ...Liberals are people who do believe that society causes all the problems .... And all that means is that they're going to get the government to stick its hands in your pockets and pick out what you've earned and give it to somebody who couldn't or wouldn't earn it themselves. [42]


Horowitz's insights help us arrive at our second identification of a tenet of liberalism that can engender misogyny in someone like Clinton already predisposed to undervalue women.

Modern liberalism relies on intermediaries to take care of the unpleasant tasks of enforcing the means to their political ends. Liberal ideology, like socialism and communism, focuses on "social ills" it believes can and should be cured by government intervention. Modem liberals in the United States are generally complacent about permitting business, trade, and social interactions to occur freely -- but not too freely. Most liberals aren't outright socialists demanding government ownership of the economy, but they use legislation and regulation to establish nearly-plenary government control over the economy. This kind of backdoor string-pulling doesn't stop with business; today's liberals also advocate legislation and regulation that increasingly controls private behaviors from smoking cigarettes to owning firearms; from what you can build on your own property to whether you can let slip an off-color joke at the office.

The control that liberal ideology demands be exercised over every aspect of the world in which we work and play is always for the good of some down-trodden group or class of people who "need" such intervention on their behalf in order to have a fighting chance. Laws banning smoking in restaurants and bars across the country, for instance, were partly justified as measures necessary to protect waitresses who apparently found themselves victimized by unwanted second-hand smoke and unable to find jobs in non-smoking environments.

Laws and regulations make amazing, almost magical tools, in the hands of liberals. Angry at a corporation for tearing down that community center and stacking an office building in its place? Get a zoning board to regulate that kind of decision. Frustrated at skyrocketing rent in your neighborhood? Nothing that a little government-imposed rent control can't fix. Feel sorry for the single mom who can only find work at McDonald's? Help her out by forcing companies to pay minimum wages and overtime. Of course, some laws and regulations are more effective than others at actually achieving their own aims. Even the effective ones, however, impose heavy costs on those obligated to spend time and money complying; and it's barely worth trying to raise the cost issue in terms of diminished freedom of choice, autonomy, and happiness to people forced to comply. As Ludwig von Mises, one of the most influential economists of the twentieth century, once wrote, "If a man forces his fellow citizens to submit to his own standards of value, he does not make them any happier." [43]

There are entire schools of philosophical, economic, and political thought that insist that society functions best when people are allowed maximum freedom to make their own decisions and interact with each other on a voluntary basis. That premise is not embraced by liberal ideology. Modem liberalism insists that every aspect of our lives is up for grabs in terms of regulating our actions so that we'll make decisions liberals think are best. When David Horowitz said "Liberals are people who do believe that society causes all the problems," note that "society" really means all of us going about our daily business, interacting with one another as we see fit. In other words, we cause the world's problems, and we need to be regulated and conformed to liberal ideals of how human beings should act and treat each other.

In a representative government like ours, all liberals have to do is convince enough politicians to agree about how "we" should behave, and presto! Anew law or regulation appears, and our sphere of autonomy over our own choices shrinks correspondingly. Of course, our Constitution supposedly takes some areas of choice out of the eager hands of politicians, but liberals (and some conservatives) are guilty of ignoring that when they feel passionately enough about their particular cause. For example, modem liberalism, with its roots in the progressive movement of the late 1800s,eventually convinced the Supreme Court to abandon its protection of economic freedom by declaring "freedom of contract" practically a dead letter. This allowed the proliferation of economic regulation as we know it today, from occupational licensure laws to federal guidelines on carpal tunnel syndrome. Social conservatives, for their part, are currently up in arms demanding that the Constitution be revised to preclude gays and lesbians from marrying. The concept of personal autonomy takes a back seat to the desire of some to control the behavior of all.

Horowitz's differentiation between liberalism and communism highlights a crucial feature of liberal ideology. In his words, liberals "don't have the stomach" for the brutal means utilized by communism to achieve the social equality that lies at the core of each ideology's vision. Turned off by the thought of an outright dictatorship that openly, relentlessly, disproportionately, and often arbitrarily enforces its edicts at the point of a gun, liberals -- who hate guns anyway -- use intermediaries to carry out their demands. Institutionally, these intermediaries consist of government courts and agencies. Our long history of peaceful exercise of political power in this country has engendered a deep respect for the sanctity of the law. Most people eschew private violence for obtaining revenge, justice, or redress and instead turn it over to the justice system. Likewise, most people charged with wrongdoing submit to the authority of courts, agencies, boards, and committees. Misuse of the legal and regulatory system to punish people for technical wrongdoing that hasn't inflicted any real injury on others may be inciting a growing disrespect for the law in this country, but even today most people feel fairly confident in our justice system.

On a micro level, the intermediaries liberals rely on to enforce their wishes consist of nameless, faceless civil servants whose job it becomes to keep tabs on us, write us up, collect our required paperwork, and of course call us to task for breaking any of the rules. Aside from the showy, pompous" congressional hearings" that occur incessantly and give politicians the chance to grill and humiliate anyone they want to pick on, it's never the liberal ideologues themselves who personally order us to pay fines, tell us we can't remodel our homes without their permission, strip someone of her occupational license for a red tape violation, or drag someone off to prison for an extra-long sentence because of his presumed thoughts (i.e., "hate crimes").

Unlike communists, liberals don't barge into our homes in the middle of the night searching for evidence of wrongdoing or take it upon themselves to literally shoot first and ask no questions later if one of us doesn't comply with their desires or dares question their authority. No, liberals use institutions and individuals as intermediaries to enforce their demands on us. These intermediaries create a veneer of civility and softness covering their control mechanisms, leaving us with more of a sense of freedom than would life in the old Soviet Union.

We've already seen in our first identification of liberal ideology that once liberals deem a goal worthy, any political means are fair game to accomplish it. Our second identification of a tenet of liberalism builds on that to help explain the politics behind Clinton's liberal misogyny: with a worthy goal in mind, making sure it gets accomplished is left to intermediaries. Your hands and conscience can stay technically clean when you can rely on others to do whatever it takes to get the job done.

***

In 2001, a political science professor and a business consultant published an article analyzing the Clinton presidency, asking whether Clinton lived up to his 1992 promise to govern as a "New Democrat." [44] Comparing Clinton's presidency to those of Democrats and Republicans throughout the twentieth century, these scholars concluded that Clinton broke ranks with traditional Democrat policies and governed more conservatively -- more like Republican administrations -- in several major policy areas including macroeconomic policy, fiscal policy, and monetary policy. The only major policy area in which Clinton's New Democrat credentials were "relatively weak" was regulatory policy. [45] The authors surmise that Clinton's approach to inflation, unemployment, discretionary spending, interest rates, and the money supply took the Democratic Party in a "more conservative, New Democrat direction" but his attitude toward regulation "maintained a commitment to certain aspects of the liberal agenda" and ideology. [46]

The authors concluded, "The president needed an acceptable arena in which to pursue liberal policies. Regulatory policy provided it." [47] Budgetary concerns in Washington prompted by the skyrocketing deficits of the 1980s made regulation a more viable, acceptable, and effective method of implementing liberal goals than overt spending and wealth distribution, particularly to achieve aims like government activism in health care, education, and the environment. The study pointed to Clinton-era regulatory measures like "[g]oing after Microsoft and tobacco, regulating the health-care sector, calling for minimum-wage hikes and strict ergonomic standards, and favoring new environmental regulations" all of which helped shift the cost of government activism to private entities, preserving the image of governmental fiscal restraint.48 And that doesn't even count the Clintons' failed attempt to overhaul the entire health care industry and place it under micromanaged government control.

The New Democrat approach is the same old liberal ideology; it's just relegated itself to certain avenues of activism to accomplish the heart and soul of its program. Forcing us to behave the way liberals think we should has become a task of regulation rather than direct manipulation of the economy FDR-style. Shifting the financial burden of accomplishing the liberal agenda to the private sector through endless federal regulations and bureaucratic hoops has become the favored means for New Democrats to achieve their goals.

An astoundingly astute politician, Bill Clinton learned early in his political career to align himself as a New Democrat, sensing the American public tiring of traditional tax-and-spend liberalism. That's why then-first term Governor Clinton supported Jimmy Carter over Ted Kennedy in the Democratic primary of 1980.When it came down to "practical politics," both Clintons supported Carter's unsuccessful bid for re-election that year, to the surprise and disappointment of some of their leftwing friends who thought Ted Kennedy had the right ideas.49 Clinton could see that an alliance with Ted Kennedy could do nothing to help him in his own re-election as governor in 1980,so he supported Carter. Both Clinton and Carter lost their jobs to the "Reagan Revolution" in 1980,although Clinton won back the governorship in 1982.After these 1980defeats, Clinton focused on "what it would take for an activist Democrat to make it to the White House," [50] as biographer David Maraniss put it.

By the time he reached the White House, Clinton the politician had figured it out. The left couldn't criticize him too much as long as he continued using regulation to achieve far-left goals, yet his presidency appeared fiscally responsible, slashing the deficit and constraining government spending. Aside from his 1993 tax hike raising the top marginal rate to 39.6 percent, tax rates stayed about even through the '90s and he introduced many tax credits that lowered the overall tax burden. Perhaps he had hoped that sweeping health care reform would have been to his liberal legacy what Medicare was to LBJ's, but that dream was quashed by Congress. Regulation and Executive Orders were the most viable outlets for Clinton's liberal agenda.

As early as 1944, the economist Ludwig von Mises commented on the trend toward bureaucratization; how "Congress has in many instances surrendered the function of legislation to government agencies ...and it has relaxed its budgetary control through the allocation of large appropriations for expenditures ...." [51] Until the New Deal era the Supreme Court regularly declared it unconstitutional for Congress to leave too much rulemaking and decision-making to unaccountable agencies, commissions, boards, committees, etc. This "non-delegation" doctrine has been nearly eviscerated now, permitting what some legal scholars have aptly called our fourth branch of government: administrative agencies. Mises warned, "On the other hand, we must realize that delegation of power is the main instrument of modem dictatorship. It is by virtue of delegation of power that Hitler and his Cabinet rule Germany." [52] Writing in the midst of Hitler's inexorable fist of power over the German people, Mises tried to call our attention to the simple fact that extensive control requires extensive babysitting.

Liberal politicians intent on fixing all society's problems have only to command, "Save those spotted owls!" and it's up to civil servants to carry out the demand and confront anyone whose plan for their own property conflicts with the liberals' goal of protecting the birds. Liberals can say, "It's such a shame that so many people get repetitive stress injuries at work; let's require employers to provide breaks and ergonomically-designed equipment," and leave it up to government employees to audit offices, field complaints from disgruntled workers, and hold administrative hearings to discipline offending businesses. Implementation of their commands becomes someone else's job, leaving them free to pat themselves on the back for furthering their worthy cause without ever having to see up close the toll of compliance on individual people.

***

All Sally Perdue experienced directly from Clinton was boyish charm and the excitement of a forbidden love affair with a powerful man. When she became a threat to Clinton's ambitions, it wasn't Bill Clinton who showed up on her doorstep threatening her safety. It was a complete stranger, a political operative. Speaking vaguely about some powerful people wanting her to keep quiet, this intermediary warned her that only good little girls get to keep their pretty little legs. He was just doing his part to further Clinton's noble quest for power, for the benefit of everyone. Everyone except Sally, that is.

Think of it from her point of view in that moment. You've carried on an affair with the governor. The governor angrily broke it off with you when you made it clear you didn't intend to play the role he demanded of you. Someone patently representing his interests found you. This stranger is now telling you he and others know you go jogging by yourself, and that there's no telling what could happen to you unless you behave yourself. You're deeply offended and have no interest in taking this "federal job" your intimidator is going on about. You're scared, too. But what good is it to go to the police when you know that state law enforcement officers were the ones who had facilitated Clinton's visits to you in the first place?

If you're Sally Perdue, you start to regret your decision to appear on Sally Jesse Raphael and you quickly opt to keep quiet. You keep a low profile for a year and a half, until those damn troopers drag your name back into the spotlight. Not wanting any part of the scrutiny that's beginning to come your way, you try to preempt it by going back to the media to tell again of your brief affair with Clinton and disclose the threats you received last time. Maybe that will call off the dogs. When a woman named Paula Jones gets the whole thing rolling again later that year, you do your best to avoid interviews and subpoenas. If Clinton had enough gall and clout as a state governor to treat you the way he did, imagine what he has at his disposal as president of the United States.

Every once in a while, you feel a ripple of anger at being so mistreated. Behave like a good little girl? Just who does he think he is? You may have been a beauty queen in your youth, but you have built yourself a decent, meaningful life. You have goals and ambitions of your own, though none quite as lofty as becoming president. You find yourself on endless lists of "bimbos" and "gold-diggers" even though you never made a dime off your story and naively thought the American people deserved to know some personal history of a man they might want to elect president.

Telling Perdue to be a "good little girl" drips with condescension and disrespect for her as a person. Showing no sense of appreciation for her as a living, breathing human being with rights equal to their own, Clinton's "people" treated her as a shell of a person who could and should be bought off or scared off. It's no wonder that Perdue claimed that Clinton was" saying what people want to hear" when it carne to women's issues.

Clinton needed to become president in order to do all the good things he envisioned for so many people. None of those good things could be done if someone tarnished the public's image of him too much. Could that "someone" have been Sally Perdue? Probably not, but it wasn't worth the risk. After indulging in his fun with Perdue, Clinton was off and running toward his ultimate goal again. With Pennsylvania Avenue as his beneficent goal, Clinton's politics primed him to be able to count on other people, intermediaries, to do whatever it took to keep him on track. He couldn't resist going to bed with Perdue, but her independence and security meant nothing to him. In this case, he didn't even have to think about her or know what was happening to her. He'd set a goal -- for the greater good, obviously -- and left implementation of that goal to those around him. Liberals rarely have to witness the frustration, pain, and burden suffered by real people trying to comply with their demands. Clinton, too, never had to see Sally Perdue's face when she was badgered and threatened in order to safeguard his goals.

At least twice in ten years, Clinton or his cadre left Sally Perdue under orders to be a "good little girl." The phrase reveals much about how they viewed this woman. The phrase is at once parental and chauvinistic, insinuating that he knows best; her thoughts aren't valuable; there are things that girls just can't or shouldn't do. Early and modem feminists alike would justifiably bristle at being told to act this way. It's demeaning, and it removes the person at whom it's directed from full personhood into a constricted realm of stereotype. Compliance is demanded of the" girl" not because it's right but because he demands it.

Whatever his political positions on abortion and other so-called "women's issues," Clinton's treatment of Perdue demonstrated personal disrespect and an attitude of superiority, especially evident when he angrily told her she'd better not run for mayor. His ambitions counted; hers didn't. His goals needed to be achieved at any cost; hers didn't. When she emerged as a potential threat to his plans, neither her reputation nor her physical safety mattered. He might have enjoyed sleeping with her, but her interests didn't count compared to his. Perdue was just another she Clinton used. She was replaceable, expendable; a body, not a person.

Clinton's attitude toward and treatment of Perdue gelled under the influence of multiple interwoven factors, some emotional, some psychological. And many ideological.
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 17110
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Their Lives: The Women Targeted By the Clinton Machine

Postby admin » Wed Jun 08, 2016 4:01 am

Part 1 of 2

CHAPTER FOUR: MADE FOR EACH OTHER

IN OCTOBER 1991, Arkansas's youngest-ever governor made the most ambitious career statement a person can make: "I am declaring my candidacy for president of the United States." [1] Still youthful at forty-five, Bill Clinton had already weathered seventeen elections in Arkansas, including primaries and run-offs. When he threw his lot in with the pack of Democratic presidential hopefuls that year, Clinton and his team figured their radar screens already revealed the range of potential problems for the national campaign and doubted any real bombshells could explode. His Arkansas opponents had long ago dredged up charges of infidelity, and an Arkansas journalist for a small paper had already coined the nickname "Slick Willie." [2]

Surprisingly, it was actually not a woman who stirred up the trouble in Arkansas that tainted Clinton's national reputation from the minute he announced his candidacy. State employee Larry Nichols, fired in 1988for making unauthorized phone calls to aid Nicaraguan rebels, sued Clinton in 1990over his termination and included names of specific women he alleged had affairs with the then-governor, facilitated by state resources like law enforcement personnel and state vehicles. Nichols eventually withdrew his lawsuit, but only recanted allegations of affairs with one of the five women he named.

Clinton denied the allegations along the way, but left enough wiggle-room in how he phrased his denials to force major newspapers from the very start to add comments such as, "Many of the rumors are demonstrably false. Clinton, however, has never flatly denied accusations of past infidelity, saying he should not be measured against a standard of 'perfection.''' [3] That kind of equivocation did more than anything else to keep the press gingerly mentioning Clinton's "problem" as he entered the national race.

The Larry Nichols lawsuit lingered in Clinton's background as more of a nuisance than a danger until a New York tabloid picked it up and ran with it in January 1992.The tabloid named names, and the media began to fret about how to cover the story when no woman allegedly involved had come forward. Of course, when women did come forward the question quickly became how they could "substantiate" or "corroborate" their stories, which in a he said, she said situation is rarely possible. As we've previously seen, Sally Perdue had tried to break her silence in the summer of 1992, but her story was successfully squashed before it picked up steam due to the efficient efforts of the Clinton scandal team. Other women, like Elizabeth Ward Gracen, were helping Clinton by keeping quiet and even issuing written denials of involvement with him in order to satisfy inquisitive reporters and would not come forward until years later.

