JWR Jeff JacobyBen WattenbergTony Snow
Mona CharenDr. Laura
Linda Chavez

Paul Greenberg Larry ElderJonathan S. Tobin
Thomas SowellMUGGERWalter Williams
Don FederCal Thomas
Political Cartoons
Left, Right & Center

Click on banner ad to support JWR

Jewish World Review /March 1, 1999 / 12 Adar, 5759

Tony Snow

Tony Snow Open season on women

(JWR) --- (http://www.jewishworldreview.com) JUANITA BROADDRICK SAYS BILL CLINTON RAPED HER 21 years ago. The president, speaking through lawyer David Kendall, replies "Any allegation that the president assaulted Ms. Broaddrick more than 20 years ago is absolutely false."

The response cloys because it teems with what Paul Greenberg of Jewish World Review and the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette has dubbed "Clinton clauses" -- artful, misleading phrases that do not address the allegation under consideration. Let us parse the passage, "that the president assaulted Ms. Broaddrick 20 years ago." She alleges rape, not assault. She was known at that time not as Ms. Broaddrick, but Mrs. Hickey.

Thanks to Lawyer Kendall, we have learned to read all Bill Clinton's utterances with exegetical exactitude. We know the chief executive and his attorneys choose their words with supernatural care. It would be sensible to assume they knew precisely how the statement misleads.

Broaddrick during Dateline interview
But set aside the reply for a moment and ponder the president's behavior.

If someone accused you of rape, how would you reply? When a woman claimed two years ago that Michael Irvin of the Dallas Cowboys raped her, Irvin held a press conference, declared he would not settle the case and demanded his day in court. He was exonerated at trial and police threw the book at his accuser.

A malicious charge against the president would give Clinton the thing he relishes most -- the upper hand. The world is rife these days with people who file baseless charges of sexual harassment. So if the allegations are false, the president can deliver a simple, devastating riposte:

"I nearly destroyed my life by having an inappropriate relationship with Monica Lewinsky. I made a fool of myself. I hurt my family. I threw Monica's life into turmoil. I have apologized to everybody for it, and I'll tell you again: I'm sorry.

"But this story is beyond the pale. I'm sick of the ridiculous politics of personal destruction. I didn't rape her. I'm furious that anybody would insinuate that I did, and I simply won't allow people to take cheap shots at me and hurt my family just because they think they can get away with it.

Mrs. Broaddrick knows the charges aren't true. I know they're not true. And if she doesn't correct the record, I'll instruct my lawyers to sue until she corrects the record."

Instead, he has turned the matter over to a lawyer who knows nothing about it. This gives the impression that the president's guilty of one of the most bestial crimes imaginable -- and everybody recognizes it.

Consider a statement issued by the National Organization for Women after Broaddrick's appearance on NBC's "Dateline." It begins: "We will likely never know the truth about Juanita Broaddrick's accusation against Bill Clinton. It's virtually impossible to prove or defend against a 21-year-old rape charge. Perhaps the best way to respond is to call on President Clinton and his supporters not to launch a broadside against his accuser. ..."

The release, which bore the headline "NOW calls on Clinton to Foreswear (sic) 'Nuts or Sluts Defense,'" hints at the most disturbing fact of all, which is that the rape charge fits into a pattern. This president treats women like throw-away pleasure vessels and beats up on them, physically or psychologically, after the fact. The Broaddrick story has chilling echoes in the tale of Kathleen Willey -- who discovered that the only thing worse than giving in to Bill Clinton is talking about it.

We have reached the sorry state in which millions of Americans now suspect a rapist runs our country -- and that he is able (that old rascal!) to evade justice simply by refusing to acknowledge that the concepts of right and wrong apply to his private behavior.

But this inaction has consequences. Barbara Ledeen of the Independent Women 's Forum says a dozen or more women called her office in tears the day after the Broaddrick interview ran on TV. They worried the president had declared open season on women and effectively granted a pardon to every rapist who can frighten his victims into keeping quiet.

Members of Congress report similar calls, in larger numbers. As a result, expect in coming days a chorus of cries -- reminiscent of the ones that followed his early comments about Mizz Lewinsky -- for the president to come clean. Don't expect him to do so.

The president finds himself in the unlovely position of having to refute an accusation backed by a compelling witness (who earlier and without compulsion denied the charges) but no evidence. If he says the two enjoyed a consensual relationship, critics will point out that Mike Tyson made the same argument, before spending nearly four years in prison. If he says she never objected, prosecutors will point to dozens of molesters who made identical claims before heading off to prison. And if he denies, networks will replay last year's famous finger-wag.

The president's history is his enemy. To appreciate why Washingtonians suffer a sickening fear that Juanita Broaddrick is telling the truth, take this test:

Name any woman who has gotten intimately involved with the president and hasn't been hurt.

His victims stack up like cordwood: Gennifer Flowers, Paula Jones, Elizabeth Ward Gracen, Juanita Broaddrick, Kathleen Willey -- and, most poignantly, Chelsea Clinton and Hillary Rodham Clinton. There may be more. The law can do nothing to the president if he is guilty. The statute of limitations has lapsed. It can do plenty to Ms. Broaddrick if she's lying.

But no matter how dainty or dismissive the press and politicians will be of this charge, it will linger. And it's not obvious anybody can do anything to make us feel better about it.


02/25/99: The birth of political wisdom
02/22/99: Children of optimism
02/18/99: Wake up, Republicans!
02/16/99: Why we feel so good
02/11/99: What exactly does George W. stand for?
02/08/99: Run, GOPers, run?
02/04/99: The languid sigh of waves lapping ashore
02/01/99: Verbal vortex
01/28/99: To be a ‘sell-out’ or an unelectable pol --- that is the question
01/25/99: The apogee of a trend
01/21/99:What my 3-year-old taught me
01/17/99:Don't be fooled, folks
01/14/99: Must a pol be ‘baaaad’ in order to get elected?
01/12/99: Jumpin’ Jack (Kemp)
01/08/99 : Hot air in the Windy City

©1999, Creators Syndicate