As waves of sexual assault and harassment allegations roll in — and the media, liberals and feminists hyperfocus on the allegations against Roy Moore because of the opportunity to flip a very solid Republican Senate seat — it’s worth revisiting what leading feminists said on the exact same issue in 1998 when it was Democrat President Bill Clinton’s position at stake.
This is important because there are a stunning number of people today who seem to have amnesia about the Clinton years — or young people today who were never taught them.
The context is that just a few years earlier feminists ardently supported the less-than-credible allegations made by Anita Hill that almost sunk the nomination of Clarence Thomas to the U.S. Supreme Court. They jumped in to support Anita Hill ostensibly because any woman alleging sexual harassment or worse must be believed. But in reality, it seems it was only a partisan attack against a conservative justice. Worse for Democrats, a conservative black justice. Thomas was brilliant in his defense, and his labeling it a “high-tech lynching.”
Fast forward to 1998 and Bill Clinton. Please read these in light of how both Anita Hill a few years earlier and the Roy Moore accusers today are treated by some of the same feminists.
⇢ “We’re trying to think of the bigger picture, think about what’s best for women,” said Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority Foundation. When conservatives called hypocrisy on the feminists, Smeal said: “It’s a twofer for them. If they can get the president, great. And if they can get feminism, even greater.”
⇢ “It will be a great pity if the Democratic Party is damaged by this,” feminist writer Anne Roiphe told Vanity Fair’s Marjorie Williams in 1998. “That’s been my response from the very beginning — I just wanted to close my eyes, and wished it would go away.”
⇢ “We do not know what happened in the Lewinsky case,” said Kathy Rodgers, executive director of the NOW’s Legal Defense and Education Fund. “The only thing that is clear is that the facts are not clear.”
⇢ One feminist infamously said she would perform oral sex on Bill Clinton as long as he kept abortion legal up to nine months. Some campus extremist? Hardly. Nina Burleigh, Time magazine’s White House correspondent when Clinton was President. She wrote: “I’d be happy to give him [oral sex] just to thank him for keeping abortion legal.”
⇢ “If anything, it sounds like she put the moves on him,” said Susan Faludi, a feminist author, said of one of Clinton’s prominent accusers.
⇢ Bill Clinton’s “enemies are attempting to bring him down through allegations about some dalliance with an intern…. Whether it’s a fantasy, a set-up or true, I simply don’t care,” said high-profile feminist Betty Friedan. Or true.
⇢ After 60 Minutes interviewed Kathleen Willey that Clinton had manhandled her in private when she was seeking a job, Anita Perez Ferguson — president of the National Women’s Political Caucus, said the charges were more “quantity rather than quality, in terms of my feelings…There’s no question that it’s disturbing…. But to come to any judgment now is definitely not something that I think is timely.”
⇢ “What is important for the American people to know is that there is a process in place to deal with these allegations,” said California Sen. Barbara Boxer. So let’s not be Roy Moore-like hasty.
⇢ “Not so many years ago, a woman couldn’t be a White House intern,” Illinois Sen. Carol Moseley-Braun said in an an amazing attempt at distraction on Meet the Press.
⇢ And finally Rep. Nancy Pelosi complained that Special Prosecutor Ken Starr was causing “humiliation” by calling Clinton’s female victims before the grand jury.
There is an obvious trend here. Against Republicans, feminists say the accusing female must be believed. Against Democrats, not so much. That’s not a philosophy, that’s straightforward partisan politics. And it makes their words today truly incredible.
EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in The Revolutionary Act.