Before any womanizing charges had hit the national media as more than whispers of rumors, Bill and Hillary had appeared before reporters to preempt such lines of inquiry. Clinton had long faced down a reputation of philandering around Arkansas, and just before officially entering the presidential race, he and Hillary told the press together that they'd worked through problems in their marriage and intended "to be together thirty or forty years" more. [4] It proved a useful tactic, discouraging the press from prying further into this man's past personal issues when he'd (sort of) already come clean about not being perfect.

The same strategy had worked in Arkansas to save Clinton from an ignominious end to his political career before it had really begun. When Clinton first assumed the governorship in 1978 the position ran for a term of only two years. By his reelection bid in 1980he had angered voters with a license plate fee hike for education reform that helped cost him the election. He campaigned out of office for the next two years and introduced his official campaign for governor in the 1982 cycle by buying television time for a one-minute mea culpa telling voters that "his daddy never had to whip him twice for the same thing" and if they gave him back his job he'd never make the same mistakes again. [5] It worked like a charm, immunizing him during the 1982 race from almost every criticism leveled at him by his opponents. Political consultant Dick Morris, the man behind this almost-apology strategy, recalled, "The polls showed a tremendous backlash of sympathy for Clinton because he had already apologized.... People said, 'What's Tucker [Clinton's strongest primary opponent] dumping on him for? He already apologized. It's a rare man who can admit his mistakes." [6] Morris sold the Clintons on the almost-apology approach by comparing it to a smallpox vaccination: you get a little sick at first, but then you're immune. [7]

Still, from the very start of Clinton's presidential candidacy nearly every major news article introducing him to the country mentioned the rumors of womanizing that had dogged his footsteps throughout his career. The press carefully used the words "rumors," "alleged infidelities," and "unproven accusations" when broaching the topic. A typical article covering the Clinton campaign in the beginning included a statement like this: "Many analysts believe his campaign's major problem would be if anyone substantiates rumors, which have followed him for years, that he has had extramarital affairs." [8] In the thirteen months before candidate Clinton became President-elect Clinton, infidelity and draft-dodging emerged as issues that turned "Character!" into a political battle cry and left the mainstream media in fits of self-conscious psychoanalysis over its coverage of an official's private life.

Clinton initially tried to separate himself from his Democratic rivals by emphasizing the importance of character and good old-fashioned values. Democrats "should not be afraid to defend the values they were raised with," Clinton insisted early on in his campaign. [9] In the preseason of the campaign, Clinton aide George Stephanopoulos stated: "Specificity should be the character issue of 1992." [10] After his candidate's personal character had been under fire for months amidst classic-Clinton part-denial/ part-admission evasiveness, Stephanopoulos admitted those words were "really going to come back to haunt me." [11] The campaign quickly turned from a "character counts" theme to "It's the economy, stupid."

In January 1992,a new name appeared on the pages of America's newspapers and opinion journals that would help change the debate over character. And what a name, too! Gennifer Flowers. With a "G," she insisted. (In the December 1992 issue of Penthouse Flowers said, "They can bury me upside down and kiss my a-- as long as they spell Gennifer with a G." [12] Classy.) Within weeks she would become a virtual synonym for" gold digger," "bimbo," and "white trash out for cash." When commentators cheered 1992 as The Year of the Woman, they probably didn't have this one in mind.

A New York tabloid, the Star, first published Gennifer Flowers's account of her affair with Bill Clinton -- which had flickered on and off from 1977 through 1989 -- in January, at a point when the 1992 Democratic nomination was still up for grabs. The story (a twelve-year affair complete with pet names for each other's, umm, private parts), its heroine (a dark-roots blonde wannabe singer in her forties), and its medium (a supermarket tabloid, for crying out loud) together reeked of sensationalism, luring Clinton into a sense of security in denying it. Which he did. Sort of. At least until he was eventually compelled to testify about the matter.

Six years to the month after Gennifer Flowers had gone public and Clinton had repeatedly denied sexual involvement with her, Clinton vindicated Ms. Flowers. Never to her face, never in whole, and not willingly, but he admitted under oath that he had sexual relations with her. Gennifer Flowers was not the first woman to be put through the Clinton versus Women cycle of expose-denial-smear; we saw that happen to Sally Perdue, and we'll see it happen again to Paula Jones and Kathleen Willey. But Gennifer Flowers was the first Clinton woman whose story garnered widespread media attention and attracted vicious public attacks from Clinton and his cadre. By the time the truth spilled forth from Clinton's mouth in a sworn deposition, Flowers was merely a footnote to the erupting scandal surrounding Monica Lewinsky. Even today, Flowers remains the only specific woman other than Lewinsky with whom Clinton has confessed to having an extramarital affair.

Revisiting the role Gennifer Flowers played in the 1992 presidential election isn't a glimpse into a particularly dignified era of American politics. However, her story, Clinton's reaction, the media's coverage of it, and her life after Bill, illustrate important aspects of how Clinton's liberal agenda impacted his treatment of women.

***

Eura Gean Flowers grew up in Brinkley, Arkansas, [13] a town about seventy miles east of Little Rock. Brinkley's current mayor, Billy Clay, welcomes visitors to his town through its Web site by boasting of Brinkley's "most important asset-the great people that live and work in Brinkley." [14] This Web site advertises Brinkley as "surrounded by entertainment opportunities" including the Annual Fall Roundup Festival featuring "arts, crafts, duck-calling contests, chili cook-offs, softball tournaments, and the Miss Eastern Arkansas Beauty Pageant." [15] After graduating high school in this small town in 1968, young Geannie, as she was called, began using the name Gennifer in her singing career [16] and legally changed her name to Gennifer Flowers. [17] At age eleven she recorded an album under the name Geannie Flowers, and recorded another album under the nickname Little Scooter at age thirteen. [18] One of her favorite memories is performing "When the Saints Go Marching In" at Pete Fountain's Bourbon Street club on a trip to New Orleans with her parents in her teen years. [19] She sang in nightclubs around Arkansas, studied nursing for a while, and eventually took a college journalism class and started working for a Little Rock television station.

In 1977 Flowers was twenty-seven years old, with dark hair not yet dyed blonde, still dreaming of making it as a singer and reporting for the local TV station. After her connection to Clinton became headline news, Little Rock residents described her variously as a good local singer, a failed has-been, a "proverbial nice girl," and a woman who serially latched onto wealthy, powerful men. Perhaps the truth was somewhere in between, surmised one reporter, but it was going to be near-impossible to find it in Little Rock. [20]

Flowers interviewed Arkansas Attorney General Bill Clinton in 1977, and he began visiting her off and on for intimate encounters that spanned twelve years. His first words to her were "Where did they find you?" [21] They spent their first evening together talking, and he left with just a kiss on her cheek. [22] "It was wonderful ... I was hooked," she said. Clinton has "a lot of soul and emotion," she added. It wasn't the power that attracted her ("How much power do you think the attorney general of Arkansas had?"); she just thought he was "wonderful in general." He'd tell her he wanted to be president someday and she'd say "Honey that's nice" while thinking "how likely is that" to herself. But he always treated her with respect. He loved her ideas and goals and was proud of her for being an "independent, liberated woman." Well, at least as long as her independence and liberation didn't pose any threat to his objectives.

They continued their affair even when she moved out of the state in the late 1970s to pursue her singing. She lived at various times in Tulsa, Oklahoma; Branson, Missouri; and Dallas, Texas, but whenever she'd return to Arkansas, she and Bill would rendezvous at a variety of locations. When they first started seeing each other, Bill and Hillary had only been married eighteen months and didn't have a child; she and Bill even talked about the possibility of him leaving his wife, though she realized at some point that would never happen. She loved him, and believed he loved her.

When she returned to Little Rock in the mid-1980s, she moved into the Quapaw Tower at his request; he was now governor and told her he had aides living in that building so it would make it easier for him to pursue their relationship. [23] Per Bill's request, she communicated with him through government employees who could be trusted to keep everything discreet. [24] Two of those employees, former Arkansas state troopers Larry Patterson and Roger Perry, confirmed their facilitation of Flowers's affair with Clinton when they told the press in late 1993that they assisted with arranging the trysts for half a dozen long-term affairs and innumerable random sexual encounters while assigned to the governor's mansion. [25]

She stayed in the affair for so many years because she was completely in love with him and believed even thirty minutes of "wonderful" with him was better than a lifetime of "OK" without him. [26] She also came to realize that they both seemed to be "addicted to the sexual excitement." [27] Bill was always a risk-taker; once, he wanted her to make love with him in a bathroom in the governor's mansion while his wife and fifty guests were just a few feet away out on the lawn. [28] In some ways she felt like she was more protective of his marriage and reputation than he was, since she'd be the one to nip those risky suggestions in the bud. [29] When she and Bill would appear at the same functions together, she'd discourage him from spending too much time next to her, out of respect for his family. [30] One night he jumped out of bed and put his back against the wall, crying. [31] He never explained, but she sensed he was feeling guilty. [32]

As Clinton's career escalated, so did the rumors of his extramarital dalliances. In her book, Flowers says she asked Bill about several women and believed most of his denials. When his former bodyguards went public with stories of countless liaisons, some with prostitutes, she began to wonder how safe it was to continue a relationship with Bill; after all, she had always trusted him enough never to insist on using condoms. [33] Flowers writes that from her personal experience with Bill, she knew he "felt an enormous sense of power from leading [her] into sexual adventures, so he very likely enjoyed using that power and influence he had as governor to conquer other women, too." [34] In her opinion, "I think Bill was addicted to the chase, not the sex act itself, but the actual conquering of all those women." [35] Her book Passion and Betrayal contains many similar insights into what makes Bill Clinton tick.

Flowers broke it off for good in 1989 when she had met someone else she cared for, a wealthy stockbroker named Finis Shelnutt. Bill was "sad" but "not surprised" and he wanted her to do well and have a good life. [36] Even after she got engaged, he kept in touch with her as a friend. [37]

One former friend would later say that Flowers had bragged about her affair with Clinton as her future ticket to fame and fortune years before the story broke. [38] Flowers's name first appeared publicly linked to his, however, not by her own disclosure but in a lawsuit filed against Clinton by disgruntled fired state employee Larry Nichols. After the Nichols lawsuit tossed her name out in 1990, Flowers's boyfriend, Finis Shelnutt, broke up with her. [39] He said she denied her affair with Clinton when he first confronted her, but when the rumors persisted he called it quits with Gennifer. [40] A local radio station had mentioned her name in connection with the Nichols lawsuit, and when she denied her affair to her boyfriend, she told Shelnutt she was going to sue the radio station for slandering her. [41] In January 1991 she even had a lawyer send a letter to the radio station threatening to sue for defamation, but she never filed a lawsuit. [42]

With no love and no money (her singing career wasn't doing so well), Flowers began calling on Clinton to find a state job. She contacted him requesting employment at least once by phone in September 1990, and at least once by letter in February 1991. [43] Clinton put an aide in charge of helping Flowers out, and she was finally offered a job as an administrative assistant with the state unemployment review agency, paying about $17,000 per year, in June 1991, just weeks before Clinton declared his presidential candidacy. Clinton appointee Don Barnes -- head of the Arkansas Board of Review and Flowers's supervisor -- said Flowers was hired based on merit pursuant to state guidelines. [44]

Even before the Nichols lawsuit cast the national spotlight on her, Flowers found herself in an uncomfortable position when an applicant for the job Clinton helped her get filed a complaint with the state grievance committee, alleging the only reason Flowers got the job was that she was having an affair with Governor Clinton. [45] When she learned she'd have to testify before the grievance committee, Flowers called Clinton, who told her to deny ever having an affair with him. [46] Appearing before the panel, Flowers was spared answering allegations about the affair because Don Barnes, who conveniently was also the head of the grievance committee, stopped the questioning. [47] Barnes had tried to avoid an investigation altogether but the other committee members outvoted him. [48] When asked under oath by the committee how she'd learned of the open position, she lied and said she'd see an opening in the newspaper; she made no reference to getting help from Governor Clinton. [49] The state grievance committee still ruled in favor of the complaining job applicant on the grounds that numerous state procedures had been violated in hiring Flowers and recommended compensating the rejected applicant, but Barnes refused to follow the committee's ruling. [50] When Flowers told Clinton all about this, and how she'd lied to the committee, he said "Good for you." [51] Good practice, too, for when she would be expected to lie publicly about her affair with him. She might have been willing to, but caught in a wave of confusion, emotion, and pressure from all angles, she turned out to be a woman Clinton couldn't count on when he needed her most.

***

Gennifer Flowers's life hummed along as she bounced from gig to gig, struggling to make it as a singer, her days and nights punctuated by frequent rendezvous with Bill Clinton, until about a year after she had ended the affair and her involvement with him began to create complications. Because of the rumors flying around from the Nichols lawsuit, strange disturbances began cropping up and she was advised to tape record her conversations with Bill Clinton. She felt strange about doing it at first, but thought of the tapes as insurance in case something happened to her. [52] Her apartment had already been ransacked once, she and her mother had received phone calls threatening her physical safety, and she was afraid. [53] She once told him about her home being broken into and he said, "You think they were trying to look for something on us?" The tone in his voice made her suspect maybe it was Clinton who "had this done to [her]." [54] Maybe it was also the way he immediately asked her if phone records were among the items that were taken. A partial transcript of that conversation, courtesy of the Flowers Tapes, reads: [55]

CLINTON: You think they were trying to look for something on us?

FLOWERS: I think so. Well, I mean ... why, why else? Um ...

CLINTON: You weren't missing any, any kind of papers or anything?

FLOWERS: Well, like what kind of papers?

CLINTON: Well I mean did ... any kind of personal records or checkbooks or anything like that...? Phone records?

FLOWERS: Do I have any?

CLINTON: Yeah ... I wouldn't care if they ... you know, I, I ... They may have my phone records on this computer here, but I don't think it ... That doesn't prove anything.


Another portion of the Flowers Tapes captures Clinton saying, "They [reporters] can't run a story like this unless somebody said, 'Yeah, I did it with him'" and then musing, "I wonder if I'm just going to be blown out of the water with this. I don't see how they can [garbled word] so far if they don't, if they don't have pictures." [56] Clinton had "an almost mystical faith in the absence of photographs," and as long as none turned up he felt invincible denying everything. [57] In typical Clinton fashion, he was partially correct. No pictures emerged, and Flowers's word was mud by the time Clinton and his gang finished trashing her. His word continued to carry some weight, even though on one tape from December 1990, just after he'd won re-election as governor, Clinton tells Flowers of a reporter questioning him about a list of women's names, including Flowers's; on tape Clinton says to Flowers, "God ... I kinda hate to deny that!... I told you a couple of years ago, one time when I came to see you, that I had retired. And I'm now glad I have because they scoured the waterfront." [58]

In January 1992 the Star tabloid ran a piece about the Nichols lawsuit. Flowers had refused to talk to the Star but her name and picture appeared in the story anyway. Clinton immediately faced questions from the press about the article. He called the story "trash," [59] "an absolute lie," [60] and "totally bogus." [61] "You know the Star says Martians walk on earth and people have cow's heads," Clinton said smilingly during the opening round of the scandal that would follow him for the next eleven months. [62] The Washington Post published Clinton's denials and added that its reporters had been unable to substantiate any of the alleged affairs and had been told by some of the women named that they had not had trysts with Clinton. [63] London's Sunday Times reported that Clinton's aides privately admitted the governor had an affair a decade earlier but "has since been happily married." [64] In his autobiography Clinton arrogantly recounts the way he responded to press inquiries about the Gennifer Flowers story. When an Associated Press reporter hit him with a question about the women named in Larry Nichols's lawsuit, Clinton suggested the reporter contact the women Nichols had mentioned. Clinton writes, "He did, they all denied it, and the story basically died." [65] Even today Clinton apparently has no qualms about the fact that he denied an affair with Flowers even though he later confessed to it. Clinton elaborates on his reaction to the Flowers scandal:

[We [the campaign] didn't know what was on whatever tapes Flowers might have, but I remembered the conversations clearly, and I didn't think there could be anything damaging on them.

Flowers, whom I'd known since 1977and had recently helped get a state job, had called me to complain that the media were harassing her .... I commiserated with her, but I hadn't thought it was a big deal.

The press reported that Flowers had been paid for the story, and that she had vigorously denied an affair a year earlier. The media, to their credit, exposed Flowers's false claims about her education and work history. [66]


On January 19, 1992, Clinton participated in a televised debate with his Democratic rivals and "took it on the chin" when Senator Torn Harkin accused Clinton of proposing "Reaganomics" (God forbid) and moderator Cokie Roberts questioned his political viability in light of the now-circulating rumors of marital infidelity. [67]The insinuations were a "pack of lies," Clinton protested, blaming Republicans for spreading rumors about him and assuring his audience that after running in seventeen elections there was nothing to fear from skeletons in his closet. [68]You have to wonder if he still "hated to deny it," and, for that matter, if he'd really "retired."

On January 23,1992, The New York Times printed an op-ed by political science professors headlined "Has Clinton Said Enough?; A Yes or No Will Do." [69] The professors noted that Clinton had recently responded to a reporter's question ("Have you ever had an extramarital affair, governor?") by retorting "If I had, I wouldn't tell you." [70] The political scientists opined that voters deserved a straight answer because "a male politician's record of philandering says far more about his basic attitudes toward women than any number of policy papers or speeches on women's issues." [71] But Clinton continued in the vein of indignant denials coupled with vague admissions throughout the campaign.

Barely a week after the Star published its rehash of the Nichols lawsuit, Gennifer Flowers went public with her story -- in the Star tabloid. Her appearance fed the fermenting interest into Clinton's "woman problem" for two reasons: she was the first woman to substantiate rumors of infidelity after he'd announced his candidacy, and she had audio tapes proving at least that Clinton knew her. Flowers had gone to New York with her lawyer to try to convince people to keep her name out of the public arena. When she arrived, she realized how out of control the situation was and that her name was going to be published with or without her acquiescence. [72] Only then did she agree to take money from the Star to come forward and tell her side of things. Hindsight being 20/20, she would have preferred her story come out in a more respectable way, but she's said, "1 didn't have a master plan that I was accused of. I was a little girl from Arkansas [and] I was very scared at that point." [73] Once she decided to tell, she told it all, and she spent the next six years with her "dukes up" because "he denied our relationship and then he let loose his spin doctors to try to destroy me." [74]

No one knew quite what to make of this woman, bold as brass, proclaiming her love for Bill and how he broke her heart by denying their long, torrid affair. No one quite knew, either, what to make of her tapes -- phone conversations between her and Bill recorded over the course of several months, the last in early January 1992. Clinton never expressly confirmed or denied that it was his voice on the tapes, but he acknowledged having talked to her on the phone, and implicitly admitted it was his voice on the tapes by protesting that some of the conversations took his words out of context and actually apologizing for at least one statement he made on those tapes. Clinton's defenders publicly accused Flowers of doctoring the tapes, leading her to initiate a years-long defamation lawsuit against James Carville and George Stephanopoulos, which has been dismissed and appealed several times and is still on-going. The Clinton team had private investigator Anthony Pellicano evaluate the tapes, and he determined they'd been doctored. [75] The same Pellicano was eventually caught hiring a thug to threaten to kill a Los Angeles Times reporter to get her to layoff a story about Hollywood ties to the Mafia; Pellicano was sentenced to two and a half years prison time on charges of illegal possession of firearms and explosives. [76]

In Flowers's interview in the Star she detailed the twelve-year affair, saying she had loved Clinton but was "sick of the deceit, of all the lies" and had come forward after hearing Clinton call the Star's previously-published allegations about an affair with her "trash" and "bogus." [77] Flowers said, "For twelve years I was his girlfriend and now he tells me to deny it -- to say it isn't true." [78] It was drama at its soap-opera best. The Star article claimed Flowers had tapes of fifteen phone conversations between Flowers and Clinton. One clip of a conversation printed by Star had Clinton telling Flowers: "If they [the press] ever hit you with it, just say no and go on. There's nothing they can do. I expected them to look into it and come interview you. But if everybody is on record denying it, no problem." [79] There would be no problems, Clinton assured Flowers on tape, "as long as everyone hangs tough." [80] Unfortunately for Clinton, Ms. Flowers didn't "hang tough" for long.

Clinton and his team responded immediately. For his part, Clinton repeatedly told the press, "The affair did not happen," [81] "The story is not accurate" [82] and "The story is just not true." [83] But he also reminded everyone that he and his wife had been candid about the existence of past problems in their relationship and they had a strong marriage now. Denial on the one hand; some kind of admission on the other. No wonder the story wouldn't disappear. Hounded by one reporter shouting, "Can you prove your innocence?" Clinton replied, "1 don't know if I can. The other charges I've always been able to actively, affirmatively disprove." [84] At this point in time this statement was generally true; he had managed to persuade some women, as we saw with Elizabeth Ward Gracen, to deny their affairs with him, and to discredit and silence others before their stories gained widespread publicity, like Sally Perdue the previous summer. After all, the campaign had for months been paying investigator Jack Palladino to collect affidavits from potential blabbermouth women; if they resisted, Palladino's assignment included taking other measures, like scraping up all the information he could to raise questions about their credibility or mental stability. [85]

Clinton admitted speaking with Flowers more than once over the phone, but insisted he'd only ever told her to tell the truth. [86] Just a few days into the uproar, Clinton decided to appear with Hillary on CBS's 60 Minutes to try and put the story to bed (so to speak). On January 26, 1992, Super Bowl Sunday, Clinton told correspondent Steve Kroft and millions of Americans that the Gennifer Flowers story wasn't true, that she was only a "friendly acquaintance," [87] but also said "1 have acknowledged causing pain in my marriage." [88] Clinton refused to answer whether he'd ever committed adultery, appealing to everyone's desire for marital privacy. When Kroft told Clinton that the questions hadn't disappeared because Clinton's answers weren't clear-cut denials, Clinton responded, "Of course it is not, from your point of view, and that won't make it go away." [89] Huh?

Flowers had refused to talk to the press when her story came out in the Star. However, the day after the Clintons' unusual appearance on 60 Minutes, Gennifer Flowers held a press conference with her attorney, complete with an opening statement and a dramatic "let the tapes speak for themselves" airing of some of her now-famous recordings. In her opening statement Flowers explained she was tired of lying for Bill and felt hurt by his denials of their relationship. She said calmly, but with emotion:

Last night, I sat and watched Bill on 60 Minutes. I felt disgusted, and I saw a side of Bill that I had never seen before. He is absolutely lying. I'm disappointed, but realistically I never thought he would come out and admit it .... The man on 60 Minutes was not the man I fell in love with ... I would like to think that after a twelve year relationship he would have the guts to say, "Yes, I had an affair with this woman, but it's over." And that's the truth ....

I will always have a place in my heart for Bill Clinton. He was twelve years of my life. I cared very, very deeply for him and shared very special things with him. [90]


Reporters threw all varieties of prurient questions at her (e.g. "Did he wear a condom?"), which she declined to answer. [91] A documentary released later that year entitled Feed showed behind- the-scenes clips of the presidential race, including off-camera footage of Flowers looking "bemused" at the zoo of a press conference she'd created. [92] Flowers and the Star held back giving the press full access to the tapes, playing only about fifteen minutes worth (she later sold them to the public through a Web site). CNN covered the press conference but refused to air the tapes because it had not verified them.

Legendary journalist Mary McGrory wrote the next day, "At least we know why she is doing what she is doing. The Star paid her an undisclosed amount of money for her story of snatched moments of bliss ...." [93] The Washington Post and Newsweek reporter Michael Isikoff published a book in 1999 recounting how the Post got the tapes from Flowers in 1994 when looking into the Paula Jones allegations and an editor there found herself taken aback at the "other side of Clinton" revealed on the tapes: "arrogant, crude, and profane," and adamant about covering up his affair with Flowers. [94]
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 17110
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Their Lives: The Women Targeted By the Clinton Machine

Postby admin » Wed Jun 08, 2016 4:01 am

Part 2 of 2

Obviously irked that Bill had called her just a friendly acquaintance, at her press conference Flowers stated, "When people hear my tapes I think they will realize that I am not a woman that he saw and spoke to infrequently." [95] Flowers had taken on Clinton and his cadre, and would find herself on the losing end of a smear campaign for the next six years. In his memoirs Clinton writes that Flowers's press conference didn't bother him because he and Hillary had "managed to put it in the right perspective on 60 Minutes. The public understood that I hadn't been perfect and wasn't pretending to be, but people also knew there were many more important issues confronting the country." [96] He adds, "And a lot of people were repelled at the 'cash for trash' aspects of the coverage." [97] No need to mention that he and his gang coined "cash for trash" and other catchy phrases to discredit Flowers. In fact, in his book Clinton feigns supercilious sympathy for Flowers: "Gennifer Flowers struck me as a tough survivor who'd had a less-than-ideal childhood and disappointments in her career but kept going." [98] Actually, the same banal observation could be made of Clinton himself.

After receiving their candidate's assurances that Flowers's story was false, Clinton's insiders leaped into battle mode, amplifying their" cash for trash" smear and appearing on talk shows to denounce tabloid journalism in general and Gennifer Flowers in particular. When the first copy of Flowers's tabloid story reached the campaign, staffer Dee Dee Myers called Clinton media man Frank Greer, who said, "Our smoking bimbo has emerged." [99] After Flowers held her press conference, Clinton advisor James Carville declared "We're going to have to go to war," and appeared on the Today show the next morning to attack Flowers's credibility. [100] The campaign immediately released to the media a copy of the letter Gennifer Flowers's attorney had sent the Arkansas radio station in 1991 threatening to sue for defamation over the radio station's broadcast about the alleged affair. [101] That letter boosted Clinton's confidence in declaring, "She's obviously changed her story for money." [102] Palladino, the campaign's investigator, got busy and even went to the trouble of asking a former friend of Gennifer's "Do you think Gennifer is the sort of person who would commit suicide?" [103] Just curious, I suppose.

Palladino went around the country talking to people who knew me," Flowers later said. [104] "I had calls from people -- girl friends, guy friends, people I had known. It wasn't necessarily people I had known well." [105] If they had found any good dirt on her, they would have used it, Flowers felt sure. "They turned over every rock they could." [106] Good to know that Clinton campaign contributions (matched by federal tax dollars) were well spent.

Palladino returned my phone call to question him about his alleged activities. "1 can't comment on investigations," he insisted, adding that most of what's been reported on the Internet is "science fiction." When I asked him if he could tell me whether he had ever engaged in intimidation or harassment tactics on behalf of a Clinton campaign, he dodged the question. Instead of denying that he'd ever done bad things, he told me about some good things he's done with his investigative career. He told me about high-profile investigative work he's done pro bono over the years, and said that this kind of charity work shows what kind of a person he really is. This guy is a lot like Clinton himself, I found myself thinking. In his mind the good works he does cancel out any abuses he may also have committed. But as with Clinton, the people he hurts count just as much as the people he helps. Women like Gennifer Flowers suffered greatly as a result of their tactics, and the fact that they do good things for others doesn't negate the real mistreatment they inflicted on her.

The media dug into Flowers's account half-heartedly, pointing out inconsistencies and weaknesses where they could, feeling oh-so-self-conscious writing about it at all. For instance, the Star had quoted Flowers as saying that when she moved to Tulsa in 1980, she and Clinton would sometimes hook up at the Little Rock Excelsior Hotel when she'd come back into town, but that hotel wasn't built until 1982. Flowers's attorney attributed confusion on that point to a misunderstanding on the part of the Star reporter. [107] At her press conference, her attorney also defended Flowers's claims that she'd sung back up for Roy Clark, appeared on television's Hee Haw, and had been a teenage beauty pageant winner; questions about the veracity of those claims had made the news as credibility problems for Ms. Flowers. [108] The Washington Post interviewed Star editor Richard Kaplan, who worked for Newsweek, Ladies Home Journal, and US magazine before managing the Star. [109] Kaplan said his paper had done everything a mainstream paper would have done to verify the Flowers story, including talking to Flowers's mother and a friend who corroborated her account and having the tapes analyzed by a New York lab. [110] More than that, said Kaplan, after decades in the news biz he knew the hallmarks of a true story, and he believed Flowers. [111] The press and public remained unconvinced.

One former friend, Lauren Kirk, freely offered her opinion of Flowers. In January when the story broke Kirk said she'd just heard from Flowers, who felt betrayed by Clinton's denials. [112] "People are trying to label her as being a trashy slut. That is so far from the truth." [113] In February Kirk was interviewed for Hard Copy and said that while she and Flowers roomed together for a couple of years in Arkansas in the mid-1980s, Flowers would ask Kirk to leave when Clinton was corning over. [114] "She loved to kiss and tell," Kirk recalled, adding Clinton "would tell her he planned to be president. Even then he had great aspirations and, god, such a big ego. They were actually made for each other, because she had a big ego, too .... She is two-sided. Wonderful and witty, but also evil and cruel." [115] By November of the same year Kirk had dropped her ambivalence about Flowers's character, furnishing assessments like: "Gennifer is a wonderful liar, because there's always a kernel of truth in what she says." [116] Maybe her opinion of her friend took a nosedive when it became apparent over the course of 1992 that Flowers was making as much money as she could off her story.

Flowers's ex-boyfriend Finis Shelnutt spoke up for Flowers when the news broke. When he last talked with Gennifer a month before the Star article, he said, she was scared because reporters kept hounding her and she felt the story was about to break. "She said she did not want this to come out in the Star .... She wanted it to come out in a more credible publication." [117] Shelnutt had been seeing Flowers for about a year when he learned of the rumors through a press release issued by Larry Nichols about Nichols's lawsuit against Clinton. He was shocked, and confronted his girlfriend at her apartment. Flowers cried and said, "I knew you would hear this." She denied the affair and said "I'm filing suit against them." When rumors persisted he broke up with her. Shelnutt said, "I thought, well, maybe it's true, and my feelings just started dwindling, big-time. I guess I was pretty blind. I guess I was the last one to find out." Shelnutt called Flowers "an extremely intelligent person, very sharp," and added, "In my mind, in my heart, I'm a Christian person. And I believe her. I really do." He went on, "In a way I'm kind of proud of her for coming forward and admitting it, because the president of the United States is someone you're going to put your trust in. I have nothing against Clinton except, you'd say, his morals." There must have been "something about Gennifer" for Shelnutt; he married her in 1996 and they're living happily together today.

The Flowers Tapes caused Clinton some political embarrassment quite aside from the allegation that they proved marital infidelity. On one of the tapes, Clinton and Flowers are discussing New York's then-Governor Mario Cuomo. Clinton calls Cuomo "aggressive," and Flowers suggests maybe Cuomo has mafia connections, [118] "Well he acts like one," Clinton says on tape. [119] Near the end of January 1992 Clinton tried to apologize to Governor Cuomo for the remarks; Cuomo refused to accept the apology. [120] The tapes also had Clinton complaining that fellow Democratic contender Senator Bob Kerrey's bachelorhood kept Kerrey from undergoing the scrutiny Clinton had to face. Because Kerrey is single, Clinton tells Flowers, "nobody cares who he's screwing." [121] Kerrey was offended. [122]

Though the Gennifer Flowers story broke barely a month before the New Hampshire primary, Clinton's almost-apology approach seemed to work; he finished second there. Clinton advisor James Carville boasted airily in mid-February, "It's like the story of the guy who takes the witness stand and when asked to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, responds: 'I can do any of those, which do you want?' ... Clinton told the truth, but he didn't have to tell the whole truth or nothing but the truth. People got it." [123] The "character issue" had emerged as a detraction, but his campaign continued gaining momentum, and in July 1992 he cinched the nomination. Along the way, Gennifer Flowers had a cameo in a cable soap opera, a book deal in the works, pushed her singing career overseas, and even appeared in a Penthouse issue that hit the stands the week of the November election. But she had long since been the butt of late-night jokes and no longer posed a serious threat to Clinton's dearest ambition. She voted for Ross Perot. [124]
***

Flowers faded from the public glare after Clinton became president, but her day to day life remained difficult for years. She tried to rejuvenate her singing career but found everywhere she turned that FOB (Friends of Bill) and an unfriendly public shut her down. [125] She moved frequently, living in Little Rock, Dallas, and Las Vegas, unable to escape her reputation, and constantly found herself snubbed and excluded from local events and gigs. [126] Even local charities rebuffed her attempts to lend her services. "1 was un-invited to help feed the homeless" in Las Vegas, she recalls. [127] She and Shelnutt later opened their own nightclub. In the interim she maintained her own Web site (now defunct) where she sold her book and maintained an advice column.

When word got out in 1998 that Clinton had admitted under oath to having "sexual relations" with her, her face and name appeared briefly in the press again and she felt vindicated at last. "I've been on the defense now for several years," she told reporter Lorraine Adams for The Washington Post. "Naturally I'm extremely pleased that the truth has finally come out." [128] She had always believed Clinton's denials and smear tactics had been about "protecting the power structure, and anyone would be sacrificed who got in the way of that." [129] The Seattle Times reported in September 1998 that Flowers, still in Las Vegas then, performed that week at the MGM Grand Hotel where she sang "Who's Got the Last Laugh Now" and "Why Haven't I Heard From You." [130] 0he even lectured at Oxford University in 1999 on "Surviving Sex, Power, and Propaganda." [131]

Flowers got phone calls from all kinds of people, including journalists, apologizing to her after the truth had finally come from Bill's own mouth. [132] While he never apologized directly to Flowers, Clinton's eventual admission to an affair with her seemed to impact his one-time "bimbo eruption" lieutenant Betsey Wright more than any other single episode of Clinton's life. Speaking from her quiet Arkansas orchid garden in January 2001, Wright, who hadn't spoken to the Clintons in years, expressed anger at Clinton. "How many times I asked him about Gennifer Flowers, and how many times he told me that they never had any kind of affair. And then I read in the newspaper that there was," mourned Wright. [133]

When reports of Clinton's surprising admission under oath began circulating in 1998, Clinton's press secretary Mike McCurry said "The president knows that he told the truth in 1992 when he was asked about that relationship and he knows that he testified truthfully on Saturday and he knows his answers are not at odds," but everyone had figured out by then, as Clinton aides privately confirmed, that this explanation meant that "the president may have found careful wording that allowed him to give technically accurate answers in both cases." [134] Maybe in 1992 Clinton was truthful in denying a twelve-year affair with Flowers. Maybe it had in fact lasted only eleven and a half years.

Journalist Lorraine Adams didn't "have the heart" to question Flowers about going public in a tabloid or posing for Penthouse after Flowers told her:

I was one little girl without any kind of power structure behind me. I didn't have expert advisers. I just did the best I could without a book of instructions. I didn't have any women's groups coming to my aid. I was the vindictive bimbo, who was just out to hurt this man ....

My life will never be the same .... I've had people who wouldn't even consider hiring me, or who wanted to laugh at me, or make a joke about me. I didn't grow up that way. I grew up as the cheerleader and the popular girl that people liked. I wasn't used to being the bad girl. That's not something that came easy. [135]


After interviewing Flowers in August 1998in the context of a long article looking at the women involved in the scandal then erupting around Kathleen Willey, Linda Tripp, and Monica Lewinsky, Lorraine Adams wrote, "She [Flowers] may have established a measure of normality in her life, but her past was indelible. Her willingness to sell her story -- to participate in her own denigration -- had assured that. And now, she'd lost all influence over the process." [136] Adams's article contemplating the way various women had been thrust into the "bimbo role" by association with Bill Clinton was one of the most thoughtful treatments of the subject by any journalist of the Clinton scandal epoch. Adams concluded:

That's the thing about the bimbo role. No matter how a woman comes by it -- whether she seeks it or resists it -- the role will overwhelm her, imprison her, define her. It's the only role she's allowed, and there's no way she can reshape it. Betsey Wright may have been right in defining a true bimbo as a woman motivated by money, but implicit in that analysis is the fact that money equals power. And no woman's story will bring a high enough price to counter the powers that be. [137]


With the country reeling from Clinton's admission to a sexual relationship with Monica Lewinsky after months of public denials, and impeachment in the wings, Larry King asked Gennifer Flowers, "[D]oes it make you feel at all badly ...that you started an American tragedy?" [138] She responded with considerable insight, "I may have started it, but I didn't perpetuate the problem. If there is a strategy as we sit here and talk it would be Bill Clinton's fault, and I think that he certainly should take responsibility for his actions, which at times he finds hard to do." [139]

Gennifer Flowers found a husband and a city that embraced her and her past. She and Mr. Shelnutt (who is, coincidentally, a former brother-in-law of Whitewater principal figure Web Hubbell) settled in New Orleans, where she performs in her own piano bar, the Gennifer Flowers Kelsto Club on St. Louis Street, just across from Bourbon Street. [140] Flowers feels at home in the Quarter, where no one hounds her about her status as a "national bimbo." [141] Friends of Bill may have stopped her from getting deals in Las Vegas and Dallas, but "Let 'em tell me I can't sing in my own club," she laughs now. [142]

She knew she could find a home in New Orleans when she visited once and saw a portrait of the infamous Madame X hanging in a friend's New Orleans antique shop. [143] When revealed to the world at a Paris exhibit in the late 1800s the portrait scandalized the international reputation of its subject and its painter on account of Madame X's plunging, suggestive neckline and palpable air of sensuality. Feeling a kinship of sorts ("I know all about scandal"), [144] Flowers came to regard New Orleans as a place of her own and has never regretted it. In January 2002 President George W. Bush came to New Orleans, stopping for a while at a restaurant not far from Gennifer's club. She didn't get to meet the president ("They wouldn't let me say 'hi' to George," she explained, "They thought I might cause some spectacle") but off-duty Secret Service agents stopped into her club to say hello and have a drink. [145] She loves George W. Bush. "I absolutely adore him. I am his No. 1 fan," she says earnestly, adding that it "meant a lot to know that I was just across the street from him." [146]

Now in her mid-fifties, singing to curious, appreciative audiences, living with a loving, faithful husband in a city that's happy to have her, she's made a pretty good life for herself.

***

Without attempting an exhaustive chronicle of all women who fit into this pattern, we've highlighted the experiences of three women (Gracen, Perdue, Flowers) who (1) had consensual sexual affairs with Clinton, (2)kept quiet for some period of time at his request, (3)eventually went public, and (4) suffered retaliation for daring to speak out. No Clinton woman we've seen yet made herself more a spectacle than Gennifer Flowers. Then again, no woman we know about had more to feel betrayed about than Gennifer. (Except, perhaps, Dolly Kyle Browning, a childhood friend of Clinton's who claims the two had an intimate friendship spanning thirty years that included, at times, sexual intimacy. [147] Or perhaps Monica Lewinsky. All right, it's too difficult to say which Clinton woman has the most reason to feel betrayed by him.) Gennifer's story wasn't about a one-night stand or a brief affair; it was about a man who consumed her life for twelve years, from age twenty-seven to nearly forty, a man she thought remained a friend even after the sex had ended. Her best insight into Clinton probably came when she confessed that she should have realized that her feelings would not matter much to him compared with his desire to become president.

From her perspective, she fought him with all the strategy at her disposal. Compared to the tactics at his command, however, she didn't stand a chance. She lost the battle because the only channels open to her left her vulnerable to being dismissed as a money-hungry slut, even though she won the war when the (partial) truth eventually came out. As journalist Lorraine Adams contemplated, taking money in the process of seeking vindication inevitably labeled her a bimbo, but money and publicity were the only avenues open to someone like Flowers if she wanted to try to take on a man who had the political power structure behind him.

Didn't she bring the smear machine on herself? Shouldn't she just have kept quiet? Yes, she invited the public attacks by doing everything possible to make money off her story. But why should she have remained silent? Why should the man who made her feel special for twelve years get to breeze into the most powerful office in the land while publicly saying she was nothing special to him? Her name was in the game before she took money for her story. Clinton called her "trash" in public before she sold her tale. Why should her voice be silenced or denigrated while his would be heard from the seat of world power? Because she "used" her story to get money? Clinton used her to indulge his sexual and emotional needs for over a decade during his climb to the top. Why should she lie for him, or keep quiet while he lied about her? Demonstrated through action, Clinton's answer must be, "Because I'm more important than she is." She was a nobody, a wannabe-somebody, desperate to make it as a performer. He was somebody, a man who had already made it as a performer. How dare she try to expose him, embarrass him, make him answer to anyone for anything he'd done?

The course of action she chose over a twenty-five year span shows Gennifer Flowers as a multidimensional woman: independent, adventurous, tough, sometimes vulnerable, hardly coy about sex and her own sexuality, comfortable with locker room dialogue, casual about sleeping with married men. She was a woman with big dreams, a desire for material pleasures, and a hunger to be liked, loved, and adored. In a man, these characteristics wouldn't have set her apart in the slightest, and there would have been no bimbo label attached to her.

While there are dozens of synonyms for "bimbo" associated with females -- slut, whore, tramp, hussy, jade, jezebel, wench, to name a few -- the English language doesn't even have a good word for the male equivalent. The closest is probably "philanderer," whose root you'll recall means "lover," a far cry from the implications of "slut" or "whore." Clinton didn't think twice before dismissing Gennifer Flowers as trash, even though her actions were precisely reciprocal to his. They both participated in an extramarital affair. Even if he had come clean from the start and admitted sleeping with her, she would have been a bimbo; he would have been an adulterer. She probably still would have been ridiculed; he would have been forgiven as a wandering, contrite husband. Clinton's mistreatment of Flowers consisted chiefly in his use of her to perpetuate a double standard that permeates even our enlightened, progressive society: cheating men are wanderers; the women who help them cheat are slutty seductresses. No matter what policies Clinton the politician ever enacted promoting women's rights, Clinton the man showed nothing but good old-fashioned misogyny toward Gennifer Flowers.

In his January 17,1998deposition in the Paula Jones lawsuit, Clinton admitted having sexual relations with Gennifer Flowers. 148 One time only, he said, in 1977. [149] His capitulation under oath wasn't honesty for truth's sake; he'd found himself cornered and knew a carefully planted gem of "honesty" about Flowers could help him escape perjury charges, since in the same deposition he testified under oath that he never had "sexual relations" with Monica Lewinsky. When forced to admit to sexual encounters with Lewinsky before a grand jury in August 1998he was able to point to his Flowers admission at the prior deposition to help prove himself innocent of perjury.

In that grand jury testimony, Clinton's anger at Flowers seeped into his words when he told the prosecutors how he'd "rather have taken a whipping" than admit to an affair with Flowers "after all the trouble I'd been through with Gennifer Flowers, and the money I knew that she had made for the story she told about this alleged twelve-year affair, which we had done a great deal to disprove." [150] How dare she? After all his work denouncing her as a slutty dollar-chaser he had to admit she'd been right and that just burned him. As we'll see in a moment, the interesting question is: What, precisely, did Clinton think he'd done to 11disprove" Flowers's story?

It seemed to irritate Clinton that Flowers had made money off him. It seemed to agitate him even more that all his efforts to destroy her had come to nothing in the end. Unlike other accusations Clinton has fended off over the years, he seemed to take this one pretty personally. On the surface the two people seem an unlikely pair -- an aspiring politician who ran the world for eight years, and an aspiring singer who ran around nightclubs most of her life. In other ways, though, perhaps Flowers's one-time friend had it about right when she said Bill Clinton and Gennifer Flowers were "made for each other." Each person exhibited a bold, strong personality, each seemed to crave attention, each showed tenderness and tawdriness at times, and each reacted with hostility at the thought of the other getting the better of them. Once she felt betrayed she did everything in her power to embarrass him; once he felt betrayed he did everything in his power to destroy her. Perhaps in too many ways Gennifer Flowers was Bill Clinton's female counterpart, a thought that may have fueled his personal anger at her -- and a speculation that would help explain his behavior toward her. There's no clearer an example of misogyny than when a man strikes out at a women precisely because she's trying to prove herself his equal.

Feminist author Susan Faludi wrote in December 1992 that Hillary Clinton was already under attack by the "guardians of the rusting social order" for not behaving like a proper first lady should. [151] Faludi's point was that Hillary Clinton irked old-order folks not just because she was an independent woman, but because she enjoyed being an independent woman. [152] Faludi insisted, "She is doing something her predecessors didn't dare. She's abandoned the earnest, dutiful demeanor ....And therein lies her sin: Hillary Clinton is visibly, tangibly having fun." [153] Faludi noted:

By combining equality with ecstasy, liberty with laughter, Hillary Clinton violated the cardinal trade-off rule of American womanhood. Women are told: O.K., gals, go ahead and do your liberated thing, but you must pay the price with personal happiness ....

Sexuality for women comes with the same warning: If you have sex and enjoy it, prepare to face the consequences. [154]


But where was Susan Faludi, or other self-described advocates for women's liberation and independence, when Gennifer Flowers splashed across our TV screens and newspapers, declaring without remorse that she'd engaged in a long sexual affair with a powerful man and made no apologies for it? Flowers didn't come off as a contrite, dutiful woman who'd made a terrible mistake and begged forgiveness; she kicked up her heels and flaunted her "naughty" behavior. Flowers tried to keep up with Clinton, first playing his equal as a lover and then trying to play his equal in the town square face-off that followed. Along the way she smiled, she laughed, she made off-color jokes, she posed nude, and she made as much money as she could. Clinton made sure she paid the price for her "liberated thing," personalizing the social "rule of American womanhood" about which Faludi complains.

Flowers would later note that no women's rights organizations rushed to aid her in her public relations battle against Clinton, but it's hard to imagine feminists keeping quiet if Flowers had been sleeping with George H. W. Bush for twelve years and found herself in a he said, she said battle over it. Feminist groups like NOW certainly took the lead in calling for Republican senator Bob Packwood's political head when his decades-long harassment of female staffers came to light. Packwood, a liberal Republican, had long been a strong supporter of abortion rights, but with Clinton in office, feminists felt their reproductive rights agenda was in good hands, and could speak out against Packwood without risking political setbacks for their cause.

Maybe feminists were faintly embarrassed by Flowers. Maybe their time and money were tied up trying to make 1992 the "Year of the Woman" and Gennifer Flowers wasn't quite the right look for Poster Girl. Or maybe they'd gone so overboard equating women's rights with leftist policies that they had no interest in going to bat for Flowers if it meant risking another Republican administration -- even if sitting on the bench revealed a double standard that left Flowers without team support from the supposed sisterhood while the man she'd slept with tore her to shreds.

***

Clinton's outburst about Flowers during his grand jury testimony, combined with the dearth of support Flowers received from feminist groups, help reveal our third identification of a tenet of liberalism that can foster misogynistic attitudes and behavior in someone like Bill Clinton who is already prone to mistreat women.

In modern liberalism, the validity of the message is determined solely by the motives of the messenger. It cuts both ways. If a person has good motives, anything they're proposing must be a good thing. If a person has bad motives, nothing they say can be of any value. Moreover, determining a person's motive or intent is not a protracted process; it's usually enough to presume to know a person's intent and permit that presumption to dictate judgment of what they're saying.

To get an idea for how this tenet operates in the political left today, let's pick on modem politicized feminism again. The left's argument goes something like this: pro-lifers are wrong on the issue of reproductive rights because pro-lifers are misogynistic sexists who want to punish women. Differently stated, because pro-lifers' motives are bad (they want to punish women), nothing about their message is true or valid. Conversely, feminists are right on the issue of reproductive rights because feminists desire gender equality. In other words, because feminists' motives are pure (they want gender equality), their message is true and valid.

The way this plays out in current debate can be seen in how viciously feminists attack George W. Bush for being pro-life. They have determined Bush's motives to be pure evil- he is waging a war against women. [155] He desires a country where women's rights look like those in Saudi Arabia. [156] His pro-life message cannot possibly be valid because Bush's intent is to punish women. How do we know Bush's true intent? There is absolutely no reason to be pro-life other than misogynistic spite. With Bush's evil intent thus established, nothing he says or does is true, good, or valid. The circular reasoning is evident but apparently irrelevant.

It works in reverse, too. Hillary Rodham Clinton's motives are pure and good -- she wants every American to be able to afford health care. Her mission to put the health care industry under government micromanagement is a superb idea because her motives are so admirable. Only people with despicable motives could possibly oppose her health care plan. Her good intentions established, everything she proposes is true, good, and valid.

There is a basic flaw in this approach. Ideas have validity and consequences quite apart from the motives of the person expounding them. Good people can have bad ideas, and bad people can have good ideas. People with bad intentions can speak true things, and people with good intentions can speak false things. For instance, the invalidity of the idea that the sun revolves around the earth did not depend on the motives of the world leaders who held on to that notion in the middle ages. Despite their good intentions (like wanting to preserve the belief that God made man the center of the universe), the idea was factually invalid and clinging to it had negative consequences (like impeding scientific knowledge and progress). Another example: the Framers of the Constitution intended to keep African- Americans in slavery, but their motives do not discount the validity and good consequences of the many brilliant constitutional ideas they proposed.

Under most criminal laws a person is judged based on her intent. For example, most criminal offenses require an element of mens rea, or guilty mind, on the part of the accused. To be convicted, the prosecution must prove the defendant intended to commit the crime. Let's say the facts of a case indicate that a baby died in his mother's arms because his mother held him very tightly causing the baby to suffocate. The mother, now our defendant charged with murder, stipulates to those facts. In general, what distinguishes murder from manslaughter is intent to kill. The prosecution has to prove the mother intended to cause the baby's death, as opposed to accidentally squeezing the baby to death. The law can hardly leave it up to each defendant to explain her own intent and leave it at that; human nature being what it is, only rarely would a person confess. So the prosecutor is allowed to prove the defendant's intent by circumstantial evidence. Was the baby bruised? If so, that indicates an intent to cause harm. Was the baby crying while being squeezed? If so, that indicates intent. Did our defendant tell her babysitter that morning that she sometimes wished she didn't have to take care of the baby anymore? And on and on for any particular case, looking at surrounding circumstances to try to determine what the defendant's intent was.

We go through this process under the law because given our purpose the alternatives are undesirable. We want to reserve our harshest punishment for people who intended to cause harm, yet the only beings who fully know a person's intentions are the person herself and God. We won't leave it up to a judge to consult God about a defendant's intent, and we're unwilling to rely solely on the defendant's own proclamation. That leaves the option the law has settled on: examining the circumstances surrounding the defendant's behavior and trying to infer intent.

Judgment under the law often turns solely on intent of the accused. Modern liberalism borrows the law's focus on intent and injects it into political debate, proceeding as though a political proposal or idea should be judged by the intent of its proponent. But the law's focus on intent consists of looking back in time, trying to establish in hindsight a person's state of mind with respect to a specific set of past actions, for the purpose of holding that person responsible for the consequences of those actions. The purpose of making judgments in political debate is completely different. In a legal proceeding the defendant herself is on trial. In a political setting, the message, not the messenger, should be on trial. In political debate the focus should be on the idea itself, not on the person advocating it. The purpose of political debate is to judge the validity and predict the consequences of alternative ideas, policies, plans, rules, laws. Who suggests the ideas, and their motive or intent in doing so, should take a back seat to the question of whether the ideas themselves have merit. In political debate, judging the message by the presumed motives of the messenger does the entire process a disservice by shifting focus away from principles and onto personalities.

Hallmarks of modern liberal ideology -- equality for all, peace above all -- and proposals purportedly made in support of those ideals simply cannot be challenged in today's political climate without facing a rush to judgment about the motives and intent behind such a challenge. For example, take the decades-old debate over whether the U.S. should sign the United Nations Treaty on Women's Rights (formal name: the Convention to Eliminate All Forms of Discrimination Against Women). Its very title overflows with a keystone of modern liberalism: gender equality. President Bush's reluctance to sign it has earned him vitriolic accusations of being in favor of worldwide, systematic subjugation of women. In June 2004, the Chicago Tribune ran an op-ed that quoted George W. Bush declaring eloquently, "The advance of women's rights and the advance of liberty are ultimately inseparable," followed by the writer's prescient inquiry: "But does he really believe that?" [157] The piece goes on to list foot-dragging on the UN Treaty on Women's Rights as a prime example of how George W. Bush in fact does not take women's rights seriously at all. [158] A feminist congresswoman cited Bush's reluctance to sign the treaty as proof of Bush's "global war on women's rights." [159] With that despicable motive ascribed to him, his position on why the U.S. might not want to sign is easily dismissed as further evidence of his intent for gender inequality to reign throughout the world. As Gennifer Flowers learned the hard way, maligning a person's motives can go a long way toward discrediting whatever they have to say.

How might this facet of liberal ideology encourage misogynistic behavior in a person predisposed to undervalue women? Well, what exactly did Clinton think he had done to "disprove" Flowers's story? He didn't attempt to use logic or evidence to disprove anything; he borrowed a page from his ideological book and encouraged everyone to judge her solely based on the evil motives he ascribed to her. He did everything he could to denigrate her message on the basis of her presumed motives. She was out for money and she was bent on destroying him. Therefore, nothing she said could possibly be true, valid, or of any consequence. The press and public largely reached the same conclusions for the same reasons. She's a bimbo out for money and notoriety; therefore she's lying. Or worse: she's a bimbo out for money and notoriety, therefore it doesn't even matter if she's telling the truth.

In March 1998, when President Clinton was still denying an improper relationship with Monica Lewinsky, Arianna Huffington (before she abandoned conservatism for populism) wrote an editorial denouncing the political elites' use of what logic textbooks call the "Fallacy of the Undistributed Middle." [160] The logical flaw, Huffington pointed out, goes like this: All oaks are trees. All elms are trees. Therefore, all oaks are elms. Huffington observed that the current political debate was applying the same fallacy evaluating whether Lewinsky's tales of fellatio were true, just as it had when discrediting Gennifer Flowers's claims:

According to the president's own deposition in the Jones case, it is now a matter of fact ... that Gennifer Flowers told the truth and Clinton lied about whether they had had sex. Yet for the last six years, the American public has been bombarded by our oft-illustrated logical fallacy: Flowers says she had sex with Clinton. Flowers is a lounge singer, a bimbo and a gold digger who sold her story to a tabloid. Therefore, Flowers did not have sex with Clinton. [161]


Liberal politics alone does not a misogynist make. However, dedication to a political ideology that judges the messenger rather than the message may have made it easier for someone like Bill Clinton to mistreat Gennifer Flowers the way he did -- destroying her not because her message was untrue, but because he believed her motives were suspect.
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 17110
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Their Lives: The Women Targeted By the Clinton Machine

Postby admin » Thu Jun 09, 2016 5:34 am

Part 1 of 2

CHAPTER FIVE: OBJECT OF AFFECTION

ON MAY 6, 1991, in Cleveland, Ohio, Governor Bill Clinton gave arguably the most significant speech of his political life to that point. In a thirty minute speech delivered without notes or teleprompter to 800 delegates gathered for a national convention of the Democratic Leadership Council, Bill Clinton displayed sparks of promise to be the bearer of a message that could finally win back the White House for the Democratic Party. The Associated Press ran a headline "Clinton's Star Rises, As Does Cleveland's," quoting one listener saying Clinton's speech was "toe-tingling," and another who thought it was the best Democratic speech he'd heard in ten years. [1] Granted, even the AP insinuated that some might have thought the speech brilliant solely in contrast to Clinton's 1988 nomination speech for Dukakis at the Democratic National Convention in Atlanta. There, Clinton had been nationally mocked for droning on so long that delegates shouted at him from the floor. Hillary Rodham Clinton described that experience as "a humiliating introduction to the nation," [2] even though Clinton's appearance a week later joking about it self-deprecatingly on The Tonight Show ameliorated any long-term tarnish on his status as a viable national leader. In Cleveland, there was general consensus that Clinton's opening speech fired up the troops and stood out as the highlight of the event.

The Democratic Leadership Council (DLC)had been founded by Democratic centrists in 1985in an effort to build new coalitions that could spell victory for the Democratic Party and avoid another Reaganesque mandate. In his keynote address in Cleveland, Clinton, then chairman of the OLe, told his fellow partisans, "Too many of the people who used to vote for us, the very burdened middle class we're talking about, have not trusted us in national elections to defend our national interest abroad, to put their values in our social policy at horne or to take their tax money and spend it with discipline. We've got to turn these perceptions around or we can't continue as a national party" (emphasis added). [3] Careful attention to the wording of Clinton's appeal yields a clue that he truly believed himself insulated from charges that the DLC was trying to go "Republican-lite." The word "perceptions" supports the notion that the essence of a Clintonian "New Democrat" is a traditional liberal Democrat who has learned how to appear moderate enough to avoid the negative connotations of the label "liberal" but has still found ways to accomplish the historical, ideological goals of liberalism. Senator Paul Tsongas of Massachusetts, who had already declared his candidacy in the 1992 race at the time of the DLC convention, was more explicit about the DLC's approach, urging his party to adopt pro-business policies while standing firm to traditional Democratic platform issues like civil rights, women's rights, and environmental protection. [4]

The two-day DLC event in 1991 was considered modestly successful at widening the selection of potential presidential candidates for the following year, despite inciting some bitterness between DLC members and more open liberals like Jesse Jackson who objected stridently to the DLC's proposal to backtrack on sensitive issues like racial quotas. In his memoirs Clinton says, "That speech was one of the most effective and important I ever made." [5]

Governor Clinton had recently promised his constituents in Arkansas, who had re-elected him just six months earlier in November 1990,that he would not seek the presidency in 1992; he would finish his term as governor. [6] (The law in Arkansas had changed in 1986, providing a four-year term instead of a twoyear term.) Now that the political scene was buzzing over Clinton as a strong candidate, however, Clinton responded to questions with characteristic ambiguity. Even the AP couldn't resist opening its report on Clinton's rising-star speech by jesting, "Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton wanted to say just one thing: he's not running for president. Well, two things. If he changes his mind, he'll first tell the people of Arkansas, [his] ,employers."' [7] Faced with questions he'd rather not answer and inquiries where direct responses could lead to uncomfortable probing, Clinton's instinct always seemed to be the same -- say a little of this, a little of that, kinda yes; sorta no; some truth, but rarely the whole truth. That pattern of hedging, always holding something back or leaving a loophole, would play itself out time and again whenever Clinton faced questions he feared could harm him.

It was almost paradoxical posturing from a politician who made his national reputation focusing on personal responsibility and family values. At the DLC convention Clinton told his colleagues that Democrats need to ensure that children are taught values at home. "Governments don't raise children, people do," he emphasized, "And it is time they were asked to assume their responsibilities and forced to do [it] if they refuse." [8] Every American must accept responsibility for his own actions, Clinton insisted, as well as for the actions of his family, community, and nation. [9] It was a well-developed theme that wrapped liberal ideological activism in a cloak of accountability. He promoted the concept of personal responsibility, but always connected it to government's responsibilities. He insisted that people were tired of hearing government promise to solve all their problems with new taxes and new programs, but refused to let his exhortation for everyone to behave properly rest with the bully pulpit; if you don't "assume your responsibilities," it's up to government to force you to do the right thing.

Clinton left Cleveland on May 7 knowing he had earned a realistic chance to lead his party to the White House. The next day in Little Rock, Clinton attended the Governor's Quality Management Conference at the Excelsior Hotel, sponsored by the Arkansas Industrial Development Commission (AIDC), a state agency.[10] Clinton gave a speech there in the morning, then stayed and listened to the afternoon speech by a management consultant for Ernst & Young. Afterward he milled about, chatting with people. What else Clinton did that afternoon became talk of the nation for most of Clinton/s future presidency. That afternoon, Paula Corbin (soon to be Jones) told her AIDC co-worker that Bill Clinton had invited her upstairs to a hotel room where he proceeded to hold her hand, nibble her neck, pull down his trousers, touch himself, and ask her for a little favor. Later that evening, Paula Corbin drove to another friend' s home and, very distressed, repeated the same account. She also described it to her two sisters and her mother, in varying degrees of detail, but she told her boyfriend merely that Clinton had made a pass at her.

With so much at stake, with an ultimate victory just on the horizon, Clinton chose the wrong object for his affections that day. On a day when he should have been content to bask in the glow of the success his Cleveland speech portended, Clinton instead tried to make a little magic with a woman he' d never before met. Within a few months, Bill Clinton was a household name by virtue of his success; Paula Corbin Jones joined him three years later by virtue of his failure. Among other things, their brief introduction that day led to a five and a half year court battle racking up millions of dollars in legal bills, a Supreme Court ruling that binds future presidencies, bitter family relations and the end of a marriage for Paula Jones, and compelled disclosure of incidents in Bill Clinton' s "personal life" he' d rather have taken to his grave. Amidst the wreckage of legal and personal damage, one more facet of Clinton's liberal misogyny emerges.

***

Somewhat ironically, as with Gennifer Flowers's story, it was men, not women, who dragged Jones's name into the spotlight. After her May 8, 1991, encounter with Bill Clinton, Paula Corbin married her boyfriend, Steve Jones. They had a little boy, Madison, and moved to southern California so Steve could pursue an acting career. On a visit home to Arkansas for Christmas in 1993, Jones's friend Debra called her after seeing an article in The American Spectator. [11] Jones had driven to Debra's workplace the afternoon of her encounter with Clinton in 1991 and had told Debra what had occurred. Over the phone, Debra read Jones part of the magazine article that mentioned "Paula." [12] Four Arkansas state troopers who used to be assigned to the governor's mansion during Bill Clinton's tenure there had spilled their guts in tawdry detail about helping Bill Clinton cover up several long-term affairs and facilitating countless one-time trysts for Clinton. One of the troopers had talked about approaching a woman, "Paula," at the Excelsior Hotel, asking her on Clinton's behalf to meet Clinton in a hotel room, escorting her up to the room, and waiting in the hallway. When "Paula" emerged from the room no more than an hour later, the trooper was quoted as telling his buddies that "Paula" had suggested she'd just had a satisfying sexual encounter and that she would be available to be the governor's girlfriend.

Paula Jones, listening to her friend read the story to her, was horrified and angry. "Oh my God, it's complete bullshit!" she exclaimed to Debra on the phone, "That's a complete lie!" [13] Paula had never heard of The American Spectator, but in her mind, this libelous version of her encounter with Clinton might be read and believed by all her friends and family. Her close friends and family, after all, knew Jones's version of her meeting with Clinton because she'd told them about it right after it happened in 1991. Now, a couple of years later, Arkansas state law enforcement officials were apparently telling the world a much different story. Would her family and friends believe her? She was twenty-seven years old, with a two year old son and a husband. She lived in California, thousands of miles away from her Arkansas crowd of family and friends. This mortifying story appeared in a national magazine. What would everyone think of her?

Her friend Debra put Jones in touch with a lawyer in Little Rock, Danny Traylor. Traylor talked to Jones about her options, and agreed with Jones that the best thing to shoot for would be a public apology from the White House to clear her name. As most of us would be, Traylor found himself a little bit stumped when he contemplated how to get a message to the White House. He decided to call a Little Rock businessman, George Cook, who was well-connected in the Democratic Party. Cook managed to communicate with Bruce Lindsey at the White House about Paula Jones. [14] The White House had already been fielding questions about "Troopergate," and polls showed the president's popularity wasn't jeopardized by the troopers' tell-all allegations. The message got back to Traylor: we're not worried about this story, so we have no interest in apologizing to Paula Jones.

Traylor's next move put him in touch with another Arkansas lawyer, Cliff Jackson, [15] a former Oxford classmate of Clinton's who had tried very hard over the years to stymie Clinton's career wherever possible. [16] Jackson had been the public relations force behind getting the Arkansas state troopers' allegations published. Jackson talked Traylor into piggybacking Jones's story with the troopers' tales by having Jones appear at a press conference with the troopers in February 1994 at a right-wing gathering of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).

Neither Traylor, nor Jones, seemed to realize the danger of aligning themselves so early on with the troopers and their Clinton- hating pushers, though at least two problems would soon emerge due to this alliance: first, Jones would be disparagingly dismissed by the media and feminist groups solely based on the perception that right-wing Clinton-haters were using her to attack Clinton for political reasons; second, Jones's version of May 8, 1991, events contradicted the troopers' version of what occurred, placing Jones and the troopers publicly and (later on) legally at odds. For her part, Jones followed her lawyer's lead. She wasn't a politically aware person. [17] She didn't even know the difference between a liberal and a conservative when she appeared at the CPAC conference. [18] She had registered to vote in 1992 just to vote against Clinton because of how he'd treated her. [19] Paula Jones's grievance against Clinton wasn't political; it was personal.

***

When Troopergate broke in mid-December 1993,Clinton was wrapping up his first year as president. He hadn't faced a woman-related scandal since Gennifer Flowers during the campaign. He was, however, already limping through several embarrassing distractions. The firing of White House Travel Office employees, the inexplicable suicide of White House lawyer and friend Vince Foster, abandonment of his first nominee to head Civil Rights at the Justice Department (Lani Guinier), and a Justice Department investigation into a failed savings-and-loan endeavor in Arkansas that would soon lead to appointment of an independent counsel and become known as "Whitewater," had all taken their toll on the new administration.

In Clinton's memoirs, Troopergate takes up a mere two paragraphs and Clinton seems content to dismiss the state troopers' allegations by stating, "There were some allegations in the story that could be easily disproved, and the two [named] troopers had credibility problems of their own, unrelated to their allegations against me: they had been investigated for insurance fraud involving a state vehicle they wrecked in 1990." [20] Here, Clinton applies a standard to the troopers that he protested when it was applied to politicians. Clinton insisted that adultery doesn't reflect on presidential character, yet here he proposes that being investigated for insurance fraud means your character is so deviant that you can't be telling the truth about what your former boss was doing on his down time. Clinton would have been better off ignoring Troopergate completely than hypocritically trying to discredit the troopers this way.

A few days before Christmas, when Troopergate had just emerged, USA Today ran an article contemplating the impact of 1993 on Clinton and his presidency. "Though Clinton's friends, not surprisingly, paint the first year as a time of personal growth, not everyone close to Clinton would agree. His volcanic temper is still fierce, his penchant for disorganization and tardiness still worrisome and his almost instinctive need to talk an issue to consensus -- sometimes by seeming to take both sides -- remains."  [21] The article continued, "The rumors of extramarital affairs continue to swirl...and Clinton's distaste for the Washington media has kept all but a few of those who cover him from having a sense of the real Clinton to balance against the caricature."  [22] In the same article, DNC Chairman David Wilhelm surmised that Clinton "sees perhaps even more clearly his role as a moral leader, someone who is setting the tone for the whole country." [23] With the battle over government-run health care still looming, the last thing Clinton needed as 1994 began was a genuine sex scandal, but Paula Jones handed him one anyway. By the end of 1994, few people were trying to argue that Bill Clinton was on track to being a "moral leader" for the country; even his most loyal friends stuck to Clinton's policies rather than personal character as a rallying point.

Troopergate floundered around for about six weeks before Paula Jones carne on the scene. On December 19,1993, the Associated Press broke the Troopergate story in the mainstream press, reporting on the allegations published by notorious reporter David Brock in the January 1994 issue of The American Spectator, which had hit Washington in mid-December. The talkative troopers had also been interviewed extensively by the Los Angeles Times, which ran a lengthy story on December 21. The American Spectator article penned by David Brock opened contentiously enough (emphasis added):

While rumors of extramarital dalliances have surrounded many presidents in this century ... the scale of Clinton's past indiscretions, if it has been sustained in the White House, as has been widely rumored, would appear to far exceed that of any of his predecessors, with the possible exception of John Kennedy. If, as the troopers describe it, he is a sexual predator and exploiter of women, his behavior may be more egregious than that which destroyed the political careers and reputations of Gary Hart, John Tower and, most recently, Bob Packwood. [24]


Brock's article withheld full names of all women talked about except Gennifer Flowers, since she'd already made her claims public knowledge.

The AP story on December 19 quoted White House advisor Bruce Lindsey: "The allegations are ridiculous." [25] When the AP asked Lindsey if Clinton has "denied having troopers assist sexual liaisons," Lindsey told the AP, "Yes, he has." [26] Lindsey continued, "Similar allegations were made, investigated and responded to during the campaign." [27] CNN cited a "top administration aide" the same day saying the charges were "scurrilous." [28] The story had legs in part because the White House admitted that Clinton had personally called troopers recently to find out what was going on; this didn't look good because some of the troopers had alleged Clinton had dangled offers of federal employment in exchange for their continued silence. A December 21 editorial in The Washington Times, drenched in skepticism, parsed Bruce Lindsey's initial denials:

"These allegations are ridiculous." Yes, indeed, there is something more than a little ridiculous about the things done by the man described by bodyguards Larry Patterson and Roger Perry: sneaking off in the middle of the night to visit girlfriends, receiving oral sex in parking lots, and so on. There's no disputing that the allegations are ridiculous. Now, Mr. Lindsey, are they true?...

"Any suggestion that the president offered anyone a job in return for silence is a lie." This is a very specific statement indeed, Mr. Lindsey. No job offer in exchange for silence. No twelve year affair with Gennifer Flowers, either. OK, we'll bite. Eleven years and eleven months with Ms. Flowers? How about eleven years, ten months? Could you let us know when we're getting warm, at least? [29]


On December 21, Hillary Rodham Clinton carne out swinging to defend her embattled husband and decried the troopers' allegations as "trash for cash." [30] Sound familiar? Pundits and press recalled going through the Gennifer Flowers saga, which seemed to have eroded sympathy for Clinton by the time Troopergate broke. By then, many had concluded that the Flowers tapes showed a close relationship between Flowers and Clinton, and now, former bodyguards were speaking out and confirming the essence of Flowers's claim to a long-term affair with Clinton. Still, in the early weeks of Troopergate, no women carne forward to corroborate the troopers' allegations, prompting one Washington journalist to sneer, "Where are the women?" in a Newsweek article entitled "The Citizens of Bimboland." [31] As we've seen, many women had been contacted by Clinton and his cadre and then either refused comment or denied affairs when questioned by the press. One woman, however, had apparently never been contacted by Clinton's scandal team or the press, and she was about to tell her story.

***

For all its steamy content, the troopers' first expose didn't attribute to Clinton any interactions with women that involved unwanted sexual advances. The Clinton painted by his former bodyguards was sleazy, reckless, and disrespectful to women, but not rebuffed by any of them. Paula Jones had a problem with that. However charmed or seduced other women may have been by Clinton, she had been horrified by his crass advances and had adamantly refused to engage in any consensual fooling around with him.

Paula Jones appeared at a February 11, 1994, press conference surrounded by her lawyer, Cliff Jackson and his troopers, rightwing activists, and journalists, all hounding her for details of her encounter with Bill Clinton. Jones's lawyer, Danny Traylor, introduced her to the crowd: "Ladies and gentlemen, out of deference to the First Family [and] the presidency, I do not want to appeal to the prurient interests of us all. But let me assure you that what transpired in that room [between Jones and Clinton] is the legal equivalent of on-the-job sexual harassment." [32] Reporter Michael Isikoff was present for the press conference. In his 1999 book Uncovering Clinton he recalled his initial impression of Jones:

Jones herself seemed a puzzle. Slight, somewhat mousy, with long dark hair, she had a high-pitched, squeaky voice. She was twenty-seven years old, the mother of a young boy .... When it was her turn to speak, she remained maddeningly circumspect. "It's just humiliating what he did to me," she said. What? reporters wanted to know. What had he done to you? "He treated me in a most unprofessional manner." Reporters hate nothing more than to be teased. [33]


She told the gathered crowd that on May 8,1991, she'd been working at the registration desk for the AIDC at the Excelsior Hotel. A state trooper had escorted her to a hotel room and waited outside while Clinton asked her for a "type of sex." She also presented affidavits from two friends whom she'd told of this incident the day it happened. She gave few other details that day. Her lawyer, Danny Traylor, closed the saga with a "quaint entreaty," according to Isikoff: "We've got Bosnia. We've got a health care crisis.... Mr. President, this is something that shouldn't occupy your energy and your attention .... [T]ell the American people what the truth of this matter is. If you made a mistake, the American people will forgive you." [34] Clinton, of course, had no intention of doing such a forthright thing. The Jones versus Clinton battle had begun.

Another reporter who had attended Paula Jones's press conference described Paula as "a small, attractive, appropriately frightened-looking woman" and found her story credible; part of the reason he found Jones easier to believe now was that he had caught on to "the clever two-step scandal-avoidance strategy the White House has chosen .... The tactic can be summarized as: 'It's not true. It's not true. It's old news."' [35] The same reporter explained why Paula Jones initially received such scanty news coverage:

Clinton is also the best president we've had in a long time. That is the unspoken reason the sex charges haven't received as much playas you might expect. Reporters are patriots, too; it's their dirty little secret. So Jones didn't make it onto CNN. The New York Times buried a five-inch story on her charges, which featured Clinton's characteristic find-the-loophole denial. ("He does not recall meeting her. He was never alone in a hotel with her.") Few journalists want to see the president crippled now that he is making some progress cracking large, intractable domestic problems.  [36]


Before Isikoff and his editors had decided when and how to cover Paula Jones's story for The Washington Post, the paper ran a biting, belittling story in its Style section writing off Paula Jones as another" eruption" of "Mount Bimbo." [37] The Paula Jones press conference received similar, spotty treatment in the mainstream press over the next couple of months. The story lingered in the background, put briefly into play again when Troopergate got a nudge in April 1994 after another trooper publicly backed the accounts of his colleagues. [38] This trooper, L.D. Brown, went public after the newly-appointed Independent Counsel Robert B. Fiske, Jr., subpoenaed him to testify about Whitewater events. [39] Trooper Brown said he had helped Clinton approach "at least one hundred" women over the years. "Certainly not all of those were successful, but in terms of making approaches, yeah, sure, at least one hundred," Brown claimed. [40] Most relevant to a revived interest in Paula Jones, Brown commented that some of the sexual encounters amounted to "just having a good time" but others bordered on sexual harassment. [41] "Truly it was taking advantage of a position of power over some of these women," Brown said. [42]

Meanwhile, after securing exclusive interviews with Paula Jones, her family, and friends over the course of a couple of months, The Washington Post had not yet run a piece on her claims, to Paula and her husband Steve's immense frustration. Right-wing Clinton bashers, eager not to let a political weapon slip away, approached Paula and Steve consistently, eventually persuading them to speak out in interviews for, among others, National Review and the documentary that later became The Clinton Chronicles, the bible for the I-Hate-Clinton crowd. [43] In April 1994, Paula told a writer for the Orange County Register that she wasn't in it this for the money; if she were, she'd have gone to the tabloids and talk shows that pay for interviews. [44] Steve told the same reporter, "But all we want is to get the truth out- -- hat's why we gave the story to the Post and hoped they'd do something."  [45] In the same interview, Paula said she waited to speak out because she felt "nervous and confused" and "dirty and humiliated." [46] Besides, who would she complain to -- the police? "Remember, it was a state trooper who took me to Clinton's room." [47] She was coming forward now, after nearly three years, only because she had been labeled as a Clinton conquest in the Troopergate scandal and she wanted to clear her name. [48]

Jones's lawyer, Danny Traylor, was upset when he learned what channels Paula and Steve had been talking through, and when he called her from Little Rock she cried and apologized. [49] But the damage had already been done. Paula Jones would be branded a right-wing tool for the duration of her fight to hold Clinton responsible for his actions.

With no apology forthcoming from the White House, Paula and Steve were considering filing a lawsuit. The statute of limitations for filing a statutory sexual harassment claim under federal law had expired, but she could still file claims for deprivation of civil rights under federal law, and tort claims under Arkansas state law, up to three years after the incident. The deadline for filing her remaining legal claims expired on May 8, 1994. One reporter described Paula as feeling "edgy about becoming a high-profile focus of controversy" fearing "What if somebody wanted to hurt us?" but Steve's attitude was "Clinton is the scum of the Earth," prodding the couple to choose legal action over letting everything go. [50]

Even rumors of a possible lawsuit did little to publicize Paula Jones in the mainstream media. What finally got editors' attention and made it a story was Clinton's hiring of superlawyer Robert Bennett (older brother of conservative icon William Bennett) in anticipation of a lawsuit. "This event, plain and simple, didn't happen," the Post quoted Bennett saying in its long-time-coming, lengthy article delving into Jones's story. [51] Off the record, Bennett also began telling reporters there were "nude photographs" of Paula Jones floating around somewhere. [52] The president's lawyers immediately hired an investigative team to dig up the Joneses' finances, discovering they were carrying some credit card debt and had missed a rent payment for their Long Beach, California, apartment. [53] Betsey Wright had already dug into Paula Jones's reputation among her former co-workers at the AIDC, preparing to paint Jones as a gossipy slut. [54]

By May 4, 1994 -- just days before the deadline for filing a suit -- the president's hiring of Bob Bennett to defend against possible litigation was the hook The Washington Post needed, prompting it to finally publish the results of the intense investigation Isikoff and two other Post reporters had been conducting for months into Paula Jones's allegations. [55] The Post article divulged many details it had gathered in its investigation, but the public would have to wait until Michael Isikoff published his book in 1999 to learn the behind-the-scenes details of the Post's in-depth inquiry into the plausibility of Paula Jones's story.

For example, the May 4 Post article quoted Wright using Clinton's reputation for womanizing as a reason not to believe Paula Jones. "What she [Jones] alleges is simply inconceivable as Clinton behavior," Wright told the Post. [56] What the Post story didn't include, though, was Isikoff's information through off the record interviews and conversations with women about their experiences with Clinton that lend support to the idea that Jones's allegations were perfectly consistent with "typical Clinton" behavior.

A fellow Post reporter told Isikoff that a Washington, D.C., school system official had no doubt Paula Jones was telling the truth, based on her own run-in with Clinton. When Isikoff spoke with this school official, Karen Hinton, Hinton said that she met Clinton in 1984 at a Mississippi restaurant. [57] Hinton, then twenty-four years old, was there with a group of people including Willie Morris, a former editor of Harper's magazine, of whom Clinton speaks highly in his memoirs. Clinton and his entourage showed up and sat with them for dinner. Hinton told Isikoff how, upon meeting her, "It's hard to describe, but the way he looked at me -- nobody could have missed it -- it was a direct flirtation. He made direct eye contact, he looked me up and down -- it was very clear." As dinner ended, Clinton took out a napkin, scribbled something on it, and handed it to Hinton. It was Clinton's room number at the Holiday Inn, with a question mark. Hinton said he was looking at her as if expecting a response. She avoided his gaze and never went to his room that night. "I was offended," Hinton told Isikoff, "I felt a bit humiliated." Hinton remained a Democratic activist, working for the DNC from 1989 to 1991,where she said everyone joked about how indiscreet Clinton's womanizing was. Hinton didn't think it was funny. Her attitude was more along the lines of disgust, wondering how someone could call himself a supporter of women's rights and treat women that way.

Isikoff met with another woman, Cyd Dunlop, who opened up to him about her own experience with Bill Clinton. [58] Dunlop had been married to a Clinton campaign contributor in the 1980s, and Clinton often visited her husband and flirted with her. In November 1986, Dunlop and her husband spent the night in the Excelsior Hotel in Little Rock after attending Clinton's re-election celebration there. Well after midnight, Dunlop's hotel room phone rang. It was Bill Clinton. "I just wanted to hear your voice again," Clinton cooed. "Can you get out of your room?" Dunlop said she couldn't do that, but Clinton persisted, finally getting her to agree to meet him at the "old statehouse" the next morning. She said yes just to get him off the phone but never went to meet him. The next morning, she and her husband had breakfast with another couple, laughed about the phone incident, and let it go. Dunlop chuckled when she recounted her story to Isikoff. She hadn't felt "harassed" by Clinton, she said; she just "thought he was an idiot." Isikoff never reported these stories through the Post because, in his view, while they showed a side of Clinton not widely known, they didn't do enough to show out-and-out sexual harassment.

Perhaps not, but those women's stories (among others in Isikoff's book) provide a context for Paula Jones's allegations that diminishes the defense tossed out by Clinton loyalists-that sexual harassment wasn't "Clinton's style." Without the benefit of these or other women's stories, Paula Jones's lawyers filed Jones v. Clinton on May 6, 1994.Danny Traylor had sent an S.O.S. to experienced trial attorneys, and two Virginia lawyers responded to the call. For almost a week the two men, Gil Davis and Joe Cammarata, worked day and night drafting the complaint. After last-minute negotiations with Clinton's lawyers failed the evening of May 5, the lawsuit officially began on Friday, May 6.

In his memoirs Clinton brushes aside the Jones lawsuit as a nuisance, writing blithely that the first week of May 1994 was "another example of everything happening at once" in the White House. [59] Among other events that week, Clinton cheered passage of an assault weapons ban, "held a White House event to highlight the special problems of women without health insurance" and "got sued by Paula Jones. It was just another week at the office." [60] Clinton dismisses Jones by noting that she'd teamed up with his right-wing opponents like Cliff Jackson, and calls her husband a "conservative Clinton hater." [61] He then claims that she only filed the lawsuit after her lawyer attempted to extort a settlement from him. This is a severe mischaracterization of the pre-filing settlement talks.

The night before filing the lawsuit, attorneys for both sides felt the case might be settled out of court. Money wouldn't have been part of the settlement, and it wouldn't have included an express apology from Clinton. Clinton would just admit that he didn't challenge her claim that the two had met in a hotel room, state that Jones did not engage in any improper conduct, and express regret about any aspersions on her good name.

The settlement talks fell through, however, largely because Jones's oldest sister, Charlotte Brown, and her husband Mark Brown, started talking to the press and calling into question Jones's motives. Charlotte and Mark Brown told anyone who would listen that Paula was just out for money -- and they were already communicating with the president's lawyers, giving them any dirt that could help discredit Jones. [62] Jones, watching an interview with her sister and brother-in-law, started crying. "Why is she saying that? Why?" she cried. [63] A White House aide the night of May 5 insinuated to CNN that Paula Jones wasn't going to file the lawsuit because she realized she had no case -- her own family didn't believe her. [64] This inaccurate spin soured Paula and her lawyers on trying to settle, and they filed the next morning.

In a familiar turn, the Clinton cadre and media immediately branded Paula Jones "white trash out for cash" even though Paula had promised to donate any monetary award from the lawsuit to charity (after paying legal costs). Bob Bennett, Clinton's lawyer, told the press the lawsuit was "tabloid trash with a legal caption." [65] Clinton loyalist James Carville launched his most famous cheap shot at Jones by saying, "Drag a hundred dollars through a trailer park and there's no telling what you'll find." [66] Clinton was spared detailed responses to Jones's complaint in court for years because his lawyers immediately raised "presidential immunity" as a defense, arguing that a sitting president shouldn't have to face a lawsuit until out of office.

A flurry of news reports and commentary swept the media after the lawsuit was filed, but Paula Jones slid to the backburner over the summer as Whitewater investigations and the battle over health care reform intensified. She received splotches of coverage in the summer and fall of 1994 when she took to the interview circuits to give the public her point of view after suffering months of derision in the press as just another bimbo. [67] Nothing she said seemed to counter her image, already cemented in the press, as white trash. One journalist summarized the combined efforts of the White House and press to write off Jones's claims based on her presumed status as white trash:

Jones must therefore be, in case you missed the point, a floozy, a tramp and a slut. ...

Let us, for the sake of argument, say all these things are true. Does that mean that Bill Clinton did not proposition her in that hotel room? (Or might Clinton have propositioned her in so crude a manner because he thought her to be a tramp?) ....

But many stories suggest that a trashy woman like Jones either had to be asking for it from Clinton or is lying about it. Take your pick. [68]


That article quoted Paula Jones saying, "Just because I'm not a high official like a lawyer or somebody of high rank who's had a big degree or something, just because I'm from a little, small town, I'm not important. And because of who did this to me, I'm not important." [69] Journalist Roger Simon pointed out, "Clinton and Bennett are very important men. And they are automatically given a degree of courtesy, if not outright deference, by reporters who would never give it to 'white trash' like Paula Jones." [70]

Reporters traveled to Jones's hometown, Lonoke, Arkansas, and informed America this was "the land of big hair and tight jeans and girls whose dreams rarely soar further than a stint at hairdresser's school, an early marriage and a baby named Brittany or Tiffany or Brooke." [71] They talked about Jones's upbringing under the strict rules of her conservative, religious parents and how Jones and her two sisters eventually shed their parents' prim and proper ways. "In time," one article stated, "both of the older girls dropped out of high school, married and settled in trailers in nearby Cabot, raising babies. But Jones seemed to want more. By now, Jones had shed her prudish upbringing and was on her way to becoming a bubbly woman whose big eyes, wild hair and provocative clothes drew the attention she craved." [72] Similar pretentious assessments of Paula continued in the months and years following her lawsuit. Reports moved on to Jones's sister and brother-in-law, Charlotte and Mark Brown, interviewing them at length to get their "take" on Paula. "Charlotte speaks of love and hope for a sister gone astray. Mark focuses on money lust and what he says is Jones's cunning way of using men for cash," wrote The Washington Post in June 1994. [73] The battle was just beginning.

***

The immunity issue took a long time to work its way through the court system. The federal district court judge Solomonically split the baby, ruling in December 1994 that Jones could conduct pretrial discovery but the trial itself should wait until Clinton left office, thus creating a kind of temporary, partial immunity for Clinton.74Neither side was pleased with this decision.

The November 1994 elections had brought Clinton enough bad news -- for the first time in decades, Republicans won control of both houses of Congress. Hillary Rodham Clinton wrote that losing Congress in 1994 left her "[d]eflated and disappointed," and Bill was "miserable," feeling like he'd "let his party down." [75] Clinton had to walk a tough political line. The defeat of Democrats in Congress had been so sudden and severe that he couldn't completely discount the conservative movement spreading through the Legislative Branch, yet he wasn't about to "go Republican" and endorse the GOP's "Contract with America" either. He told reporters in December 1994, "What I do not agree with them [Republicans] on is that somehow government is inherently the problem. There is a role for government in a modern society." [76] He insisted that government "cannot create opportunity but it can expand it." [77] Clinton made the most of his New Democrat stance, promising to work with the GOP on welfare reform and a line-item veto, while making his top priorities relatively conservative-sounding things like tax cuts for families, college education incentives, and tax breaks for retirement savings. [78] The only good thing about the Jones decision for Clinton was the promise that any trial would be held over until he left office, and appealing the district court's ruling could postpone pretrial discovery until after the 1996 election.

Both sides appealed the immunity ruling, and everyone waited. Finally, in January 1996 the federal court of appeals reversed the lower court's ruling and ordered the district court to let the matter go to trial. [79] This was not good news for Clinton, but he could still appeal to the Supreme Court. Also in the news that week: Whitewater documents long sought by the independent counsel magically turned up in the White House, and a memo detailing Hillary's involvement in Travelgate surfaced. [80] A few months later a federal jury convicted former Clinton business associates Jim and Susan McDougal, along with Clinton's successor to the governorship Jim Guy Tucker, of various criminal counts involving the failed savings-and-loan fiasco known by then as Whitewater. [81] Fortunately for Clinton, the Paula Jones lawsuit didn't heat up again until after the November 1996 election; he had enough trouble avoiding political damage from scandals like Whitewater without Jones's allegations making headlines during an election year.
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 17110
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Their Lives: The Women Targeted By the Clinton Machine

Postby admin » Thu Jun 09, 2016 5:35 am

Part 2 of 2

Clinton appealed the Jones v. Clinton appellate decision to the U.S. Supreme Court, which agreed to take the case but didn't hear arguments for it until February 1997. In May 1997 the Supreme Court ruled nine to zero that a sitting president does not have immunity from civil suits concerning alleged conduct that occurred before he took office. [82] Clinton had avoided it until after his re-election, but by the summer of 1997 depositions and other pretrial discovery began in Jones v. Clinton. [83] For the first time in the whole drama, a new name surfaced: Kathleen Willey. [84] Jones's lawyers subpoenaed her to testify after being tipped off about an incident involving Ms. Willey and Clinton inside the White House. In September 1997, Jones's lawyers Gil Davis and Joseph Cammarata quit the case. [85] They had tried to convince Paula to settle in August 1997, but she insisted on an apology, which Clinton steadfastly refused. Soon after that round of settlement talks broke down, Paula and Steve found themselves on the receiving end of an IRS audit. [86]

In his memoirs, Clinton says that Jones refused to accept a settlement in 1997 "unless I also apologized for sexually harassing her," adding, "I couldn't do that because it wasn't true." [87] And we all know that Bill Clinton couldn't possibly say anything that wasn't absolutely, 100 percent true. The rejected settlement offer Clinton is probably referring to here would have included a $700,000 payment by Clinton's insurance companies plus a statement from Clinton that Jones never engaged in "any improper or sexual conduct" and that any implication to the contrary was regrettable. [88] Jones refused this offer -- to her lawyers' consternation-because it didn't include an apology and she felt she had no need for absolution from Clinton. [89] The apology she wanted was for his boorish propositioning of her, not for "sexually harassing" her. Bill Clinton has made himself memorable for parsing words (it depends on what the meaning of "is" is) so it's not unfair to parse his own words. Sexual harassment has a specific, technical, legal definition, and that wasn't specifically the behavior for which Jones demanded an apology.

In August 1997 Judge Susan Webber Wright dismissed two of Jones's four claims, which knocked out the insurance carriers and left Clinton personally on the hook for any eventual payout to Jones. The two claims the federal judge dismissed were relatively unimportant sideshows to the sexual harassment issue: defamation and false imprisonment. In My Life, Clinton seizes on the dismissal of these two minor claims to make it sound as if Jones's whole case had fallen apart. Plus, Clinton goes on, after her lawyers quit in September 1997, her new attorneys were" closely associated with and funded by the Rutherford Institute, another right-wing legal foundation financed by my opponents." [90] He concludes smugly, "Now there was no longer even a pretense that Paula Jones was the real plaintiff in the case that bore her name." [91] Given that Jones had just refused to settle for big bucks without an apology, it seems odd to try to argue that her lawyers' connections to right-wing causes automatically discredit her. Clinton was able to hire top-notch bulldog attorneys (with substantial ties to Democratic causes) to defend him; if Paula Jones could find powerful attorneys only within the conservative camp to come to her aid, I'm not sure that goes quite as far as Clinton hopes toward discrediting Jones or her case.

In October and November 1997 depositions began in earnest. Jones, her sisters and mother, her two friends Pamela Blackard and Debra Ballantine, Dolly Kyle Browning, Gennifer Flowers, and others all testified under oath. In November 1997,as speculation once again heated up about Paula Jones's claim that she could identify "distinguishing features" of Clinton's genitals, Clinton's lawyer made the undignified protest on national television that a recent medical examination had revealed "In terms of size, shape, direction, whatever the devious mind wants to concoct, the president is a normal man. There are no blemishes, there are no moles, there are no growths." [92] The American public was doubtless relieved to hear that.

A few days before his own deposition, Clinton told reporters he expected the case to go to trial (it was set for May 1998) and that he dealt with the distraction by putting the unpleasantness "over in a little box" so he can" go on and do my work." [93] It was a coping mechanism he'd inherited from his mother Virginia Kelley, who once wrote: "I've always felt the past is irrelevant. I've always maintained that whatever's in someone's past is past, and I don't need to know about it ... I've trained myself not to worry about what-ifs, either .... And when bad things do happen, I brainwash myself to put them out of my mind." [94]

On January 17, 1998, President Clinton became the first sitting president ever to be deposed as a defendant. (Coincidentally, the same week, Hillary gave sworn testimony about Whitewater to Kenneth Starr. [95]) Clinton testified that he could not recall with any specificity being at the governor's Quality Management Conference at the Excelsior Hotel on May 8, 1991, and that he never made sexual advances to Paula Jones. His own lawyer, cross-examining him, queried: "[H]ow can you be sure that you did not do these things which are alleged in Ms. Jones's complaint" given that you can't remember being at the hotel that day? [96] Clinton answered, "Because, Mr. Bennett, in my lifetime, I've never sexually harassed a woman, and I've never done what she accused me of doing. I didn't do it then, because I never have, and I wouldn't." [97] Maybe he just never thought of it as harassment. During his deposition Clinton admitted sleeping with Gennifer Flowers but denied sexual relations with Monica Lewinsky and others.

After his humiliation under oath, Clinton's lawyers filed a motion for summary judgment. The federal judge granted the motion on April 1, 1998, which meant the lawsuit was dismissed without a trial, on the ground that the judge determined that Paula Jones's evidence, even if believed, was not legally sufficient to prove sexual harassment. [98] (Clinton points out in his memoirs that the federal judge in the Jones lawsuit was once his law student. While on the campaign trail in 1974, Clinton lost a handful of law school exams he'd been grading. One of those exams belonged to a "good student" who, twenty years later, was the Honorable Susan Webber Wright overseeing the Jones case. [99] Clinton remarks, "I don't think she ever forgave me for losing the exam." [100])

Although Paula Jones's lawsuit was dismissed, damage had already been done. The same weekend as the president's deposition, Newsweek and other media sources began breaking the story that would culminate in impeachment proceedings: the Monica Lewinsky scandal. [101] Within a few days, names like Kathleen Willey, Linda Tripp, and Monica Lewinsky hit the headlines -- and remained there for a year. By the time the lawsuit was dismissed by the lower court, Kenneth Starr was already investigating whether Clinton had obstructed justice by asking Monica Lewinsky to perjure herself in the Jones case.

Jones's lawyers filed an appeal with the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, and the two sides argued the case in October 1998. [102] By then, Clinton's seven months of denials concerning Monica Lewinsky had come to nothing, as he was forced to admit to a grand jury and a baited public in August that he'd been, well, less than completely honest.

Oral argument before the federal court of appeals seemed to favor Paula Jones, particularly since Clinton's public mea culpa suggested that his deposition for the Jones cases contained possibly perjurious statements. [103] Not wanting to risk the appellate court reinstating the Jones lawsuit, Clinton settled with Jones out of court on November 13, 1998. [104] She dropped her appeal, and he paid her $850,000 (more than she originally requested in her complaint). She never got what she set out for (an apology), and he ended up with more trouble than he'd ever bargained for from the five and a half year ordeal. A spokesperson for Jones pointed out in an interview after the settlement that even without an apology Paula had accomplished her goal: believability. [105] Especially after Clinton's public mea culpa in August, Jones's spokesperson said, Paula realized that nobody believed Clinton's denials anymore and became willing to settle the case even without an official apology from him. [106]

***

The case took its toll on Jones's personal life. By March 1999, just a few months after settling the lawsuit, she and Steve were living separately. Jones moved back to her parent's home in Arkansas, publicly saying the plan was for Steve to rejoin his family soon. They filed for divorce later that year, partly due to the strain of the entire Clinton ordeal, and Paula stayed in Arkansas.  [107] By the end of 2000, Jones was a single mother of two young boys, and she chose to pose for Penthouse, earning a tidy sum for her appearance and sparking harsh criticism from conservatives and others who had supported her through her battle with Clinton. [108]

(At the end of 1994, Penthouse shabbily purchased partially-nude photographs of Paula from an ex-boyfriend, [109] and printed them along with an article entitled "The Devil in Paula Jones" portraying Paula as a slut. [110] Paula sued to stop the magazine from publishing the photographs but the court permitted it. [111] She then sued her ex-boyfriend for appropriating her image that way but settled with him out of court when he apologized to her. [112] This incident, of course, made her decision six years later to voluntarily pose nude all the more controversial.)

Ann Coulter, a conservative tongue-lasher who helped use the Paula Jones suit as a political battering ram against Clinton, said after learning of Jones's display in Penthouse: "She used to have dignity and nobility and tremendous courage. Now she's just the trailer-park trash they said she was." [113] Her decision to go buff, Paula said candidly, was for the money, to help put her kids through college and get out from under her legal and tax debts. [114] She didn't actually see much of the $850,000 settlement payment after her old and new attorneys had hashed out entitlements to legal fees, and even by 2000 she still owed lawyers money.

Paula had said years earlier on a radio talk show that she would "never pose nude for any men's magazine," and when her voluntary appearance in the December 2000 Penthouse issue became public knowledge Larry King asked her, "What happened, Paula?" [115] She replied, "I meant it at the time, but I changed my mind." King pressed her: "You knew when doing it, though, that a lot of your friends, and supporters and people who stood by you would be outraged." Paula displayed a down-to- earth simplicity in her response: "None of my friends, first of all, Larry, are outraged ... because you know what? If you have true friends in life, they will always be your friends no matter what decision that you make in life. They are going to love you, support you, they don't have to agree with it, but they can support you and love you and stick by with you, and I have not had a problem whatsoever with any of my true friends." Anyone who has struggled with their direction in life, taking heat from the outside world while finding solace among a few true friends knows what she meant.

When Larry King confronted her with another quote from Coulter -- railing about how Paula is obviously not the Christian girl she'd held herself out to be and was no better than Monica Lewinsky -- Jones said Coulter had a right to her opinion, and she was sorry Coulter felt that way. Coulter and other commentators, Jones explained, rallied around her during the lawsuit, but once it settled they all vanished from Jones's life, leaving her as a single parent, struggling financially. "And all of a sudden, I didn't hear from anybody after the lawsuit had been settled or whatever to say: 'Paula, how are you doing? Do you need some help or is anything going on in your life that we can help you out with? How's your day going?'" Paula told King that she had no regrets. And no, she doesn't feel any guilt about opening up the can of worms that became the Lewinsky scandal. "[T]hat's Bill Clinton's problem," she retorted. In March 2002, she caused more people to shake their heads in bemusement by appearing on Fox TV's Celebrity Boxing in the ring against former figure skater Tonya Harding. [116] (Paula lost.) By summer 2004 Paula Jones was happily remarried, living with her new husband and their child (her third son) in Arkansas.

During the five years of legal warfare, Paula Jones endured endless references as a white trash bimbo, [117] and the Clintons found themselves knee-deep in debt. Amusingly, in the beginning Paula Jones made money and gave it to charity; the Clintons, on the other hand, lost money and had to become a charity. In the summer of 1994, a clothing company paid Paula Jones $50,000 to be a spokesperson; she kept half of it for her legal defense fund and gave the other half to an Arkansas shelter for abused women. [118] (The shelter ended up refusing her donation.) The Clintons, around the same time, started an unprecedented legal defense fund and accepted contributions from the public. [119]

Paula and her husband Steve tried to live a relatively quiet life during those five years, giving interviews only sporadically, focusing on raising their children. After being told by Jones that she wanted to keep her life quiet, one reporter wrote in late 1996, "Neighbors say the thirty year old housewife passes hours with the TV blaring and rarely leaves the gated complex without Steve, her spouse. When she does venture out, strangers approach her in restaurants, shops and Von's Supermarket. Some hurl epithets, others compliment her spunk and perseverance." [120] Attempting to be balanced, the New York reporter wrote about how "Jones's detractors, including several anonymous White House aides" continued to dismiss Jones as "a big-haired trailer park queen" and a "money-grubbing opportunist determined to shake down and embarrass the president of the United States," while Jones's "defenders describe her as a somewhat naive woman of simple values, motivated only by an obsession with clearing her name." [121] Jones told a friend, "I just want to tell my story. I deserve the chance to be heard." [122]

Paula Jones became a political football during the five years of her lawsuit, fumbled by conservatives who accused feminists of a double standard for not supporting Jones, and by feminists and left-wingers who used Jones to claim that conservatives never care about women until they have the opportunity to use one to attack a president they hate.

Paula herself once told reporters she felt nettled by feminists' refusal to come to her aid, speculating that maybe it was because of the hatchet job the press and Clinton defenders had done on her character. Comparing herself to Anita Hill, who received immediate, ardent support from feminists in 1992 Paula said, "You know, I'm not college-educated. And, I'm not a law professor. And they slammed me. They made me look like a -- you know, some kind of a trash from Arkansas. And I think that people didn't believe me because of the bad things that-that they were saying about me." [123] Yet the cruelty continued. Journalist Andy Rooney snidely said after watching an interview with Paula Jones, he believed her -- but his point was "what bad taste any man must have who was ever attracted to anyone so unattractive." [124] Rooney went on viciously:

I went to a library that keeps copies of dirty magazines like Penthouse under lock and key. I was able to look at the issue featuring Ms. Jones. She may be the most unattractive woman ever to voluntarily take off her clothes in front of a camera. In her old age, Helen of Troy was said to have looked at herself in the mirror and wondered why ever she had been twice carried off. If Paula Jones looked at herself in Penthouse she must wonder if any jury is ever going to believe that Clinton was sexually attracted to her. [125]


It was certainly this sort of savage public humiliation that prompted Paula Jones to get a make-over126and eventually a nose job. [127] In its Style section, The Washington Post called Paula Jones's revamped image "one of the most jaw-dropping public make-overs ever," and condescendingly observed, "The new Jones is sleeker, softer and sexier than she was in 1994." [128]

About the time that the Supreme Court was preparing to decide the immunity issue in Jones v. Clinton, (but after the November 1996 election), Paula Jones began receiving markedly more generous analysis in the mainstream media, even before her amazing makeover. There seemed to be some regret for portraying her so quickly and ruthlessly as white trash. There also appeared to be more hesitation in swallowing every denial the White House issued. The turning point might have been a well-researched article, part legal analysis, part investigative journalism, by a respected (and liberal) lawyer, Stuart Taylor. He wrote a 15,000 word article for American Lawyer magazine's November 1996 issue that made the rounds among the Washington press corps and found wide reception there.

Taylor's article examined all the evidence available about the case, and concluded that you had to believe one of three things: Paula Jones made everything up and lied convincingly to friends and family about it; Paula Jones and her friends and family conspired to make the whole story up; or Paula Jones was essentially telling the truth. Drawing many comparisons and contrasts with Anita Hill's accusations against Clarence Thomas, Taylor thought Paula Jones's story had as much or more credibility than Anita Hill's, and chastised the liberal press for "class bias" for discounting Paula because of her lack of education and big hair while crediting Anita with her Ivy League education, style, and poise. Taylor's article even prompted Newsweek journalist Evan Thomas to recant his cruel depiction of Paula Jones as "some sleazy woman with big hair corning out of the trailer parks" [129] and feature Paula Jones and a reassessment of her case on the January 13, 1997, cover of Newsweek. [130] Other liberals took note of Taylor's article and began commenting on the hypocrisy of Clinton's public image and private conduct. Andrew Sullivan mentioned Taylor's article when writing in November 1996:

Clinton has long been a public feminist, and constantly touts his concern and respect for women as his equals. Women, in general, have repaid the compliment by voting for him in disproportionate numbers. Indeed, women's groups have long been among his most vehement defenders. And yet Clinton is being sued for sexual harassment. [131]


Much of what was analyzed by Taylor remained the most telling evidence available throughout the remainder of the Jones lawsuit, since the case never actually went to trial; even the depositions ended up with more relevance for Kenneth Starr than Paula Jones.

***

It's important to remember that Jones's lawsuit was eventually dismissed not on the basis that she couldn't sufficiently prove what happened in the hotel room, but on the judge's determination that even if things happened like Jones alleged, she couldn't demonstrate all the legal requirements of sexual harassment. Most importantly, it would have been difficult for Jones to prove she'd suffered on the job because of her encounter with Clinton. Records showed she'd received cost of living and merit wage increases, so it would have been mostly her own testimony about feeling uncomfortable at her job knowing that her boss was a friend and appointee of Clinton. Whether or not she could prove her legal case of sexual harassment is a separate question from whether she had credible evidence of being sexually mistreated during her fifteen minutes alone with Bill Clinton. Even granting that no witnesses were present in that hotel room, there were a lot of good reasons to believe she was essentially truthful in her account of what happened. Of course it carne down to her word against his -- yet another case of he says, she says. She told her version under oath, and he denied it under oath.

For our purposes, it's enough that Paula Jones's story possesses plausibility. No one was ever able to discredit her story, though many efforts were made to discredit her as a person. Although I summarized the encounter earlier in the chapter, here is a more detailed version (in more detail than I wish was necessary!) of Paula Jones's account of what happened, gleaned from her legal complaint [132] and from journalist Michael Isikoff's interviews.  [133] The picture they paint is vivid and hauntingly plausible.

By May 8, 1991, Jones had been working for the AIDC for about two months. Pamela Blackard, a friend and co-worker, was working with Jones at the registration desk in the Excelsior Hotel that day for the AIDC-sponsored Quality Management Conference.

A man approached the registration desk and made small talk with Jones and Blackard, identifying himself as Danny Ferguson, Governor Clinton's bodyguard. He returned at about 2:30 p.m., told Paula the governor wanted to meet her and handed Jones a piece of paper with a room number written on it.

After talking it over with Blackard, Jones accompanied Trooper Ferguson upstairs. The bodyguard waited outside while Jones entered the room. Clinton shook her hand and they exchanged small talk for a few minutes. Clinton told Jones that her boss was a "good friend" of his. Jones asked him something about Hillary Clinton's work with children in the school system, and whether he was running for president.

After about five minutes, Clinton was standing near the window. He reached over and held her hand, pulling her close to him. Jones withdrew and tried to make conversation. Clinton was listening to her but his face was "beet red." He moved closer to her, leaning against the back of a chair, and put his hand under her culottes. She said "What are you doing?" and tried to retreat but he was now trying to kiss her neck.

She backed away and he said he'd been noticing her downstairs, how he loved her curves and the way her hair fell down her back. She sat down on a couch saying she really needed to be going. "Oh, you don't need to go right now," he said to her, and sat down beside her.

When she looked over, Clinton had his trousers and boxers down to his ankles and was sitting there, exposing himself. "1 was literally just scared, shocked," Jones said. Clinton was "holding it ... fiddling it or whatever." Jones told Isikoff, "And he asked me to -- I don't know his exact word -- give him a blowjob or -- I know you gotta know his exact words .... He asked me to do something, I know that. I'll tell you, I was so shocked. I think he wanted me to kiss it .... And he was saying it in a very disgusting way, just a horny-ass way that just scared me to death."

She jumped up and said she didn't want to, that she wasn't that kind of girl, and Clinton replied, "Well, I don't want to make you do something you don't want to do." As he pulled up his boxers he told her to call him if she got any trouble from her boss for being away from the registration desk. As she left, he told her, "You are smart. Let's keep this between ourselves."

A few weeks later, her job entailed delivering some documents to the governor's mansion. She ran into Clinton at the Capitol rotunda. He greeted her cheerfully, put his arms around her in a bear hug and said to his bodyguard, "Look at us, kind of like Beauty and the Beast, isn't it?"

For excellent analysis of evidence supporting these central allegations of Jones's story, there are two must-reads. First, Michael Isikoff's book Uncovering Clinton, and second, Stuart Taylor's article "Her Case Against Clinton" in the November 1996 issue of American Lawyer. Neither author appeared motivated by any political vendetta against Clinton; Taylor even wrote his article after writing two years earlier in the same publication that he thought Paula Jones was lying. The evidence, not politics, changed his mind. As someone who voted for Clinton, Taylor wrote, "1 don't want to believe that the president is a reckless sexual harasser, and I'll never know for sure exactly what happened when Clinton was alone with Jones. But Jones's evidence is highly persuasive," leaving Taylor" all but convinced that whatever Clinton did was worse than anything [Clarence] Thomas was even accused of doing." [134] Since our purpose isn't to prove Paula Jones's case in a strict legal sense, we'll let readers interested enough to get their hands on Isikoff's book and Taylor's article decide for themselves how convincing Jones's case was. Meanwhile, let's explore what her story means in terms of Clinton's recurring mistreatment of women and his liberal beliefs.

***

In the dry, stilted language of federal regulations, the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission defines sexual harassment this way:

Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitutes sexual harassment when submission to or rejection of this conduct explicitly or implicitly affects an individual's employment, unreasonably interferes with an individual's work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment. [135]


This definition of sexual harassment violates federal law, specifically, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Clearly, people can experience "unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature" and feel violated, humiliated, embarrassed, and fearful in a variety of circumstances that would not meet this definition of sexual harassment because of a lack of impact on employment. For instance, how many creeps on the street or in clubs use obscene pick-up lines that make their targets feel uncomfortable, degraded, and even afraid for their safety? Legally, Paula Jones's sexual harassment claim hinged on her ability to connect what happened with Clinton in the hotel room to her job as a state employee. Personally, her encounter with Clinton amounted to real mistreatment regardless of whether it impacted her employment or whether her experience merited legal redress.

Because the phenomenon of legal bans on sexual harassment evolved in the context of workplace discrimination, sexual harassment has become a politicized issue polarizing the left and right on the ideological spectrum. The left pushed for legal prohibitions, while the right called attention to some of the excesses caused by such laws. Feminists and scholars in fields like sociology and psychology have theorized about the causes and impact of sexual harassment, but in political discourse the topic is usually reduced to generalizations thrown around by both sides. The left condemns any reluctance to enact or enforce anti-sexual harassment laws as attempts to stifle women's rights, while the right tends to view stronger anti-sexual harassment measures as attacks on free speech by man-hating feminists. What gets lost in this reductionist approach to the topic is the seriousness of the behavior that forms the crux of sexual harassment, and its impact on women who endure it. That behavior consists of unwanted sexual advances.

Whether inside or outside a workplace, unwanted sexual advances are almost always premised on a view of women as mere objects, and are usually more about power than sexual gratification. While both women and men can, and do, impose unwanted sexual advances on each other, women generally experience such advances in a different context than men do. One of the key reasons women are more sensitive about unwanted sexual advances than men are is that men are generally stronger than women. This means that in a situation where a man is verbally (let alone physically) pressing a woman for sex, a woman is more inclined to sense a threat behind suggestive requests. Even a one-time incident of unwanted sexual advances can leave a woman feeling afraid for her safety, fearing that her rejection of the man's advances will leave him frustrated enough to just take what he wanted.

This aspect of mistreatment through unwanted sexual advances is buttressed by realizing that such advances demonstrate a view of women as objects rather than whole, individual people. Having a man make uninvited -- and, in Jones's case, completely unprovoked -- sexual overtures toward a woman leaves her in serious doubt that he sees her as anything more than a useful device to fulfill some sexual desire. That impression can further a sense of fear that, when rejected, the man may not hesitate to use force to fulfill his desire, since it appears that he doesn't know her or care to know her except in a debased sexual way.

If this topic of discussion is leaving men a bit frustrated, I can't blame them. The line between unwanted sexual advances and flirtation based on mutual attraction is often fuzzy, complicated by basic differences in men's and women's perceptions and use of verbal and body language. Some men accused of sexual harassment no doubt feel greatly misunderstood, believing they were actually complimenting a woman or simply expressing a romantic interest in her. One of the contextual keys to identifying unwanted sexual advances, however, is whether a man's advances address themselves to a person, or just an object. Verbal communication and body language that bypass all aspects of a woman except her body, for instance, are likely to be perceived as objectification, triggering the sense of fear or intimidation that makes unwanted sexual advances disturbing rather than innocuous.

The difference between unwanted sexual advances that objectify and degrade women, leaving them humiliated, debased, and even frightened, on the one hand, and harmless flirtation and natural romantic interest, on the other hand, may not always be readily identifiable. However, some interactions fall clearly within the realm of unwanted sexual advances. Paula Jones's experience with Bill Clinton in that hotel room is one of the clear cases. The first aspect of her story that places her encounter with Clinton in the realm of unwanted sexual advances that left her feeling objectified and humiliated was the power differential between them. He was governor, she was a bottom-rung state worker. That dynamic factored into her ability to stand up for herself, since fending off the governor is likely to be mentally and psychologically much more difficult than fending off, say, an obnoxious bartender at the local pub. Using the police to arrange his meeting with her reinforced this power, enhancing her trepidation when he made sexual advances toward her.

The second aspect of Paula Jones's story that helps identify her interaction with Clinton as unwanted sexual advances is Clinton's physical overtures toward her after only a few minutes of small talk. That behavior sent a message that he had little or no interest in anything about Paula Jones except her body and its ability to please him. He held her hand, and when she protested, he slid his hand under her culottes. Stop right there. After she expressed reluctance, he made a physical grab for sex. At that point, he made two things clear to her: one, she existed to gratify his urges, and two, he might not take no for an answer.

She refused and backed away again. Partly because of the aforementioned power differential, she didn't leave the room at that point, not wanting to offend him too badly. She continued making small talk, and sat down on a couch away from him. He sat down beside her, sort of listening to her, and paid her what he perhaps thought were compliments about how he loved her curves and the way her hair fell down her back. Between lovers, these comments are complimentary, but between strangers, these comments only intensify the recipient's impression that this man knows what he wants and it's all about physical gratification.

The remainder of their interaction reinforces these two aspects: the power differential and his objectification of her. He sat on the couch next to her and pulled down his pants, exposing himself to her, asking her to perform oral sex on him. The unspoken thought that might zoom through a woman's mind in a moment like that may be, Or what? If she refuses, what happens then? His behavior has indicated a strong desire for her to service him; will he force her to do it? Jones refused and quickly got up to leave the room. His response? "Well, I don't want to make you do something you don't want to do." Reporter Michael Isikoff believed Jones's memory of that statement boosted her credibility. It's a "well, at least" kind of statement that a woman probably wouldn't include in her story if she were making it all up. Well, at least he wasn't going to force her to service him. Jones's reaction when Michael Isikoff pointed this out to her was: "Oh, wasn't that sweet of him? Asshole. That one little sayin' in there I guess will get him off the hook." [136] She's right. What a great guy, letting her know that he wasn't going to rape her. It doesn't get him off the hook, though.

Regardless of whether his actions fell short of sexual assault, Clinton's behavior falls squarely in the realm of degrading, humiliating, objectifying unwanted sexual advances. His behavior should be completely unacceptable from any man, particularly one who holds himself out to be a champion of women's rights. Women have fought for centuries to be treated with respect as individuals with souls and minds, who exist for their own purposes rather than as sexual toys for men. That kind of basic respect and appreciation for female autonomy is far more important than a slew of legal protections Clinton supported. Blatant refusal to accord this kind of respect and autonomy to women with whom he comes in personal contact amounts to a type of misogyny, as it demonstrates through action an assumption that women exist chiefly to fulfill his own whims and are not worthy of full personhood. One journalist queried during the Paula Jones lawsuit in 1995:

How does a man who claims to hold women in high regard explain away what seem to be chauvinistic exploitations of women? Simple: Make the accusers out to be pitiable "bimbos" who, for reasons of politics or money, lie about their relations with the former governor of Arkansas. According to this strategy, conceived by [Betsey] Wright before the inner circle did her in, Clinton maintains his image among professional women by separating off the "bimbos" as spindle-heeled opportunists with big hair. [137]


Even before the 1996election it was something of a problem for Clinton to maintain his grip on the women's vote while stories of his "private" mistreatment of women abounded.

The discrepancy between Clinton's public, official, political "treatment" of women and his personal mistreatment of them is more than "just" his personal weakness. Part of the discrepancy is due to his liberal political beliefs. Liberalism won't produce Clintonian misogyny in every adherent; it takes certain emotional, psychological predispositions to treat women the way Clinton does. But his politics does influence his behavior, and Paula Jones's experience helps illustrate a fourth aspect of liberal ideology that can breed misogyny.

Liberalism champions "groupism" rather than individualism. That is, liberalism classifies people into groups and focuses on policies to promote group welfare rather than individual welfare. People are only as important as their group membership makes them. Individuals' rights have little importance compared with so-called group rights. Thus, most policies and proposals from leftists concentrate on promoting the interests of certain groups rather than making rules that apply to all individuals as evenly as possible. Most of the groups liberals champion tend to consist of people who have historically been dominated by the powers that be. For example, liberals place much emphasis on helping minority racial groups and women. Under the guise of "equal rights for all," leftist policies usually end up calling for measures that in reality go far beyond removing actual barriers that have subjugated members of these groups and attempt to provide extra assistance or protection for such groups.

There are many problems with this core aspect of left-wing ideology. A glaring one is that human beings are much more than their physical, biological, or even sociological characteristics. Classifying people into groups according to those characteristics and then advocating policies with sole regard to those groups fails to account for people's individual interests. Not all people who belong to a group based on those kinds of characteristics possess identical interests or needs. Likewise, some people who do not belong to those groups have desires perfectly aligned with people in those groups. Giving pride of place to the welfare of groups overshadows the welfare of individuals who either do not belong to those groups, or belong to those groups but have their own individual needs or interests.

Leftism's elevation of group identity to center stage in policymaking necessarily pushes aside the value of each person's individuality. Group politics is a kind of short cut for trying to accomplish some good goals (like nondiscrimination) but like most short cuts it skips some important steps. One of those key steps is factoring in people's individual needs and interests. Black or white, people have an interest in acquiring employment when they want to work. Male or female, people often struggle paycheck to paycheck to support children. Gay or straight, people have an interest in an efficient, non-corrupt justice system. Instead of focusing the debate on solutions to common problems faced by individuals, liberal ideology centers the debate on promoting the welfare of certain groups, presuming to know the interests and needs of all members of those groups and discounting the needs and interests of those who don't belong.

Liberalism's focus on group politics also perpetuates the use of stereotypes that further degrade and undervalue people's individuality. When policies and proposals are constantly centered on so-called "minority rights" or "women's rights" it's inevitable that statements lumping all members of those groups together emerge in the debate. "Women want such-and-such," or "African-Americans need this-or-that," become part of the argument, as if the proponent actually believes herself competent to speak on behalf of every single member of those groups.

This perpetuation of group identity stunts the prospect of shaping laws and regulations that apply as generally and equally as possible to us all. Part of the value of law is to set up rules that people know to follow. Law tells each of us what society expects from us. Within the proscriptions and requirements of the law, our behavior is up to us; laws set a kind of boundary, warning us in advance what behaviors are unacceptable. If individual freedom of choice is truly valued, society will enact as few laws as possible and apply them as generally and fairly as possible. If values other than individual freedom of choice are paramount, laws and regulations quickly become complicated, nearly impossible to predict or follow to the letter, with some laws applying only to certain groups, other laws applying to everyone. Liberalism values group welfare much more than individual freedom of choice, so laws and regulations abound in their efforts to force "good" results for their target groups, at the expense of personal autonomy.

Let's return to the topic of sexual harassment to see this dynamic in action. It wasn't enough that women are not legally forbidden anymore from getting an education and entering the workforce. Feminists and other leftists thought the problem of workplace sexual harassment needed a legal remedy. Since sexual harassment is such a nebulous experience, defined so subjectively and turning on the perceptions of the people involved, laws banning it are difficult to articulate. But they have tried anyway, with the side result that many men self-censor themselves to avoid being accused of sexual harassment, and institutions remove valid expressions of art and learning to avoid even the appearance of sexual harassment. It's a classic example of leftism's emphasis on group identity over individualism. "Women need protection from sexual harassment in the workplace." This generalization pushes aside the fact that sexual assaults of all varieties were already punishable by law, and glosses over the reality that unwanted sexual advances are difficult to define and tend to be subjectively interpreted. Moreover, it's another political argument injecting stereotypes into the debate: "Women need ...." If you're a woman, you need this. By implication, if you're a man, you tend to engage in this negative behavior. Using those generalizations to shape law (which is always, fundamentally, the use of political force) discounts the individuality of many men and women whose needs and interests don't fit neatly into what liberals have deemed their respective gender groups' needs and interests and perpetuates the idea that conclusions about people can be drawn based on gender rather than individual behaviors.

Attached to a leftist ideology that treats people according to membership in groups, perhaps Clinton found it easier to rationalize treating Paula Jones with such disrespect and objectification. Liberalism calls for gender equality, but treats it strictly as a politicized group issue. Women's rights are equated solely with political initiatives like reproductive rights and tougher anti-sexual harassment measures. A person's individualism gets lost in this focus on groupism. Paula Jones is a member of the biologically-defined, politically important group "women." As such, Clinton took good care of her by the standards of liberal ideology: he advocated protecting her right to choose an abortion and her right to equal pay for equal work.

But Paula Jones standing alone as an individual person, unconnected to a political agenda for "women's rights," meant very little to BillClinton. In fact, as an individual he helped paint her as a member of yet another group, to be toyed with and mocked at will: white trash. That "group" gets scant attention from liberal activists, and her presumed membership in it far outweighed the importance of her membership in the group "women." Perhaps applying his ideological focus on group ism over individualism helped Clinton interact personally with individual women like Jones in a manner that demonstrated contempt, disrespect, and objectification, while maintaining his self-image as a promoter of women's rights; on balance, he was doing good things for women, and those women whose needs or interests weren't met by his policies didn't really "count."

Did Paula Jones's mistreatment by Clinton warrant the court battle she initiated? Probably not. Her case was weak by legal standards, mostly due to having to prove the unwanted sexual advances negatively impacted her work environment. Did Clinton's mistreatment of her justify doing all she could to call public attention to his behavior? Absolutely. There is no constitutional requirement that presidents treat women with respect. The public should, however, have information about their leaders' unofficial behavior when such information is available. Her efforts to embarrass him and wrangle an apology from him were, on a personal level, perfectly justifiable. While he racked up good marks for championing women's causes, she tried to point out that his personal behavior spelled misogynistic mistreatment of women. In that effort, she succeeded.
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 17110
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Next

Return to A Growing Corpus of Analytical Materials

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest