I Believe Juanita

Nov 13, 2017 · 693 comments
Andy (California)
It sounds pretty damning when you say that five women back up the story of Juanita Broaddrick. I say please read the story of Julie Hiatt Steele. Steele refused to back up the story of Kathleen Willey. She was consistent in her story throughout. Ken Starr prosecuted her for perjury threatening her with several decades in prison. Willey was given immunity twice for perjury by Starr. After perjuring herself the first time, she perjured herself again and Starr gave her immunity a second time. The lesson was clear. Say what Ken Starr wanted you to say and you were home free. Perjure yourself as many times as you like. Don't say what he wanted and face decades in federal prison. At best, pay a fortune in legal bills.
Eddie K. (New York)
Oh for God's sake. This lie was put to rest 20 years ago! Slow news day at the "what can we use to distract the public from Donald Trump today?" desk? https://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/special/clinton/stories/a...
linda5 (New England)
So then the author doesn't believe Juanita's affidavit saying that the rumors of Clinton's rape were false? That's the problem with this case. She was either lying then or now. And she's gone back and forth between the two statements. The two other accounts were Paula Jones and Kathleen Willy Paula Jones accused clinton of propositioning her , yet told her own family that she was happily having an affair with Bill Clinton. Kathleen Willey account was undercut by Linda Tripp of all people. Tripp testified under oath that Willy told her she was having a consensual affair with Clinton. I do believe that Clinton was a jerk, but rape? Not given the testimony of the women
Mal Stone (New York)
Ultimately this mea culpa feels perverse. You can feel squeamish about Clintons actions and still see that he was not a pedophile like Roy Moore. To say they are similar is to make a false equivalency and a sickening one at that
Silty (Sunnyvale, ca)
On the whole, I don't believe Juanita. I think if Clinton were a rapist, others women would have come forward by now. Rapists usually have a repeating pattern, e.g. the cases of Weinstein, Weiner. Polanski, Moore, Packwood, etc. Clinton seems to have seduced rather than coerced his sex partners.
CatherineL (UpperMidwest)
I have voted Democrat in every primary and general since 1976, save one time: I could not bring myself to vote for Bill Clinton in 1992. The issue of sexual assault on children and women is and must be transpartisan, and must cross social classes. I do consider HIllary's role in the "bimbo eruptions" to have been abusive and not feminist. But I did vote for her in the last general. "Let all of the poison that lurks in the mud, hatch out."
Mal Stone (New York)
The irony is the sexism and misogyny that make predators think women are theirs for the taking is a big reason Hillary isnt president.
Gerald (Baltimore)
Choosing which gender to believe is absolutely what turns off potential democratic voters. Is that not exactly the problem with those who all believe the denials from men? Why not evaluate each claim on the merits with the understanding that the person who makes a claim bears the burden of production and persuasion. That rule applies in every intellectual setting. In ideological dogma, one picks sides and presumes the belief in that side's assertions. No one trusts dogma except those who drink the kool aid. Rape is a crime. Lying to the authorities about rape is a crime. Both are prosecuted. Don't presume to believe anything in this life.
fran soyer (wv)
I'm in a rush, can't read it all. Can someone tell me if Michelle believes her when she said he did do it, or when she said he didn't do it ?
Celtic Goddess (Northern New Jersey)
Thank you Ms. Goldberg for so clearly articulating a complex situation that the "objectivity challenged" media is now using in a pathetic attempt to distract us from candidate the Alabamian Republicans have selected as their candidate for the US Senate. Broaddrick always stood out to me as the only credible accuser of Bill Clinton on issues of sexual assault. However her claim that Hillary's comment to her shortly after the incident was a veiled threat was so clearly a subjective interpretation affected by what she had experienced with Bill Clinton that I find it incredible that anyone would believe it and therefore consider Hillary "an enabler." Thank - you for reminding us all of how, during the Ken Starr investigation, the world went crazy. Bill Clinton was accused of anything and everything by anyone who wanted their "15 minutes of fame." Super wealthy conservatives let loose a "win by any means" ethic among their fellow Republicans and the Democrats are still struggling to deal with this debased form of politics. Bill Clinton is no saint, and it pains me to see a rape go unpunished, but the Arkansas statue of limitations has long run out for Ms. Broadderick. It's time to focus on those IN OFFICE and those seeking office today. Especially when the accused claim to be the "good Christians."
Ila B. (Chicago, IL)
Somewhere on Earth 2, a former First Lady made the difficult decision to divorce her philandering husband caught in a sexual harassment suit. She would rise to become the Senator from New York, an accomplished Secretary of State, an indisputable crusader for women’s civil rights, and the first woman US President.
TeddyR (USA)
One of the most disturbing things in this article - and about this whole situation - is the sentiment that "We should err on the side of believing women..." This is 100% without exception wrong. When it comes to judging the actions of others, we must be wary of getting trapped into "erring" on any side or into believing anyone's testimony due to gender or our own empathy. I more than understand the overwhelming desire to have bad actors punished for their misdeeds. However, any system of justice must always rest upon the fundamental ideal that an accused is innocent until proven to be guilty. This is as true in the court of public opinion as it is in actual courts of law. And for what should be obvious reasons, I would truly rather have a bad actor go free than to wrongly accuse and punish even a single innocent person. Obvious why??? Because aside from being morally corrupt, wrongly convicting someone results in the actual perp still getting away only this time, some unlucky innocent is now also destroyed thereby incurring far more overall damage. Our #1 concern must always be to ensure fairness & integrity in how we treat each other both in society and in the court room. And as with physicians, we must adopt & embody the ethic that the people first do no harm when adjudicating all matters of justice. These ideals used to just be self-evident & part of our social fabric but somewhere along the line, we've lost ourselves. I truly hope we can find our way back.
redandright (Louisiana)
"Nevertheless, one of the sick ironies of the 2016 campaign was that it was Hillary who had to pay the political price for Bill’s misdeeds, as they were trotted out to deflect attention from Trump’s well-documented transgressions." The only reason HRC was the nominee is because she "stood by her man", and saved the presidency for the Democrats. Contrary to what is written in this column, there is ample evidence that Hillary had known about her husband's philandering for years. And that is one of the reasons she lost the campaign. She loved power more than self-respect. And people, especially women, saw throught that.
Harry (Olympia WW)
So we believe it only when it work politically? If there’s a reckoning let the blood flow, Bill Clinton included. Otherwise we’re hypocrites, which erodes the high ground.
Now perhaps more people get my avatar. Innocent until proven guilty. Period. It is the bedrock of any system you want to build. If the internet is to replace evidence, then heaven help us. If that's okay with you, you are not a liberal or a progressive. In fact, you will eventually be a victim of this new hysteria. They will come for you. They always do.
Renee Hack (New Paltz)
I agree with the comment that Clinton did not need to rape for sex..in this climate who knows what to say or think . Maybe we should let the Clintons live in peace. You don have to be totally confident about sexual allegations, but some allegations don't sound truthful.
mr berge (america)
I too believe Juanita. I also believe the Moore accusers. As such, Clinton and Moore should be jointly indicted, tried for sex crimes, moral turpitude. If found guilty, they should be incarcerated accordingly. Maybe they could share a cell, bond, become BFF, write a book, appear on Ellen, The View? Or the zoo? Yes, it’s excruciatingly embarrassing to be American.
RJ (Brooklyn)
I have a great idea for all you Trump supporters and for Michelle Goldberg: Let's appoint an Independent Prosecutor who is a well-known Democrat and give that prosecutor unlimited subpoena power, money and time (along with the power to throw witnesses in jail) and have that prosecutor be given free reign to investigate these charges of sexual wrong-doings against Judge Moore and Donald Trump. Imagine someone like Kamala Harris having that job. If, after years of subpoenaing witnesses with the sole directive to find something -- anything -- to "get" those two men, Kamala Harris is unable to find credible evidence to verify any of the charges against Moore and Trump -- just like Ken Starr could not find any credible evidence that Clinton attacked Juanita -- then it would be appropriate for Michelle Goldberg to say there is an equivalency between Bill Clinton and two men whose wrong-doings have never been the subject of a full fledged investigation by a powerful prosecutor who wanted nothing more than to get them. Pretending there is any equivalency in believing the man cleared by Ken Starr -- who tried very hard to prove every charge against him -- and believing women who have no powerful prosecutor on their side -- is simply ridiculous. Did you also believe the woman who charged the Duke lacrosse team of rape? When parts of her story fell apart -- as they did for Juanita Broaddrick -who do you believe?
Granda Bob (Queens)
The statement, " We should err on the side of believing women..... ", troubles me greatly. Each case is different and there are cases when, for whatever reason, the accuser lies. Especially egregious, is when that lie will send somebody to jail.
Joe Gould (The Village)
How about Anita? I believe Anita and Juanita. Yet, until women begin to act like those in Lysistrata, men will continue to wage war and treat women and, particularly in societies where white males are dominant, non-whites as little more than chattel. It is not as though women are powerless.
sm (new york)
Anita Hill was excoriated , laughed at , defamed and of all the women who have gone public she certainly was not lying . Not so sure about Juanita Broaddrick , she was very willing to participate and sit in the front row with the rest of them , making a mockery of a very serious subject and willing to be DT's patsies while over looking the actual proof of that recording of how he grabbed women! No that is not locker talk , that is a view of what he feels he can do to attractive women . I totally lost any sympathy or respect for that group of women. Anita Hill is a heroine , who was willing to testify at CT's confirmation hearing and bring his behavior out to the open , and they confirmed him anyway ; I include the democrats in the group and remember Biden also being rough in his questioning . It turns my stomach , sometimes women are their own worst enemy so Michelle your op-ed should have been about Miss Hill .
Bill (Glastonbury)
President Clinton's reprehensible behavior not only cast a long shadow over Hillary's campaign but likely led to Al Gore's defeat, as well. Looking back on it, we liberals must have sounded like all the apologists for Roy Moore, justifying unjustifiable behavior to save our political hero. "It didn't happen!" "Oh, it happened but technically it wasn't sexual harassment." "Sure, it may have been harassment, but it didn't rise to an impeachable offense." And on and on. I am agog when I see people defend each one of President Trump's offenses as one-offs, individually defensible, never representing a consistent, long-term pattern of behavior. There are echoes of this in Ms. Goldberg's article, as well. It may not have been pure tribalism, but tribalism led the charge.
MorrisTheCat (SF Bay Area)
In recent years, tens of millions of voters of both major parties have placed notorious abusers of women in the White House. The selective perception of voters rewards hypocrisy and double standards, and the consequences are now playing out over several election cycles with unpredictable results. If insiders had not concealed John Edwards's affair during the 2008 primary while his wife was terminally ill, it is likely that Mrs. Clinton could have become president then, since Edwards divided the non-Obama vote. By 2016, Mrs. Clinton was so weighed down by ethical baggage that, thanks to the very political culture the Clintons did their part to degrade, she could be beaten by a publicly avowed abuser. For decades, the Democratic Party has sacrificed its own interests to the vanities and denials of a couple who have been far too long in power despite never having won a simple majority in any national election. The Republicans have fared little better, with Todd "Legitimate Rape" Akin and now Roy "They're All Lying" Moore. It will remain difficult for voters to vote both their interests and their consciences until the parties themselves apply some minimal standards to their own candidates, or until we finally "'fess up" and admit that none of this really matters, and politics is all that remains.
Tuvw Xyz (Evanston, Illinois)
The big trouble with all the accusations of sexual violence and harassment is that most of the charges are not legally sustainable. Well, as a male, I would not oppose "condemning all the suspects, in hope that God will recognize the innocents" (paraphrased words of a Bishop's command to kill all in the mass massacre of Bezier, South of France, in 1208, during the Crusade against the Cathars).
Alex E (elmont, ny)
Republican reaction was much more honorable in both Clinton's case and current case of Roy Moore than so called feminists. As far as I know not even a single feminist leader criticized Bill's atrocities because he was their champion. For them, it is easy to make noise against Roy Moore because of his politics. It is hypocritical.
LAllen (Broomfield, Colo.)
To my knowledge, Clinton did not molest 14-year olds. He had consensual relations with adult women. To compare this to Moore's allegedly consistent attempts at sexual contact with adolescents is false. Especially considering the flimsy, biblical excuses offered by a fellow southern politician and the harried support of his loyal followers. Clinton did not hit on children, Moore did. There's a big difference.
steve (santa cruz, ca.)
Reread the article on which you are commenting. Bill Clinton’s “interaction” with Juanita Broaddrick was most certainly NOT consensual. It was a violent rape in which she was left bloodied. So long as we liberals continue to defend this creep, conservatives will be right to accuse us of rank hypocrisy.
Ray (Texas)
A woman cannot give consent to a person that is in a position of power over them, such as Paula Jones or Monica Lewinsky. And I’m sure that Juanita Broadrick would disagree with categorizing their encounter as consensual -it was rape.
John lebaron (ma)
I do not believe Ms. Broaddrick. She popped into prominence at a presidential debate occurring after the bizarre revelation from the Billy Bus. She was hauled onto stage-center by a campaign whose persistently embedded mendacity was, and continues to be, head-spinning. If the narrative comes from the Trump spin cycle of truth laundering, it can safely be discredited, ipso facto. Ms. Broaddrick is a deflection, without a shadow of doubt in my mind, no less than the "uranium deal," the Clinton Foundation, Benghazi and the 33,000 emails.
PM (Atlanta)
Ms Broderick popped into prominence years ago and accused the then president of rape. No grand press conference. She came forward reluctantly as I understand it.
steve (santa cruz, ca.)
Except that Ms Broaddrick told a number of friends about it right afterwards — which really should undercut your belief that this was a pure fabrication concocted long after the fact. Benghazi and the emails etc. were certainly overhyped to the point of derangement, agreed. However, Ms Broaddrick’s claims are entirely credible and as long as we liberals continue to engage in utterly untenable denial when it comes to one of our own, we won’t have a leg to stand on when it comes to a case like Roy Moore’s.
sm (new york)
This very sensitive subject , sexual harassment is important and needs to see the light of day , however there are accusations and there are false accusations . Where do we draw the line? Why has this publication among others given a pass to DT's transgressions but insists on dragging out Clinton's , airing out dirty laundry that has been worried and chewed for the past decades , how far back are we going to go ? Men who abuse and degrade women are beyond despicable , but unfortunately the innocent get caught up in the lot . The world must see us a country obsessed with sex when the media and the press sensationalize a very distasteful subject , and accusations are the basis for continuous coverage . I do not defend any man who has or is guilty of sexual harassment or rape , but others have been falsely accused and sensationalized (Tawanna Brawley case comes to mind) the rolling stone false article among others. This has not only turned into a media circus but politicized , and turned into a feeding frenzy .
Kam Dog (New York)
Then don’t vote for Bill. Or provide cover for Moore, either.
PM (Atlanta)
Thank you for calling what President Clinton might or might not have done, rape. That was the claim made by Ms. Broderick. Sexual assault can occur with no physical contact. She claimed a battery, and more fully rape. We should not lighten her claim by calling it one of sexual assault which can include conduct that, while egregious and illegal, can also fall short of sexual penetration.
KS (Boston)
I'm not sure why we should "err on the side of believing women." I'd prefer not to err at all. If the evidence is strong, believe her. If it's weak, don't. If it's inconclusive, it's okay to say "I don't know."
PJ (Colorado)
Back in the 1960's in Britain, there was a trial related to misbehavior of a cabinet minister. The cabinet minister's offence, though of a sexual nature, was different from that of Moore, Weinstein etc. One of the witnesses made an accusation about the cabinet minister and the judge pointed out that the minister had denied it. She became a celebrity and a household name when she replied "Well, he would, wouldn't he?".
Edward Allen (Spokane Valley, WA)
I was not at the time, and I am not now, a fan of Bill Clinton's. I did not vote for him (nor did I vote for Bob Dole). For me, it was welfare reform. I didn't care as much about the affair he had with an intern. Now that I am older, I see how very wrong it was and would never vote for someone who abused their power in that way. I don't know if I believe Ms. Broaddrick, but it's not my place to accuse her of lying. Certainly Mr. Clinton would not get the same benefit of the doubt today. Nor would JFK, for that matter. But none of this matters anymore, other than to make liberals like Me and Ms. Goldberg, who were both too young to vote for Mr. Clinton in his first term (we were born when Ford was President) feel intellectually consistent.
Liz McDougall (Canada)
Sexual assault, harassment and misconduct are NOT partisan issues.They are societal issues issues along with domestic violence and the overarching pervasive patriarchy. It is time turn the tide. Woman need to feel safe to come forward and the courts need to do their due diligence in their prosecution. Are we at a tipping point? Maybe but we need to be open and receptive to putting partisan politics aside and dealing with the real issues of male domination and power in society. This takes courage to look in the mirror and ask "how do I contribute to this?"
Gerald (Baltimore)
Why don't we use our traditional means of determining the truth: trials utilizing centuries of process honed to reach a true and just verdict?
Anj (Silicon Valley, CA)
I don't believe Juanita. I didn't 25 years ago, for the very reasons pointed out in this article, and no new facts have come to light to change that. Yes, we are living in a moment now that's important. But it doesn't give credence to her story or change the circumstances in which it was told.
Judy Epstein (Long Island)
Not to say that a misdeed against anyone -- even long in the past -- is not still important; but have you noticed that NEITHER Clinton is in power, at the moment, or anywhere near? Whereas the Republican rape (both figurative and, sadly, literal) of our nation and institutions is very much still ongoing?
Hugh Wudathunket (Blue Heaven)
What I noticed is that the Clintons just started another PAC in an effort to continue to shape national politics via the Democratic party.
Tiresias (Arizona)
Remember all the exhortations to "believe the children" about Satanic cults in day care centers?
CelebesSea (PA)
What will the Republicans do when the Clintons eventually die? Will Democrats finally learn to keep their eyes on the prize? The Clintons are a shiny ball that Republicans roll out whenever they're having problems. And bloody Democrats just cannot resist picking it up and turning it over and over while the country burns. Keep the focus, Dems! The subject at hand is the tax bill, which screws everyone of any political stripe with an income under seven digits. The only acceptable alternative subject is foreign interference in our elections. That's it. Nothing else in the political sphere is relevant. We're talking existential threat here. Exploding national debt. Loss of health care. Eroding rule of law. Economic decline. Corruption of political systems. Erosion of international influence. Pay attention because its pretty bleak out there and a lot of really important aspects of our lives here in America are at stake. Hunker down for the long haul. Keep your eyes in front of you no matter what shiny distractions they put in front of you. If you've been reading the NY Times, Roy Moore is a Republican problem with no upside for them. Democrats should let them fight this one out. No need to get involved. Let me spell it out, Dems. You really need a win here so you are going to have to resist talking about the Clintons. Move on. The Clintons are literally irrelevant unless you let Republicans make them relevant again. You have the advantage. Use it already!
Mike (Little Falls, NY)
Sorry, but an affidavit is sworn testimony. If she lied in her affidavit in the Jones case, she committed perjury. And yet this very fact is what you use to justify believing her? Not buying it.
Saints Fan (Houston, TX)
Seems like most lefties are now "buying it".
fran soyer (wv)
Clinton got impeached over perjury, yet Juanita gets a pass. Ah the irony ....
Ray (Texas)
Bill Clinton lied under oath...
vincenzo (stormville ny)
Love your columns, again and again. Thank you!
Pontifikate (san francisco)
I supported Bill Clinton during the impeachment procedure, not because I believed or disbelieved any of the previous accusations against him, but because I did believe there was a right-wing conspiracy to "get" him and I believe he lied under oath because of a question he never should have been asked. Though the affair with Monica was consensual and she was not a minor, it was disturbing. The others may not have been given enough credence. In any case, I do believe that accusations can and will be used by both sides (Republicans and Democrats) and that makes it worse for women who have a real complaint.
Saints Fan (Houston, TX)
The question had to be asked as it was relevant to Bills behavior to women. Remember, this stemmed from a civil sexual harassment lawsuit.
farkennel (port pirie)
This article is completely in line with the feminist narrative,lean towards believing women.I always knew that pesky innocent until proven guilty had a flaw.It gives men a pass.
MSPWEHO (West Hollywood, CA)
Thank you Michelle Goldberg. The NYT has been desperately needing your voice in the mix. It's about time we face the truth about the Clintons.
Hugh Wudathunket (Blue Heaven)
In other words, we should believe the people and sources that align with our world view and be highly sceptical of people and sources that are critical of public figures we identify with. Isn't that exactly how Trump’s loyal 37% came to be his loyal 37%?
fran soyer (wv)
She said she wasn't raped and also said she was raped. I believe one of these.
alfredo (PA)
You forget that Bill & Hill were a team always and she went after the women too.....She is too smart and crafty to have not known...blond ambition. It’s all politics that a lot of people are weary of.
H. A. Sappho (LA)
Correction: "There is a difference between two people saying yes to each other and one person forcing themselves on another."
Mojo (Dearborn Mi)
I totally agree, Michelle. I've thought back many times about Bill Clinton and how his supporters, of whom I was one, didn't want to face the possibility that someone we admired could be guilty of the things he was accused of. But I also go back, as you did, to the amount of truly absurd and reprehensible accusations that were thrown at the Clintons by what really was a vast right wing conspiracy, and remember why it was hard to believe ANY of his accusers. That same effort to defame them still exists today, twenty-five years later. But the real question I have about Juanita Brodderick is why she, and Clinton's other accusers, would then decide to help a man who had been accused of the very same things. They appeared at the Trump/Clinton debate to "shame" Bill, and by extension, Hillary, as if Trump hadn't publicly admitted that he, too was a serial sexual abuser. I also wonder how the woman who accused Roy Moore yesterday of sexually assaulting her could then vote for Trump, as she said she and her husband did. Is this compartmentalizing? How could they betray other women who had been through the same ordeal? I don't get it.
CLSW 2000 (Dedham MA)
Having lived through and been appalled by the entire Arkansas project I tend not to believe much of anything that was out there at the time and that the Press greedily lapped up like vultures, much the same as they did Hillary's emails . Richard Mellon Scaife was waiving around an unbelievable amount of money. They gave Paula Jones an entire makeover and new wardrobe and I do believe some plastic surgery as well to make it look more realistic that Clinton would go after her. They groomed her and her story. Brodderick changed and withdrew her story several times and was known to have mental issues. There was a great deal of he-said-she-said. It is also the height of hypocrisy when you have the Chris Matthews of the world who worship the ground the Kennedys walk on, persecute Clinton for what was much less egregious for decades.
Lisa (Brisbane)
Bill Clinton was an opportunistic philanderer, no question. But there’s a world of difference between that and non consensual sexual assault. And usually, as in all the other cases, there is more than one victim, more than one credible accusation. To put it crudely, it seems that Bill was all about sex, and didn’t have any problems finding willing partners. It doesn’t fit his pattern to rape someone. That said, why is Hillary at all in the firing line because of HIS actions? Talk about blaming the woman.... And where was all this moral outrage when 54% of white women voted for a man who bragged about sexual assault, corroborated by many victims? Right now, I’m so glad I live in Australia. I’ve about given up on the US.
Ian (West Palm Beach Fl)
...urged liberals to remember some of what Clinton is "said to have done...." ..."if true"... What a cesspool.
Robert (California)
Of all the people who are being called to account for their sexual misconduct, only one was so depraved as to voluntarily brag about it: Donald Trump. We love to go back and forth about the credibility of those who claim to be victims of sexual assault as against the credibility of their accused perpetrators. But what’s the fun when the culprit is a self-confessed predator? Might as well just make him president. This self-righteous feminist binge that’s going on right now serves justice and is supported by credible women. It’s the right thing. But these women are riding a waive of public opinion that can wane just as easily as it waxed. American public opinion is nothing you can take to the bank.
Saints Fan (Houston, TX)
Congratulations Juanita, it has taken many years, but you have finally dragged the leftist extremist to the truth. Next, NOW, will offer a public apology and a free subscription to whatever they print.
Joe (New York)
I love this! Moore must be destroyed because of mere accusations and those accusations must be true, but the same mere accusations against Bill Clinton must be heavily scrutinized and assumed to be false. Keep it up liberals! You’re as bad as the conservatives who are still backing Moore
fran soyer (wv)
Newt Gingrich dismissed these allegations 20 years ago. Nice try. PS - I agree that Moore is not getting a fair shake. He should stay in the race if he knows he's innocent.
Sequel (Boston)
As someone strongly opposed to both the new and the old Republican parties, I can attest that I have many fellow-traveller friends who agree with me that Bill Clinton's misconduct as president was the lethal defect in Hillary Clinton's candidacy and personal credibility.
scottgerweck (Oregon)
Excellent work, Ms. Goldberg. You've got haters on both sides of the aisle, which is exactly what honesty should provoke on this issue. There is ample hypocrisy, avarice and shame to go around and around. "Epistemological warfare" may be the term of our time. It's frightening how any semblance of debate in our public forum has degraded from being about solutions/policy/ideas pertaining to generally agreed upon facts, to being about the facts themselves. Thanks for your even-handed, thoughtful writing. You've been a superb addition to the NYT Opinion pages.
KathleenND (Nashville, TN)
Ha. "I believe her except I don't." This reads a lot like gaslighting.
Saints Fan (Houston, TX)
Absolutely. The extremists on the left do not give up ground willingly.
Alex (Washington D.C.)
Bill Clinton doesn't bother me as much... he's gone. Clarence Thomas, on the other hand, I am stuck with... and I certainly believe Anita Hill.
A S Knisely (London, UK)
Would you shake Bill Clinton's hand, would you eat at the same table as he?
Petey tonei (Ma)
We attended a talk couple years ago. He is very well informed, well spoken, still a charmer. Somehow one has to compartmentalize a person's failings and the person's accomplishments.
Gary Bernier (Holiday, FL)
I just don't know about Broaddrick. I totally believe that we absolutely need to change the historical paradigm that when a woman brings an allegation of sexual misconduct from she should be disbelieved unless there is compelling evidence it happened, to we should believe the her unless there is compelling evidence to the contrary. But, the Broaddrick case is odd. Clinton was no boy scout, he was more of a satyr. But, he was very ambitious and not stupid. He also knew how to have affairs and keep them quiet. So, why would he rape Broaddrick and leave her with a fat lip. He could not have known she wouldn't report it. And if she had his career and marriage was over. It wasn't a pattern. At least no other woman claims he raped them. There is also her denial it happened and her strange conviction that Hillary Clinton threatened her. This one at least needs an asterisk.
Saints Fan (Houston, TX)
This article nauseates me. Continued rear guard actions by leftist to exonerate themseleves. "Bill did it, but, but, but ...." And you're 20 years too late to help, Michelle.
KBronson (Louisiana)
There is absolutely no argument made here for the assertion that "We should err on the side in believing women." Why? Why shouldn't we instead err on the side in believing men, or just err on the side of believing all accusations, or err on the side of believing all denials? There is only the citation of feminism as moral authority for this "should". Equally vacuous or perhaps better arguments could be made for the above alternatives. I would argue however that we should "err" on the side of suspending judgement until we have sufficient objective evidence on which to ground a belief, until then resting at peace in the certain humble knowledge that we just don't know and maybe never know. To do so is never in error.
mary lou spencer (ann arbor, michigan)
If you want to encourage truthful public behavior, discourage exaggerations and outright lies.
Darren Muse (New Orleans, LA)
She changed her story, what? Three times? Ken Starr didn't believe her. Why should I?
Saints Fan (Houston, TX)
The left never acknowledged Bill Clinton's crime against women until they were absolutely forced to as seen with Monica's dress. Then they said it didn't matter. Now, from the safety of 20 years they come to grips with their lack of moral compass and STILL continue to pass to off as "what did you expect us to do".
Marshal Phillips (Wichita, KS)
There was no crime associated with Clinton's tacky behavior with Monica because she was a very willing adult participant. Even sought him out. Gloria Allred a prominent Democrat, and others, certainly did acknowledge that Clinton misbehaved in the workplace.
Saints Fan (Houston, TX)
My comment has to do with the lefts ignorance of facts. As to crimes, Rape is illegal. Dropping pants to an unwilling woman participant may or may not be a crime, but it cost him $850000 and his law license in DC and Arkansas.
Marshal Phillips (Wichita, KS)
I was commenting on "Monica's dress". Clinton was appropriately censored in the US House of Representatives by impeachment; he paid Paula Jones $850,000 to settle the case; and his law license was suspended for five years in Arkansas. He opted to drop out of practicing before the US Supreme Court. The left as well as the right and just about everybody in between knows the facts of Clinton's sexual misbehavior. It's a story that keeps on being retold by Trump, which is a bit ironic.
Paul (Los Angeles)
Conservative new organizations have been talking about Broaddrick and Bill Clinton's other victims almost daily for the better part of 20 years. They didn't dredge them up this week to distract from Roy Moore's problems. The fact that Clinton's victims were found and supported by conservative political operatives shouldn't diminish the veracity of their stories. I suspect we'll soon learn that Moore's accusers also were found and supported by shadowy Democratic operatives. That shouldn't diminish their veracity either. Ms. Goldberg talks about David Brock's confessions of Republican dirty tricks as if he is a remorseful saint when in fact he is deploying those same dirty tricks on behalf of Democrats.
Marshal Phillips (Wichita, KS)
In my view, the harassment of women is a male problem, not a political one. And it's straight and gay as the many accusations against Kevin Spacey testify. Women, too, to a lesser degree are guilty of praying on under age boys, as teachers; we have so many such stories now being reported that it's routine, not unusual. And the Catholic Church? Hmmm All can agree we've reached a watershed in our cultural and social history; sexual harassment is part and parcel of human beings; we're animals, truly. What to do? Republicans, Independents, Democrats, and decline to states should unite in condemning all such behavior, have guidelines taught in science based Sex Ed classes in the public schools beginning with age appropriate classes for all. Another thing is to extend the Statute of Limitations for civil and criminal sexual harassment claims.
NJB (Seattle)
A well written and supremely balanced piece, as we have come to expect from Ms Goldberg. The Juanita Broaddrick allegation against Clinton is clearly the most troubling and the hardest to dismiss amid the blizzard of poison darts that have been fired by right-wing media and politicians over the years. I confess that I was and am an admirer of Bill Clinton but, like most of us, was keenly aware of a sleazier side to him that detracted from his policy and political smarts. I never believed, though, that it would or could include actual sexual assault as alleged by Ms Broaddrick because this particular behaviour simply does not seem to fit his persona. But if we've learned nothing else from the past year of sexual misconduct revelations, which have touched even the present incumbent in the White House, it is that too many rich and influential men have wielded their power against women in dreadful ways, to their everlasting shame.
While we're at it, I guess we should revisit JFK as well. The stories about his behavior have always horrified me, yet I've never seen them make a dent in the historic consensus that he was a great American hero struck down before his potential for greatness was fully realized. He was also, according to the many undisputed accounts I've read, a misogynist, a serial abuser, an incontinent who exposed the US to ruin if some of his connections were exposed and even a rapist - and all of it in the White House.
A S Knisely (London, UK)
Don't forget Mamie's sufferings in her failed marriage with playboy Ike. Those spit-curls were a silent cry for help. The back rooms of that haberdashery -- Bess cried herself to sleep many a night when HST didn't come home. And what about Franklin and Eleanor? Oh, it goes back to Abe and his tipsy come-ons to Louisa May Alcott and Harriet Beecher Stowe. Mary Todd... she didn't understand him. And so on.
Ralphie (CT)
Unless I'm mistaken, Moore's accusers have not specified a date when the events occurred. As for the 2 women who were over the age of consent and actually dated Moore, the dates aren't that relevant. But for the 2 women who accuse him of groping or assault, the date is important. Although we are essentially dealing with very very cold cases here, if his accusers specified the date and time (not something vague like when I was 14 or 16) then investigators might be able to attempt to confirm that at the events could have happened. Or not. For example, if one of them says, it was Nov 16, 1979 at 3 O'clock in the afternoon or similar, we could perhaps trace work records, calendars, diaries, records of meetings, work schedules, etc. Most likely we would be looking for exculpatory evidence for Moore. Such as -- on Nov 16 Moore was at a conference in Atlanta. Or Houston. Or on vacation out of the country. Now I recognize that memory is faulty, and even for significant events in a person's life people may not remember the date unless it is a birthday or holiday. But .. I would think that at least one of the two would be able to narrow the time frame down to a span of a few days.
Cheryl (Houston)
Journalists have done some of that. For instance, the woman who was 14 years old and her mother say that Moore talked to them when they were in the courthouse for a child-custody hearing. Records show that they were, indeed, there for that hearing and that Moore was in the courthouse that day as well.
Next Conservatism (United States)
This is all just an endless ugly parody of “Who’s on First”. No value is added to it by this columnist insisting that what she “believes” adds any substance. The GOP’s posture was 1) they cared about the victims 2) the accusations were tantamount to proof 3) they were stainless themselves and 4) sexual misconduct was the issue. That was all lies. They’d have burned the Constitution to get at Clinton because Clinton was successfully pursuing an agenda they opposed. They’d have thrown every woman in Washington onto that pyre, their own victims included, to buy another hour in the headlines. When Hyde, DeLay, Gingrich, Barr, Hastert and Livingston--with their records--appoint themselves epitomes of chivalry, then the inquiry is theater. They intended that it be nothing but that. “Put simply, I believe her”? That’s not “simple”. That’s simplistic, extralegal, and gravely inappropriate for the subject. This ought to be treated at last a criminal proceeding, which the GOP never tried to do, to the detriment of the alleged victims and contrary to the interest of every real victim of sexual assault who saw this toxic vaudeville rivet the nation’s attention while their rape kits languished unexamined in evidence lockers. You should not “err” on anyone’s side. The point is to eradicate error from the process. This vapid opinion would have gotten this writer tossed out of the jury pool in voir dire, and that exclusion would have been just.
Harry (NE)
Monica Lewinsky is the most publicly humiliated human being in history. She got a degree from London School of Economics but no one would give her a job. (https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/apr/16/monica-lewinsky-shame.... Compare with Bill (& Hillary) Clinton since they left the WH: they continued to build their careers and got extremely rich. My question is does Hillary think Monica was a victim of abuse of power that her husband so effectively used against a 22 yr old?
fran soyer (wv)
That is Ken Starr's fault. Her identity was none of America's business.
Harry (NE)
@fran soyer: You are not addressing my question: Does Hillary, who claimed to champion women's rights and ran an election just recently (partly) on that platform, think her husband abused his power and took advantage of women? This has nothing to do with Ken Starr.
Steve (San Diego)
Why the focus on old Bill's crimes? That story was buried and we were told it was "only about sex." Maybe we should focus on recent history, like the federal laws that were violated during the campaign and the Russian quid pro quo to sell them U.S. uranium.
Aristotle Gluteus Maximus (Louisiana)
"...as they were trotted out to deflect attention from Trump’s well-documented transgressions." What well documented transgressions? Bawdy talk on a bus with a bunch of guys ten years ago? What transgressions has Trump committed while in office? Just the fact (the well documented fact) that Bill Clinton, as our elected president of the nation, had a consensual (?) sexual affair with a White House intern (!), including sex acts in the Oval Office, is reason enough to take away any place in decent society for Mr. Clinton, never mind any other allegations of sexual misconduct. There is, of course, the well documented fact that he lied to the nation about it. There is a video. Have you seen it? " I did not have sexual relations with that woman..." It's a typical symptom of the liberal mind to selectively forget any number of things that might damage their very fallible arguments.
Lisa Lai (San Francisco Bay Area)
Well, we know that trump consorted with the enemy in the Oval Office. Which is worse, treason or sleaze?
Philip Cafaro (Fort Collins Colorado)
Republicans have to be thrilled with all the press coverage over the past few weeks about sexual harassment, deflecting attention from their massive tax plan to favor the rich at the expense of the poor. Now, of all things, we're supposed to worry about 'what to believe' about decades-old claims regarding former President Clinton. This lack of focus on economic matters helps explain Democrats' poor showing, in and out of power, in recent years. What's next: renewed attention to transgender bathroom issues? I've heard a lot of comments over the last year about the stupidity of Donald Trump supporters. But we Democrats aren't as smart as we think we are, either.
Robert (NY City)
What a convenient and calculated switch this is for the NYT. After decades of ignoring or deriding the victims of Bill's assaults now that the left wants the Clintons off the political stage 'they believe'.
Darren Muse (New Orleans, LA)
No, Michelle Goldberg does. She also writes for the The American Prospect.
David U'Prichard (Philadelphia)
Michelle, in such an accusatory column as this, it is incumbent on you to be much more specific about which of Juanita Broaddrick's often conflicting statements over the years you believe, and to explain any political context of each and every one of those "truth statements" that you believe.
Saints Fan (Houston, TX)
Yet you don't require that of Trumps accusers. The fact that Gloria Allred is involved is not suspicious to you?
Catherine (Portland Oregon)
Bill Clinton has most certainly abused and used women, and I lost respect for Hillary as a result of her staying with him. And though I voted for her I still felt disappointed that she stood ny her philandering, narcissistic husband.
fran soyer (wv)
From the comments here, I’ve learned that the right thinks that rape accusations must believed against Democrats, but those made against Republicans should at minimum be heavily scrutinized. And you all think you’re morally superior to liberals.
Paula (Minneapolis)
Who did Roy Moore rape? Seriously, who are you talking about? Who cares about something as subjective as moral superiority, what we are talking about here is hypocrisy. We are to now believe that Democrats only allow the purest of men to occupy office. Give me a break. How's that Menendez trial going by the way? I haven't read much about it in the news.
Goldberg's right. Read the 1999 account by the Times. Broaddrick's account, unlike those of Willey and Paula Jones, meets the criterial of credibility. She told people contemporaneously (and those people have spoken on the record). She did change her story--normally a HUGE destroyer of credibility--but for compelling reasons: The details were sordid and would hurt her and her family (she was having an affair with a married man at the time) and the times she was contacted were by partisan teams seeking to discredit the President, and she didn't want to have any part in that. But when the FBI came knocking, she concluded (most likely correctly) that lying to the Feds would be A Very Bad Idea. She had nothing to gain and quite a lot to lose by coming forward, and she only did so when she was between a rock and a hard place. I believe her. None of which excuses either Trump or Moore. And frankly, I'm not going to accept the logic that it's "Feminists" who are at fault. No. Entitled powerful men who seek to abuse and cover it up are at fault. The rest of us, like Broadderick, are stuck with making choices among bad and worse options.
jpork (honolulu, hawaii)
I believe Anita. So where's this all going to take us?
Doug1s (Smithfield RI)
Hillary Clinton deserved to have Bill's indiscretions used against her because she played a major role in helping to smear his myriad of accusers.
John Graubard (NYC)
Once upon a time, long, long ago (well, before Harvey Weinstein), the presumption was that the woman was lying, delusional, or simply trying to rationalize a consensual relationship that went bad. Those days are past. Thank you Michelle for making it clear that the times have changed and that regardless of party affiliation a sexual predator is a sexual predator. And an enabler is an enabler. Case closed.
Steve Soleri (Oregon)
I cannot think of two more disparate comparisons of Clinton and Moore and reason enough to discount the article on the face of it. We can all remember Clinton staring into the national camera and emphasizing to the American people "I never had sex with that woman" of course that was also repeated under oath/perjury. So that behavior was real-time occurring in the White House instead of engaging in what he was elected to do. We also can remember Hillary blaming everyone BUT her husband regarding sordid and dishonest behavior. Moore's accusers may be truthful, who knows? But it was 38 years ago and the accusations tend to more "he did an offensive thing" not I was raped as Brodderick accused. Democrats have a long history of using the sex accusations to derail the peoples will as Clarence Thomas can attest. How much did the DNC pay for the offensive comments made by Trump? The Clinton debacle and legacy was one of White Water, perjury, dishonesty and consistent pressuring of women. Perjury alone would certainly fall into the realm of impeachment trials.
Jon Lamkin (Houston, Texas)
Three words. Under age teens.
Robert (Petaluma)
I have intervened 4 times when a woman has physically abused and driven a girl home because of unwanted advances at a party... She said, he said false evidence of a sex crime has been used too often as a weapon for revenge, to sell (Rolling Stone) magazines/books, to get their 15 minutes of fame and even as an excuse for coming home late in Sebastopol, CA. These false claims of sex crimes hurt the REAL victims credibility and ability to get justice! The news media needs to verify all accusations (filmed lie detector test while making their accusations???) before making them public and false police reports should require community service at a center for abused women & children.
Gmason (LeftCoast)
I believe Juanita, and Paula, and Kathleen, and Monica - not the least of which because there is a clear pattern. Let's not forget that without the blue dress Monica would have gotten the same "trailer park trash" treatment the rest of them did. Oh - and as far as the troopers being used as pimps - a state trooper was deposed in the Paula Jones case and said that he had approached at least a hundred women on Clinton's behalf. Take it for what you will, but to pretend it's a conspiracy theory made up out of whole cloth is to belie the pretense of honestly facing facts.
Ian (West Palm Beach Fl)
But you also hate Bill, and have voted republican since before you were born.
Lynne Shook (Harvard MA)
Whatever her reasons for staying with Bill, Hillary paid the price when he stupidly met with Loretta Lynch on the tarmack. Comey didn't like it one bit, and made sure he did what he could to neutralize it, and Hillary. As for progressives paying the price for "believing the women," watch what Mitch McConnell does with respect to Moore. Bannon wants to see McConnell removed; Moore is Bannon's pet. Do we really think McConnell has done the right thing for the right reason? This is the guy who stole a supreme court seat,
MyThreeCents (San Francisco)
"So Clinton is a bad guy, a predator. He's also not president anymore..." Nor, you might add, does he get invited to speak at the national Democratic Party convention, or campaign for Democratic candidates. Heck, as far as the Democratic Party is concerned, Bill Clinton doesn't even exist! He certainly has no place in decent society!
fran soyer (wv)
How can you not believe her ? She gave two completely different stories. You have to believe one of them.
Longestaffe (Pickering)
I’ve been around, but I begin to think life has not prepared me for published accounts of what goes on in the corridors of power. Well, not actually in the corridors, I suppose. I mean to say — all the news that’s fit to print, and then some.
Joseph Bentivegna (Fairfield, CT)
What has to be understood is that ideology comes first. Liberals look the other way on Clinton's behavior because he agrees with their agenda - gun control, abortion rights, better environmental protection etc. Conservatives ignored Trump's long history of disgusting behavior towards women because he is now supposedly pro-life, opposes gun control, is deregulating the EPA etc. There seems to be a trend among the Democrats to be more critical of the Clintons, but this has less to do with the Clintons' behavior rather than their political viability. If Hillary can convince the Democrats she is the strongest candidate in 2020 against Trump, the Democrats will circle the wagons again.
Ed (Old Field, NY)
The broader your experience, the less competent you feel to pronounce broadly on the common nature of all men and of all women, although that is what statistics tell us. But Individuals are individuals. If we see another person as a “typical” man or woman, we don’t see another person.
Alan (Los Angeles)
Of course Bill was "weaponized" against Hillary -- he was accused of rape, yet Hillary not only defended him, but made him her main campaign surrogate and planned to give him a major role in the White House had she won. Why wouldn't he be relevant as a campaign issue, especially when Hillary was making a campaign issue of allegations that Trump sexually harasssed women?
Carolyn Mason (Olivehurst. CA)
Excuse me, do we have to go all the way back to Bill Clinton to bring up this subject? What about all the women who came out against our current president? We know what he said about how he treats women. However, he threatened to sue them. Knowing now that 45 is a liar, we have to assume he was guilty as charged.
JohnMDowd (San Diego)
How can we have an article about Bill Clinton and his accusers without mentioning Monica Lewinsky. She was an INTERN and he was the PRESIDENT. If there ever was a case of abuse of power, this is it. There is 100% affirmation of the relationship, his behavior and the outcome.
JohnMDowd: "If there was ever a case of abuse of power [monica lewinsky] was it" No, Mr. Dowd, it was NOT. Lewinsky was 23, not 13. At 23, I like many other women, had a marriage, a mortgage, and a career. Moreover, by her own admission, SHE came on to HIM. Describing the Lewinsky affair as an "abuse of power" infantilizes a grown woman who took (and continues to take) responsibility for her actions. Up above, I've posted that I believe Broadderick, so this is no knee-jerk defense of Clinton. But as a woman, I will continue to resist attempts--including yours--to infantilize adults. Part of having power is living with the consequences. Both Lewinsky and Clinton learned that the hard way.
JohnMDowd (San Diego)
Sorry, but I do not agree. In most work environments an affair between an intern and the CEO would be grounds for dismissal not matter how much she wanted it. This is not meant to infantilizes a woman, but is stating that this was a affair based on position and power. It is inconceivable to me how anyone could discount the disparity of positions. Your statement basically says if Bill Clinton was the janitor, Monica would have come on to him. He was the President and that is why she came on to him. He consummated that relationship and that act is just as wrong as judge Moore to go after teenagers of a legal age.
Jon Lamkin (Houston, Texas)
Or underage minors?
Nikki (Islandia)
The numerous sexual assault and misconduct allegations against Bill Clinton (including the Monica Lewinsky incidents) were a very strong reason I really didn't want Hillary as President and held my nose to vote for her only because the alternative was even more vile. I did not want Bill back in the White House, even if his heart problems may have cooled his ardor a bit. He is not the man I would want to become the first First Spouse. I hope the next female candidate for President, whoever she may be, either has a spouse who adheres to a higher, classier, more honorable standard of behavior, or has no spouse at all. God, I miss the Obamas.
Midway (Midwest)
Michelle Goldberg: Do you believe Monica Lewinsky? Are you aware who Ms. Rodham Clinton initially blamed before scientific DNA testing made clear that Lewinsky was not being "trotted out" too like some one-trick pony? (Google "vast right-wing conspiracy" and settle in to do some reading of the newspaper coverage of those times, then watch the video of Ms. Rodham Clinton's denials.) Do you know who Jeffrey Epstein is? The Palm Beach millionaire who actually served time for his admitted crimes of paying underage women for sex? No one is alleging that the ex-president participated in anything nefarious, but please note who the ex-president chose to befriend, and spend his time with, out of office. It does not speak highly of the ex-president's character, to be sure. What did Ms. Rodham Clinton know, and when do you think she knew it? The former senator, Sec. of State, and presidential candidate built her own political career off the sympathies of voters who felt her pain as a cuckholded mother. Watch the walk to the helicopter, of the presidential couple, their daughter propped between them, once the truth about Ms. Lewinsky could no longer be denied. Consider Huma Abedin and her (soon to be) ex-husband Anthony Weiner, and what it takes for a woman in that position to admit that a man with sexual problems is unlikely to change his patterns without working hard at it every day, and wanting to grow. Addictions and sobriety show change is hard earned. Go forth and learn.
Susan (Cape Cod)
I believe Donald Trump was also a friend and socialized with Jeffrey Epstein, and that at least one of the young women enticed by Epstein accused Trump of raping her, and later was convinced to withdraw her complaint. While we look at the Clinton/Epstein relationship, let's also look at Trump's. OK?
Tom Maguire (Connecticut)
"Bill Clinton no longer has a place in decent society. " Decent society?!? We're talking about Washington and Hollywood!
Petey tonei (Ma)
The circles the Clintons circulate in, are at par with the Davos folks..
suibne geilt (Port charlotte, fl)
reckoning ? nope....if he goes they all go.
EEE (01938)
We paid for Bill's indiscretions.... Al Gore paid, Hillary paid, the nation paid, Bill paid. Fact is we've overpaid! But on his worst day, Bill was a giant compared to many of his accusers. The same can never be said of Roy.... nor of many of the cynical hypocrites who huffed and puffed to impeachment. Throwing Roy to the wolves is NOT equity, though it may be justice....
Valerie Elverton Dixon (East St Louis, Illinois)
I personally have had no use for Bill Clinton since he dissed Sister Souljah. Bill Clinton is not relevant to the current discussion. Trump is president after admitting, out of his own mouth, to sexual predation and assault. Roy Moore's accusers are credible, and he had no businesses on the United States Senate. Bill Clinton is history.
Jean (California)
Wow, article against bill Clinton - yet still defending him. Wow.
Vic (Troy, Michigan)
Be careful who you accuse without facts and evidence. Reference the DUKE LACROSS TEAM RAPE SCANDAL. If you recall, in the end the district attorney Mike Nifong, had to resign in disgrace, because of fraud, deceit and misrepresentation and was disbarred by the state because of his actions. Three lacrosse players were exonerated of all charges. The alleged victim had accused them of raping her when in fact it did not happen. The head coach of the team was forced to resign and the President of the university cancelled the lacrosse team's schedule because of her accusations. So, be careful with this because someone might be stepping into a pile of do-do and possible false accusations. Show me the evidence
Ray (Texas)
When Willey went public, she invoked the wrath of the most powerful political machine in the country. That had to be unnerving. Did she exaggerate about the Clinton’s killimg her cat. Probably. However, knowing what the Clinton cabal was capable of, a little paranoia is probably understandable. I believe her...and Juanita Broaddrick.
Doug (Boston)
“It’s fair to conclude that because of Broaddrick’s allegations, Bill Clinton no longer has a place in decent society.” Perhaps, Clinton’s place in decent society is explained by his horrendous behavior with a White House intern, and his subsequent verified lie about it. Had the dress not been kept intact, this claim would likely still be called a lie by his defenders.
Seb Williams (Orlando, FL)
All the more reason we need a new generation of Democratic leaders. There shouldn't be anyone left running the Party who apologized for Clinton when they shouldn't have. That exact behavior is why people hate politicians and is a huge contributing factor to Democrats' endemic branding toxicity. Like, nobody ever talks about this, but I can't say it strongly enough: when Hillary ran in the 2016 primaries again, all of this came up. And the young activists that are probably the largest swath of the Party's base looked at it, free from the '90s spin and obfuscation, and saw how rotten the Clintons were. I met not just a few female Bernie supporters who used the epithet "self-hating woman" for Hillary because of the way she defended Bill and denigrated brave women like Juanita Broadrrick. And that story has been believable from the beginning. She has been remarkably consistent given how long she has been telling it. She's clearly not seeking five minutes of fame or fortune at this point: that moment has passed and, nevertheless, she persists. She was brave enough to speak out against the most powerful political machine of the last generation, at a time long before Donald Trump blew up the dam on the River Weinstein. First Donna Brazile, and now this. It's unbelievably refreshing to see frank talk about how badly the Clintons have sullied the Democratic Party. The closets need to be emptied of skeletons and swept for cobwebs before we can start winning again.
Ron Wilson (The Good Part of Illinois)
While smearing Paula Jones, Michelle conveniently forgets that Mr. Clinton paid an $850,000 settlement with Paula Jones. While not a legal finding of guilt, the court of common sense uses this fact to convict Mr. Clinton of his untoward behavior towards Paula Jones.
Dan M (New York)
Interesting that Michelle uses the phrase "blizzard of lies" That phrase was actually coined by famed NYT columnist William Safire in a 1996 essay with that title. He wrote "Americans of all political persuasions are coming to the sad realization the our first lady - a woman of undoubted talents, who was a role model for many in her generation - is a congenital lair" " ...she is compelled to mislead, and ensnare her subordinates and friends in a web of deceit."Perhaps Michelle should have provided more honest context to the lies being told in the 1990s, rather than excusing Hillary once again.
Southern Boy (The Volunteer State)
After reading through these comments it is apparent to me that the liberal opposition, especially the radical feminist wing, is willing to sacrifice Ms. Broaddrick in the name of their morally empty agenda.
Mike Collins (Texas)
Juanita Broderick's story as you tell it is credible. And no one should escape the consequences of as vile a crime as rape. But it is an absolute certainty that accusations, credible or not, will be used to trip up or destroy future candidates, both male and female. (Hillary Clinton was certainly hurt by accusations that she enabled Bill Clinton's alleged crimes). So it is a scary thing to start from the premise "believe the women"rather than "find the facts." Back in the day, Black men were unjustly lynched by those who "believed the women." A teenager, Emmett Till, was brutally murdered because a woman said he was fresh with her. What needs to happen is more of the detailed, relentless, time-consuming reporting of the sort done by Ronan Farrow to bring down Harvey Weinstein.
fran soyer (wv)
Clinton wasn't impeached over sex but over perjury. Juanita also committed perjury. Do we just ignore that ?
Annie (Berkeley)
I also believed her, she was the only one I believed. But her own story indicated that Bill might not have known she was unwilling. She agreed to take him to her room and she said she was taken off guard when he kissed her and she didn’t protest. So I believe she was raped, and I believe he likely didn’t know he was raping her. If Bill were a rapist there would be more than this one credible story. He thought he was sought after, that women wanted him, and he was mostly right. Bill does not see himself as someone who needs unwilling women. He is interested in women who show an interest in him. Adult women. He got hit on from his college years, long before he was powerful. He was known to be easy. With her he read the signs wrong and she was too surprised and too polite and too embarrassed to correct him. She admits that. She didn’t embellish. She was raped and I believe her. He ought to have asked, she would have been shocked and declined. But even that is now in play, Louie C.K. asked and didn’t touch anyone and he’s on a long vacation. He should have waited for an answer and then asked twice, as in, are you sure this is okay with you? He surely didn’t intend to hurt anyone. He just didn’t understand that most women would feel insulted and diminished, and grossed out. He didn’t see himself as a bully, and if he had the power he would not retaliate. As much louis C.K. knows about sexual difference, he doesn’t know that much.
Glen Macdonald (Westfield)
I believe all the women, including the 16 who have accused Donald Trump of sexual assault. http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/politics/ct-trump-sexual-...
Joe (New York)
From the comments here, I’ve learned that the left thinks that rape accusations must believed against Republicans, but those made against Democrats should at minimum be heavily scrutinized. And you all think you’re morally superior to conservatives
tony zito (Poughkeepsie, NY)
From the comment here, I have learned for the umpteenth times that conservatives are seldom good readers or nimble writers.
Rakesh (Fl)
the good thing about believing is it requires no evidence. A prosecutor with unlimited resources examined and found Broadericks and Wiley unreliable. Despite a full investigations these women were not able to make a credible enough claim. Of course that does not stop NYT and others from continuing the smear.
Stuart (New York, NY)
Does Ms. Goldberg have a job on the side booking guests for Fox News? That's where Ms. Broadrrick was appearing last night while they weren't covering the major breaking news of the day. Democrats have a death wish and the new liberal columnist seems intent on helping the patient take its own life. Nobody on the right cares that Ms. Goldberg wants to be fair to Bill Clinton's accusers. Who is she trying to impress. Bill Clinton ain't running for anything. Write about voter suppression and the Democrats failure to keep attention on it, their failure to pour their money into voter registration and motivation. Write about the voting power of people of color that the Democrats refuse to accept. There's a lot of constructive criticism to be made. Joy Reid isn't afraid to say it. Tell us more about what the grassroots is doing to fill in where the party is absolutely failing to do the sensible, winning thing. Genuflecting your fairness to the other side accomplishes nothing. What a disappointment this columnist turns out to be.
fran soyer (wv)
They had Donna Brazile on Tucker the other day ...
Michael Numan (Rio Rancho, NM)
Goldberg says that 5 witnesses supported Juanita's claim. I am aware of three: her husband and 2 other women (sisters) who operated the nursing home where Juanita Broaddrick was employed. The father of these latter two women was killed by a man whose death sentence was subsequently commuted by then Governor Bill Clinton in 1980.
vanreuter (Manhattan)
Sorry but I believe that while Bill Clinton was a serial philanderer, cheater and all around horn dog, and permanently damaged his legacy with his behavior, he was not and is not, a sexual predator. Anyone who ACTUALLY read the Starr Report knows how sad and depressing the Lewinsky affair was, that Clinton was conflicted and that while it was an illicit affair and a disgrace to the Oval office, it was an consensual affair between two adults. Anyone who actually read the Starr report knows that the behavior.exhibited by Clinton was not the behavior of a rapist or sexual predator. Ms. Goldberg. Please take the time to re-read the Starr report, and if you still say that you believe Juanita, I'll look into that cat murder...
sold2u (CT)
a day late and a dollar short
MyThreeCents (San Francisco)
"Erring on the side of the accuser sounds well and good when the accused is a rich, powerful white man with the means to ably defend himself. But ... This country has a long history of convicting (and lynching) black men accused of raping white women without consideration for due process." If a woman says she was raped, that's good enough -- especially if she's white! Doesn't matter whether the man she accuses is rich or poor, black or white. An accusation is the same as proof -- in fact, if the guy denies it, that's proof that he did it! He should be lynched, period. That "innocent till proven guilty" stuff is so old-fashioned!
anonymouse (Seattle)
Bill Clinton seduced ALL of us, anyone in his presence was taken in by him. And Hillary enabled him. He was a womanizer. He didn’t assault woman. He seduced them. But to equate rape and womanizing is a deliberate distortion, insults women who are victims of assault, and makes it harder for them to come forward.
Fran (Michigan)
The main difference between Bill Clinton and Roy Moore is that Clinton is now retired, retired for good, while Moore is running for public office. We cannot de-elect Clinton, but we certainly can make sure Moore is not elected.
Ju (MAssachusetts)
The seemingly easy way to earn money by lying, drags anyone into a hellish loop from which one would not be able to get out. You lie to falsely accuse the target of any fabricated crimes or indecent acts, because the payment is good for no efforts but only for lies. Those who paid or are paying, however, will draw you back to them forever for what you did or are doing for them, whenever you try and want to grab the decency again. You are now trapped into the unescapable network.
Laura (Corvallis, OR)
"Feminism is really just the long slow realization that the things you love hate you." -Lindy West It's possible to believe these accusations and still mourn the loss of belief in a president and respected political figure.
David R (Mass)
To whom does the final "us" refer, women or Democrats?
Lynn Vaverick (NYC)
Too little, too late. Where were all the liberals back when Clinton was in office? Were they willing to stand for the truth then? NO. They lied, just like Hillary to defend "their guy" because, "He may be a crook, but he's OUR crook." Until liberals get a backbone, the lies will continue. Both Clintons are corrupt as can be. They should both be in prison.
Chris (Boston)
We're not all the same liberals. Being a younger progressive means we were not of voting age during the scandal. Now that we are, we don't tolerate it no matter from which "tribe" it comes. Don't over generalize.
Lynn Vaverick (NYC)
The point being, they deliberately dragged their feet, obfuscating and bluffing for the past twenty years. Even last year during the debates they were still defending the Clintons. The only reason they're coming out now is the election is over and Hillary is toast. Her lies are reprehensible as are his rape and molestations. They still need to be held accountable for as long as they breathe.
Gerard (PA)
#HimToo, is in danger of becoming indiscriminately destructive
Angie (Wayne)
I am sorry, but ,in my opinion, one can not possibly consider themselves a feminist by looking at this man and thinking his accuser are not credible so we must dismiss them and dismiss the fact that he used his power to trampled on women. it's absolutely abhorrent to me that feminist pick and choose who they want to defend. Whether you believe these women or not ( yes, due process in important); this man, undoubtedly, used his power to control women. That to me is wrong. That to me is what feminists have been fighting against for years. Yet, when it comes to Bill Clinton? He is excused. Lewinsky was bullied, and slut shamed, discredited, and humiliated. Feminist ( so- called at least) attacked her and ruined her life because of something that was consensual. The woman went down, the man survived. He went on to be President despite the impeachment hearing. He was able to enjoy his life. You don't believe his accusers of rape and sexual harassment, that's on you. But don't dare tell me he hasn't taken advantage of the fact he is a man of power. Don't dare make light of his abuse of power. That he destroyed a young women's reputation because he could. That is why he should be shamed. ALL men should be shamed for abusing their power.
Chris (Boston)
We are, and now a new generation if progressives won't tolerate it any longer. Don't lump us in with our morally weak parents.
Nikki Stern (Princeton NJ)
And I believe the twenty-five women who have accused out current president—for all the good that does.
del (new york)
Nonsense. I don't buy it. Nothing in Broderick's testimony is believable. And she was actively integrated with the great rightwing conspiracy that very much existed in a bid to bring down the Clintons. She's deluded herself for so long with this fable that I'm sure she believes it. But she's lying through her teeth.
Laura (NY)
Really, who cares whether or not Michelle Goldberg has a particular gut feeling about unknowable, unprovable events in the distant past? OK, so Goldberg believes Broaddrick's claim. I also "believe" many things I don't know and can't you know, but I don't assume that my personal "beliefs," grounded in hunches rather than evidence, are of any particular significance or relevance to others. I have long admired the work of Michelle Goldberg, and I think she's a great addition to the op-ed page of the New York Times, but this piece was an exercise in writerly narcissism and a waste of precious column inches.
Jeff Bowles (San Francisco, California)
I believe that Impeaching the man for idiocy revolving around this was quite enough, thank you. That qualifies as "a real reckoning". The Political Right must love watching the Left eat itself, every two decades.
RichD (Grand Rapids, Michigan)
Welcome to the NYT Inquirer where all inquiring minds want to know all the lurid details. In another story in this new Inquirer, some women who worked in congress have come forward - the tactic of this campaign: women coming forward to tell how awful it is to be beautiful and lusted after by men - recounting the horror of congressmen flirting with them, or asking them to turn around so they could see all of them, and telling them how beautiful they were. My God! The horror! Flirting and complementing them on their looks! But, seriously, there us little question now that we have on our hands a full scale witch hunt to find and expose men who want sex with women. And it’s all apparently been organized by Prudes of America, otherwise known as feminists. And of course, women are truth tellers and men are liars. And also, women are the innocent helpless little victims of make advances. It doesn’t quite fit the feminist narrative of super women, able to fend for themselves in this cruel world full of men who lust after them - just because they are beautiful!
Chris (Boston)
Wow, as a guy myself, your little rant is a little : "doth protest too much." If you don't know the difference between flirting and actual assault, I recommend taking to your HR department ASAP.
MagikMountain (Alexandria Va)
And it only took 20 years (!) to give this woman's story the credence it obviously deserved. Thanks NY Times! Better late than never right? And we wonder how Weinstein got away with it for so long...Wonder if there are others like Broaddrick? Living in pain silently.
tbs (detroit)
The clintons have done more damage to the Democratic party than the republicans could even dream of, with his sexual transgressions and perjury, to her lies about Sanders and corrupt allegiance to wealth. Hope they go away ASAP!
John Rundin (Davis, CA)
Why are we talking about this? Ah, yes, it's because the right's only argument for its positions is that the Clintons (and Obama) are evil monsters. Please, would you just let the Clintons walk off into the oblivion.... This has been going on for almost thirty years. Enough already!
vincenzo (stormville ny)
What happen to Anita Hill was a Moral Lynching. I Believe her, her photo goes up on my wall of unsung Heroes.
DEVO (Phiily)
Wow, are you really calling into question the majority of Clinton's accussers except one? A little hypocritical , don't you think? The real truth is Bill Clinton would have fit right in with the Hollywood producer crowd. Sexual harrasement is repugnant , whether its a Democrat, Republican or Independant. And Hillary is a guilty as her husband , doing everything she could to discredit any claims against her husband. The free pass the Clintons get from the left and the media is sickening - understandable - but still sickening.
Jean (Nh)
Bill Clinton was a first class liar and a creep. When the Monica Lewinsky affair came out publicly, he and his cohorts hounded Lewinsky. Destroyed her reputation. She had to leave the country in order to have somewhat of a life. Bill Clinton was rewarded by being paid outlandish sums of money for speeches all over the world. And Monica and all of the other women he accosted were humiliated by him, his wife, and the press. This is how powerful men get away with this heinous behavior. They get rewarded. Trump got elected. And I wil not be surprised if the voters of Alabama elect Roy Moore
Norman Dale (Cincinnati, OH)
How courageous of Michelle Goldberg to write this column now that the Clintons are of limited use to the Democratic/Progressive agenda. And as to her questions of whether Kathleen Willey and Paula Jones lied, Ms. Goldberg should read the late Michael Kelly's column written in March, 1998. https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/opinions/1998/03/18/i-still-belie...
Paula (Minneapolis)
I get that you are trying here, Ms. Goldberg, to appear as though you finally get it that Bill Clinton was a rapist and maybe, just maybe, the left should have turned on him back when it was all happening and certainly feminists should have but they didn't. And you are saying this only to gain some credibility when accusing Republican candidates because frankly you currently have none. It's both remarkable and sad how the left treated the numerous women who came forward to tell their stories of Bill Clinton. He was a real predator but you all chose not to see it. In fact I would go so far as to say you were complicit. He went well beyond boorish behavior, he was an actual rapist. He is disgusting, but you looked the other way for years. Now you say his wife is paying the ultimate price for his indiscretions. Really? Hillary was never a viable candidate. In fact she was the worst possible candidate and the middle class never connected with her. And we now know she rigged everything in her favor just to increase her chances of a win. No rules ever applied to the Clintons. It is time to cut the Clintons loose and try to save yourself as a party.
MCLowe (Dallas)
Cynical and hypocritical my booty! Everyone knows the left (and especially the press) have provided cover for their creeps for decades. Of course you have relied upon the argument that you have simply accepted looser morals and made yourselves the arbiters of those on our side whom were not living up to our standards for us, but still... What's happening in Hollywood is a perfect example of this. It would seem your chickens have finally come home to roost. Now you will be required to hold your own to the same rigid standards to which you have held everyone else. No longer can you justify busting out the morals only when it's useful against a powerful political opponent. Sure, we may have the now-and-again Judge Moore, but you have an entire party, Hollywood, Ted Kennedy, Bill Clinton... I could go on. Congratulations! Welcome to the even playing field... AT LAST!
ShawnH (Seattle)
Out of curiosity, does your fury extend to the Republicans who heavily investigated the rape accusations against Clinton and found them not to be credible and therefore didn't pursue them as part of the impeachment? I'm not sure how that choice can be brushed off as "liberal defense".
John Schmidt (Upper Marlboro)
I believe, but what do you believe? Still spouting the ole "vast right wing conspiracy" theories that were totally debunked? Coming from the times, that is rich.
DesertRat (CA)
Elect more women.
Larry (Where ever)
Forget Bill Clinton. For decades, Democrats elected a man who not only murdered a young woman while driving drunk, he was drunk for most of his adult life, womanized in ways Bill Clinton couldn't even imagine, and worked directly with the Soviet Union to undermine Reagan. They now lionize him. The Hypocrisy is so thick, you need a jackhammer to cut through it.
Reggiano (Canada)
Hillary dissed the Bill's women as recently as 2016. This is not old news.
Juanita Broderick’s claims have the credibility of Bigfoot sightings and have been totally debunked just as many times. Of course Republicans have no interest in facts or living in the real world. All one can do is shake one’s head in disgust.
kat perkins (Silicon Valley CA)
Have always been troubled by how Hillary and Co treated Monica, a very young woman when Bill was also at fault, Both Clintons have done good work and are now rich. They forfeited Hillary's future by not owning up to Bill's long, long track record of sexual wrongs. Cautionary tale to young women and men - stand by your spouse but take responsibility for actions and harm done to others.
DougTerry.us (Maryland)
Whatever Bill Clinton did or did not do, there is a great difference between that situation, Roy Moore in Alabama and sexual misconduct charges generally. First, Clinton was in office by the time a good deal of the rumors/charges hit the fan. Second, Clinton was, demonstrably, a target of a organized and well funded effort to destroy his presidency. Third, while there were at least two after the fact allegations of lurid conduct, the main contention was that he was not faithful to his wife, had engaged in affairs, something a high percentage of men and women do across America. This is a far different matter from what Roy Moore is accused of doing, pursuing two girls in late childhood and causing them to be in an uncomfortable, unwanted and underage encounters featuring explicit efforts to engage in sex. If America's left wing failed to be alert sufficiently in regard to Clinton, no apology is required. He was in office and under withering attack. Had Clinton not been constantly dogged by a politically motivated impeachment process that had no chance of success in removing him, it is possible the terrorist events of 9-11, 2001 might have been stopped. It was not unreasonable to view Clinton, and Trump now, as tainted by their actions in regard to women. If the public had been fully aware of Trump's playboy, Studio 54 lifestyle, he might never have been elected. Yes, we should believe women, but that belief should include a reasonable amount of caution, always.
sdw (Cleveland)
None of this is as easy as it first seems to be. Absent a trial with both sides having a right to call witnesses and to cross-examine witnesses, we are left with few guideposts in sexual assault cases. A helpful rule is to be careful with the word, “rape.” For example, without the use of drugs or alcohol, as happened in the Cosby cases, there must be control exercised over an adult, mentally competent victim by the predator. If the power or authority enjoyed by the predator put pressure on the victim to accept sexual advances for fear of losing her job or a chance at a job she hoped for, but she was never threatened physically, then what followed was a sexual assault. It was not rape. That may be what happened to Juanita Broaddrick. In comparison, that probably is not true of Monica Lewinsky, whose encounter was consensual and who seems to have initiated it. When the victim is under a mental disability or is a minor, nothing else matters. It is always rape. If you add aggravating facts of a very big difference in age between the predator and the victim and a predator having power over the victim and her family, you have the case of Roy Moore. It is just as wrong to believe the woman in every case, as it is to say that a lengthy delay of years in reporting the incident somehow makes the victim unworthy of belief. One thing is just as clear. Blaming the predator's spouse for the incident is always wrong. Some Republicans would have us forget that with Hillary Clinton.
Ralphie (CT)
Both sides are weaponizing sexual misbehavior for political purposes. If a guy (or girl, you never know) on our side is accused of misconduct, it's a partisan plot. If a guy on the other side is accused, the accusation in and of itself disqualifies the person for office. Both sides have closets full ghouls with sexual issues going back decades. I don't condone rape, groping or harassment. But we have to distinguish between what is clearly inappropriate sexual behavior and the rest. And we have to recognize that when a guy who a girl is interested in makes a pass, she's flattered. If she's not interested, that doesn't make it a sex crime. And we have to preserve the rule of law. A fundamental tenet of our legal system is innocent until proven guilty. We can't allow it to flip to guilty until proven innocent for a subset of crimes. Sex crimes are like any other crime: the burden of proof lies with the accuser. And we have to recognize that while we should take women seriously who accuse a man of a sex crime, we also have to recognize that sometimes (a minority of instances) the accuser is either lying deliberately for some purpose, is misinterpreting an event or misremembering. And while the number of accusers is relevant, that is only true if they have evidence. And sometimes in a witch hunt the crowd can become unhinged in its zeal. And the longer the passage of time between the event and the accusation, it become more difficult to prove or refute.
TxnByBrth (Austin, TX)
The utilization of an allegation as a political weapon can only happen if we abandon the tenets of our Constitutionally based laws...specifically that people are innocent "UNTIL" proven guilty. We have become a society of people who are willing to condemn someone immediately upon hearing about a crime (often swayed by the partial reporting of our "formerly" trusted news sources) without waiting for the facts to emerge. This is why, in part, a last minute sensational allegation is so effective right before an election. There is time enough to taint someone's reputation but not time enough for them to defend themselves against what might be a false allegation. It is why some politicians have argued that the mere allegation is enough to disqualify someone from running for office...I can assure you they would not say that if they were accused of some heinous crime...
Hard Working (Monterey, Californiaemails just showed me the)
If the political parties would spend more time policing their own and less time making meaningless - and usually distorted - attacks on the opposition, the nation would be much better off. Unfortunately, there is almost no chance of that happening because pointing at others is the perfect distraction from one's own failings. When I was growing up and did something reprehensible, my parents would say, "We do not do that in this family." There is no "we" or family in America now; there is only "them" for both sides of the spectrum.
EJB (Queens)
Bill Clinton isn't running for political office. Roy Moore is. That's the huge difference here.
Jd (Western MA)
I sat on a jury in a rape case involving two sixteen-year-olds in a Mcdonald's parking lot. Eleven jurors were prepared to send the then nineteen-year-old to prison. What bothers me about these cases, Weinstein et al, is that they will likely avoid such a fate because of the power they have amassed. When you are brought to trial on a charge of a sex crime, particularly of a minor, the prospect of prison time and the treatment doled out there to those found guilty is punishment of a sort that no amount of bad press compares. Equal before the law- that is the promise of the judicial system, but in fact it favors the wealthy and powerful. I don't know about Bill, whether he is guilty or not, but I do know that he would absolutely lose composure were he hauled before a jury, because he knows the odds are fifty/fifty he'd be found guilty. As for Roy Moore, he would be toast in the state I live in.
Chris KM (Colorado)
Yes, Clinton's improprieties (and worse) should be looked at in the open. And so should Trump's. Why is Trump's behavior apparently off-the-table right now, while we discuss Hollywood's sins, Silicon Valley's, a Senator's and a former President's? He is not made of teflon—his actions and moral turpitude are sticking to him like flies to roadkill.
CopyKatnj (Wharton, NJ)
Apparently it is now alright to throw the Clintons under a bus. The Democrat Party is now done with the usefulness of the Clintons so under they go. That is about all anyone needs to know about the Democrat Party. They used you, abused you and kick you out. Propagandists are now in a full "hit the fan" wash, cycle and dryout mode. Unfortunately, they will get away with their holier then thou scheme.
B Clark (Houston)
I don't know what is true anymore. 1. A former president is accused of rape. 2. His accuser supports the current president. 3. But, the current president bragged about his own sexual misconduct. 4. The wife of the former president ran for president. 5. She suffers a humiliating defeat because voters say the don't trust her. 6. Her critics have spread countless lies about her. In the future, we won't call them "Greek" tragedies.
Marylee (MA)
What about Donald?
Kropotkin Jr. (Pasadena, CA)
BOOOOOOOO. Didn't Broaddrick say that Clinton raped her not once but TWICE in that same "session" in the hotel room? Hey guys, how would that work exactly? He lies on top of her until . . . ? Come on, Michelle Goldberg. Plus, if you watch that Dateline interview, she changes her story a little about various details in the encounter, plus her crying (suddenly starting, then suddenly stopping)? In addition, as the photo attached to this column reminds us, she allowed herself to be used as a prop in one of the most disgusting political stunts in memory? Oh yeah, and she contradicted her early affidavit? Good lord, Michelle Goldberg, there may have been, indeed there was likely, a sexual encounter between Broaddrick and Clinton. But at this point her credibility is less than nil. I do NOT believe Juanita. (But oh yeah, Bill Clinton is still a slime.)
21st Century White Guy (Michigan)
I appreciate this column, and the difficulty of applying the same principles to everyone, especially when ideology or partisanship offer few rewards for doing so. We need to avoid "whatabboutism." The issue is not whether Bill Clinton and Anthony Wiener are worse than Roy Moore or Trump. The issue is that 1) we live in a culture where powerful men feel completely free to abuse and assault women and young people in general, and 2) we have systems and institutions built up around that culture that protect those men. It isn't that Republicans or Democrats are more or less likely to do this, it's that men in power, across the spectrum, are more likely to do this. And by the way, I've heard from several women in NYC, well into the mid-2000s, who were at events with Bill Clinton where he was leering, pressing his body up against theirs and putting his hands where he shouldn't. If you liked him as President, fine. If you supported his wife, fine. But in this respect, the guy is a dirtbag, straight up.
Harvey Liszt (Charlottesville, VA)
Not helpful.
WMK (New York City)
You believe Juanita Broderick now but where you when it first was reported that she had been molested by Bill Clinton? You are a bit late and this woman was made out to be a liar and they crucified her within the press and by Clinton apologists. Hillary Clinton was as guilty as anyone in condemning this woman and cruel in her treatment towards her. She made their lives miserable after they came forward with their claims. Is she now being believed because of the women coming forward accusing Roy Moore of sexual assault. I wonder what the motive is for suddenly announcing that Ms. Broderick is believable. It is a bit strange and puzzling to be supporting this woman when she was strongly disbelieved by so many. Her reputation was ruined and so was she. That was inexcusable.
Johnny (Farmington)
I believe Juanita, she twice said under oath that she was never raped by Clinton. She also couldn't even remember the month the raped accrued, which is a little unusual to say the least. I'll be the first to say I think Bill Clinton has many regrettable actions with women but I will bet anything he isn't a rapist and anyone who thinks he is doesn't care about the facts.
Woodinsnud (Florida)
Whew it's tough to be a male. Porno is out, X rated literature is out, flirting is out, what next? Back to the gilded age of " puritanism". Women have come a long way in our society, it is unfortunate that sex stands in the way of true equality.
Orange Nightmare (Right Behind You)
The Right has killed critical thinking about the Clintons.
Cheap Jim (Baltimore, Md.)
The name Starr does not appear in this column. Since Judge Starr crawled up inside this story with a microscope and didn't find anything to pin on Clinton, I feel the omission is evidence of sloppy writing. Then again, this is the columnist who thinks the light shines out of Jeff Flake's mouth for saying a few strong words about the president, even though Flake goes along and votes for the president's entire agenda. So who's to tell where the sloppiness ends?
ehillesum (michigan)
The author concludes that Juanita Broadrick was raped by Bill Clinton. Why does any of the rest--justification, evil Republicans, etc matter? If you don't understand why Hillary and Bill are despised or at least mistrusted by so many, read the late, great Christopher Hitchens (no great friend of the right) book No one Left to Lie to--a bio of sorts of the Clintons.
JM (San Francisco, CA)
Remember what Clinton said when Dan Rather asked him why he cheated. "Just because I could". Well, not any more boys...there is a new law of the land in this country...."No, You Cannot!" This nation owes Anita Hill, Kathleen Wiley, Juanita Broderick, Monica Lewinsky and the MULTITUDE of other women, who were destroyed by these lying, repulsive men in power, a huge apology and immense gratitude for their bravery.
S B Lewis (Lewis Family Farm, Essex, N. Y.)
All of us believe Juanita. Bill Clinton knew when he was lying. Does Donald Trump know when he’s lying? Women always know.
Andrew (NYC)
The part I can’t understand is how so much is still written about Bill Clinton’s accusers but how little there is about Trump’s Hillary may have paid (or earned) for Bill’s transgressions but Trump got a free pass for his and was even supported by 53% of the white female vote And surely some members of the NY media must have known about Trump being a predator, just as they knew about Weinstein, but kept quiet, and didn’t investigate The levels of complicity are enormous.
Lee (AZ)
Far, far to little and far, far too late.
Nat Ehrlich (Ann Arbor, Michigan)
Many of our Presidents are known to have cheated on their wives. FDR, DDE, JFK, RR, either before or during their time in office. Rumors persist about others, including RMN's dalliances with various men. Clinton committed adultery before and during his Presidency, and perjured himself by denying it. He was impeached by the House and not convicted by the Senate. Had he put party first, as did Nixon, we would have had just under two years of a Gore Presidency - and possibly as much as 10. Clinton put himself first, and asked and received clemency from his own party. Bush II and Trump are his legacy, thankyouverymuchBill.
Susan (Boston)
We’re not talking about infidelity or consensual sex here, we’re talking about rape.
Nat Ehrlich (Ann Arbor, Michigan)
Baby steps, and rape was not an issue in the Clinton impeachment. There is no pattern to suggest that Clinton was ever violent, and Juanita offered no corroborative evidence or contemporaneous reports to others.
Anamyn (New York)
I have long believed that the Clinton era was filled with sexual misconduct that was pushed under the rug. And yes, Hillary paid for it, by standing by him, by appearing complicit. The Republicans have been out to get them forever. This won’t appease them, I’m sure, but it’s time for Bill to take responsibility for what he did do. It will be reckoning day for Democrats. I think Democrats have a huge amount to offer Americans, if they can get out from under protecting Bill Clinton. Ms. Goldberg, I hope you keep beating this drum and Democrats in power pay heed. There is complicity from most of the old guard, but if they want to be part of the future, the time is now to come clean.
H. A. Sappho (LA)
Regarding Bill Clinton: Womanizing does not equal harassment. The difference between two people saying yes to each other is not the same as one person forcing himself on another. Kathleen Willey saying that Bill Clinton had her husband and cat killed suggests hysteria and projection, and it raises a suspicious eyebrow. Paula Jones seemed more aggrieved at the lack of attention than at a genuine crime and was happy to take Republican financing to star in her own Reality TV drama, and it raises a suspicious eyebrow. Juanita Broaddrick sounds credible, but her belief that Hillary Clinton threatened her and considers her complicit rather than sympathetic for Bill’s transgressions is conspiratorial, and it raises a suspicious eyebrow. This is less about party tribalism than about American Puritanism. Tribalism apologizes for a crime with hypocrisy. Puritanism cannot distinguish between righteous anger at very real criminal behavior and demonizing righteousness at all forms of carnal behavior. When two people say yes to each other it may be a mistake, but it is not a crime. When one person imposes their yes upon another person’s no it becomes a crime. If that imposition is psychological the crime is harassment. If the imposition is physical the crime is rape. There is no comparison between Bill Clinton and Roy Moore. And the abuse of making Hillary Clinton suffer for the inability to make this distinction has led to America suffering the abusive presidency of Donald Trump.
T.L.Moran (Idaho)
Hmmm. Good start, but there are more complications in this comparison than you are aware of, or perhaps willing to deal with, or really able to deal with in one column. Times change -- thank goodness. Two hundred years ago it was accepted that Thomas Jefferson kept a slave who was, basically, in today's term, a sexual prisoner. No one at the time said a thing. Senators 50 and 100 years ago had long-running affairs (and short ones too, just to fill in the time - how did they ever get any work done?), including illegitimate children. Sometimes people said things. Usually nothing happened. Bill Clinton had affairs and perhaps did worse. People said things. Not too much happened except for a horrendously unprecedented waste of time and money called an impeachment, carried out by men who turned out to be far more tainted. Nothing happened to them while in office. Bill Clinton staggered through the end of his term too. Now, though -- women have finally had it with this pattern of men behaving badly, even brutally, and getting elected all the same. NOW women are supporting each other in speaking out. If Bill Clinton were running now? Democrats would not nominate him. But it's Moore who's running. And only Republicans accept him.
If Bill Clinton were running now Democrats would nominate him in a hot second. Don't kid yourself.
Amelie (Northern California)
It's complicated. I actually always believed Broaddrick and Lewinsky but not Jones. What we know for sure is that even in the 1990s, a mere 20 years ago, accusations of sexual assault weren't taken seriously except as a weapon to be wielded against politicians, and it was (and maybe remains) difficult to weed out the Anita Hills and Juanita Broaddricks from the Paula Joneses. And then of course, the right wing has always been so rabid about the Clintons that they've accused the Clintons of everything from real estate fraud to drug running to murder to running a children's sex ring at a pizza parlor. So it's a little hard to keep up. But if the point is specifically Bill and his misuse and possible assault of women -- then yes. He's guilty, but the waters are so muddied with propaganda that we'll never know for sure of what, with whom and when.
Tj Dellaport (Golden, CO)
Hillary should have divorced Bill. I as a female would have had much more respect for her. She may have won if she did.
Petey tonei (Ma)
It was very strange and hypocritical that she would stand up as a product of the feminist movement, yet keep supporting and forgiving a wandering husband. She would tell girls (like Huma) to not stand any nonsense from men, yet she herself didn't demonstrate it. I am sure they are great friends, Bill and Hillary, but it just doesn't send the right message to young girls.
jck (nj)
Dismissing Kathleen Willey"s sexual abuse claims against Bill Clinton, based on her suggesting that her cat was killed by Clinton operatives, is disingenuous. Dismissing Paula Jones claims as part of a great right wing conspiracy is also a strongly partisan judgement. The conspicuous absence of Lewinsky in the discussion is striking. If the Clinton's abused their power and positions, icriticism of their actions is not a "smear campaign" but rather the truth. Sexual harassment should be condemned and is not a partisan issue.
Sue (Cleveland)
I believe Juanita and I believe Roy Moore’s accusers. i didn’t do any political calculations to come to that conclusion. See, that wasn’t that hard.
Kathryn (Holbrook NY)
Ms. Goldberg, I generally find your reports quite good. But, not this one. I do not believe it. Come on!!
Kevin (Los Angeles)
So many caveats about charges against Democrats, yet charges against Republicans are to be accepted at face value? "Believe [some] women" is still the rule, I guess.
minfxbg (usa)
Clinton's sexual peccadilloes were as widely known, and covered up and excused, as were JFK's, RFK's, and LBJ's bedroom calisthenics. Smear campaign indeed. Both parties have indulged their pseudo outrage over the sexual antics of members of both parties in a sleazy effort to gain the upper hand.
Anna Purves (Bronx NY)
Finally a nuanced response on this topic! certainly republicans don’t have a stranglehold on abuse of power—the national deluge of women coming forth is long overdue. We need to make it completely safe for women—or men—to find redress. But we are at great risk here: women need to be believed for things that happened to them. At the same time we have ushered in a era of puritanical witch hunting in which a man can be accused of say robbery and have a full fair trial but that same man can be falsely accused of sexual misconduct —and properly acquitted!—and not be allowed to counter sue for defamation. I know 2 stories personally where a young woman was either having issues with her sexuality or wanted to exercise some power and made such false allegations of a man her age— doing huge damage to that innocent peer. Most of these allegations will be corroborated—but some will be false. Conventional wisdom states that “only 2% Of sexual misconduct allegations are false”. This is not a believable number: roughly 20% of allegations of any type of offense turn out to be false. why would the area ofsexuality be exempt? People lie all the time for conscious/subconscious motives. As a proud graduate of a women’s college I am deeply concerned about those 1of 5 women playing the sex card. It does great disservice to the many women who have been so disrespected, threatened, and hurt by the men they come in contact with. And the wrongfully accused should matter to us too!
gratis (Colorado)
When Ken Starr and the witch hunting GOP could not make anything stick, it makes me wonder about the validity of the claims. Juanita did not think Ken Starr would believe her? Because the GOP was in the tank for the Clintons? Clinton was messing around a lot, but it seemed consensual. Could she have been the one rape case in his whole life? Perhaps. But her story seems very much out of sync with all the other stories, while the Bill Cosby, Weinstein, etc stories seems to have more consistency. Like so much about the Clintons, I believe they walk right up to the line, but do not cross it. They are the most investigated people in the history of the world (no hyperbole) and considering the magnitude of allegations, both in number and seriousness, the lack of evidence against them is mystifying to me.
SW (Los Angeles)
Until the accusations against our sitting president are taken seriously it is all just partisan deflection. The example of holding our sitting president accountable for being the nasty man that he is should blaze the way. However, deflection is going very well on FOX and other "conservative" outlets. GOP supporters are not being told the complete truth...like Trump's tax returns a lot of facts are MIA.
Philboyd (Washington, DC)
The charges against Bill Clinton should have been viewed on their merits by right-thinking Americans -- regardless of who was trying to politicize them. And on their merits, both Juanita Brodderick and Paula Jones had much more supporting evidence than I've seen from any single accuser of Harvey Weinstein. In the Jones case, for example, she had confided in friends very soon after the assault - and those friends still backed her. Officers on Clinton's security detail supported the claim that he had singled her out and had her brought to his room for no plausible reason than the one she stated. Let's face it, not only did Clinton's supporters ignore these women for political reasons, but for class reasons -- James Carville's remark that you could drag a hundred dollar bill through a trailer park and find a Paula Jones summed up that hateful prejudice nicely.
Anne Russell (Wrightsville Beach NC)
Hillary Clinton eminently qualified to be President of USA. And she did win, had election stolen from her by collusion and smear. But as a wife of a former President who repeatedly betrayed her by committing adultery and deceiving her and the public, she was between the rock and the hard place. If she divorced Bill, whom she loves despite his sleazy side, she would not have been viable as a Presidential candidate, and if she stayed married to him, she paid the price for his sins which were not her sins. Hillary has been a watershed moment which, I hope, cleans the slate for a new female candidate who runs on her own recognizance, such as Elizabeth Warren.
Abel Fernandez (NM)
Bill and Hillary Clinton are no longer in the public policy arena unless dragged there by Republicans and columnists. The women who chose to sit at the second Presidential debate were there because of an ongoing effort to diminish and demean and demonize Hillary Clinton. The trap is set again. Columnists of all political stripes told us repeatedly that Hillary Clinton had not spoken out about Harvey Weinstein fast enough and was therefore complicit of ... something. A recent column in the Atlantic suggests that had Gloria Steinhem spoken up about Bill Clinton we would not have Harvey Weinstein. Jess Sessions wants to get a special prosecutor to investigate the Clinton Foundation. Republicans have found a successful way to use the Clinton's to deflect and distract from their own failures as representatives of a democracy. They are told to go away. They are told to come in from the cold and be battered over and over and over again. Ken Starr did that for years and for millions of dollars and has recently apologized for his horrible abuse of power. I suspect that when the Clinton grandchildren get older there will be pictures of them on supermarket tabloids with horns on their head for the next generation of Republicans to run against.
db (Baltimore)
Let's not forget that Don Siegelman spent years in prison on entirely false charges for a ploy made for purely political reasons. Just because Alabama Republicans were sick of losing. We should trust women, but we can't forget that there is no limit to how low, how false, and how evil the Republican party is willing to be to "win". I don't doubt they will start (ab)using women in this new way to take down their opponents, as the rest of their foul play is growing insufficient.
Tracy (Montgomery, AL)
I don't believe Juanita Broadrick. I went back during the campaign last year and read the old articles. Her story has never added up. I never voted for Bill Clinton, but he turned out to be a pretty good president. However, he's not running for anything now and we never had to doubt his loyalty to this country, unlike the current occupant of the Oval Office.
rawebb1 (LR. AR)
I don't know the facts either, but accusations of rape are inconsistent with the rest of Bill Clinton's dealings with women. I lived in Little Rock through his time as AG and Governor, worked some for the Arkansas State Police--they provide security for the Governor--and was a neighbor of some of the Clinton circle. Bill Clinton always appeared to like women, work well with them, and respect them. Most of the rumors involved women who had as much to lose as he did from exposure. I'd bet he was the hittee more often than the hitter upon, as he apparently was with Monica. (I do have a friend who worked in campaigns who said one of his jobs was to keep Bill away from the rodeo queens.) I suspect that most of his trouble came about when he forgot the first rule of sexual behavior: never go to bed with anyone whose mental health is worse than your own. Again, I do not claim to know the facts, and he surely was not guiltless, but lumping Bill Clinton in with the creeps who are presently coming into the light of day seems inappropriate, independent of one's politics.
Vicki (Boca Raton, Fl)
I am not sure that I believe Juanita. From all reports going back decades, Bill Clinton was (is) a man that many women found very attractive.....Monica included. Men like that usually have no need to assault women or force them into anything, because plenty of women are offering themselves up. It's too often the men who are not particularly attractive - like Weinstein and Weiner and Clarence Thomas, and even Louis CK, who seem to need to force themselves on women....or men like Moore, who seem to like young women and teenagers. So, yes, predators come in all political stripes -- it's not about liberals or conservatives. And, Bill Clinton is not an elected official like our predator president.
Ann (NYC)
I see - so yes, for twenty five years we did brutalize and and shame these women at every opportunity and defended with all of our might Bill and Hillary; but, but - it was the Republican's fault that we did it. Yes, that's it. That vast right wing conspiracy, always lying about Bill and all of these women !! But of course, the only real conspiracy was by those in the media determined to protect the Clintons no matter the cost, as nothing was more important than their success and power. I'm assuming now that the word is out that the King is dead, that he has no power (meaning the money has dried up) so now we can offer him up and show what wonderful, non-hypocrites we are. But a reminder - it's the Republican's fault. Also - one question. If the poor media was duped by those mean Republicans, what's Hillary's excuse ??
Dan Conrad (Grosse Pointe Shores, MI)
This exceptionally-well written piece highlights the distinction between the mindset of the Right and of the Left. Bill Clinton was our guy. We liked his style, his policies. He represented us (on the Left). But he was a deeply flawed human being. And the Left as represented by Ms. Goldberg's piece is not treating him as the kind of either Messianic or martyred figure that the Right is treating their guy in Roy Moore. Neither man is deserving of unconditional support and the Left gets it; the Right does not. Moore is their guy and come what may he will remain their guy. It's an abdication of reason and a stain on their character.
Luder (France)
Ms. Goldberg's piece is fine, but look at most of the most recommended comments (most of which seem to have written by people who are upset Goldberg didn't write about Clarence Thomas). They suggest that the mindset of the left is exactly the same as that of the right.
Horace (Detroit)
No, that is just not factually correct. There are many on the Left who said, "Clinton is my guy and come what may he will remain my guy." You don't get to charge half a million dollars for a speech when you are an ex-pres. without being very popular among your base. There was even a woman on the Left who suggested all women should line up to perform a sex act on Bill Clinton "for all he has done for us." Some on the Left and some on the Right just have moral blindness when one of theirs is shown to be a sex abuser.
Jay65 (New York, NY)
Dan, there are many on the right who have always deplored Moore as a scofflaw and grandiose figure burdened with an unhealthy religiosity. There were two other candidates in the GOP primary. Unfortunately Moore split the vote to prevail over a conservative and the appointed, establishment senator. Forty year old allegations should always be suspect, but now there are two witnesses, and Moore dissembles to interviewers. Let us concede that teenagers are apt to engage in experiments, making out, but let it not be a grown man with an intimidating title who participates in those experiments. In the case of a 14 year old the law assumes she cannot consent. So, from you enclave in Grosse Pointe, and from the left, Mr. Conrad, try not to tar us all with the same brush.
ANetliner NetLiner (Washington DC metro area)
I voted for Bill Clinton in 1992 and 1996 and for Hillary Clinton in 2016. Unfortunately, though, much of this column comes off as an apologia for the Clintons. Especially galling is the suggestion that Hillary Clinton was unaware of the reports of her husband’s conduct with women. Secretary Clinton was heavily involved in her husband’s 1992 campaign, which dedicated a senior staffer to quashing so-called “bimbo eruptions,” something that was widely reported by the media at the time. Ms. Goldberg’s judgment that Hillary Clinton couldn’t have possibly meant to signal Juanita Broadrick to keep her silence is not persuasive. Broadrick was there. Finally, I happen to have read Kathleen Willey’s 2007 book about her experiences with the Clintons. I was not persuaded that Ms. Willey’s husband was killed by Clinton operatives (her husband was deeply in debt at the time of his death, a more plausible explanation.) That said, Willey’s well-documented reports of trespassing, a break-in at her property (the only item stolen was the manuscript of her then-unpublished book) and the killing of her cat might well have been related to her speaking and writing about Bill Clinton’s advances.
Mark (New Jersey)
Your belief in Juanita I believe is unsupported by the facts. The facts are she changed her story. She did associate with people paid to support a political agenda. This is in contrast to the Moore episode. I know Bill Clinton had weak control and committed obvious acts of adultery. Why Hillary stuck with him is her business and if that reduced her political chances to victory then it is what it is. But are we still prosecuting the Hillary and Bill Clinton troubles or is it that you have nothing to say about Moore? I mean who cares about a woman who could of just maintained her story and told the same truth to all? I don't doubt these women who accused Moore of being a perverted man as any reasonable man would not date young girls. They have not sought to gain anything for their comments. I was and will always remain suspicious of those who aligned themselves with people who clearly sought to ruin peoples lives as in the entire Whitewater episode which turned out be a political witch hunt once all the facts established that no financial gain accrued to the Clintons in terms of Whitewater. Does that excuse Bill's behavior, certainly not. Did he deserve impeachment by men who all had affairs unknown at the time? Well it doesn't matter does it. Just like Juanita's story doesn't matter now either. But what does matter is if someone goes to the U.S. Senate and is a known pedophile by the voters of his state and they support him anyway. That Michelle, really is the story isn't it?
Dave G. (NYC)
All sides stink. Again, all sides stink. When you hold that truth close to your chest, when you learn to pick the calories for the lesser of two or more evils. Also, if you’re able to change someone’s political beliefs in the course of a quick conversation, they’ll most likely flim-flam one way or another shortly thereafter. So, save the hot air.
Dennis D. (New York City)
As a lifelong lib and Clinton supporter I have no problem with anyone including Bill and Hill being investigated. And anyone who claims they haven't are sadly mistaken, misinformed, and must have some other motive for still demanding yet another investigation occur. Hillary has faced far more scrutiny than Bill. Yet "they" still find nothing substantive enough to prosecute. So what to do? Hillary Haters say: keep looking, keep investigating. They assert eventually something will be found. OK, go ahead, keep looking, if that's what you want to to spend your time doing. Remember both Clintons are no longer in public service. Unlike Moore and Trump, the Clintons are simply there, and even though they pop up now and then, there are some zealots who simply will not be happy until somehow someway someone finds some reason to "lock them up". I think people such as these are completely mad. You've heard the expression, "get a life", well, please, do so. But let us not exclude the present. As we dig up Bill Clinton's alleged crimes against women, and I guess Hillary again for e-mails and Benghzi, let us prosecute alleged predators Trump and Moore. Let's halt all government action, what little there is of it, and conduct a series of investigations that would put Tail Gunner Joe to shame. And then what? The shame lies with those Americans who don't even bother to vote. Half have decided none of this is that important. There's your problem, America. How to solve that? DD Manhattan
JohnLeeHooker (NM)
They have BOTH danced with the devil for a very long time. Hard to argue that.
Bob Laughlin (Denver)
Is the definition of rape becoming a partisan construct? Is it more or less an offense if committed by a democrat than a republican? Is unasked for groping rape, assault, or just unwanted hands? I am not sure anymore. I did not like that Bill Clinton didn't have the discipline to keep his testosterone in check while President because it gave his enemies ammunition and caused his goals to get short changed. But to my mind the actions of Moore are more criminal for a couple of reasons. He was a prosecutor and by virtue of that had a lot of local political power. The mothers whose permission he is said to have asked for, where those women really able to say no to such a powerful man? Or is it just part of Alabama's culture that men can have the little girls they want? Bill Clinton is history. He will not be in position ever again to effect any real policies or politics in America again. He has to live with his past actions and the effects of those actions on last year's election. I don't think that will be particularly easy for him. But t rump and Moore are in positions where they will do a lot of damage to our Nation if allowed to serve in their prospective offices, not just by assaulting and raping women and little girls, but by assaulting every form of decency and custom in our World. And all this from the part of so called family values. Maybe the Charles Manson family.
PGJack (Pacific Grove, CA)
How about all the women who have accused Trump of sexual harassment, assault and even rape? Do you believe them or is anything Trump says true beyond doubt?
Sala Shouder (NJ)
Soooo, we should believe all women except if they're accusing President Clinton, right?
ShawnH (Seattle)
Well, we believed the women in the 90s until their claims were heavily investigated and even Republicans, desperate to use these claims against Clinton, couldn't due to lack of credibility. But hey, it's 2017 now, and who needs to bother with facts or history or context or anything when we can whatabout until the cows come home, ignoring the fall of men like Weinstein or Weiner to focus on re-litigating, without use of any facts, Clinton.
Cassandra (Sydney, Australia)
What I despise is the way in which Hillary Clinton has been blamed for her husband's behavior. There's no doubt that he serially abused her trust. He was unfaithful and he lied to her and the American public. Perhaps he was a predator, perhaps even a rapist. But that's not her fault. For decades Republicans have used Bill's behavior to get at Hillary, culminating with this last election campaign when Trump exploited Bill's accusers to try to unsettle Hillary. He failed. She's been through much worse than that. But what's more disgusting is the way in which liberals have also sought to blame her by association. So-called feminists, who should know better, tried to tar her because she was married to Bill. They've imputed all sorts of motives to her because she chose to stay with him. But she's not, and never has been, responsible for his actions.
MyThreeCents (San Francisco)
You're overstating it! "At the same time, looking back at the smear campaign against the Clintons shows we can’t treat the feminist injunction to “believe women” as absolute." No, no, no! You only need to "believe women" when they're speaking out against people you don't like. If the woman is speaking out against someone you like, no need to take her seriously. She's probably just part of some "smear campaign" against that person you like. Clear?
Buckshot LaFunk (Pittsburgh PA)
Rabid right-wingers keep trying to raise these stories to blur the view of their own misdeeds and create false equivalency between a sitting President who is an unrepentant misogynist and his party that is openly supporting a child molester for U.S. Senate, and the actions of a former president and presidential candidate. Except there is one big difference: Bill Clinton has not been the President of The United States for almost seventeen years, and Hilary Clinton is not the President now. They may be distasteful and even shameful, but we're playing into a right-wing strategy by focusing energy on dissecting what Bill and Hilary may or may not have done years ago while the guy who *actually* inhabits the White House is raping us all.
Paul Wortman (East Setauket, NY)
From the very start it was well-known that Bill Clinton had what his handlers called "a bimbo problem." Any doubts about it were completely erased by the blue dress in the Monica Lewinsky scandal. In that respect it was Bill Clinton with the active support of his wife Hillary who set the stage for Donald Trump. The Clintons had already tarnished the presidency with sexual misconduct and many accused his wife of contributing to the attacks on his women accusers as we saw on the women victims by Donald Trump and now Roy Moore. As powerful as the Access Hollywood tapes were, many viewed both candidates equally when it came to sexual misconduct. Bill Clinton lied then, just as Donald Trump did, and Roy Moore is doing. So, "Yes," I, too, believe Juanita Broderick. And I also believe Gennifer Flowers, and even Paula Jones. And, of course, I feel most sorry about the havoc the Clintons wracked upon Monica Lewinsky. And "Yes," I voted for Bill and I voted very reluctantly for Hillary as well. The political parties gave America no choice when it came to the issue of sexual misconduct. If we've learned any lesson, it's time for that to change rather than to use it as a "what about..." excuse.
AG (Syracuse, New York)
I find this article extremely puzzling: After first discussing the existence of a conservative "dirty tricks" scheme and then explaining why both Jones and Wiley lacked credibility, the author immediately pivots to a declaration of her belief that Bill Clinton is a rapist. But on what basis? Because Juanita Broaddrick's allegations are similar to those raised against Harvey Weinstein? Is that really all it takes? Is there ever going to be a time when Bill Clinton isn't going to be dragged out as "What Aboutism" cover for Republican/Conservative misdeeds? I'm in no position to know whether Juanita Broaddrick is telling the truth or not but neither is Michelle Goldberg, and I'm therefore a bit surprised she would level such a serious accusation without anything more substantial than that Broaddrick's allegations recall "those we've heard about Weinstein." Untold numbers of women have suffered terribly at the hands of powerful men in part because no one would believe them if/when they complained. But does that mean that any allegation made regarding sexual assault must now automatically be accepted as true? Is even one person's mere say so sufficient to have someone branded as a rapist? There has to be a middle ground between automatically dismissing these types of allegations and automatically accepting them. To say "I believe THIS woman in THIS instance because other people didn't believe THAT woman in THAT instance" is a mistake.
Jack Sonville (Florida)
Michelle, your column is really about the issue of credibility--and I don't mean Ms. Broaddrick's credibility. I feel very sorry for Ms. Broaddrick, who very likely was, at a minimum, sexually assaulted by Bill Clinton many years ago. But because her case has been trumpeted by the alt right, people who routinely lie as easily as they breathe, her own credibility is questioned by association. Five women have come forward with credible allegations about Roy Moore, just like multiple women did the same against Donald Trump, Bill O'Reilly, Roger Ailes and the list goes on and on.According to the alt right, these women are all liars. Then they trot out Ms. Broaddrick and declare that she is telling the truth. Not the others, just her. And then Trump and his GOP alt right militia propped her up in the front row of a presidential debate, hoping not to help Ms. Broaddrick get justice, but to throw a presidential candidate off her game in the debate. This poor woman has been victimized twice--once by Bill Clinton and again by the GOP. They ruined her credibility and then never helped her get the justice she deserved. She was nothing more than a tool for Trump and the alt right, to be thrown back into the bin after the dirty work was done.
Barry Fitzpatrick (Baltimore, MD)
Couldn't agree more with Hayes and Goldberg. Hypocrisy thy name is Clinton! As others have commented, it is time to let the Clintons pass into oblivion and "leave the rest of us in peace." Serial excuse maker that he is, Bill will make some convoluted statement about why he is nothing like Roy Moore, but in the area of sexuallly predatory behavior, they are twins.
Phillip Ruland (Newport Beach)
The idea that only Juanita Broderick’s sexual assault story about Bill Clinton is to be believed, as Michelle Goldberg alleges, among his many others defies logic and believability. It is nothing more than an apologia for Clinton female abuse. This story undercuts liberal principles and human decency and does Goldberg herself, and all people a great disservice.
Doug Ferguson (Charleston, SC)
The mainstream media are clearly out to make sure the Clintons are done. When you see this in the NYT of all places, it's a sure signal the Democrats want to burn down the house and rebuild.
Lisa Lai (San Francisco Bay Area)
Until we hold Trump legally responsible for his predatory conduct with the women who came forward I have no interest in going back in time to punish Bill Clinton for his.
JAM (Florida)
I think that the Clintons would be wise to retire completely from politics and let the country go on without them. For at least the last 30 years the country has had to put up with the Clintons in one form or another. Their classic baby-boomer attitude that "it is all about me" has grown tiresome after so many years of public exposure. Clinton has the dubious distinction of being only the second president to be impeached. We really need to move on from them and hope that the Democratic Party has become independent enough to nominate a younger, more ethical & promising figure in 2020. Some of us remember that the Clintons were originally long-shots to gain national office when they ran back in 1992. Their scandals quickly gained notoriety and appeared to sink Bill Clinton's campaign before it had barely begun. Certainly with the kind of baggage that he had in his past, he should never have run for president to begin with. No major Democratic candidate ran that year since it appeared that then president George H.W. Bush was unbeatable. The recession of 1992 and Bush's tax increase together combined to make the Clinton candidacy creditable. Add in Ross Perot's independent candidacy and Clinton was elected. He never however gained a majority of the popular vote. It is now time for the Clinton's to retire to their well-endowed foundation and leave the rest of us alone in peace and without further scandal.
Mireya (Palo Alto, CA)
There was a scene during the first season of the British period drama Downton Abbey that comes to mind. In the scene, Branson, the young Socialist chauffeur of the Earl of Grantham (who happens to be in love with the earl's daughter), is reading the newspaper at the servants' table downstairs. He reads an article about how the Russian czar and his family -- including children -- were arrested by the Bolsheviks. While he celebrates this, some of the other servants are worried for the young children. He argued that the children would be safe. "After all, we're socialists and not murderers." Later, Branson reads about how Czar Nicholas, his wife and all of their young children are unceremoniously executed. He is initially disturbed. Yet, he quickly defends the act because of the "greater good" of socialism. When it came to Bill Clinton, I believe that some people excused the long-festering rumors of his behavior because they embraced the "greater good" of electing and keeping a Democrat in office. Likewise, these individuals were often the same people who judged Republicans guilty when they were rumored of similar illicit activity. The value of the victim's accusation weighs differently depending upon the sociopolitical views or party allegiance of the accused. This is a remarkable sign that someone might be a political ideologue.
Cyntha (Palm Springs CA)
Strong and nuanced piece. I too believe Broadrick.
tbdb (south carolina)
And this has exactly what to do with current events? Bill's been out of office for 17 years, Hillary lost and is finished, as well. One wonders if the left has a death wish, given its propensity to expend energy and resources on collateral matters. This is not an excuse for Mr. Clinton. It's simply a wish that people would get exercised over something that (A) they can change and (B) will matter when they do.
MyThreeCents (San Francisco)
Unfortunately, a "sea change" can't run for President: "A sea change in American politics is coming in 2020..." Any idea who might actually run?
WilliamPenn2 (Tacony)
A Hillary-Maxine Waters ticket is our best hope.
MikeR (Baltimore MD)
It's always hard to know what to do about he-said she-said accusation. But one of the rules of thumbs we've all learned in the past few months is, How many people are accusing? In the case of Weinstein, Cosby, - and Clinton - the answer is, lots and lots. That means they were guilty, or should be presumed so. [Note that we should only be interested in actual accusations of criminal abuse. If Moore was interested in 20-year-old women, and even was obnoxious and boorish to them, we should ignore it. If the same accusation is made involving 14-year-olds, we should take note. If the accusation is of a supervisor against a subordinate, take note. Let's stick to crimes.] Clinton's case set the cause of women's rights in harassment cases back decades, as Democrats defended their guy for political reasons. Time to set things straight. These kinds of abusers need to go.
Claire (VA)
Mike R: When you’ve been groped or harassed in the workplace, then come back and say your flippant “Let’s stick to Crimes.” Stick to sports stories for now.
Tom (San Jose)
Let's not forget that there are numerous articles written about Hillary's toughness in managing Clinton's scandals. Think about that for a moment. Okay, done thinking? This is a woman who has no doubt gone through the gauntlet that pretty much all women go through, who ran for President by playing on the very real emotions women feel about wanting validation as full human beings. And yet, faced with a very large pile of facts about her husband, not only "stood by her man," but cleaned up the mess he left behind. Not a role model, to put it mildly. This is on one issue. It doesn't even get to the role of the Clinton's (she was his advisor, too) in enforcing the sanctions against Iraq that led to the deaths of at least 500,000 children. Apparently for Ms. Clinton, "it takes a village to raise a child" doesn't apply to Iraqi kids. For those children, it took cruise missiles? As for Ms. Goldberg, her criticism here is a bit tardy.
Patrick G (NY)
Radical idea. We judge each accusation on its merits.
PogoWasRight (florida)
I am very old and very confused: Roy Moore has been accused of sexual crimes. He is deemed by many not to be suitable to be a Senator. Donald Trump was accused of sexual crimes in 2016, and even admitted to some, yet no person has said that he is not suitable to be President. Will somebody please come forward with facts instead of just opinions? PLEASE!
David (NYC)
Many, many people have said Donald Trump is not suitable to be president.
hb (czech republic)
Two points. Regarding the taxpayer funded fishing expedition into Bill Clinton's sex life that landed on Monica Lewinsky, what happened between those two was their business and probably Hillary's. Only. Only in America would this be considered appropriate material for bringing down a president. The rest of the world thought the United States was crazy to even be talking about this publicly, with good reason. Secondly, for many people, especially back then, "sex" meant precisely: intercourse. I read an article during all the Lewinsky noise that talked about that being the case in Clinton's subculture. So in his mind it is quite likely he was telling the truth when he said he didn't have sex with that woman. But the first point here is most important. And here we are again...a dangerous clown is the American president. And most of the world thinks Americans must be crazy. Then again, most Americans did not vote for Trump. In any other democracy in the world Hillary would be president. Time to change that Electoral College law.
F. Ketchum (Moose Pass AK)
She was 19 years old. Bill was 27 years her senior, and her boss, and her president. We had Every right to know. Weinstein’s peccadilloes are his business too..?
Ryan (Maine)
Of course you believe her now that believing her has no consequences for the DNC.
Rob Vukovic (California)
I've all but given up hope of ever changing the past so I guess I'll have to focus on the present and future. Bill Clinton's sexual misconduct got him impeached but then he was overwhelmingly re-elected. Should he run for public office again I promise not to vote for him.
ShawnH (Seattle)
Not true. His impeachment was during his second term (December, 1998). He was not re-elected following that, GW Bush was. It is sad that the 90s weren't that long ago, but yet nobody seems to remember the actual flow of events or bother wanting to look up how it all went down, the huge amount of investigations, the trial by press, etc.
TLibby (Colorado)
This issue seems to be bringing out more that the usual amount of "Yeah but what about what that person from the other side did". And it's even more desperate and hypocritical than usual.
Ned (LA)
"On Friday evening the MSNBC host Chris Hayes sent out a tweet that electrified online conservatives: “As gross and cynical and hypocritical as the right’s ‘what about Bill Clinton’ stuff is, it’s also true that" Really? But, not as gross and cynical and hypocritical as the democrats and their Hollywood allies for decades saying "Look at conservatives!" ???
As a woman, I just want to say that "erring on the side of believing women" is incredibly dangerous and prejudice.
Theo (Spotsylvania, VA)
No, Michelle, we should not "err" on any side. Rather, we should encourage, expect and, persistently, demand that misconduct be duly reported to authorities so that the process of Justice and healing can be initiated. Then, we should use all our power as a community to hold the system of Justice accountable. We should get reports of data, sources, prosecutorial decisionmaking, jury verdicts and jury polling results, as well as lower level civil resources such as EEOC, state and local workplace regulators, and our schools and school systems. We should act like we give a darn about Justice morning, noon, and night, and stop greasing the skids like corrupt fiends. Only Justice uplifts human personality, and it's long since time for Democrats and whoever else to say that and mean it.
kenbo (singapore)
One story that never got traction was the civil lawsuit filed in California, then refiled in New York in 2016, by a Jane Doe - since revealed as Katie Johnson - who alleged Donald Trump raped her when she was 13. The assignation was allegedly arranged by Jeffrey Epstein, who also is said to have arranged meetings for Bill Clinton. The Trump case was settled just before the election. The media silence around this is deafening.
Al (Columbus)
Yes....now that HRC is a political liability and can no longer further your ideology, you can all stand up and bravely declare your righteous condemnation of the odious behavior of WJC.
TheraP (Midwest)
Clinton has been excoriated. We all know that. But bringing up Clinton, or Thomas Jefferson for that matter, at this moment, is nothing but an effort to distract from the fact that a GOP sexual predator (an admitted one!) sits in the Whitehouse. That a GOP credible sexual harasser sits on the Supreme Court. And that a GOP credible PEDOPHILE, twice ejected from the bench for unconstitutional behavior, is being promoted in Alabama to become Senator. It was obvious when he was first running that Clinton was sleazy. If anybody still wants to sue him or seek publicity, let them do that. But right now the FIRE that needs to be extinguished is Moore.
Coy Coleman (Yakima, WA)
It was Partisan! Just as Ted Kennedy swam away from a car with a drowning woman in it or Barney Frank running a gay underage call boy ring out of a condo. Hypocrisy! Oh, it only happened 30, 40, 50 years ago. I am sure Moores accusers remember all the events like they were yesterday when the DNC cut them checks.
Eric Caine (Modesto, CA)
Yes, it is important to apply the same rules regardless of our political affiliations, and it will be even more critical in days to come. Now that women have the courage to speak out and are achieving credibility, there will be the temptation to come forward for mercenary or political or even personal reasons. The rules of evidence are all we have and all we will ever have; it's necessary to heed them if we're to preserve a just society.
Chris (Berlin)
This op-ed is, not unsurprisingly, confusing. So "We should err on the side of believing women" because men are inherently nasty "but sometimes, that belief will be used against us" ? I'm sorry you see it that way, Mrs.Goldberg. Believe me, I am not an apologist for bullies and psychopaths (overwhelmingly male when you look at history), but it is very hard for me to place all the good men I know, into an amorphous mass of maleness and condemn them for impinging on women's rights, just by virtue of their biology. It "others" men, caricatures them, then critiques the caricature, rather than engage with real male people. Xis an abuser X is a man Therefore men are abusers. Isn't that the fallacy of the undistributed middle or post hoc ergo propter hoc? And, while you are at it, can you explain how in a country where women are the slender majority of voters, they have less political power? And can you explain how women manage to have less economic power while spending more money? Is that all the mens' fault, too? It is absolutely true that men are perpetrators of violence against women, they do it because they can get away with it. And yes, absolutely, it isn't about sex so much as about power and furthermore it's about opportunity. I have no idea if Broaddrick’s allegations are true or not, but her story is credible enough, and should be treated with sensitivity and seriousness. BUT am I the only one to find the repetition of unsubstantiated allegations really troubling?
Bob Knott (Baltimore, MD)
Eliminating sexual harassment and abuse is an imperative whose achievement is undermined when observed through a political and ideological lens. Nevertheless, both parties have either ignored or exploited seemingly credible allegations, from Clinton to Moore, when expedient. As for the former, for whom I voted in '92 and '96, his advocates, including Hillary, impugned the reputations of women who alleged untoward or illegal behavior. About Paula Jones, James Carville infamously remarked: "Drag a hundred-dollar bill through a trailer park, you never know what you'll find." Many were never held to account, save for Hillary, whom WaPo's Ruth Marcus rightly characterized as a "flawed vessel" for feminism following her loss to Barack Obama in 2008 Democratic primary.
John (Pittsburgh/Cologne)
No mention of Monica Lewinsky? On one hand, the liberal defense is that it was okay, since it occurred between consenting adults. Yet, if I understand liberal orthodoxy correctly, one must consider the power dynamic between parties. For example, if a boss has power over an employee, there can never be true consent in such a situation. By that logic, President Clinton used his position of power to sexually exploit Ms. Lewinsky. Isn't this power dynamic at the heart of many of the recent sexual misconduct claims?
wanda (Kentucky )
And Trump wrapped it around Mrs. Clinton's neck. None of these cases can be decided in law courts. One can argue that both Clintons did face consequences. But it was the lie that sank them. Sadly, Mrs. Clinton might have been a good president--certainly better than the walking disaster that we have--but too many politicians suffer from the same hubris that Trump does: whether it was entitlement or a sense of her superior intelligence, she ran having to know that her husband was likely her fatal flaw.
minfxbg (usa)
What "consequences" did the Clinton's face? Their downfalls were the result of their own actions. Fortunately, the nation will never know Hillary as president. When last the DNC and RNC gave the nation a choice, it was between being crushed and swallowed alive by an anaconda snake (Hillary) or being bitten by a rabid animal (Trump). The DNC advanced Hillary as they were terrified of the Clintons, and RNC pushed Trump because they lacked the guts to back any other potential candidate. Regardless of whom would become POTUS, the citizens and the Republic continue to suffer.
wanda (Kentucky )
She lost the election and he was publicly humiliated. I think losing to someone like Trump would be fairly humbling. He went through impeachment proceedings and his legacy will always be tainted and tainted her chances. Those may not be the consequences everyone would wish for, but if they value power as you believe, then one consequence is that their power was and will forever be constrained.
Pedro (Boise)
The author is stunningly wrong to state the reason for re-opening the Clinton investigation is to "de-rail discussions about Roy Moore." Bill and Hillary Clinton are long overdue for a reckoning about their activities. Roy Moore has nothing to do with that. Nothing.
frannie em (Los Angeles)
Conservative women get thrashed in the press, or is a better description raped? It seems there is some assumption that at the time of these accusations these women were being used by a right wing machine to bring Clinton down. These were democratic women who supported him or worked for him. Didn't it have as much to do with the democrats trying to destroy the republicans and back and forth and back and forth slinging accusations at each other. As for Brock, he has turned into quite a conspiracy theorist and a little wacky, was it always there? I don't know. I do know I believed that one party was trying to bring down another, so what else is new. I voted for Bill Clinton amidst all of the allegations wondering if they were true or not. How was his behavior different from a lot of other men in power? I figured he would expose himself and he did - Monica Lewinsky. It was party tribalism to not believe the claims those women made as it is party tribalism on the right in Alabama that don't want to believe the accusations about Moore. C'mon your argument lacks depth.
beth (Rochester, NY)
Bill was known for his charm, not for abusing women. Juanita swore in court he did nothing. She changed her story when there was $ to be made. Ken Starr didn't use her because her story was ever changing. So no, wild accusations are NOT the same. Even Paula Jones was coached proudly by the right wing, and for $. Her own family claimed she was lying.
Sharon Salzberg (Charlottesville)
As someone who voted twice for Bill Clinton, I recall feeling that in the wake of the Lewinsky scandal, he should have resigned. I viewed him as a morally deficient man, who betrayed his wife and daughter with his womanizing behavior. At that time, I wasn’t even aware of the Broderrick allegation. I didn’t need it to conclude that Clinton was not morally fit to serve as President. To this day, I regard him with disdain.
Dean (Sacramento)
Hillary Clinton's place in history is secure. It's time to call her husbands behavior for what it is. The "we" and the "they" language has to stop. I'm not a Breitbart reader but if they have the story go with it. The same goes for Mother Jones or any other outlet on the left. It's time for the truth. Mrs. Clinton's problem will always be that she was complicit in attacking these women. She acted like a "political" man. That's inexcusable.
Omrider (nyc)
Here is why I don't believe Ms. Broaddrick. With Cosby, Weinstein, Louis CK, Roy Moore, you see an MO, a pattern or patterns. With the acknowledged Clinton escapades, there are patterns. Rape is not one of those patterns for Clinton. I will believe that until more women come forward. Now, back to Roy Moore. Alabama may elect a known pedophile to the Senate. And the current President is an acknowledged sexual predator. Those seem like more germane things to discuss in 2017.
St. Paulite (St. Paul, MN)
It's highly unlikely that somebody with Clinton's charm ever resorted to rape. Clinton-hating has become an industry. Was anybody else appalled by how the Bill accusers allowed themselves to be used by a blowhard with an inflated ego who, despite his multiple marriages and his bragging about getting away with sexual harassment, made it to the White House, where his lack of a moral compass endangers us and the rest of the world.
Teresa Bentley MD (Ky)
Your first sentence says it all..absurd
Sue (Cleveland)
Charming men don’t commit rape. Really?
Teresa Bentley MD (Ky)
As in St Pauline is absurd. His argument is totally absurd
It’s very difficult to confront the horrible behavior of people who have also done great things, people one has supported and admired in the past. After the Weinstein articles in the Times and The New Yorker broke and were followed by a flood of accusations against other powerful men, I kept waiting for Louis CK to appear in major headlines and for him to face repercussions, make a statement, etc. Not long before the Weinstein articles, I had read Tig Notero (who wasn’t a victim, and whose career got a major - totally deserved - boost from CK) was distancing herself from CK because of all of the allegations from many female comedians and comedy writers that for years he had exposed himself and masturbated in front of them. I found these allegations devastating, as I had been (am?) a huge fan. CK has been the most powerful comedian in the industry for years now, and has championed female comedians. This was a big deal in an industry that for decades perpetrated the myth that “women aren’t funny” (though a lot more credit goes to Tina Fey and female comics than CK). So why did it take The Times between 10/5 (Weinstein) and 11/9 (CK), especially since the CK allegations had already been reported after being an “open secret” for years? I started to think that it was never going to happen and wondered if there was some kind of “Cosby Effect” (we don’t want to face bad things about people who have also done good things). Bill Clinton fits this category, as well.
Al (Jupiter, FL)
During the 1990’s, even some prominent Democratic/leftwing politicians, debaters, writers, etc. blasted the Clintons over and over for their abhorrent behavior. Some of these people hobnobbed with the Clintons’ friends and associates, and some of them also knew the Clintons. Just for starters, here are some quotes from the late Christopher Hitchens, perhaps the most prominent such debater and writer in recent decades. Hitchens also signed an affidavit against the actions of Sidney Blumenthal and the Clintons. Regarding Bill Clinton: “He set a completely new standard for political corruption!” “Almost certainly a rapist!” --- Regarding at least THREE women according to Hitchens. (Evidently, some of Juanita Broaddrick’s friends also saw some of her injuries after the rape. E.g., there was the area on her lips where Clinton had bitten her, and warned her to not say anything!) Regarding Hillary Clinton: “There are two kinds of deliberate and premeditated deceit, commonly known as suggestio falsi and suppressio veri. (Neither of them is covered by the additionally lying claim of having ‘misspoken.’)” [They might be “commonly known” as that in Hitchens’ circles, but not in most others.] Regarding Bill and Hillary Clinton: “Let us examine how Sen. Clinton has managed to commit both of these offenses to veracity and decency and how in doing so she has rivaled, if not indeed surpassed, the disbarred and perjured hack who is her husband and tutor.”
JH (Trumansburg NY)
Ironically Trump did the Clintons a favor. Putting those women on display in such a shockingly political way was meant to distract everyone from the Access Hollywood tape but it also robbed the women of any credibility. Because #metoo is such a powerful movement Bill will have his long overdue reckoning but it will probably come from a new batch of accusers.
Petey tonei (Ma)
Imagine all of Trump's kids were there as well as Chelsea. What kind of parents are these who prop their failings for public display.
Norm (Norwich)
It is absolutely apparent that people believe the victims if they share the same political affiliation. Both sides of the aisle have behaved repugnantly toward women. And, both left and right, excused/rationalized the behavior of those men in their own party. If we continue to treat those that do not share our world-view as an enemy, then we have no chance to address sexism and racism. Beliefs are not facts.
Sam (New York)
Here's the one major difference. The GOP spent $60 million dollars investigating Bill Clinton's alleged misdeeds, and that investigation only managed to prove one claim - that Bill Clinton had a consensual, but certainly troubling on a power dynamics level, relationship with an younger adult woman who was (for lack of a better way to put this) in his employ, and he lied about that affair. It is certainly entirely plausible and understandable that other women lied to those investigators in order to avoid being dragged into a morass of scandal. But the right wing noise machine, in their attempts to bring down Clinton by any means necessary, essentially ruined their own cause by spreading a hundred obviously ridiculous and outrageous conspiracy theories into the public, causing potentially true stories to get jumbled into that fevered mix. But I'll say this - I can only WISH that every allegation of sexual misconduct, sexual assault, and worse resulted in a $60 million investigation by the top lawyers and investigators in the country.
Fumanchu (Jupiter)
Indict the Senate. Clinton was impeached, the Senate failed to convict. And lest we forget, the king of ethical behavior, newt gingrich, was speaker of the house in this time frame. So Bill’s rep such as it is is tarnished forever.
Renee (Alexandria, Va)
Well yes, after reading the long piece on this that came out last year, I believe her, too. I am 34 years old. I was 9 and 13 the two times Bill Clinton was elected, and he was out of office by the time I was 17. It's safe to say that the culture around sexual violence has changed quite a bit since then. This is in part because people of my generation have come of age, and we were largely raised to expect more of men, even though we didn't always get it. I feel pretty confident that Democrats are unlikely to make a mistake of this magnitude again, especially after seeing the (entirely warranted) consequences that have met Democratic politicians since then that have engaged in even more minor transgressions. But it's only NOW that the other side of the aisle is starting to think things like this might be a dealbreaker, and it still doesn't apply to Trump. It mostly applies to Moore, who the establishment was loathe to work with, anyway. Still, if it helps victims like Ms. Broaddrick to hear that they are now believed in a way that they weren't years ago, then I am more than willing to say that. I believe you, Ms. Broaddrick.
Steve (SW Michigan)
I'm wondering how many men in Congress right now are sweating profusely that someone will come forward from their past. This has been quite a novel so far.
Johnny (Charlotte)
Ms. Goldberg remains equivocal about feminists and partisan progressives (including mainstream media) fully accepting the totality of evidence against Bill Clinton, somehow thinking that the right's support of the accusers stories diminishes their essential truths. Up until recently, those supporting the signal progressive agendas could behave however they wished in their offices and hotel rooms.
Patrice (Connecticut)
I am stunned by those who suggest here that Hillary Clinton should have divorced her husband to distance herself from his actions. Who has the right to tell another to leave her marriage? I think that's between a husband and wife. As to her defending him, that is typical for a spouse--and to hold onto hope that accusations of infidelity aren't true is understandable. Once again, many hold Hillary to standards far stricter than they would apply to a male candidate.
JJ (Chicago)
If a male candidate was married to a sexual predator, I would expect that he would divorce her too. Wouldn't you?
Comet (NJ)
I agree. One never really knows what goes on insiude another person's marriage.
Tom (Mclean, VA)
From the article: The Clinton years, in which epistemological warfare emerged as a key part of the Republican political arsenal, show us why we should be wary of allegations that bubble up from the right-wing press. Yet we shouldn't be wary of allegations that bubble up from the left wing press, especially simultaneous allegations that surface right after someone becomes the nominee for a Senate seat in a senate with only a two seat majority?
CelebesSea (PA)
That might be reasonable except that Democrats want Moore to stay in the race so they can defeat him. It's the Republicans who want him out. So once again, if there's a conspiracy, it's on the right.
Danielle Toaltoan (Brooklyn, NY)
Sadly, this author and many of these comments fall far short of the sort of reckoning that is required when it comes to Bill Clinton. The level of parsing and equivocating that the author does really missed the point. Regardless of this and that detail, we know that Bill was sleazy, abused his power and was not fit to hold the highest office of the land. It matters little that Bill is not running for political office. Like Bill Cosby, he is still celebrated and revered in many circles. That needs to end. Also, it matters little the evidence against Bill was pushed by conservatives. Many facts come to light because of opposition research; it doesn’t make the facts untrue. Failing to acknowledge this only ghost writes the playbook for people like Trump and Roy Moore - claim partisan conspiracy and look the other way. We need to do better. I say this as a life long Democrat and Hillary supporter.
DougTerry.us (Maryland)
How do you know, Danielle Toaltoan, that Bill Clinton was sleazy? Because it has been repeated 1,000,000 times by America's right wing? I have a friend in Texas who votes Republican and she made the same charge in 1992 before Clinton had ever been elected president. How did she know this? The impression I got is that she believed anyone who has affairs should never have any elected office. That's not an unreasonable position, but it would eliminate perhaps 50 to 70% of the men and women in America. The marriage vow of singularity with regard to partners is perhaps the most broken vow on earth. Some married couples condone what is called infidelity. (I don't, but many do.) I am currently reading the biography of Jann Wernner, publisher of Rolling Stone, and he and his wife evidentially had such a wide open arrangement. Is it possible that Bill and Hillary had such an understanding? That's between the two of them, isn't it? Lyndon Johnson apparently grabbed at every female in sight. John Kennedy was caught by Jackie Kennedy in the White House swimming pool (since paved over) nude with two secretaries, also nude. There is a lot of history to uncover that would fit under the heading of sleazy. The Republicans hated Bill Clinton for his humble birth and his eager progression. It insulted their sense of the natural, better order of society. They believed then and now that no Democrat should ever be president and they worked assiduously to prove their point.
Pedro (USA)
All of Clinton's victims were fellow democrats. Sorry to burst you balloon.
wanda (Kentucky )
No one should be believed simply because of her gender, nor should we err on the side of believing anyone. Not all of these cases could be tried in a court of law, but that does not make them incredible, as the carefully researched Post story shows and the points that Ms. Goldberg makes. In creating a safer--emotionally and physically--environment for women, we should not simply exchange the abuse of women for injustice toward men. The problem with all movements, including Black Lives Matter (and they do, and they should, and the threat to them is real) is that they tend to create biases and stereotypes, too. Fairness is important and assumptions without some kind of evidence destroys fairness to everyone.
Jane (Eyrehead)
I was enraged at the treatment dished out to Anita Hill when she accused Clarence Thomas, and I was one Democrat who thought that Bill Clinton, for all his ability, should have resigned over the Monica L issue. (We would have had Al Gore for vice-president, and very probably president, and the world would be quite different today.) And, in the end, it was Hillary Clinton who took the most heat for what her husband did. This was not fair at all. I hope there has been a change in the culture, although sometimes I think nothing short than mandatory open carry for women and locking all the men up at night will solve the problem.
Claudia (Vancouver, Canada)
The Monica Lewinsky story needs to be included in this article. She was treated so badly. It's a great example of how powerful tribalism is in our psyches.
Matt (Michigan)
"Nevertheless, one of the sick ironies of the 2016 campaign was that it was Hillary who had to pay the political price for Bill’s misdeeds...." Hillary could have walked away from all of that. But she did not, because she wanted to be the Senator from New York and the Secretary of the United States, not to mention the First Lady. There is a price for everything and unfortunately we all have to pay.
Konrad (Langlie)
The Judge Moore situation is a rerun of Anita Hill versus Justice Clarence Thomas. The difference is that the GOP establishment that backed Thomas is using this to get rid of Judge Moore who McConnell had already wasted millions in trying to defeat in the primary.
JVG (San Rafael)
The Whitewater investigation is what caused the women coming out against Bill Clinton to not be taken seriously. It was so obviously political. It wandered off topic until it found a consensual affair with an intern which it then exploited outrageously with no care at all for the privacy or dignity of the young woman involved. That made the other women who came forward afterward look suspicious, especially because the Republicans appeared to be exploiting them as well. That's my take on it anyway.
Far from home (Yangon, Myanmar)
As a supporter of Jerry Brown in the 1992 Democratic primary against Bill Clinton, I long ago lost faith in the party and the pundits. Bill was shady and lecherous, to say the least, but it was the honorable Jerry Brown who was painted with the label "Governor Moonbeam." Hilary has always appeared morally compromised, yet it was Bernie who was supposedly the bad guy. I'll never vote Republican, but honestly, the Democrats make it hard to vote at all.
MSJS (Nashville)
Thank you for this thoughtful piece. I appreciated the discussion of how sexual violence was weaponized again HRC. Re: Juanita, I do not know what I believe anymore. I believed her before 10/09/16. B/c, as a rape victim myself, I was inclined to do so. I was also cautious to not allow my own political bias to distort my thinking (I have no loyalty to Bill. I do, however, have respect for HRC). I began to doubt Juanita when she and Paula Jones held that press conference, &, yes, actively participated in the weaponization of assault. To me, as a victim, this was violating. Juanita went on to use her online platform to not only spread "fake-news," but also to malign the women who accused Trump of assault. She has said these women lied. She has used her status as an alleged victim to silence other alleged victims. Now, does this entail she is lying about her own alleged assault? No. But it severely damages her credibility as a human being. It's hard to give credit to anything she says, given her campaign against Trump's accusers. She has also changed her account several times. This should not be reason, necessarily, to doubt her. Victims of trauma do this. However, this fact, combined w/ her alignment w/ Bannon & Breitbart, as well as her active participation in silencing other women, all contribute to me doubting her credibility. Again, perhaps the assault occurred as she said it did. But she lost the benefit of *my* doubt when she attacked other victims.
Marti (Iowa)
I lost respect for both Clinton's during the Lewinsky affair. All the machinations that had been whispered about 'their teamwork' in Arkansas finally came to light for me. We, as a country owe Monica Lewinsky a huge Mea Culpa in how she was treated. Seems like Bill did the women, then Hillary covered it up with attacking them. Remember the whole "vast Right wing conspiracy" interview she gave in the Today show? She, of all people knew who she was married to. She loved the ultimate power. I think in retrospect, I would've respected her more if after the WH, she had divorced Bill, and then run for the Senate. But I was sickened by her tag team mentality and lies. I became an Independent and chose "door number two" in this last election. I knows of other women who felt the same.
Elizabeth Bennett (Arizona)
With all of the real problems plaguing our world wouldn't it be more useful to give them print space than to flog the dead horse of Bill Clinton's pecadillos seemingly in perpetuity? Given the current expenses of running newspapers, I would think that information that elucidates real issues would be more productive than to carry on a 25 year vendetta against the Clintons. Some journalists may believe that they are persuing the truth, but in fact they are merely providing fodder for the unscrupulous right wing media. What happened in the past is over, but the ongoing destruction of our institutions as well as our legislation providing humane living conditions for most Americans, is happening even as we read the Times. Let's get real!
TMaertens (Minnesota)
I think Goldberg is making an informed, carefuf analysis, but it's hard to know where the "Arkansas Project" disinformation leaves off and the truth begins. Did Clinton assault Paula Jones, for example? On the stand, Jones couldn't remember if Clinton propositioned her in morning or in the afternoon. The case was dismissed. Clinton himself makes a general ackknowledgement in his book that he had affairs, but rape? Harder to believe. The Clinton haters started smearing him while he was still governor of Arkansas because he was seen as a future president. Here's a good synopsis of the smear campaign: https://www.texasobserver.org/777-the-arkansas-project-unmasked/ The Hunting of the President: The Ten-year Campaign to Destroy Hillary and Bill Clinton
Ryan (Maine)
The trouble is this informed, careful analysis was possible at any point over the past 20 years. We have learned NOTHING new about the Broderick situation. Is it just an amazing coincidence that now that it is abundantly completely clear that the Clinton's political aspirations are over, all of the sudden all these leftist sources are remembering that they're supposed to 'believe women'?
Jerdp (Connecticut)
Now that you can stick a fork in the Clinton machine you are finally coming around to believe the accusers. Too little, too late.
Stephan Raddatz (Kansas City)
If Clinton did, in fact, rape this woman, he should be brought to justice like Roy Moore, Harvey Weinstein, Donald Trump, and any other rapist/predator. Justice should be blind, especially to party affiliation.
Ryan (Maine)
If justice was blind, this would have happened 20 years ago. We didn't learn anything new about Juanita Broderick. The fact that the Clintons are out of politics is finally settling in for some people, so they are pretending to have principles again.
JBK (Bow, NH)
I enjoy reading Michelle Goldberg, but I am not sure why it is important that she "believes" Juanita. She was not there, and there is no relentless logic that will identify for us who is telling the truth. We should bring whatever objective tools we possess to resolving the question of whom to believe. Counting against Bill Clinton is the fact that he is a demonstrable liar. But that also applies to Juanita, who executed a false affidavit. Other objective tools can also be applied (e.g., timely reporting to friends and intimates, obvious motivations, a history of similar incidents). However, sometimes it is simply not in our power to identify the truth-teller. When the contest is between two liars, we are entitled to throw up our hands. That can be a better course than pretending that our "belief" is important.
John Smithson (California)
It's a shame to see politics roiled by witch hunts. Sexual, racial, Russian, and otherwise. Yes, Bill Clinton should have resigned after he was caught lying about his "affair" with Monica Lewinsky. He disgraced his office (quite literally). But he did not resign and all that is past and "litigated" (as Hillary Clinton put it). No one benefits by hashing it all over again. We could revisit the misdeeds of George H.W. Bush, Ted Kennedy, John Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Thomas Jefferson, and countless others. But when those doing the revisiting benefit from it, as politically opposed partisans or as reporters selling salaciousness, we all lose. I remember Trent Lott being hounded from office for a few words he said to Strom Thurmond on his birthday. Do we care about non-criminal moral behavior, or are the real issues we need to grapple with going to dominate our discourse? Time will tell.
Vesuviano (Altadena, CA)
I believe Juanita also, and always have. I'm a lifelong liberal Democrat, and felt from the start that Bill Clinton, for all his political skills, would ultimately have a very damaging effect on my party. Looking back, I think he did grievous damage to it, along with his wife and Barack Obama, who followed him in his centrist, corporate, triangulating footsteps. It is my hope that with seemingly every woman in the country coming forward to report foul sexual behavior by powerful men, that something will finally change. It's long past time. Looking at all the politicians who have been exposed as predators in the last little while, I can honestly say that our politics would have been better off without them, including, of course, Mr. Trump, whose Teflon coating over his misogyny seems to be holding. That fact alone sets him apart from the rest. He's not a politician; at this point, he's a cult leader.
Neal (Arizona)
As several people here have pointed out accusation does not equal proof. The accusations against the Clinton's, neither of whom hold or are running for, public office, are in the main designed to distract from more immediate questions. Goldberg may excuse Trump, Moore, and others because of "what about the Clintons". I don't and I find her position despicable.
David (Madison)
I have no problems with those who are willing to say that they believe all of the women who have accused politicians of misbehavior. I have no respect for those who cherry pick those who they believe by political party. If you believe Juanita, you have no excuse not to believe Anita, or any of the others in a long line of victims of self-absorbed politicians.
Jim (Placitas)
Much of this "who to believe" is barely different than dealing with young children when somebody misbehaves. Who broke the lamp? Johnny did it. No, I didn't, it was Sally who broke it. The only thing certain is that the lamp is broken, and nobody will admit responsibility. I don't mean to equate a broken lamp with sexual assault, but every parent knows that by the time you get to asking the question about who did it, you're way past the point of having instilled the sense of responsibility and justice that allows the perpetrator to step forward. This is where we are: The court of public opinion, the media, political operatives seeking an advantage, outright liars and cheats seeking a safe escape route all reflect an underlying sense that justice can easily be undermined, is not always reliable and, in some cases, entirely absent. More often than not, the advantage goes to the person most skilled in obfuscation or outright lying. Rarely do we see a benefit to stepping forward and admitting responsibility. I would submit that at this point Louis CK is in a far worse position than is Roy Moore. We won't know who really broke the lamp, but we will make a determination and we'll either punish Johnny or Sally, or both. No matter what, we won't have advanced the notion of justice in either of them, and there's a 50-50 chance we'll have gotten it wrong. The work is not in trying to find a way to be right more often, but in removing the advantage of deception and denial.
DagwoodB (Washington, DC)
History cannot be undone. How we treat a public figure with a record of moral turpitude when he or she is aspiring to public office is necessarily different from how we treat them after they have served in office -- because, at that later time, we also know of their achievements and failures in office. So, we can judge the achievements of President Jefferson as well as his personal failures, and neither erases the other. Similarly, with Presidents Kennedy, Johnson and Clinton, each of whom we might not have elected had we known of the worst of their behavior but each of whom had noteworthy achievements. That we elected Trump, knowing his rotten character before he achieved anything -- well, that's something else.
Nat Ehrlich (Ann Arbor, Michigan)
If Bill Clinton had the political sense and patriotism to resign we would have had Gore as the incumbent president running against Dubya in 2000. But sadly he resisted and made the Democrats lie to protect him. We have him to thank for Donald Trump, who is just following Bill’s playbook.
J. (New York)
I disagree that we should "err on the side of believing women." It's antithetical to the very notion of the presumption of innocence, which is the foundation of our justice system, not to mention basic fairness. People--men and women--lie all the time, about all kinds of things, and for all sorts of reasons. Let's not forget the Duke lacrosse case, for example, or the Rolling Stone hoax. Of course, when there is a long line of women making similar accusations against a man, that should also be taken into account. That's why I have no doubt that Bill Cosby is a serial rapist, for example. Instead of erring on one side or the other, how about using judgment and taking all the evidence into account before making a determination?
Duffy (Rockville)
I wonder if Clinton's misdeeds had any other effects on our country and our history besides perhaps hurting his wife's campaign. Maybe we should ask President Al Gore, he could tell us. This is among the many reasons I voted for Bernie, it was time for them (Clintons) to go.
Jane Jordan (Tallahassee FL)
I refused to vote for Hillary in 2008 because the idea of Bill anywhere near the Oval Office made me angry and nauseous. I only voted her in 2016 because there was no alternative. I’ve believed Bill’s accusers for years. I hope that, going forward, Dems vet candidates more carefully.
Demolino (new Mexico )
I will always be horrified whenever I hear the words "President Trump. " That said, he did not hold public office when these transgressions were alleged. President Clinton did.
David Henry (Concord)
"But Willey also accused the Clintons of having her husband and then her cat killed. Must we believe that, too?" So how do we separate the truth from the wacky? If someone says something wacky, doesn't that preclude believing anything the person says? Character matters, and if a person goes off the rails, is it our obligation to decipher or to dismiss. I choose the latter.
Lee (Chicago)
I talked with a friend who voted from Trump and a conservative. He had serious doubt about the veracity of those women who revealed that Moore sexually assaulted them when they were in their teens, he dismisses their accounts as liberals' assault on the conservatives, thus politically motivated. He is a highly educated man but when it comes to Republicans and conservatives, all reason flight out of window, as if any bad things happens to his "tribe" is a personal attack on him.
MyThreeCents (San Francisco)
Absolutely! "Clinton isn't running, Moore is, that is where the focus ought to be." After all, it's not as if Bill Clinton is being asked to speak at the Democratic National Convention, or campaign for Democratic candidates, or give speeches for fees of several hundred thousand dollars each! He's been shunned, right? He has no place in decent society! I'll bet Bill has learned his lesson, don't you think?
Petey tonei (Ma)
Back in March 2016, Hillary spoke form her heart at a church in Michigan. https://www.csmonitor.com/USA/2016/0307/How-Hillary-Clinton-finally-addr... "Comparing former President Bill Clinton to the Biblical story of the prodigal son, Mrs. Clinton related the story of how she came to forgive him to a mostly black congregation at the Holy Ghost Cathedral, a modest church in a run-down neighborhood." "But while Vaughn and her congregation admire how Clinton handled her partner’s infidelity, it is precisely this episode in her life that irks many feminist would-be supporters, who also cite Hillary's defense of Bill as several women were accusing him of sexual assault." Perhaps that's the reason more than 50% white women did not vote for Hillary. She did not sound authentic. She sounded more like a politician's wife who simply forgives her husband for his trespasses and carries on as though it did not matter.
Frank (Philadelphia)
Ms. Goldberg-- You write, "She (Paula Jones) described 'distinguishing characteristics' of Clinton's penis that turned out to be inaccurate." However, you do not provide a link to any information proving that what she said was, in fact, inaccurate. Can you please do so?
Joseph (Poole)
Ms. Goldberg makes a valid point. Democrats tend to stand up for their perverts whereas we (Republicans) throw ours under the bus.
arp (Ann Arbor, MI)
I've always felt that most men are sexual pigs, no matter their political views.
Joseph (Poole)
arp, You don't know the half of it (and I am speaking as man).
Chris Rasmussen (Highland Park, NJ)
Bravo. I did not support Bill Clinton in the 1990s, but I too discounted the importance of the many allegations of sexual assault levied against him, rationalizing it because these allegations were unproved. But, like Michelle Goldberg, I believe Juanita. Last night, I watched longtime Clinton supporters Wendy Sherman and Neera Tanden, both of whom I admire, work themselves into high moral dudgeon over the allegations against Judge Roy Moore on television. No mention of the Clintons. Moore deserves to be consigned to the dustbin of history for his crimes and for lying about them. So does Bill Clinton and the self-serving, hypocritical Clinton machine that has dominated the Democratic Party for the past 25 years.
Hal Ginsberg (Kensington, MD)
Believing Juanita Broaddrick is all well and good. I think she is probably telling the truth. Still there's nothing that we can (or should) do about it at this time. But what we and you Michelle Goldberg (specifically) can do is recognize how terribly Clintonian policies, including many strongly backed by Hillary Clinton, harmed our nation. What you can do is reject their neoliberalism/neoconservatism and champion true Bernie Sanders-style progressive populism.
Keli (USA)
what exactly are Trump's 'well-documented transgressions'? Aside from crude language. Because if your a male I would be hard pressed to believe that never in your life have you ever referred to a woman or her body parts in a crude fashion when your around other males.
beth (Rochester, NY)
He's had to pay multiple sexual harassment lawsuits. His wife testified in court that he raped her when he was mad about his hair surgery. He happily walked in on teens dressing for beauty pageants because as the owner it was " his right".
Nirmala Sandhu (Boise)
The accusations against him are not crude talk. There are at least 15 women who said they were assaulted. There is a credible accusation of child rape. His misogynistic words only serve to highlight that his personality is consistent with these accusations.
How about when Trump himself described to Howard Stern how he walked in on naked teen-aged girls at the Miss Teen USA pageant? Does that transgress any boundaries for you? Or when he proclaimed that he enjoys grabbing women in their private areas without warning or consent? Do you see the case building? Implying he would like to have sex with his own daughter? Need more?
Liberal hypocrites (Los Angeles)
The sad truth is that we, as a nation have not made any progress in this area. Woman are still being sexually assaulted/abused. The Democratic party, that claims to be the champion of women's rights, had an opportunity to put a stop to this kind of behavior when Bill Clinton was in office. However, politics once again took precedence, and women's voices were silenced. Hilary Clinton, another self proclaimed advocate of women, played a large part in this. She stood by her man, as a dutiful wife may, and placed her own personal gains above the rights and voices of women. Perhaps the only positive that came from this is that the American people saw through Hilary's empty rhetoric, and did not elect her President.
JeanBee (Virginia)
It is just sad to see Ms. Goldberg go down this road, and with so little conviction, too. Is it now a condition of NYTimes op-ed employment that one be willing to take potshots at the Clintons whenever remotely possible? I, too, believe Juanita Broaddrick. She swore UNDER OATH, twice, in her affidavit AND in her deposition, that Bill Clinton had done nothing to her, even though in both settings her questioners were doing everything they could to get her to accuse him. This makes her later unsworn but well coached and highly practiced statements claiming rape not credible in the least. Liberals excuse Bill Clinton because his sexual partners were willing, adult women who not only consented but usually pursued him, not the other way around. They were not children, or teenagers, or coerced or harassed employees. He never subjected his partners to threats, violence, retaliation, or damage to their lives or careers. It is beyond absurd to assert that Hillary did such things. Clinton's behavior was regrettable, but it was not violent or criminal, and the only people he injured by it were Hillary and Chelsea. To save his marriage and spare his family further pain, he owned up to his mistakes and reformed his behavior. To say Bill is just as bad as Weinstein, Cosby, Halperin, Roy Moore, DT, and the other serial predators whose devastating crimes have come to light in recent years is simply more of the inexcusably false equivalency the Clintons have endured for the last 25 years.
Laura (NY)
Why on earth should we "err on the side of believing women"? That's called prejudice. Personally, I like my justice blind.
Liberal hypocrites (Los Angeles)
Now a very insightful comment. How dare you say that Clinton's sexual escapes did not affect anyone other than Hilary or Chelsea. What about Lewinsky? What about the American people? We saw our President lie on national television "I did not have sexual relations with that woman". We knew it was a lie, but the fact that he was able to lie to millions of Americans left us all to believe that cheating and lying was now acceptable behavior for future presidents. He set a new precedent. That was the legacy he left behind.
Rea Tarr (Malone, NY)
Before I "err on the side of believing women," I ask them: "What did you do after he made a move on you? Did you reject him? Did you yell? Did you bash him over the head with the stapler? Did you leave him bruised and battered to try to explain to everyone what happened?" I've been in situations dozens of times in my long life where I've had to fight off -- with laughs or sneers or slaps or punches -- creeps everywhere all over much of the world, in industries where they crawl unchecked. I always won. Better, I've always told other folks all about it right away. If all you did was take it without a peep, I'm not so sure I want to believe you.
Krusatyr (Austin/Boulder, TX/CO)
Your response and technique is such the obvious defense. If people are polite and subtle in approaching an interesting person, they will likely be subtly encouraged or politely rejected. They should know painful consequences can stop crude advances. Perhaps Roy Moore missed dating opportunities in his late teens and twenties, never matured emotionally, so returned to that young age group when he felt empowered by his prestigious career.
Maria (Bronx)
Even when you’re 14 years old?!
Laura (NY)
Unlike Michelle Goldberg, I doubt the veracity of Anita Broddrick. My husband's large extended family are Arkansans, including a number who served in state government at the relevant time. Bill Clinton was definitely a philanderer, but his reputation was for charm, not coercion. Clinton has a magnetically attractive personality, and everyone I know who has met him or known him remarks on this striking quality. Everything about his reputation supports the idea that he charmed the pants off of many women, and runs counter to the idea that he ripped the pants off of anyone. That's just my gut feeling about the Broaddrick claim, which matters no more than the gut feeling of Michelle Goldberg. What did or did not happen in that hotel room decades ago is, quite simply, unknowable. If there were substantial contemporaneous statements or other evidence to back up the charge, Ken Starr and the political enemies of Clinton certainly would have leveraged it. And, by the way, as a woman, a feminist, and a lawyer, I find Goldberg's assertion that we should "err in the direction of believing women" both dangerous and prejudiced. We should never "err in the direction of" believing ANY particular category of people. There's a reason why all those statues of the figure of Justice holding scales are blindfolded.
Ron (Oo)
I think how it goes is: Believe women, unless it's a Democrat being accused
NtoS (USA)
And while we're at it, what about Clarence Thomas? Anita Hill had the courage to come forth and was humiliated by the Senate, yet Clarence Thomas sits on the highest court in the land where he judges others.
Robb Johnsrud (Ithaca, NY)
I believed Anita.
Dotconnector (New York)
There is no bigger ball and chain burdening Democrats, including ardent feminists, than the moral and ethical double standard they apply to the Clintons. It reeks of hypocrisy and undercuts the credibility of every effort to firmly seize the political high ground without embarrassment. The reason that so many apologists are forced to slice, dice, parse and mince their words so minutely and tortuously is that the Clintons give them no choice. Plain-spoken honesty is their kryptonite, and the sooner their party ushers them off to emeritus status, the better its chances will be -- exponentially better -- to never again suffer a humiliation like losing to Donald Trump. If nothing else, the fact that this column is titled "I Believe Juanita" -- referencing an alleged rape nearly 40 years ago -- is proof enough that the Clintons, with so many decades of baggage, have overstayed their welcome. They're yesterday, and their party desperately needs to start thinking about tomorrow.
Will (Brooklyn, NY)
Change the names and flip the narrative, and this is a defense of Roy Moore. I can just imagine a Moore supporter making a similar argument: "Why trust these women in an environment of fake news in which the liberal media has conspired to take down conservatives"? What a convenient excuse. Defending Moore on such a basis is no more (or less) hypocritical than blaming right wing conspiracy for ignoring President Clinton's behavior. Both are either naive or willfully ignorant. Besides, Clinton isn't a lone wolf in this regard. Was a right wing conspiracy behind the overlooked rumors of Senator Ted Kennedy's behavior? How about the pervasive deviancy throughout Hollywood? Were those whispers coming from conservatives? Political Progressives regularly weaponize their social causes. They are a means to power, not an expression of principle. So, when one of their own gets caught up in the fray, it's easier to blame a right wing conspiracy. Hypocrisy is alive and well in our political culture. It's time to start admitting it, not mitigating it by blaming others.
Carson Drew (River Heights)
Broaddrick was associated with Cliff Jackson, Bill Clinton's most vicious longtime Arkansas enemy. She was trotted out by the Republicans as the ultimate weapon at the time of the impeachment, but only after the Senate had acquitted him, when he couldn't fight back. Her credibility is nil. And she does absolutely nothing to vindicate Roy Moore.
The Buddy (Astoria, NY)
We are way overdue for a feminist reckoning with the Clinton legacy. Now is the time, since protecting Hillary’s feminist flank is no longer time sensitive. But Broaddrick was utilized as a manipulative prop for the benefit of a notoriously misogynistic candidate. It was a deal with the devil, essentially becoming the Henry Kissinger of feminism. We can do better.
James Ricciardi (Panama, Panama)
What does "decent society" mean, especially as you referred to it regarding Bill Clinton? He recently appeared on stage with the other 4 living presidents. Does that mean the other 4 living presidents belong to an "indecent society"? Has Bill Clinton stopped collecting speaking fees because no one "decent" would hire him?
Laura (NY)
I puzzled at that line also. "Decent society"? How quaint. Am I reading an op-Ed relevant to the mores of contemporary America or a Jane Austen novel?
Cyd Miller (WDC)
I tend to like Michelle Goldberg's commentary when I catch her, but I am completely confused over the goal/purpose of this opinion. I find Chris Hayes to be a one-sided Sanders supporter, so bashing Democrats and Clinton is par for the course. Here is my confusion. As I recall Bill Clinton was impeached, law degree suspended, had civil suits filed against him, and let's not forget he was endlessly hunted down by those that turned out to be pedophiles/sexual assaulters. It seems to me that he has been punished over and over again for this misdeeds, when few white men are in this society. So I am confused as to what Goldberg is asking for, did he not pay a big enough price for long enough? Maybe the issue is that Goldberg is concerned that many Democrats are still unclear whether Clinton had multiple affairs or actually sexually assaulted women. Maybe that is the issue, Goldberg and Hayes want Democrats to stand united against Bill Clinton forever. Is she dismayed that we are skeptical because of the inconsistencies in the stories and the GOPs rabid efforts to destroy him. Maybe Goldberg just wants to appear non-partisan by kicking the Clintons, after all that's an easy way to try to achieve that goal, everyone does it.
Beth B (NH)
This is completely superfluous but all I can think right now is how lucky we had it with the Obamas for eight years. And it occurs to me that Mike Pence might be on to something when he refuses to be alone with a woman. That practice could be a good defense against allegations, especially if no women step forward saying they ever were alone with him, even if nothing untoward happened.
Laura (NY)
And it's great for the careers of women also. But why stop at rules that males and females who work together should not meet one on one? Purdah and the burqa are also effective deterrents.
Ruth Kaser (Roseburg Oregon)
So a woman can never have a professional meeting with a man in power unless it is chaperoned? That would go a long way toward repairing any cracks in the glass ceiling. Bad idea.
tony zito (Poughkeepsie, NY)
I view Bill Clinton as the opposite of Jimmy Carter. Clinton is a bad man, but made a good president.
Vickie Hodge (Wisconsin)
Research states around 2% of sexual assault allegations are falsely reported. There are more false allegations of car theft than sexual assault. How do I know? Three decades of working as a victim advocate & director of 3 non-profit sexual assault and domestic violence service agencies. I've no doubt there are people who, for political purposes, fabricate sexual assaults or embellish situations to create an appearance of sexual assault/misconduct. Most likely to be men who are behind this. People of any political persuasion can do this. Only 1 political pary has a stronger history of lying, especially about scandalous behavior. They put Trump in office. He lies with abandon to benefit himself. Breitbart, Info Wars, Ann Coulter, all come to my mind. Historically, we don't believe women about sexual assault. It's part of the Rape Myths that women lie about being sexually assaulted. Listen to the rape crisis center experts for information about how and why victims do what they do. While surely not fail-safe, it can inform you enough to formulate an educated opinion or continue to question. Question the reporting. Is it Enquirer like or Washington Post like? The latter verifies with credible sources before printing. The former? Not so much. I'd rather err on the side of believing victims & be wrong occasionally, than to re-victimize even 1 sexual assault survivor! Remember, men & boys can also be victims. 1 in 4 girls & 1 in 6 boys will be sexually abused by age 18.
Mikeweb66 (NY, NY)
Watching coverage of the Moore allegations last night I had this exact same thought. Let's face it, the long overdue #metoo and #Ibelieveher movements will inevitably be used by the right, as they rightly are now by the left, as political cudgels. Joe Biden was on Colbert last night, and I wondered if he did choose to run in 2020 (as I and probably millions of others hope he will), if he would face accusations of this type. I'm not saying I *think* he would, but he does strike one as a kind of 'handsy' guy, and we have to admit it wouldn't be out of the realm of possibility.
J. Cornelio (Washington, Conn.)
What may eventually resolve the issue of who to believe is that scientists are currently working on "lie detection" equipment which will make today's lie detectors seem oh-so horse-and-buggy-ish. Gotta pol or other powerful person proclaimed as a perv and you want to know the truth? Well, just hook them and their accuser up to the abracadabra machine and, presto, you got your answer. 'Course, then EVERYONE'S secrets could likewise be revealed. Especially if those scientists perfect a machine which, to plumb one's inner- most depths, all it need to is take some pictures and measure some vibes. A world where there are no more secrets would be ... well, I don't know but it would certainly be way different from today's world.
Nancy (Battle Creek, Michigan)
I believed and still believe Anita Hill.
LVG (Atlanta)
To equate the dubious claims of Broaderick and Paula Jones to the claims against Roy Moore is a false equivalency. It is clear that the attempts to smear Clinton were politically motivated. Paula Jones case was thrown out; Broaderick swore under oath she was not raped until the right wing lynch mob including Kenneth Starr threatened her. Kathleen Wiley had ulterior motives when she met with Clinton and he may have misread her advances . None of these compare to the allegations of rape against Trump by a woman when she was 14 along with a convicted pedophile who was Trump's party buddy. Those allegations in a lawsuit were corroborated by at least one other woman who recruited the victim for Trump's benefit. Why she disappeared and dropped her lawsuit right before the election should be the subject of an investigation. The same applies to Roy Moore and his penchant for molesting teenage girls. Worse yet he was a prosecutor at the time. No there is no equivalency here.
Dave G (Portland, Or)
The last accuser couldn't even get his name right. Called him Ray instead of Roy.
RJ (Brooklyn)
Michelle Goldberg leaves out a very important distinction between Juanita Broaddrick and the women accusing powerful Republican men. Ken Starr was given unlimited subpoena power, time and money to prove that Broaddrick's charges against Clinton were true. Starr desperately WANTED them to be true because after years of investigation, the only thing he could come up with to "get" Clinton was a consensual affair with an intern. Broaddrick's charges against Clinton are similar to the rape charges made against the Duke University lacrosse team. They were investigated and despite e-mails by some of the athletes suggesting rape, the accuser herself turned out not to be believable. That's what happened when Ken Starr tried desperately to prove Juanita's allegations against Bill Clinton. She turned out to be an impeachable witness just like the woman who accused the Duke lacrosse players of rape. None of the women accusing Moore and Trump of rape have been found to be impeachable witnesses yet. On the contrary, there has been no Ken Starr with subpoena power to investigate them. So if Michelle Goldberg wants to be consistent, what she should be calling for is for ALL charges made against powerful Republican men to be investigated by a rabid Democrat prosecutor with unlimited power, time and money to try to prove that those charges are true. Hillary Clinton had every reason to believe Bill Clinton about Juanita. Starr found no credible evidence despite trying very hard.
VoiceofAmerica (USA)
Thank you. You totally nailed it. As always, the Republican case is nonsense from top to bottom.
Aloysius (Houston, Arkansas)
I have no idea if any of these charges are valid, neither does the author, and neither do you. Both Broaddrick and Willey were deemed less than credible by Kenneth Starr's prosecutors--Broaddrick because she denied the story for years, held fund-raisers for Clinton, and testified under oath (in the Paula Jones case) that it never happened. Willey because... Well, how much time do you have? Being groped by Clinton was her alibi in her husband's suspicious death. Nobody who read the depositions in the Paula Jones case, would take anything Jones said at face value. Her testimony got the case dismissed. (Post-Lewinsky, it was settled.) Many people eager to prove their bipartisan bona fides forget that Bill Clinton was the target of a well-organized and well-funded GOP smear campaign whence all of these allegations came. It's clear that Clinton had a wandering eye. It's very far from clear that he ever forced or assaulted anybody. That's not a small distinction.
Laura (NY)
Guess who represented Paula Jones? Kellyanne Conway's husband.
Greg Jones (Cranston, Rhode Island)
Let me note a couple things that are not included in this piece. Three weeks after the alleged rape Ms Broaddrick attended a fundraiser for Bill Clinton that he also attended. The filing of an affidavit that she later claimed to have been false is something we do not find in regard to any of the accusers of Trump or Moore. Two of the people who claimed that she had made contemporaneous comments to had a long time grievance with Clinton of his commutation of the sentence of their fathers killer. Nor does Ms Goldberg note that she supported these accusations before the election of Trump in Salon magazine. The NY Times has investigated the Clintons now for 25 years and in all that time nothing has come of it. The latest was the absurd claim by Brazile that Clinton rigged the election by supporting the Democratic Party. All we have is character attacks like this. Trump must be sending this piece out to all his supporters.
Earthling (Planet Earth, Milky Way Galaxy)
When someone lies in an affidavit, which is a sworn statement, she is committing perjury. It is difficult to give credence to someone who is willing to lie and admittedly lied under oath. Why not simply refuse to provide an affidavit instead of perjuring oneself? When a person lies under oath, and changes her story, credibility is questionable, if not lost. Maybe Bill Clinton is a predator and a sex pest, but the evidence from Juanita Broaddrick is not very convincing.
Dennis (Lehigh Valley, PA.)
Whether it was in 1998 or now, the Liberal crowd still defends Bill Clinton, yet knows his sexual proclivity. I disagree that Ms. Jones was not believable, and quite frankly anyone who thinks people did not vote for HRC because Bill was not on the ballot is just deluding themselves. It's too much of a stretch to accuse President Trump of vulgar behavior which he admits to, and Bill Clinton for the same behavior which he Lied Under Oath and Lied to FBI agents and only belatedly sort of admitted to like 9 months later if one could call what he stated an admission! Bill's behavior, and his supporters actually protected Trump! As for Judge Moore, there are enough other reasons not to vote for him, and I for one wouldn't have, but then I don't have a dog in this fight, but the thing is because it's the Washington Post who has an ax to grind, and these accusations are coming up at this time near an election 40 years later is what makes them suspect, not that he's Innocent or Guilty. As for the Clinton and Hollywood crowd, those accusations have been around for many years, just not verified until Ronan Farrow and to it's credit the NYT exposed H. W. Even during the Impeachment process, many men couldn't understand why women supported Bill especially the so-called Womens Rights Groups when if it was their boyfriends or husbands they'd never tolerate it! Nuff Said...Dennis
I️ believe Broaddrick. I️ also believe Anita Hill. Sexual assault, sexual misconduct and sexual harassment should not be partisan issues. But that's a pipe dream worthy of unicorns.
CV Danes (Upstate NY)
Thank you for this. The tragedy here is the in their obsession to destroy a Democratic presidency, the Republican dirty tricks machine has muddied the waters so much that what may be an actual case of rape may never be believed. And certainly the Republicans are the absolute last who should be throwing stones. So yet again, the victim is a woman, caught between the machinations of dubious men.
Margaret Walker (California)
I believe Juanita Broaddrick and I feel sorry for her. The fact that her rapist was a liberal Democrat seems to have given him immunity, a sort of "remember the Kennedy boys" type of nostalgia with the press. In light of recent allegations and vapors from the left regarding pedophilia amongst the Hollywood elite and the need to clean house, I have to remind everyone that Roman Polanski, who admitted to drugging and raping a 13 year old girl (I wasn't her first, confides Mr. Polanski) was given a standing ovation by the same Hollywood crowd now axing movies and netflix series in a flurry of moral outrage. I guess I'm confused at what has brought about the change? Progressives never cared a whit about "believing the woman". Sorry, that's not true.
Rich S (Redondo Beach, CA)
"Partisan tribalism" led liberals to doubt her? The Clinton's have been investigated for over thirty years, and not a single criminal charge. ZERO. Liberals have never given Bill Clinton a free pass for his transgressions. Without the the Lewinsky scandal, Paula Jones, Willey and Broaddrick accusations, Bill Clinton's Presidency would have gone down in history as one of the most successful - his face would be on Mt. Rushmore. But Bill blew it. And he has paid a price for his actions. The Democrats stood by as Clinton was impeached by a Republican Congress engaging in partisan tribalism on steroids. Twelve women have accused our current President - who is on tape bragging about grabbing women in a certain area - of illegal sexual aggression. Perhaps Goldberg would like to chime in and defend any of these women - and demonstrate how she is not at all affected by partisan tribalism.
Lee (Fort Pierce, FL)
My question to Ms. Goldberg is what in her opinion does a woman have to do to make her not credible regarding a sexual assault? Lying under oath about the encounter, inability to remember the date and year of the assault and having contact with the perpetrator on an ongoing basis does not appear to Ms. Goldberg be disqualifying. Every one deserves due process. even Harvey Weinstein. The idea that to protect all women we must give every woman the benefit of the doubt, ignore inconvenient facts, and have the media serve as judge and jury is misguided and dangerous. Ask the Scottsboro Boys, Emmitt Till, Leo Frank and the Duke Lacrosse Team.
L (TN)
The problem is not that Democratic men do not commit sexual assault. Of course they do. The problem is that the GOP faithful have a reputation for defending their abusers and attacking their opponents with righteous zeal for similar offenses. Look at what they did to Anita Hill. It is selective, arbitrary prosecution based on perceived superiority of judgment that creates an authority more suited to a banana republic. That is where the GOP is taking America. Change can start with Roy Moore. If he is elected to the Alabama Senate, this country will never recover from the hypocrisy. It will be open warfare that will cost this nation its international reputation, or rather the little we have left after our president has groveled his way through Asia, kowtowing to eastern dictators and further alienating western leaders, except, and again the irony is staggering, France. Does anyone remember the boycott against everything French, the vocal denunciations of the weaselly French nature during "W"'s years in office? Yet now the same GOP embraces the French in support of their fearless leader. Yet again, while decrying the Dems aptitude for flip-flopping in past campaigns (remember John Kerry), the GOP has the practice down pat. The he said-she said dilemma, however will never be entirely resolved as both men and women are equally capable of deceit and supporters are less inclined to believe even a credible opponent. That is human nature.
Annie (Berkeley)
Actually the extremely sanctimonious and judgmental are more likely to be denying their own dark desires, and to have acted on them, than tolerant people who don’t claim to be perfect. While that is not necessarily Republican, in today’s GOP there is a surplus of sexual sanctimony and thus a higher likelihood of dark desires being exposed.
Southern Boy (The Volunteer State)
Thank you, Ms. Goldberg, you have finally written an op-ed with which I completely agree.
M.L. (Madison, WI)
"Put simply, I believe her." I am not here to defend Bill Clinton in any way. Only to say that being granted this Opinion space carries an obligation of supporting your opinion. If anything, your description of the alleged incident and its aftermath persuades in the opposite direction.
gratis (Colorado)
I believe in the Constitution. And that documents requires real world proof. 7 years and $70 mil of GOP investigations reveal ... nothing (OK, consensual sex) Occam's razor, the simplest explanation (though not necessarily the correct one) says there is nothing there to begin with. I truly wish more Conservatives believed in the WHOLE US Constitution, not just the Second Amendment.
Will (Florida)
A very well-thought out and balanced column on the subject. I don't think we'll find much more of this unfortunately.
Kyle McCullough (Manassas)
I found her sworn deposition, given under oath, very believable: "During the 1992 Presidential campaign there were unfounded rumors and stories circulated that Mr. Clinton had made unwelcome sexual advances toward me in the late seventies," she said. "Newspaper and tabloid reporters hounded me and my family, seeking corroboration of these tales. I repeatedly denied the allegations and requested that my family's privacy be respected. These allegations are untrue and I had hoped that they would no longer haunt me, or cause further disruption to my family."
Bevan Davies (Kennebunk, ME)
The question is now, what do we do about it? The most important point is that Mr. Clinton is not the president. If he is guilty of heinous acts, then we should look into the things that others in our current government have done. After all, they wield enormous power right now, Clinton does not.
Charleston Yank (Charleston, SC)
While this opinion is largely about self-inflection as to what really happened years before it also raises in my mind the very strong effect that creating false "truths" and other misdeeds that mostly Republicans have done. Not only Clinton but remember Kerry and the swift-boad stories. Once there are many alternative "facts" brought into the mainstream it becomes very difficult and almost impossible to separate the trues facts from the lies especially those 20 years or more back. I can just imagine the difficulty future historians will have trying to decide what was fact vs fiction.
John Kahler (Philadelphia, Pa)
And let us not forget five years of baseless claims, refuted by copious evidence, made by a real estate mogul of some renown, that the 44th president was not a natural born citizen of the United States. Whatever happened to the real estate guy with the bad hair?
ironyman (Long Beach, CA)
I believe Juanita...when she was speaking under oath. Yes, the story she tells publicly is very harrowing and troubling. But she gave a different account when she was in a situation where false words could expose her to legal jeopardy. So, given the choice of which version to believe, I'm going to go with the one that has legal implications.
Laura (NY)
She spoke under penalty of perjury TWICE – – once in the affidavit, the second time in the FBI interview. Her accounts were completely inconsistent. So which one to believe?
ironyman (Long Beach, CA)
The way perjury works, you can't believe any of it.
Paul (Phoenix, AZ)
The same is true for Kathleen Wiley. She was caught actually lying under oath to the FBI when it was discovered she gave different testimony to the Jones deposition. But, not charges brought against her by Ken Starr.
Ed (Alexandria, VA)
More and more articles are surfacing about "believing the women" regarding sexual harassment, rape and similar actions. I find it troubling (aside from her joining on the trendy bandwagon appeal of taking on unpopular creeps) that this concept of "believe the women" can turn into a monster similar to the child abuse hysteria of the '80s where the mob went after daycare workers shouting "we believe the children." Many daycare workers were convicted of wild and satanic sexual crimes against their charges which were later found to be false or implanted memories. We don't need modern day witch hunts triggered by mere allegations of sexual harassment or rape. There are the police and courts to handle these charges not irresponsible op-ed columnist . Ms. Broaddrick allegations might be more believable if she had not allowed herself to be used as a pawn by the anti-Clinton and Trump campaign (who paid for her to appear at one of the debates). Remember these are the same people who promoted the Pizzagate scandal accusing Hillery Clinton and others of running a child molestation ring.
Nicole (Maplewood, NJ)
Is there such a thing as women in positions of power harassing men either sexually or verbally? There has to be. And if so, would men be so forthcoming in revealing their experiences?
Jess Juan Motime (Glen Cove, Long Island)
Hillary was not paying a political price for Bill's misdeeds per se, but the price she paid was disdain by people like me, who believed that her unwavering support for her husband was tied to the political calculation that her presidential ambitions were better served by not severing ties with her husband, pure and simple. If Mrs. Clinton was willing to call a sexual predator a sexual predator, she might have garnered the 80K votes in the 3 states she needed to win.
Maurice Gatien (South Lancaster Ontario)
Is there a reason why Ms. Lewinsky was omitted from this column, in examining the boorish behavior of Bill Clinton? Was it too unimportant? Was Hillary Clinton's handling of that episode slightly problematic?
Ciambella Collins (Third Coast)
Maurice, I think I can answer your question. Ms. Goldberg was here focused on the allegations of abusive/nonconsensual sexual behavior by Bill Clinton, which would not include his affairs with Ms. Lewinsky or Gennifer Flowers as those interactions were consensual (and Ms. Lewinsky despite being in a power imbalance situation was at least old enough to give consent).
pmhswe (New York, NY)
Broaddrick’s accusation that Clinton raped her is deeply disturbing. At the same time, as has been noted here, her contradictory statements over the years make her credibility questionable — which dovetails with the skepticism provoked by the right wing’s decades-long mania to promote even the most ludicrous of accusations against the Clintons. There is a further question raised by Broaddrick’s accusation — although she may, indeed, be telling the truth notwithstanding this point. One, or even a couple, accusations of infidelity against Bill Clinton might have been dismissed by a rational mind as unfounded, politically-motivated smears. But even before physical evidence confirmed those accusations, so many different persons had made allegations that independently described common patterns of conduct, that even fervent Clinton partisans were compelled to admit he had not been a faithful husband. In contrast, Broaddrick’s accusation describes physical violence, including rape, that stands apart from other descriptions of Clinton’s misconduct, reprehensible as his infidelities were. That doesn’t mean she’s not telling the truth. But Bill Clinton repeated his unfaithful behavior on a number of occasions. If he were willing to engage in physical violence, and rape a woman, would he have done so only once? If Broaddrick is (now) telling the truth, it would seem most likely — although, admittedly, not certainly — that there would be other women with the same story. — Brian
Pete Prokopowicz (Oak Park, IL)
I’ve never before heard the “get one rape free” defense. Really, it’s ridiculous.
NJohnson (Earth)
It will also be weaponized and used against innocent men, though perhaps we deserve it for centuries or, really, millennia of misdeeds and poor thinking. At any rate, I bring this up not to suggest that we shouldn't believe women, or to excuse men or to preemptively exonerate them, but instead to offer support for a simple idea: put more women in charge. More women CEOs, more women representatives, more women scientists, more women presidents of nonprofits, more women presidents, more women prime ministers, more women generals, more women in positions of power and influence at every level of civil and private life. I can't help but think of all the recent revelations and allegations of sexual assault in the context of the gun violence problem we're suffering from. Nearly all of these incidents — or is it all of them? — share one thing in common: they have been perpetrated by men. Whether their targets are women, men, children, or even animals, the the bad actor in each of these incidents is a man. He may be famous or a shut in, he may be white or black or brown, he may be Christian or Muslim or an atheist, he may be rich or poor, he may be powerful or meek, but whatever his "identity" or "profile" or "motive" he is a man. Women are capable of evil and ill deeds. They are human. But men — what is wrong with us? We have some serious soul-searching to do. In the meantime, let's let women have more say — a lot more say — in how we find our collective way to the future.
hb (czech republic)
I also find Juanita's story credible. And weighing both Bill Clinton's outstanding contributions to the world, most notably ending the horror of the Bosnian War and stopping the brutal mass expulsion of the Kosovo Albanians from their homes...as well as the quite unsettled gray area of sexual mores of the time in question...My conclusion is that Clinton doesn't deserve jail. But his public humiliation is probably appropriate. Which is a great loss to the country because he was an excellent president who should be sleeping in the White House today and helping his wife-as she helped him-govern the United States. Which would certainly have been a tad better than the guy Putin selected to be our president.
Stacey (Washington, DC)
Rape fell within an "unsettle gray area of sexual mores"? It did not.
Jerry (Chicago)
What a scary concept, if your an important enough man you don't deserve jail for raping a woman. I'm sure that's what all powerful and important men believe.
Michael (Knepp)
He should be excused because he and Hillary have done so much good? Please review that one.
Chris (New York, NY)
I've read the column twice, trying understand why Goldberg wanted to bring up Bill Clinton at this time. I suspect she just wants to establish her bipartisan creds, proving how olympian and impartial she can be. But what many people are going to take away from this column is that all politicians are horndogs and we are hypocrites to complain about Roy Moore propositioning teenagers.
Ciambella Collins (Third Coast)
Chris, I think that's probably an uncharitable take on Ms. Goldberg's writing. I don't think that one opinion piece in the NYT is going to get Roy Moore off the hook, and not everything should be 100% politically tactical. We need honesty, and I respect what has been put forth in this piece.
Crossing Overhead (In The Air)
I think Juanita may be a bit delusional. I would look at the circumstances very closely before hanging bill.
highway (Wisconsin)
If Hillary "paid the political price for Bill's misdeeds" then it was chickens coming home to roost. Her Paula Jones appearance on national TV was the first in a long line of calculated lying to further the "my turn" political future that she saw for herself down the road. If she had divorced him then, who knows; maybe they both would have ended up being presidents. Or neither. But this issue is one that Dems just need to shut their yaps about and let the Repubs handle it.
Jon Lamkin (Houston, Texas)
“ ...let the Republicans handle it”? Are you kidding me? Are you cognizant of what the Republicans have “ handled “over the past ten months? Their success rate for legislation is zip with control of both houses of Congress andThe White House. Just saying.
Alfred (Whittaker)
Ultimately, the problem seems to be one of a lack of cumulative evidence. With a single accusation, it is a matter of he said / she said, and the accused gets the benefit of the doubt, even in the court of public opinion. With multiple, independent accusations all following a similar pattern, a number of plausibly deniable cases coalesce into strong evidence of wrongdoing. The accusations against Weinstein amount to ironclad proof of decades of atrocious behavior. Ditto for Bill Crosby. Roy Moore has five accusers, and admits (more or less, when his memory emerges from the fog) to dating teens. With their parents' permission. Or something. Trump has 16 generally similar accusations against him, and there's that tape in which he conveniently explains his modus operandi to the public. But Clinton's accusers make of one serious, coherent claim (Broaddrick) and two apparently kooky ones (Willey and the murdered cat; Jones and the false ID of Bill's willy). And in the middle of this, Bill was murdering Vince Foster. The proof-by-sheer-numbers (and outright confessions in the cases of Moore and Trump) just aren't there.
SV (Sacramento Valley, California)
Clinton isn't running, Moore is, that is where the focus ought to be. Instead, we get more self-flagellation from the left to provide a distraction. The right unites and goes for the kill, the left seems perpetually mired in self-doubt and paralysis, and seemingly eager to expose their flanks at the slightest tremble of a leaf. Do they have no overriding conviction of what is the main issue at stake? No wonder they lose elections. Then they will whine about how things are getting even more rotten.
MarkW (San Diego)
If the Democrats (including me) had treated the potentially legitimate accusations against Bill Clinton seriously in a timely manner, Republicans wouldn't have the leverage they do now. Playing the "game" by Republican rules only leads to cynicism. Cynicism can only hurt America. We're better than that.
Southern Boy (The Volunteer State)
@SV, "Clinton isn't running, Moore is, that is where the focus ought to be." Maybe so, but Bill Clinton has received a pass from the liberal opposition and will continue. Feminists overlooked his abuse of women because he supported their agenda. I once supported the women's agenda, but now I don't. Thank you.
ShawnH (Seattle)
Mark, how much more seriously were we supposed to take it? Every allegation made of Clinton was heavily investigated at the time to the tune of millions of dollars. Even Ken Starr, desperate to use the rape accusations, couldn't because they weren't credible, and Juanita in particular kept changing her story, and denied the rape happened under oath. All of this is now lost in the current narrative, which is finally doing what Republicans have wanted all along, to completely erase the good that Clinton did (the same way they are actively undermining Obama's legacy), to focus on rumors and accusations they couldn't make stick due to lack of evidence in the 90s. Now that none of us demand evidence and we ignore facts and history, they can finally win because they just repeated their lies long enough and loud enough. It's all very sad.
Gwe (Ny)
I don't know what to think. Here are my gut reactions, devoid of any actual facts. Republicans have shown themselves to play REALLY dirty. They don't care about the norms, the rules, ethics, morals, hypocrisy. They care only about winning. You know what I think about the Clintons? That they are two different people. That Bill is one person; Hillary another. That he was with a 21 year old and then allowed that 21 year old to be destroyed says all I need to hear about him. That she stayed with him is another matter all together. But here is the other thing. As far as I am concerned, they are OUT of the public eye once and for all. Di he rape Ms. Broderick? Hmm. I don't know. But I do know that rightly or wrongly her voice is not as credible because of the company she keeps. It spoke to me, as an example, that one of the Roy Moore accusers said she voted for Trump. Regardless, let's turn the page on the Clintons. If new allegations come up, fine, we can revisit.
Pat (Somewhere)
See John Oliver's excellent explanation of "whataboutism" after reading this article.
Ciambella Collins (Third Coast)
No, Pat -- this is in no way whataboutism. We can walk and chew gum at the same time, and we can examine behavior of public officials without regard to their party alignment.
Pat (Somewhere)
@Ciambella Collins -- This is exactly whataboutism. Deflecting attention by resurrecting claims from the 1990s against a politician who is long gone from office. And do you really believe that this is an unbiased investigation "without regard to their party alignment?" I don't.
ShawnH (Seattle)
Pat is right, this is whataboutism. How do we know? Because the allegations are exactly the same as they were in the 90s, ignoring every bit of evidence and investigation that happened after they were made. Ken Starr talked to these women and didn't find them credible enough to use in the impeachment hearings. This was when Republicans were desperate to use their stories. But here we are, talking about the 90s as if it's relevant, and was never investigated, all so Republicans can a) avoid talking about their own brand new accusations and b) ignore that every left-leaning person accused of harassment or worse is now facing a consequence. Just ask Anthony Weiner.
Nancie (San Diego)
I agree with some of the commenters who asked you to write an opinion column about Clarence Thomas.
Jon (Ohio)
I sure would like a decent family in the White House. We have had a few in the past. This country makes me sad. Yuck to Donald Trump and Bill Clinton.
Paul O'Dwyer (New York NY)
Bless you, Ms. Goldberg. This is why we don't need trials, or even evidentiary hearings, to determine the truth or otherwise of rape allegations from 30 years ago. Even in the face of a sworn denial by the accuser, who then goes on to bear all the hallmarks of a political grudge against both Clintons. I'm reassured by the blitheness of your conclusion. I believe her, despite the (at least) conflicting evidence, just because I decided I would. And that I would then announce my decision in a column in the NY Times. Maybe in you next column you can announce the punishment?
Scott Gray (Charleston, SC)
I thought when he was disbarred for committing perjury, we had seen the last of Bill Clinton. And I'm a Democrat.
sophia (bangor, maine)
I was performing a one woman show I wrote called Charm School (a lot of it dealing with sexual harassment and abuse) when Clinton came out with the finger pointing, "I never had sex with that woman", that woman being a White House intern. I heard him say that in the afternoon and that night I stopped and did a five minute scathing ad lib monologue on it. I was very angry. Do I wish Hillary Clinton had left her cad of a husband? Yes, indeed. Did it color my feelings for her? You bet. It is painful. I don't personally like either one of them because of their history. Has she been persecuted way beyond her role in it all? Yep. And would she have been a real president instead of a dictator wannabe? Yep. For our country I voted for her, knowing she enabled him on some level, probably for her own political ambitions. It all stinks. But I wouldn't be frightened for my country right now if Hillary had become president. America's in a world of pain and hurt right now because of a man who has bragged about sexually assaulting women. And that man is Trump.
NtoS (USA)
Astonishing how people were willing to give Trump a pass for something we witnessed him doing (Billy Bush incident) and not Hillary for something her husband did. Do we excoriate Jackie for her husband's affairs?
Pauline (Michigan)
At this distance from the sex scandal during the Clinton years, it is worth remembering how badly Monica Lewinsky was treated, by Bill, Congress, that slimy Linda Tripp, and the media for so long. I do give Hilary a pass; she didn't treat Monica well but she was, after all, the wronged spouse. The other thing to remember is what the word "sex" meant to people of our age (the Clinton's, me, the then Congress.) "Sex", "having sex," meant having intercourse. Oral sex was a way of "saving oneself for marriage." One thing everyone seemed to agree on was that there was no intercourse involved; it was all about the blue dress! As dissembling as Bill Clinton could be, for many of us "I did not have sex with that woman" was literally true. To further explain the mind set of many of us at that time, I was glad for Hilary's sake (who I did and do admire) that it was not "sex" but only "oral."
Rita (California)
Sigh. I guess this belongs in the category of belated “What Aboutism”. The Monica Lewinsky affair convinced me that Clinton was a man of low morals and that, more than likely, had had other affairs. Unfortunately, so many of the other accusers had tarnished their own credibility by their association with people with a definite agenda. Both Clintons have suffered consequences for Clinton’s alleged sexual abuses. Bill was impeached and lost his license to practice law. Hillary lost the election, in part, because of the allegations. All of the good that Bill Clinton has done will not erase the shame attached to his legacy. When Bill Clinton ran for President, there were so many accusations, ranging from the clearly fantastical ( Mena drug running ) to the plausible ( Paula Jones), that voters, like me, ultimately decided that all of it was just political mud slinging taken to extremes. This is the danger of such all-out political attacks. The allegations that may have some merit get lost in the sea of mud. So, yes, if we look back at the era with our modern heightened awareness of what sexual harassment looks like, we can say that the Democratic Party should have vetted Clinton better and should have found a better candidate. Of course, if the Republicans applied the same standards, we wouldn’t have had Speaker Hastert or Gingrich, Bob, Packwood, and so many others who benefitted from the then prevalent code of silence.
Dave G (Portland, Or)
Gingrich? What did Gingrich do? How about Menendez... you know... the one actually on trial now?
MagikMountain (Alexandria Va)
Seems to me "suffering consequences" for rape would be, not losing ones license to practice law, but jail time. Isn't that what we do with rapists?
John (San Francisco, CA)
Rita California , well said.
Andy (Salt Lake City, Utah)
Hillary didn't exactly pay the cost of Bill's misdeeds. She was complicit. Although Bill may have hidden much of his sexual transgression, Hillary knew something about his behavior. Instead of defending the victims, she actively sought to defend her husband's political career. Hillary might have been unfairly characterized but she's not innocent either. The blame laid at her feet is her own. We wouldn't need to discuss the topic if she had divorced Bill after any major incident. That's the reckoning that never happened and Hillary paid the price in her own career.
Kay Johnson (Colorado)
Someone from Salt Lake City saying that someone else in someone else's marriage must divorce is a new one. Tell that one to the Pope.
debmarst (ca)
Oh that’s just ridiculous. Why would she have to follow what you consider the path of righteousness because of his philandering? Their personal life is none of our business and we do not get to dictate the boundaries of their marriage. ‘Hillary has lived under the microscope of public opinion her entire adult life, I’m sure she’ll be glad when that ends
Beartooth (Jacksonville, Fl)
Many wives of politicians of both parties have stood by their husbands when the husbands have been accused or have been forced to admit to sexual affairs. In Bill Clinton's case, he had consensual sexual encounters with a willing adult, not forced on teenagers. Many wives of men (& husbands of women) have worked hard to knit together frayed marriages after affairs. It is wrong to fault the victim for trying to save a marriage, especially if they have a child or children. The reflex deflection of the Right to try to defuse a every issue by dragging Hillary Clinton into it is itself obscene. Mamie Eisenhower stood by her husband despite his long-running affair with his military driver, Kay Summersby. Eleanor Roosevelt stood by her husband after his affair(s). A partial list of Presidents who were known to have cheated on their wives includes George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Buchanan, James Garfield, Grover Cleveland, Woodrow Wilson, Warren G. Harding, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Ronald Reagan, and Bill Clinton. Their wives still stood by them. Twice exposed as an adulterer & married 3 times - Newt Gingrich still ran for president with Callista at his side. Louisiana GOP Senator David Vitter was discovered to be a client of the D.C. Madam and to have regularly solicited prostitutes in New Orleans who claimed he liked to wear diapers during sex. He served 10 more years & his wife is still with him.
Michjas (Phoenix)
This editorial hints at an essential truth. The number of women who claim to have been violated is astronomical, so much so that there will be no remedy for most. Between the EEOC, the criminal system and the civil system, the number of cases being handled is in the thousands. We simply do not have the resources to process millions upon millions of cases. To protect access to the Courts, only the most egregious of offenses can be heard. The less serious of matters will have to be barred by the courts. You can believe or not believe who you choose to but most cases will have to be dead end. There just isn’t the time, the money, and the manpower to do anything else. Sorry to break the news. But no Court system anywhere can handle pervasive misconduct.
Barbara Holtzman (Middletown, New York)
Not to mention there are statutory limitations on bringing charges and lawsuits. Although I suspect there will be a lot less of most of it from now on.
JM (San Francisco, CA)
But, the massive response by Hollywood has opened the floodgates. Perpetrators believe now that they can and will be outed and shunned. The most egregious behaviors will stop.
David H. Eisenberg (Smithtown, NY)
Partisanship by both sides was and is still the enemy for me, rather than one side or the other. Although the media could not resist reporting a sex scandal even about Clinton in the '90s, when it came to possible rape the usual bias set in, and it was largely dismissed by other than his political enemies. I wrestled with it at the time, but determined I could not tell because of Broaddrick's contrasting statements, and was so angry at the Reps. for their attempt to impeach for political reasons (as I am right now with the Democrats) that I put it aside. In later years though, it bothered me too and I wondered if he got away with rape. It is not blaming the victim to say that if you tell two different stories, you make it a lot harder for others to tell the truth. Though I think that it is more likely than not that Broadrick was telling the truth about the rape for the reasons stated in this article, that is just an opinion, and I completely disagree with any suggestion that we should err on the side of believing women (as the author suggests) any more than we should favor men. In order to have a fairer society - you actually have to try to be fair - you can't somehow right past injustices by being unfair to others now. It doesn't work with race or gender, but only prolongs the problems. We have to use our best judgment, but that may be that sometimes you can't really tell. You don't fix the problem by picking a side and just deciding it is their turn to win.
Renee (Alexandria, Va)
That's not what anyone's asking for when they ask for us to err on the side of believing women. It's not about it being women's "turn to win." It's about the fact that false accusations are extremely rare for a whole host of reasons. Do false accusations happen? Yes. Does political warfare raise the stakes and make them more likely? Probably. But to falsely accuse a man is to willingly be dragged through the mud for what is often very little gain. Can we at least agree to err on the side of believing women in common, everyday cases (not involving presidents or senators) where the woman has basically nothing to gain from falsely accusing, but the man has everything to retain from denying an accusation?
Tim Jackson (Woodstock, GA)
What an accurate assessment - "you don't fix the problem by picking a side and just deciding it is their turn to win". This is the problem with affirmative action, proposed racial reparations, sexual harassment, and so many other issues confronting us today - including politics. In our desire for instant gratification, we refuse to let the wheels of justice grind on to, well, a just outcome. IMHO, 24 hour "news" and (anti) social media are the enablers that allow us to indulge our worst impulses.
Observant (3rd Rock)
The rape story broke PRIOR to election day for Clinton's first term. The impeachment process was in his second term Also, there was more than Juanita that said Clinton forced himself on her. Sadly, the media led by the NYT refused to publish these reports. I am sure they would have went 24/7 coverage if it was Bush Sr. or Bob Dole though.
Innocent Bystander (Highland Park, IL)
I'm fine with squaring accounts of sexual transgressions, including those of Bill Clinton, as long as Trump is part of the package. The man is significantly more than a mere predator. He is a real and present danger to the foundations of good government in this country and America's critical role as a mainspring of international order. Let the chips fall where they may.
Beartooth (Jacksonville, Fl)
Remember that Donald Trump, in addition to the Access Hollywood tapes, bragged that one "perk" of owning the Miss Teen USA beauty pageant. As owner he would barge into the teenagers' dressing rooms unannounced where girls as young as 15 were naked or partially clothed. Four girls from the 1997 pageant testified that when he frightened them by doing this, he said, “Don’t worry, ladies, I’ve seen it all before.” The Roy Moore case is not even about adultery. It is about evidence that Moore suffers from two psychiatric disorders revolving around teenage girls. Hebephilia is an unnatural attraction to pubescent children around 11 to 14 years of age by an adult male. Ephebophilia is an unnatural attraction to post-pubescent girls ages 15 to 18. (Pedophelia is attraction to prepubescent children - and the DSM-V includes children up to age 13). This is a corruption of minors, regardless of whether it violates Alabama's peculiarly low age of consent - 16 - which is itself a comment on the sexual attitudes toward minors in Alabama. His first accuser, who was 14 at the time, happens to be a lifelong Republican & Trump supporter. The woman who has charged him with forcible sexual assault when she was 16 is also a Trump voter - so much for Democratic slander! Another assistant DA who worked with Moore at the time has testified that his obsession with teenage girls was well known in the office & said he would hang around high schools & teen sporting events. He is unfit for office.
Len (Chicago, Il)
I'm troubled by the notion of a "package" of blame. Hints at a type of deal making where the Republicans get to prosecute one Democrat and in return the Democrats get o prosecute one. Republican. The Democrats and their supporters, including this newspaper, failed and continue to fail when it comes to Bill Clinton's predations (Monica Lewinsky is no longer up for debate, although her reputation continues to be harmed through numerous petty slanders). The Republican Party failed tremendously, and the hypocrisy of the far right was revealed when they failed to address the behavior of the Grabber in Chief. The problem is that we accept this behavior, even if we turn our eyes away, when doing so is our perceived self interest. That is what needs to change.
shend (The Hub)
Unfit for office?! No, he is just unfit period. Just like Trump has severe emotional/personality issues that make Trump unfit period. Trump and Moore are very sick. So much so that we need to acknowledge just how ill they are. Saying that they are unfit to be President or Senator dramatically lessens just how sick and depraved these two individuals are.
Melly Testa (Brooklyn, NY)
There will always be people who lie to push their agenda. Right now, we are in a collective moment where, women CAN give voice to their experience, and be taken seriously. These women are also being held to the embers, because our culture supports the male perspective over all else. So, if we make mistakes in who and how to believe, so be it. Remaining silent isn’t viable anymore.
observer (nyc)
Making a mistake about whom to believe is far more serious than a matter of "so be it." Anyone who doubts that should endure the horror of a false accusation.
GRW (Melbourne, Australia)
If you err on the side of believing women, you may err by believing women. As long as you're clear about that. I'm assured many more men accused of these crimes are guilty of them than innocent, but the innocent accused suffer and are harmed - make no mistake. I want such crimes by men against women to be greatly reduced, but I'm not sure embracing "she says he offended, therefore he is guilty" is the way to go. Men already commit suicide far more than women.
NtoS (USA)
The reverse is true. Why should women suffer because some men are wrongly accused? Innocent men can turn to the court system to determine if the accusations are true.
It has too long been assumed that the wrongful treatment of women is just women's cross to bear. But apparently any wrongful treatment of men is an outrage. The sad truth about this horrible dynamic of sexual abuse is that women are far more likely to suffer unjustly than men, by an exponential order of magnitude. If a few men suffer injustice, it will never outweigh the injustices done to women. We need to stop thinking that no man must ever be harmed but the immense number of women who are harmed is just a fact of life that can't be helped.
JanerMP (Texas)
And yet with "he said, she said" we throw up are hands and say, "We can't decide." Which means HE always wins.
Mike Livingston (Cheltenham PA)
I admire the honesty, but the whole idea of dragging up decades up events for political purposes makes me uncomfortable. It's almost impossible to know the facts and almost impossible to avoid biases. I think it makes more sense to look ahead.
Diane203 (Wilmington, NC)
I’m in agreement about looking ahead. The point is owning hypocrisy. I’m a woman who supported Bernie. I held my nose and voted for Hillary. She’d have won my respect if she’d left Bill. Her “stand by your man/ political gravy train” outlook did zero to convince me she had the integrity to hold the Office. She was an enabler
mpound (USA)
"It's almost impossible to know the facts and almost impossible to avoid biases. I think it makes more sense to look ahead." That's exactly what Bill, Hillary and their army of Clintonoids said 25 years ago, and it's still as ridiculous and insulting a response today as it was back then.
fran soyer (wv)
I'm a Reagan Republican who believes in his famous tenet, "trust but verify". And as much as I would love for this accusation to be true, the facts just don't stand up to scrutiny. Which is why even Ken Starr or Newt Gingrich were unable to leverage her, even as the Clinton impeachment proceedings were at their height. There was nothing there in 1998, and the anger people are feeling over Roy Moore and Harvey Weinstein does not change that very simple reality.
Lee (Chicago)
I think the writer is right that we cannot accept just any sexual harrasment or assault accusations as true without collaboration or some reasonable account. However, to say that Moore accusers are politically motivated is too much. We can only judge case by case.
Beartooth (Jacksonville, Fl)
The original story about the 14-year old who was stripped of her outerwear & groped through her bra & panties by Roy Moore had confirmation from 30 people, including schoolmates she told about it when it happened. Since then 3 other teenage girls have come forward, none of whom knew each other, and a 5th has now come forward to report a physical sexual assault. Even another ADA from his office has confirmed he had an obsession with teenage girls. Many thousands of women have kept their sexual harrassment episodes secret for decades for fear of being disbelieved and/or suffering reprisals. Only since Roger Ailes, Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby, and Bill O'Reilly have been outed, have many thousands of women found the courage to come forth after decades of silence. Women who've suffered for 40 & 50 years now finally find the support & safety to come forth. This case is about Roy Moore & his sexual predation of teenagers, not about anybody else his supporters try to drag across the case as red herrings. There is more than enough corroboration to support his accusers & no evidence except his own denials to support him. The election is only a month away & voters must make up their own minds. This is not about electing a pro-life child molester to oppose a pro-choice opponent. It is about electing a man under a severe cloud of accusations of child molestation to the Senate. It is a political choice, not a legal one. We'll see if AL's s conservative "Christians" are moral or not.
Excellent column. I'm a strong feminist but believe it's a real mistake to adopt an "ALWAYS believe the woman" attitude. There are historical examples of women making false accusations (though in this case the evidence against Roy Moore is powerful). And you are right that it is very liable to be manipulated by right-wing media in some other case. As you point out, one of the reasons Broderick's story did not get much attention is because of the dubious aspects surrounding Paula Jones and Wiley. I don't remember even hearing about Juanita Broderick during Clinton's presidency.
Observant (3rd Rock)
Sadly the mantra has been NEVER believe the woman if the accused is a democrat
Paul Hechinger (Miami, FL 33131)
In what seemed at times a compelling effort at non-partisan objectivity, Michelle Goldberg lapses into the tired "Hillary the victim" meme. She says "Nevertheless, one of the sick ironies of the 2016 campaign was that it was Hillary who had to pay the political price for Bill’s misdeeds ... ." It seems important to acknowledge that Bill Clinton over decades used the power of public office -- state attorney general, governor and president -- to solicit sex from women. He rewarded with favors, gifts and jobs those who cooperated, and, punished those who did not, or who dared to speak up with very public attacks on their characters and lives. Hillary Clinton was an enabler of her husband's worst behavior toward women, and, by many reports, orchestrated efforts to humiliate, intimidate and silence women who accused him. To the extent that Hillary "paid a political price" it was for her own actions and inactions.
Diane203 (Wilmington, NC)
Thanks for stating this. I’m in agreement. I supported Bernie but held my nose and cast my first and last vote for Hillary over 45. I’d have respected her for leaving him-not heckling his conquests. By all accounts he didn’t step down into the arena of Moore and 45 of Behavior with minors but that doesn’t make his dalliances palatable or presidential. My President would not hesitate to send their errant spouse packing because they possessed dignity.
TLibby (Colorado)
The answer is for the standards to remain the same, no matter who accuses who of what. There is a difference between an accusation and proof. Belief is one thing, evidence another.
Dean (New York)
In reacting to accusations of sexual assault, all too many people reflexively fall into one of two camps. First, the "reflexive deniers," who reflexively deny any notion that a given powerful man could possibly have done any of the things he is accused of. Second are the "reflexive believers" who reflexively believe any accuser. Both of these camps willfully ignore the far more muddled and ambiguous grey area between these black and white positions, which more truthfully reflects life and justice in our society. That some accusers and some accused may be lying, or at least have inaccurate recollections, and the only way to try to accurately ascertain the truth is to muddle through the evidence and known facts and the compare the statements of the accusers and accused with them, without partisan favor or fervor. This may come across as a very bland and dispassionate approach to handling the hot button emotional issue of sexual harassment/assault, which causes so many to yearn for the emotional vindication of popularly received conviction or vindication in the court of popular opinion. But this is what real justice looks like -- a dispassionate process of muddling through often ambiguous evidence and known facts without partisan favor or fervor. This approach does not find favor with the all too numerous emotional partisans on both sides precisely because it is not clearcut as to what the conclusion will be in a given case. Remember, justice is a process, not a result.
Dave G (Portland, Or)
In the case of Moore, if there was inappropriate behavior going on, it seems to have ended 38 years ago... sooo. without evidence. it's best to give him the BOD.
fran soyer (wv)
Our country's legal system is built on what you call reflexive denial. Amazing how many alleged "strict Constitutionalists" have conveniently forgotten this.
Deedub (San Francisco, CA)
Very well put. You make a very important point about the gray area in which we have to make judgments. I would just reinforce this by pointing out that bullies and other abusers often target victims who can be made to submit and/or whose word will not be accepted - minors, poor people, gays, immigrants, people with emotional problems. Sometimes it's opportunism, sometimes to reinforce the social hierarchy, sometimes other reasons.
Kathy Chenault (Rockville, Maryland)
Seeking the truth needs to be paramount. As much as we want to protect victims, we cannot choose to "err" on one side or another -- for the very reasons you cite. Soon, the demagogues who choose to devalue truth will indeed find a way to use this in under-handed ways. Gathering as much evidence from as many sources as possible to add to greater understanding -- and get us as close as possible to the truth -- must be the focus of any investigation of alleged sexual assault. Respect and defend the truth. Always.
Erika (Atlanta, GA)
"On Friday evening the MSNBC host Chris Hayes sent out a tweet that electrified online conservatives..." It doesn't seem like conservative media has to do much to rally its readers/viewers - when some of the "mainstream media" is all too eager to do so. The timing of this column seems rather odd IMO. News Coverage of the 2016 Election: How the Press Failed the Voters: https://shorensteincenter.org/news-coverage-2016-general-election/ "The real bias of the press is not that it’s liberal. Its bias is a decided preference for the negative...It’s a version of politics that rewards a particular brand of politics. When everything and everybody is portrayed as deeply flawed, there’s no sense making distinctions on that score, which works to the advantage of those who are more deeply flawed." "False equivalencies abound in today’s reporting. When journalists can’t, or won’t, distinguish between allegations directed at the Trump Foundation and those directed at the Clinton Foundation, there’s something seriously amiss. And false equivalencies are developing on a grand scale as a result of relentlessly negative news. If everything and everyone is portrayed negatively, there’s a leveling effect that opens the door to charlatans. The press historically has helped citizens recognize the difference between the earnest politician and the pretender. Today’s news coverage blurs the distinction."
fran soyer (wv)
You hit the nail on the head.
Douglas McNeill (Chesapeake, VA)
From #MeToo to "I believe you", the role of women is thankfully improving nearly across the board. Women's journey is far from over and resembles the process of obstetric delivery only they can perform. Their rights, positions and perspectives, like their offspring, travel a difficult course. First there is engagement as the head to the cervix or women to the political sphere. (cf. Women's March 21 Jan 2017) Then, the slow descent down the birth canal requiring men, like the cervix, to fundamentally get out of the way. The final delivery can be impeded as the shoulders need to pass out of the canal (shoulder dystocia) just as revisionist and reactionary forces seek to delay things seeing the light of day in our male-dominated world. Shedding the last inequality for women, like the shedding of the placenta, may be bloody, but I sincerely hope we can move to a time when we do not only believe women but allow them full participation and control over their lives including yes, even reproductive choices previously denied them in a stultified patriarchy.
Sally Eckhoff (Philadelphia, PA)
Women's lot isn't improving as a result of all this publicity. It's just more obvious and public.
JJ (Chicago)
Sorry, no pass to Hillary on this. She was complicit in smearing the women who came forward to accuse Bill. But she above everyone knows (or should have known) there was truth there. The ironic thing is that if she had divorced Bill instead of sticking with him, she could have effectively taken Trump on on these points. But Bill’s same behavior (I mean, who doesn’t think that his locker room talk is as bad as Trump’s??) hamstrung her.
Barbara Holtzman (Middletown, New York)
If she had divorced Bill, she never would have gotten a chance to take Trump on. She might not even have been invited to his last wedding.
Kay Johnson (Colorado)
The pass you are giving is to Trump. He was never investigated for the obvious and on record statements he made about assaulting women. Not locker room "talk" but assault.
Mike Pod (Wilmington DE)
“I’d like to...” Locker room talk. “I did...” Confession. Real. Big. Difference.
M (Cambridge)
So Clinton is a bad guy, a predator. He's also not president anymore nor, as far as I can tell, running for any office. I'm fine stipulating that Clinton's behavior was wrong and that we, both Democrats and Republicans, should learn from what he did and what we expect from the people we choose to lead. Toss him on the heap with Gingrich, George HW Bush, and others from both parties and turn your attention to getting those predators who are still in office out. Whataboutism backfires because if you're so outraged about Clinton how can you support Trump, or Moore? This isn't about believing women. Democrats need to counter this argument by contrasting the Trump/Moore era with the Obama presidency. Republicans' own arguments in defense of their guys' behavior make the Obama administration look better and better.
nonya (nonya)
We were only beginning to face the evil doings of the right wing when Clinton was president. Ken Starr was on a political mission as a tool of the right wing's coup d'etat. The right wing succeeded in taking over our government to the detriment of every single American citizen. And the fact that the are continuing to use Clinton to hold on to power is sickening. I'm done letting the right wing exploit Clinton to fast track their agenda. Clinton's misdeeds are not relevant to who we Alabama voters send to the U.S. Senate. I'm voting for Doug Jones and planned to do so before the allegations against Moore surfaced. I have no respect for the Republican Party, it's leaders, it's platform, or anything else about them. I regard them and their agenda of greed as evil. So many politicians who have harassed private citizen Clinton over the years are guilty of much worse. And when they plead innocent, I do not believe them.
As you have pointed out, the problem is that the Clinton accusers allowed themselves to be used by smear artists whose weapons include wild inaccuracies, such as the story that Clintons murdered people, and abuse of the impeachment process. Although is plausible that Broaddrick signed a false affidavit to avoid public testimony, her story became part of a far right effort to discredit both Clintons. Jones’ legal fees were paid by a conservative coalition. Wiley, too, appears to have cast her lot with the conspiracy theorists. In contrast, the women who have spoken out against Roy Moore and others appear to have no political ax to grind. I do not excuse Bill Clinton. Today these charges might sink him. Yet the pushback against the accusers, I think, came not from Clinton’s popularity or the blind loyalty of Democrats to their party, but rather opposition to what Hillary rightly characterized as a “right wing conspiracy” to destroy the Democrats agenda, through means that included slander and manipulation of the legal process. I beleive that all theee women told the truth - although Jones exaggerated, because the law of sexual harassment required that she prove more than a one-time, rejected sexual advance without professional consequences. I understand why none went to the authorities. But hitching your wagon to political assassins is no way to obtain justice. People push back against the Clinton accusations because they are regarded as politically tainted.
Jane (New Jersey)
A woman who has lost her dignity through sexual assault by a powerful man is 1) feeling extremely bitter towards the man who assaulted her, and 2) will probably accept support against the power structure wherever she can find it. I don't think any of Clinton's victims were politically motivated, but where else could they find a voice and some means of protecting themselves other than Clinton's enemies?
Barbara Holtzman (Middletown, New York)
"Today these charges might sink him." Today, maybe. But back in 1978, even if Broaddrick had gone to the police, and knowing what I know as someone who worked in rape crisis back then AND what I know from extensive reading of several reports of her life at the time and since, there is no way, no way whatsoever, that Bill Clinton would have been found guilty of rape. Or anything else other than maybe adultery, and that's really only a civil charge in a divorce. Maybe formication, but she would have been just as guilty. Most likely he would have been exonerated, completely. Even today it's not all that easy to get a rape conviction. Women are put on trial more than the men - "Why did you go to a married man's hotel room, MRS. Broaddrick?" "Was he holding a gun on you, MRS. Broaddrick?" It's better for victims now, but not by much. If all of these allegations had been tried in court back then, with the exception of the under-age sex (and maybe even then in Alabama) none of these men would have been found guilty. They'd have been adjudicated as innocent, even more so than their victims.
Lisa (Maryland)
I don't recall anyone saying Bill Clinton was innocent. What I recall is that his actions did not rise to impeachment. But that was lost on Republicans who would have impeached him on whatever pretext they could find. Between the Arkansas Project and Ken Starr, Clinton was toast.
rtj (Massachusetts)
He was impeached for lying under oath to a federal grand jury and obstructing justice. Not for sexual transgressions.
Lisa (Maryland)
...in a politically motivated case funded by his enemies, that had been summarily dismissed from court months earlier. It was also noted at the time that similar cases of lying under oath are rarely prosecuted.
mpound (USA)
"I don't recall anyone saying Bill Clinton was innocent." "I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky. I never told anybody to lie, not a single time, never. These allegations are false." ----Bill Clinton at a press conference on January 26, 1998.
Girish Kotwal (Louisville, KY)
Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones at others especially in politics. As an independent I see sexual misconduct on both sides of the political divide and both parties, the democrats and the Republicans now need to clean their act since both have lost the moral high ground at the highest level. This picture in the article speaks volumes of why Hillary lost. She was running against the only candidate in America who was going to win a mud fight and going to do anything to match her dirty tricks with dirtier tricks. As the first woman to have been nominated by a major party to contest the general presidential election and a presidential candidate to have amassed the most funding for a campaign, Hillary just blew it and she has herself to blame. Not Russia, not Bernie, not Wilki, not Comey, not even Bill. Whta happened in the 2016 presidential election is this image right here. Trying to prove that she was holier than Trump or lesser of the two evils back fired and that is why she lost enough votes to make a difference. Americans who had doubts about Hillary were probably convinced that the candidate who proclaimed she was for women was caught in the biggest lie of her lifetime.
rtj (Massachusetts)
I'm an Independent too, and i was never ever going to vote for Clinton. (nor Trump.) But i can assure you that this picture, or the situation that it pertains to, had nothing whatsoever to do with the reasons for my vote. (I'm female, fwiw.)
Robert McSherry (Bel Air, MD)
I think as technology improves and expands, we will all have the ability to record our interactions and communications with others. It will probably lead to a 'big brother' mentality and take spontaneity and naturalness out of life. But everyone carrying miniature cameras might eventually supplant the supposed need from some quarters for everyone carrying guns, and you would rarely hear "if it's true." It wouldn't just be the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo who gets her revenge.
DenisPombriant (Boston)
The conclusion we can easily draw is that the republican rumor mill should be discounted 100 percent and validated only when corroborated by mainstream media inquiry. That’s not an impossible standard.
fran soyer (wv)
I'm confused. I thought we voted and we decided that you let them do it if they're stars ?
Paul-A (St. Lawrence, NY)
"Discerning what might be true in a blizzard of lies isn’t easy, and the people who spread those lies don’t get to claim the moral high ground." For me, this hits the nail on the head. Men on both sides of the aisle have been (and continue to be) sexual harassers. There's hypocrisy and complicity on both sides of the aisle as well. However, the highly organized and well-funded smear campaign of lies against the Clintons, coupled with the egregious behavior of Ken Starr's inquisition, is one of the seminal moments that began the destruction of America's political comity. This was compounded by the astounding hypocrisy of Conservative leaders like Newt Gingrich, Jimmy Swaggart, and Jim Bakker. The difference between the Conservative's hypocrisy and that of the Liberals is that the Conservatives weaponized it, by claiming the moral high ground and smearing other people for the same sins that they themselves were committing at the same time. Bill Clinton never ran around making sexual accusations against his political enemies; and he never wielded them as a cudgel to begin a Culture War against half of the American electorate. And even though one can wince at Hillary's lashing out against his husband's accusers, that was done in reaction to them raising the situation; she didn't proactively attacked those people for her own political advantage. I'm not saying that these difference excuse Bill clinton's behaviors; but they demonstrate distinctions that must be understood.
annie dooley (georgia)
You have expressed my fear that allegations of sexual assault, harassment and even rape will be a part of every political campaign from now on, and women and girls damaged by sexual predators in the political sphere will be pushed back into the shadows by competing partisans. None will be believed and none will get justice or validation. They will be written off as players in "dirty politics." So what are women to do? Go back to suffering in silence as their abusers rise to high and higher office and go on to abuse other women, like in the "good old days"? I hope not. And what are voters to do? I, for one, will judge each case based on the most credible and professional information sources. I will believe women until I can't believe them.
Dana (Santa Monica)
As a woman who was criminally assaulted, a mother and diehard feminist I do not believe all people who make accusations - nobody should. Accusations of any crime or criminal conduct should be judged on their merits. In the context of Bill Clinton's presidency and the war against him by the GOP, none of his accusers were (and in my opinion still are not) particularly credible as they aligned themselves with the right wing rather than make non-partisan statements. Being an adulterer isn't the same as a criminal - and most definitely Bill Clinton engaged in many affairs. That doesn't make Broadrrick or Jones any more credible. As despicable as Roy Moore is - I still gave him the benefit of the doubt as I read the accusations. I think he is guilty because of all we know about the circumstances and stories his accusers told. Not because I hate his politics. All of the recent accused - Weinstein, Louis Ck, Trump - these are well known abusers hiding in plain sight. I've heard rumors for years here in LA about Louis CK and Weinstein - and plenty of others. Most women who work in entertainment assumed the to be true. There is no such pattern and history with Bill Clinton - just the consensual affairs and politically motivated accusations. Believing any claim without question doesn't help advance women's interests - it will just result in a swift and devastating backlash.
Donna Gray (Louisa, Va)
It is their positions of power that lets many man exploit women! Whether they are Hollywood producers/directors, university professors, or politicians, the fact of their authority means young women cannot truly consent to any sex act that occurs!
Alyce Miller (Washington, DC)
Dana, I have to agree. Thank you for this. Fellow feminist and strong supporter of women!
Ciambella Collins (Third Coast)
Dana, I agree with a lot of what you say, but you probably oversimplified things in Bill Clinton's behavior. There was a harass-y quality to some things that he did that is not acceptable.
Talbot (New York)
I remember some of my mother's phrases--men don't make passes at girls who wear glasses. Candy is dandy but liquor is quicker. My mother, an educated, liberal, upper middle class woman, was crazy about Bill Clinton. So were all her friends. Some of them, including my mother, met him at fund raisers and the like. They emailed each other about him. And as her phrases imply, my mother had a very dated attitude towards male female relationships. She didn't care what Bill did. With whom or how. She had a similar attitude toward JFK. The people most upset by Bill Clinton's behavior were my husband, my father, and my brother. All strong Democrats and all disgusted. It was ladies like my mom--inclined to call Clinton a "rascal" and get goosebumps comparing their meetings with him-- who let him off the hook.
Matthew Carnicelli (Brooklyn, New York)
Michelle, can we merely agree that a deeply compromised Clinton family - including Chelsea - now needs to walk away from American politics, and leave the rest of us in peace? Bill Clinton was clearly a degenerate womanizer and serial violator of women who used his position of authority to gratify his juvenile appetites - and Hillary was his perpetual enabler. I came across a theory the other day proposing that Donna Brazile's book is an attempt to prevent yet another Hillary run in 2020 - and if this is true, then Donna deserves our unending gratitude. To conservatives pushing for an investigation of the Clinton Foundation, please note that I'll be happy to throw the entire family under the bus - for the little good it will do your party in 2020. Today's GOP is constitutionally incapable of governing, and can only further destroy itself between now and the next Presidential election. A sea change in American politics is coming in 2020, if not 2018. Women with far cleaner hands than Hillary Clinton will play a leading role in that change. Let the next generation of leaders take the stage.
No, we can't agree that all claims against the Clintons are necessarily true because some people find they way they live their lives personally offensive. Can we agree that they have in fact been the targets of a well-organized and well-funded smear campaign for decades? Read "Devil's Bargain," written by an author who is certainly not a Clinton booster. And for all you know, the Clintons have already made the decision to "walk away" from American politics. Who is it who keeps dragging them back to the spotlight, and why? That's the main issue, not uranium or the Clinton Foundation.
sophia (bangor, maine)
Amy Klobuchar is the kind of rising woman I want to see in leadership.
ironyman (Long Beach, CA)
I do not agree. Hillary would have continued us down the road to progress, but there are only so many slings and arrows one person can take.
Mark Thomason (Clawson, MI)
"Contemplating this history is excruciating in part because of the way it has been weaponized against Hillary Clinton." No, it is excruciating because of what Hillary said and did at the time, destroying women to enable and protect her husband when she KNEW it was true, that he'd been doing it for a long time. "Bimbo eruptions," they called them. Trailer trash, caught by trolling dollar bills through trailer parks, they said. Oh, it was ugly, and she was in it up to her ears. Now Democrats NEED to deny that reality. They just can't face it. Actually, they could and should face it and all its implications. Put this behind them, and the lunacy of the 2016 election too. Make the Democrats great again, to give the country something to hope for. Instead, as Beppe Severgnini puts it today, they left Trump to be the focus of the discontented voters who had so much with which to be discontented. They just told them to like it, it was great. So what could they expect?
NCSense (NC)
I don't want to see another Clinton political campaign, but Goldberg does a good job of putting the reaction to Bill Clinton's extracurricular activities in context. Republicans now speculate (without evidence) that Roy Moore's accusers have been paid; some of Bill Clinton's accusers really were. Moore supporters fantasize a left-wing conspiracy; the right-wing conspiracy that fueled faux scandal after faux scandal concerning the Clinton's really did exist. (Anyone remember the "scandal" of the Clinton White House firing travel office employees who served at the pleasure of the President and under an office director who had attracted FBI investigation during the George HW Bush administration because of mishandling money?) There was nothing inappropriate about Hillary Clinton's public response to the women involved either. Unlike Donald Trump, she never accused them or being liars. Hillary Clinton's comment about containing "bimbo eruptions" was in a private conversation about women who clearly pursued Bill Clinton. See: Gennifer Flowers who claimed to have a years long relationship with Bill and sold her story to the National Enquirer around the time Bill Clinton ran for President. It was always ridiculous to interpret Hillary Clinton's thank you to Juanita Broaddrick at a campaign event as a veiled threat. Broaddrick's characterization of the comment that way is another thing that undermines Broaddrick's overall credibility.
Matt (Michigan)
One year after the election, nothing has change. Democrats are the same. The party is rudderless, the leadership is in disarray.
Anna (NY)
When those women appeared with Trump, who bragged about groping women and getting away with it because he’s famous, on a presidential debate, they lost all credibility they may have had, which imo, wasn’t much to begin with. Broaddrick, for instance, doesn’t even remember the day the alleged rape took place, Willey was a proven liar who pursued Clinton instead of the other way around and Paula Jones was just after some more money. Three other women disclosed they had consensual encounters. And if Hillary Clinton bashed the women pursuing her husband, good for her!
dragonheart (New York City)
I congratulate Ms. Goldberg for writing this excellent article at least to just step away from the recent political turmoils. As we all know, that one of the hardest things to do in life is to admit that we are wrong. We, liberals, proclaim to be progressive in all issues and should look into ourselves, and ask if no one is immune to a human frailty. I do mean NO ONE (including you and me). We all make mistakes. Some are motivated to correct those errors by doing GOOD. But others steadfastly refuse to acknowledge those errors. I sometimes think that those latter groups truly believe that they are right. Unless we admit those errors and ask for redemption, we will continue to make mistakes. We have done that for thousands of years.
Jim Muncy (Crazy, Florida)
What if you are mistaken when you claim that we all make mistakes? Is that a double mistake?
cheryl (yorktown)
Agonizing. I think Clinton, so charismatic in person, has been attractive to a lot of women, and did take advantage of his status to, excuse me, get laid. If there hadn't been millions of dollars spent to GET him - to get THEM - the allegations plowed up in Arkansas' dirt would've been more believable. The titillating part of the scandal was about Monica Lewinsky - who didn't make a complaint, but who was held as if she were a criminal, and forced to testify to having oral sex with the President. Consensual sex, she said, adding that she had pursued him. Is Clinton a dog, yes, maybe he connected this behavior to emulating his teenage idol JFK. Was he a child molester, no. Willey - I'm as sure that Clinton didn't kill her dog or her husband as I am that Hillary wasn't running a sex ring out of a pizza parlor, so her delusions taint her allegations. Paula Jones seemed to have been groomed for testimony, but the only details that could have proved the incident were wrong. Maybe Broaddrick WAS telling the truth- or a partial truth. But when someone changes sworn testimony, how do you tell what is true? She wasn't naive, nor at any apparent risk of harm from Bill Clinton. But I accept that it can take time to come forward. We will never be certain. She didn;t get a fair hearing. Bill got a pass; Hillary had to both absorb the humiliation of betrayal, and blame for his actions, plus accusations that she had hurt the women. That is bizarre.
JM (San Francisco, CA)
I have no sympathy for Hillary. She made her choice to stick with Bill and is paying the consequences. But now, she and Bill should just stay out of the public eye...no tv appearances or books. They should focus on doing magnanimous work for mankind. With all the millions they have pulled into their Clinton Foundation, why don't we hear of any of their good works?
nonya (nonya)
Hillary Clinton has led an exemplary life in every way. I admire and respect her. And if she chose to live with a philanderer that was her choice to make.
Midway (Midwest)
Is Clinton a dog, yes, maybe he connected this behavior to emulating his teenage idol JFK. Was he a child molester, no. ----------------------- Was he an admitted LIAR? Yes. That is what tripped him up. The perjury that ultimately cost him his attorney's license. The question that thinking men and women continue to ask is whether Ms. Rodham Clinton is a liar too, or whether she knowingly or not, chose not to hide herself from the facts and not understand the truth about Bill Clinton's ongoing relationships, consensual or not, with the women named in Goldberg's column. I do not think a person who either does not know because of ignorance, or chooses not to know because of convenience, presents as a worthy leader, capable of representing us all -- men and women, powerful or not.
RoughAcres (NYC)
For your next column, write about a conservative. Say, Clarence Thomas.
George Santangelo (NYC)
Yes, please write whether Thomas should be impeached for his perjury during his confirmation hearings.
CaroleO (Gypsum)
I believe Anita.
AJ (Midwest)
You can’t deny a rape under oath and penalty of perjury ( that’s what an affidavit is...not just saying it); and then expect to be believed. Not one of the accusers of any other of these men did that and that’s why they are more believable. Broaddrick has no one to blame but herself.
Al (Jupiter, FL)
Intimidation from powerful figures can make victims do lots of things, including testify falsely. So can other factors. Furthermore, there were FIVE witnesses who saw her soon after she met with Bill Clinton. They saw her swollen lip where he had bitten her, her torn clothing, her distraught appearance, etc. She told them he did it. Etc., etc., etc.
SLM (Charleston, SC)
To be clear, you’re saying the rape victim has no one to blame but herself. You are the problem.
B.B. (Los Angeles)
A number of the people who recently spoke up broke their confidentiality agreements - does this mean they can't be expected to be believed? After all, they vowed to stay silent and then years later they broke the rules. Does this mean their stories aren't credible? Sorry - but believability doesn't follow a strict math formula. After reading Ronan Farrow's "An Army of Spies", anybody should be able to imagine how terrifying it might be to be a victim thinking of exposing an abuser and why some people would choose to stay quiet. It's not rocket science.
Richard Luettgen (New Jersey)
I'm glad that I wasn't the one called on to determine "distinguishing characteristics of Clinton’s penis that turned out to be inaccurate". I mean, if called I'd do a lot for my country, but there ARE limits.
Richard Luettgen (New Jersey)
Whether I believe Juanita Broaddrick or not really is and was irrelevant to the 2016 election. People forget that the mud slung by HRC’s campaign at that time was every bit as thick as was that of Trump’s campaign. This has become pretty normal in our politics. But it had little if anything to do with Hillary or her qualifications, and I condemned it in this forum at the time. The real question that Michelle poses is a very hard one to answer. This notion of “believing the woman” automatically because what is alleged often is very hard to prove … is also very hard to defend against; and it can ruin the target of such allegations every bit as much in this very real world as the emotional stability of victims and the general quality of life are ruined by sexual assaults of any kind. Yet this demand runs counter to everything our justice system stands for, which is that proof must be offered of crimes, or any person runs the risk of having a life destroyed by malice or even by misunderstanding. The way the FBI does it probably is the best we can hope for. They look for people willing to attest under oath that the purported victim shared corroborating details at the time of the alleged offense, they look for consistency in the allegations and coherent details surrounding the events of the alleged offense. And it doesn’t hurt when multiple victims surface with similar stories that are similarly sustained in their details. By these standards, Juanita's story is compelling.
Carson Drew (River Heights)
@Richard Luettgen: The absence a single other victim alleging violent rape makes Broaddrick's story not only uncompelling, but not credible. This part of your comment made me laugh: "The way the FBI does it probably is the best we can hope for. They look for people willing to attest under oath that the purported victim shared corroborating details at the time of the alleged offense, they look for consistency in the allegations and coherent details surrounding the events of the alleged offense." That's a perfect description of James Comey, who Trump insists lied about their interactions.
Richard Luettgen (New Jersey)
Carson: And Tribbles constituted a serious problem for the Enterprise crew.
David (NC)
I believe Ivana Trump. From Jane Mayer's New Yorker article in October 2016, "Documenting Trump’s Abuse of Women": "For his 1993 book, “The Lost Tycoon,” Harry Hurt III acquired Ivana’s divorce sworn deposition, in which she stated that Trump raped her. In Hurt’s account, Trump was furious that a “scalp reduction” operation he’d undergone to eliminate a bald spot had been unexpectedly painful. Ivana had recommended the plastic surgeon. In retaliation, Hurt wrote, Trump yanked out a handful of his wife’s hair, and then forced himself on her sexually. Afterward, according to the book, she spent the night locked in a bedroom, crying; in the morning, Trump asked her, “with menacing casualness, ‘Does it hurt?’...  Trump has denied both the rape allegation and the suggestion that he had a scalp-reduction procedure. Hurt said that the incident, which is detailed in Ivana’s deposition, was confirmed by two of her friends ... 'Lost Tycoon' didn’t sell well ... (Later) Hurt decided to scan the book and reissue it himself online. When a reporter for the Daily Beast began making calls about the rape allegation, Michael Cohen (yes, that Michael Cohen), a Trump lawyer, told him, “You write a story that has Mr. Trump’s name in it and the word ‘rape,’ and I’m going to mess your life up . . . for as long as you’re on this frickin’ planet.” Ivana, on the original book's fly had said she hadn't meant criminal rape, but confirmed what she said under oath. She then got $14M in the divorce.
JMM (Ballston Lake NY)
I loathe Trump. But, to further Ms Golberg’s point, Ivana has said and done other things to cast doubt. Just recently she is in the news for saying she should be First Lady. I am a woman and my default is to believe most of these women, but I also have trouble wrapping my head around the back peddling and inconsistencies.
David (NC)
JMM: She had her hair ripped out, told two of her friends at the time, and gave a sworn statement in a deposition that she later did not retract but rather simply spun by saying that she had not actually meant rape in the criminal sense. Rape (defined as forcible non-consensual intercourse) has no non-criminal meaning. NY state has allowed a charge of marital rape since 1984, so if it was non-consensual and violent, it was rape. I can imagine that Ivana has made her peace with it, especially after her generous settlement.
JJ (Chicago)
Joshua Schwartz (Ramat-Gan, Israel)
"we should look clearly at the credible evidence that Juanita Broaddrick told the truth when she accused Clinton of raping her." And what is the the statute of limitations on rape in Washington, D.C.?
Rob Kneller (New Jersey)
You're out of luck. The statute of limitations in D.C. is 15 years.
gratis (Colorado)
Should we look at the not so credible evidence as well?
SLM (Charleston, SC)
What does belief of the victim have to do with the statute of limitation for filing criminal charges?
blaine (southern california)
I believe Juanita also. Furthermore, it's worth noting that the alleged rape occurred in 1978. My point is, that would be rape by the definition of those times, not by today's definition which is much softer. It will be truly amazing if in the midst of all the disgrace of Spacey and CK Louis and Weinstein, guess who gets a pass again, Bill Clinton.
atticus (urbana, il)
Well and Donald Trump.
Candlewick (Ubiquitous Drive)
Will we ever see any Conservative write a column like this; about their President?
Lem (Nyc)
Read the conservative press, articles are written regularly against those whose actions do not deserve support. For proof, the vociferous opposition to Roy Moore and support for his accusers even when the result is going to help his democratic opponent. The difference is these appear contemporaneously when the facts emerge in the conservative press, not as with this writer who comes over 20 years later and even then is doing so more to usher Mrs Clinton off the stage than take a principled stand.
phillysteve (Pennsylvania)
I wouldn't recommend holding your breath while awaiting that development.
Scott Keller (Washington)
As a conservative, I would ask that both liberals and conserves to put their values ahead of political war they are fighting. When your side is in the wrong, be the first to stand up and call it what it is. In the case of Moore, I believe the accusers because it is more than one the the details add up. However, I am disappointed that the accuser wait until after the nomination, therefore effectively making a liberal win in a conservative community. Dirty trick both sides loves to play and I hate it. After discussing this with my consecutive friends, almost all of them agree that morals come before the political battle.
Mike (Buford)
“Kathleen Willey said that she met him in the Oval Office for personal and professional advice and that he groped her, rubbed his erect penis on her, and pushed her hand to his crotch,” End of quote . When are journalists be able to write a good piece without having to resort to false equivalence. While Bill Clinton’s actions were deplorable his mark in history will never equate to the one the current GOP is bent on making. Not even close. We need your help in clarifying our current political environment .
Doug (Boston)
When Donald Trump fouls the Oval Office with his genetic code, I’ll agree with you.
JWC (Hudson River Valley)
And Kathleen Willey also told her friend that she had a crush on Clinton. None other than Linda Tripp, who hated Clinton, said that Willey seemed excited after her encounter with Clinton and had pursued a romance with him. After the alleged assault, she wrote a nice note to Clinton asking for a job. What went wrong? Well, she was in a bad marriage. Her husband suffered from depression. The couple owed $400K in debt and her husband had stolen another $275K from a client. He had moved out after big fight. That's the environment that existed when she visited Clinton, and, according to Linda Tripp, she basically threw herself at him. When she returned home, she found out the news: that very same day, her husband had committed suicide. A few years later, now in greatly reduced circumstances with no contact with Clinton, she turned on him, asked her friend Julie Steele to lie on her behalf, and was granted immunity from the Office of Special Counsel because of her constant lies during her various interviews with the FBI. Was Bill Cinton faithful? Nope. Was he a harasser? Nope. A rapist? Absolutely not.
MyThreeCents (San Francisco)
I'm no Hillary Clinton fan, but come on -- this is a bit much! "Broaddrick sees [Hillary] as complicit, interpreting something Hillary once said to her at a political event — “I want you to know that we appreciate everything you do for Bill” — as a veiled threat instead of a rote greeting. As it happens, a little bird just flew past my ear and told me the truth about what Hillary said then (several decades before anyone had ever heard of Juanita Broaddrick): It was a rote greeting.
Mary DeRocco (Provincetown)
The well funded campaign to bring down President Clinton, $50 million dollars sticks in my mind. Plus the relentless investigation into everything meaningless, until Ken Star finally got some traction via the blue dress. It was a time we watched Republicans put the country through hell, their entitlement and hypocrisy a la Newt G and Dennis H, to name a few, was unacceptable, pure partisan maliciousness. In this toxic context I find it difficult to separate the weaponizing of accusations from what may or may not be true.
Rob Kneller (New Jersey)
As you may recall, Ken Starr announced that he was packing it in because he hadn't found anything to prosecute Clinton for. The right wingers went wild and Starr decided to press on, finally getting tapes from Linda Tripp that led to Monica and the "perjury trap."
Theodora30 (Charlotte, NC)
The investigation was over $70 million, not $50 million, and the head of the FBI did all he could to help Ken Starr bring Clinton down. All they proved was that Clinton lied about his sex life.
Deirdre (New Jersey )
I️ believe Anita Hill
E (Lexington, KY)
I can't help but laugh at the irony of a statement like "most reporting about the Clinton marriage shows Bill going to great lengths to hide his betrayals" landing in the NYT. As if the Bill, Hill, and the Clinton Machine didn't read the NYT. Pretending Hillary had no clue is beyond dishonest. Ms. Goldberg should take a step back and think about how absurd her suggestion that "Hillary didn't know" is. Between her husband's extramarital affairs and her home/bathroom server, one is left no choice but to conclude that Fmr. Sec. Clinton is, unequivocally, the most aloof and ignorant person on the planet.
SandraH. (California)
You're repeating the memes of the far right ("Clinton Machine," "bathroom server,") I have no doubt he tried to keep his infidelities from her. Since the story of Eve and the serpent, women have always been blamed for what men do. Meanwhile, the most aloof and ignorant person on the planet is, unequivocally, Mr. Trump. Do you believe the 14 women who accused him of sexual assault?
John (San Francisco, CA)
E Lexington, KY, You have your opinion, but based on what evidence? Do you know Bill's daily routine? Or Hillary's routine? Are you basing your judgment on your personal experience? Since you brought up the private server, let's see how the Trump family's private server plays out. Mueller may have something to say on this topic. Stay tuned. Also, since you are a Trump supporter, maybe you could exert your power to make him release his tax returns. Then again, you may only have the power to annoy.
Chriva (Atlanta)
Don't forget that Hillary did not know about Weinstein either; all of her major donors vetted by her staff, 80 women come forward, her big celeb endorsers like Lena Dunham knew but she didn't even suspect a thing!
Diogenes (Belmont MA)
"Put simply, I believe her". How did you decide to believe her, Ms. Goldberg? You state she denied the rape accusation in an affadavit to Paula Jones's lawyers, but said that she couldn't lie to the FBI. An affadavit is a sworn legal document. It is as subject to perjury as lying to the FBI. Why, then, does her explanation make sense. It seems that your decision to believe Ms. Broadrick is because "We (I) should err on the side of believing women."
Elle (Dedham MA)
I’m perfectly willing to believe Clinton did something this bad, but I too just don’t get what the persuasive evidence is in this instance.
Alfred (Whittaker)
The best reason to believe her is that her associates describe her contemporaneous accounts of the assault.
Diogenes (Belmont MA)
Ms Broaddrick denied under penalty of perjury that Mr. Clinton raped her. Then she changed her testimony. She was a unreliable witness. Rape is a serious crime, and requires belief beyond a reasonable doubt.
Reader In Wash, DC (Washington, DC)
RE: Richard Mellon Scaife was bankrolling the Arkansas Project, which David Brock, the former right-wing journalist who played a major role in it, described as a “multimillion-dollar dirty tricks operation against the Clintons.” Telling the truth is "dirty tricks?" That's like Clinton's claim that he was the victim of a perjury trap. People who testify truthfully don't perjure themselves.
isisdagmar (Los Angeles)
I don't know what to think about Juanita. She says Clinton raped her, but now she's an ardent Trump champion, despite how many women have accused him of rape and assault? Is that just her being selfish and taking the side of anyone who takes her side, even if it means betraying other victims of assault? That doesn't mean her claims are false, but it's sure hypocritical.
Rob E Gee (Mount Vernon NY)
I am always inclined to believe the victim in cases of sexual assault. The fact is that Bill Clinton has an issue with adulterous and unseemly behavior, but no one, especially this woman is in anyway shape or form, credible.
Christopher (Brooklyn)
Juanita Broderick should be as free as anyone else to have crummy politics. It is not “hypocrisy” for a rape survivor to vote for a sexual predator whether that is Broderick voting for Trump or the countless other rape survivors who voted for Bill Clinton. It’s not difficult to imagine how Broderick became a Trump supporter given her experiences with his opponent and her party. She might also just agree with Trump’s other terrible views.
JM (San Francisco, CA)
I agree, Juanita's support of Trump seems hypocritical. But It would only be reasonable to expect Juanita would be vehemently opposed to Clinton. Juanita had to support Trump in order to get one of the high-profile seats on that stage of anti-Clinton women during the debates.
James Cameron (Seattle)
I supported Hillary Clinton. But this is partisan deflection. The point is accountability, not who's running for office. Bill Clinton was never held accountable. I believed his accusers then, just like I believe the accusers of Costy, Weinstein, and Moore and all the rest.
tom boyd (Illinois)
I held him accountable personally. When the Lewinsky story broke, I opined that he should resign the Presidency. In '92, I had a Clinton/Gore bumper sticker and broke a cheap bottle of champagne when he won the election. The Republicans over reacted over Lewinsky I thought too. But I did think he should have resigned.
David (Philadelphia)
Being impeached isn't being held accountable?
nell ryan (Washington)
Never held accountable? Where were you when the frenzied hypocrites, whose sex lives were dormant (Starr) or perverse (Hastert), did everything they could to destroy him. You simply can't ignore the consensual nature of his affairs, however brief. Yet, he's been held "accountable" for decades due to someone else's fantasies. Suppressed right wingers need to find something else to get excited about.
Vymom (NYC)
Neither Bill Clinton nor Hillary Clinton is currently capable of endangering the democracy and civil rights of the US. The Trump Republican party is capable of that. To muddy the water now with a past (I'm not denigrating Ms. Broaddrick's assertion, at all) accusation at the Clintons is the NY Times playing devil's advocate, RIGHT into the hands of the Trump administration, in an effort to make money. Shame. On. You, NY Times.
Someone's Mom (New Jersey)
I️ would add: if we are holding a woman accountable for her spouse's behavior (Hillary|Bill) why are we not holding Mrs. Moore, Melania Trump, Mrs. Weinstein, etc responsible for their husbands' behavior? The answer is obvious: it's absurd to do that. Except when it comes to Hillary Clinton, who has never gotten a fair shake on this topic.
Girish Kotwal (Louisville, KY)
Yes I believed Juanita too that she was raped by Bill Clinton and I believe daddy George Bush groped Roslyn Corrigan and Ms Kline and possibly many others. I also believe that son George W. Bush caused the deaths of 10,000 brave US soldiers and half a million civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan by waging unjustified wars. So 3 presidents in a row. Senior Bush, Bill Clinton and Bush. Jr deserve to be charged for crimes against women and humanity and if found guilty they should face appropriate consequences beginning with confiscation of their passports, being stripped of all ex presidential benefits and their libraries should be named after some other deserving American and when they are no more they should not be honored with any military salute or 21 salute they should not be buried in public places and have memorial service. I had respect for daddy Bush and for Bill Clinton but I have lost it by what they did privately. End of the two disgraceful dynasties will be a breath of fresh air.
Jeff (Evanston, IL)
I'm not going to defend Bill Clinton. He let our nation down because he couldn't control his sexual appetites. But that was 20 years ago, and he is not running for public office now. Also, today we have the Weinstein Effect. Women are no longer afraid to go public about the way they have been treated, and they do so out of principle and outrage. Roy Moore gives new meaning to the word contemptible. A 14-year-old girl! I ask those who still support him or refuse to denounce him outright: Would you want your 14-year-old daughter or granddaughter to be alone with this guy after dark in his car?
Lem (Nyc)
Jeff, did you have the courage when it mattered to take a principled stand against Mr Clinton? It doesn't sound like it and the excuse of '20 years ago exonerates him' is weak. If you read the conservative press there are plenty of individuals who are calling Mr Moore out against their party's interest. Now. Far too many Democrats are willing to accept anything in allegiance to their ideology. Gloria Steinem and others whose voice could have made a difference should be ashamed for their complicity in the degradation of our political progress which is the legacy of the Clinton presidency.
Jeff (Evanston, IL)
I'm not saying that "20 years ago" exonerates Bill Clinton. As I said, he let our country down. I am saying that Bill Clinton is not running for office today. I want us to talk about the people who are now in charge. They are the ones who are making our laws and enforcing them. Their attitudes toward women are what is important, not what a former President did 20 years ago. So I ask you, Lem of Nyc: Would you want your 14-year-old daughter or granddaughter — if you have one — to be alone with Roy Moore after dark in his car? Let's hear your honest answer.
MyThreeCents (San Francisco)
Good point! "Last I checked, Bill Clinton is not running for Senator from Alabama." And it's not like the Democrats are asking him to speak at their convention in front of millions of viewers, or anything like that!
Daniel A. Greenbum (New York, NY)
The role of the right wing makes believing any of the charges against B. Clinton much harder than the Roy Moore charges. As the article he was accused of drug running and murder. Beyond that the use of the Monica Lewinsky story also makes it hard to be sure of the facts. She was depict by Republicans and Press as a near child preyed upon rather than an adult who came to Washington to have sex with Clinton.
JJ (Chicago)
She was a near child - 21 I believe. Any CEO who had done what Bill did with a 21 year old employee would have been immediately terminated. It was wrong. Full stop. But blame the woman, sure. I bet you’ve been doing that for decades.
Heidi Haaland (Minneapolis)
Can we at least acknowledge that the eight years of investigation by Kenneth Starr began as a politically-motivated inquiry by the sore loser GOP into a real estate transaction that pre-dated Clinton's presidency, and when that was revealed to be a nothingburger turned into a fishing expedition to find something- anything- that would be grounds for impeachment.
Jon Lamkin (Houston, Texas)
It was nice to see Ken Starr get his reward at Baylot.
Suppan (San Diego)
How brave of you to take this stance now? When Bill Clinton is mostly out of political life and there are no consequences for you to take him on. Bravo!!! The time to act was when these issues were live and relevant. Save your breath folks on the outrage and venting. Life is serious, you strike the iron when it is hot, not 20 years later when it does not matter. Right now the priority is to address the Moore allegations. The fact that Democrats had slaves 160 years ago does not mean we should bring it up now when we are talking about voter suppression and other Jim Crow-lite issues of the contemporary Republican party. If you have legal evidence against Clinton please pursue it in court. If you are just wringing your hands because you want something off your conscience do it on your time in your space, not on our time and space.
TM (Boston)
The neoliberal profile typically includes blatant hypocrisy. I could never abide the sight of Bill Clinton after his reprehensible behavior in the Oval Office with Monica. His cowardly lying under oath compounded the offense. I, too, believe Juanita. The manner in which Gloria Steinem (a major Clintonista) defended him in an op-ed piece was equally disgusting. Bill Clinton had a reputation which he earned by demonstrating a pattern of dishonorable behavior. A decent man would have bowed out of the public arena after the last and most publicized incident and quietly lived a life of anonymous service, but his hubris would not allow him to be out of the spotlight. Somehow I think Hillary might have done a wise and noble thing by declining to run after losing to Obama in 2008, rather than dragging us through that horrific 2016 election. Again, a case of enormous hubris. If Biden runs he will have to answer for his disgraceful treatment of Anita Hill. In neoliberal terms, he was probably compelled to support the black man over the black woman. As a progressive, I demand a candidate who consistently demonstrates integrity and decency, both publicly and privately. Someone like Bernie Sanders. Is that too much to ask?
Betty Boop (NYC)
Um, perhaps you want to look a bit closer at "Saint" Bernie and both his past and present actions; there's no halo there.
midwesterner (illinois)
Jane Sanders is under federal investigation for a failed land deal that forced her to resign from her college presidency. So, I guess having a husband brought down by his wife's alleged misdeeds would be a change from having a wife brought down by her husband's.
SandraH. (California)
I think you're kidding yourself if you believe Bernie Sanders would not have been the target of all sorts of phony outrage. Remember Kerry and the Swift Boaters? Every Democratic nominee for president will get the same treatment. Expect it. Do you also think JFK and LBJ should have bowed out of the public arena? I don't condone philandering because it hurts the people you love. However, his fling with Monica Lewinsky was consensual, and she initiated it. What do you mean by Biden's "disgraceful treatment of Anita Hill?" Do you mean that he didn't defend her forcefully enough?
Eric King (Washougal Wa)
What concerns me is that Clinton led to Trump, if Juanita had gone to the cops, if she hadn't felt afraid to go up against bill then we would not have had the clinton presidency and then trump would not have been able to attain office. Trump is the nations nadir, the worst president ever, and if women had not felt they would be ignored in coming forward we would not have this sexual harraser in office. Junita never went to the cops-if she had we would not have had the clintons or trump-if those allegations were true. We are paying a high price for the fear women have had about reporting rape, if they were fully supported this might in itself make future presidents like Trump nonstarters and save the republic.
Courtney (Thompson)
For the past year I have struggled to understand as Clinton and Trump supporters pointed their fingers at each other and say he's worse. They are both are revolting. Neither is fit to lead this country. While Hillary is not responsible for her husband's actions at some point she did become responsible for her silence at the very least. How did we end up with people this morally bankrupt as our candidates?
fran soyer (wv)
False equivalency.
CityTrucker (San Francisco)
Throughout the Lewinski affair, I was offended by the Republican hypocrisy and yet, equally disgusted by Clinton's exploitation a young woman's infatuation. Many men abuse their power over women for sexual gain. Its not good enough any more to excuse the rogues in our midst. If someone is abusive, they lose their right to represent and lead the rest of us.
Marvant Duhon (Bloomington, Indiana)
This seems a fair assessment. In any event, SO much fairer than the swill that has appeared on the subject in right wing media like National Review and the Washington Times.
RS (Philly)
It is almost a certainty that "believe woman" will become a political weapon and it will get co-opted just like the term "Fake News."
Morgan (Minneapolis)
Erring on the side of the accuser sounds well and good when the accused is a rich, powerful white man with the means to ably defend himself. But how comfortable will we be applying this same logic to suspects who fall outside of the dominant paradigm? This country has a long history of convicting (and lynching) black men accused of raping white women without consideration for due process. If the left is championing the presumption of guilt, there will be no political bloc remaining that can credibly push back when we begin applying this presumption to more vulnerable groups, or to other types of crimes. Certainly law-and-order conservatives won’t blink at the opportunity. While the alternative—not automatically believing women who come forward or, put another way, the presumption of innocence—is horrible to even contemplate in the context of, say, Harvey Weinstein, it’s also a founding principal of the ideal for our liberal justice system. The fact the system so often falls short of this ideal by failing to protect the rights of minority groups cannot be remedied by further asymmetrical application of our values. Instead, we need to hold to them, while simultaneously insisting that our institutions, politicians and fellow citizens view these accusations with the seriousness they deserve, and that our courts and law enforcement personnel investigate and prosecute such crimes with the same energy and determination they would any other violent crime.
Matt Olson (San Francisco)
To "err on the side of believing women", makes sense, but that is different from "beyond a reasonable doubt". Ms. Goldberg doesn't state that, but to state that Bill Clinton has no place in decent society seems to me foregoing the "beyond a reasonable doubt". Really, the cat? Doubting Clinton haters is logical. Those haters are like the boy who cried wolf. Much of the great unwashed among the right believe whatever nonsense they learn from their rabble rousers, like the risible pizzagate. Or Obama's birthplace being someplace other than Hawaii. But there is no excuse for any of these haters. Those that invent the lies, and those that believe them, too, are all deplorable. Fox News, and its like, deliberately cry out their chimerical wolf, and will do so as long as they can get away with it. Meanwhile, the uber wolf sits in the Oval Office.
JJ (Chicago)
Yes, he does. Because of people like you referring to the great unwashed masses. You’re part of the problem.
Tea (Dallas)
The whataboutism that has become the core defense of bad behavior is getting tiresome. I am a Christian, liberal, and yes I voted for both Clintons. When women came out and told their stories about Bill, I was stuck between appalled and disappointed. I currently feel the same way about one of my (used to be) favorite actors, Kevin Spacey. However, both men suffered consequences for his actions and rightly so. Clinton was impeached, expelled from the bar, and have to listen night after night of conspiracy theories and smears about him and his family. Spacey has been repealed and replaced, shunned, and could face criminal charges. I have no sympathy for either. But now we are facing not defense of IF Roy Moore is a pedophile, but the justification as to WHY he is. This is not only disturbing, but the sheer arrogance of Moore and his supporters (including the blasphemous Jesus comparison) is repulsive. Moore has yet to be held accountable for his actions and judging from the response of the people of Alabama, he probably will not. Yes, Bill was a sexual predator, but at least him, Anthony Weiner, Spacey, Cosby, Weinstein, and others, were and is held accountable for their actions.
mb (providence, ri)
Bill may have gotten something of a pass given he was being hounded by paragons of virtue such as Newt Gingrich and Bob Livingston. He certainly didn't do Hillary any favors during the campaign either with the Loretta Lynch meeting and his comments about Obamacare. Hillary was tied to Bill. In hindsight, not a great choice bit Obama threw his weight behind her as well. Where was Joe Biden when we needed him?
Jenny (Connecticut)
Your question "Where was Joe Biden when we needed him" is thoroughly and poignantly answered in new his book, released today, "Promise Me, Dad." Biden writes about the tragic series of events that impaired him during the 2015-2016 candidacy and election. Biden also writes about President Obama's thoughts on the matter as a close friend, a seasoned politician, and a Democrat loyalist.
MyThreeCents (San Francisco)
This seems to be very far from the case: "It’s fair to conclude that because of Broaddrick’s allegations, Bill Clinton no longer has a place in decent society." Have you heard? Bill Clinton not only "has a place in decent society," but is an eagerly sought-after participant in various campaign events for Democratic candidates. By contrast, I seriously doubt anyone has plans to ask Roy Moore to show up at any campaign event.
Aurther Phleger (Sparks, NV)
paraphrasing "if you only care about sexual misconduct of the other political party, then you don't really care about sexual misconduct at all." The reality is very few people, including women, care enough about this misconduct to be willing to lose an important election. You hire (vote for) a legislator mainly to go legislate for you. Within reason it is entirely rational and ethical to look past certain misbehavior to achieve greater legislative goals. I'd argue this applies to Roy Moore. It's pretty creepy and potentially criminal but almost 40 years ago. People do change and we want second chances. I felt the same way about Anthony Wiener on his first offense.
Exnyer (Litchfield County, Ct.)
If Mr Moore is so offended, and believes the claims against him to be utterly false, let him file suit against his accusers, depose witnesses, etc., under oath, etc., and lets see where the chips fall in a defamation lawsuit. I think Mr Moore is full of it. I don't know enough about the Broaddrick complaint to make a judgement.
nell ryan (Washington)
Moore said he never met and does not know the woman who he attempted to rape when she was 16. Moore stated that he never met today's accuser and didn't know her. How, then, did his message and signature (Love, Roy Moore, D.A.) get onto a page in her high school yearbook?
Annie03 (Austin, TX)
These stories are out and the what was in the shadows is now accepted as true. When will journalists start digging into the mechanisms that kept the truth from being investigated and adjudicated? Due process is essential for justice. Justice is the highest good (said Plato?). These crimes are not given their day in court because their are legal mechanisms that get them thrown out before testimony and evidence can even be revealed. Take a legitimate grievance to a lawyer and ninety-nine out of hundred times they will tell you that there is some established legal reason why you don't have a case. We've read a bit about how HR departments are really just gatekeepers for the powerful. It's time we start understanding how the abusive use of the legal system work in tandem with powerful men.
Jason (Brooklyn)
Whataboutism is a distraction. No one -- including anyone on "our side" -- should be let off the hook for their moral transgressions, but bringing up the offenses of other people is not a valid defense or justification of one's own wrongdoing. Clinton may have been a monster, and we need to make time and space to reckon with that. But that doesn't make Moore any less of a monster, and it's Moore, not Clinton, who's running for office.
Miss Lemon (NYC)
I also find Juanita Broaddrick’s story credible--I always have. Many years have passed since the Clinton presidency, and perhaps as the figures of Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton fade slowly from the limelight it will be possible to evaluate them more dispassionately. Certainly we ought to view Broaddrick with sympathy--not as a pawn in an ongoing political game.
Doug Giebel (Montana)
"We should err on the side of believing women." OK. But suppose to do so is a serious error? In "she said, he said" complex relationships, determining fact from fiction can be impossible. In our angry climate regarding sexual misconduct, biased belief may not be helpful. The attacks on male behavior, while often justified, seem to assume that only men act wrongfully. In the perhaps millions of allegations and confessions pouring into view, surely some are exaggerated or just plain false. We can never know which are untrue or know why people (women and men) would make bogus allegations. In harassment guidance, the approach has often been to not punish false charges because to do so might inhibit others from coming forward with legitimate claims. So one destroy another but not be penalized. It seems verboten in this super-charged atmosphere for anyone to raise the fact that false charges happen, that they can cause serious damage and that people are capable of making false charges to retaliate, to get even, to get attention, to be part of the tidal wave -- or for reasons unknown. Are false charges a form of sexual harassment -- a kind of reverse sexual harassment? It has happened that women in authority and determined to "get tough" on sexual harassment have conducted unethical, biased, vitriolic procedures with little regard for fundamental fairness. Perhaps "err on the side of believing women" -- but verify. Seek the truth, however unpleasant it may be.
I'm 72 and am still naive enough to believe that most people lead decent lives that aren't filled with this kind sleazy stuff. What I can't figure out is how we elect people who think they can do this stuff with impunity.
Edmund (Orleans)
Bill Clinton's behavior cost Al Gore the presidency, giving us George Bush instead. Hillary's refusal to distance herself from Bill perhaps gave her a Senate seat and Cabinet experience, but denied her the presidency, when voters decided they couldn't trust her judgement. President Trump is the latest nightmare present from Bill. Hope to God it is the last.
James (Savannah)
Anything happen in American politics since the 80s that isn’t the Clinton’s fault? Screw-loose Clinton hatred gave us Trump.
John (San Francisco, CA)
Edmund Orleans, You rewriting American history? The Supreme Court decided the winner of the election that gave the presidency to George W. Bush. Bill Clinton gave us the pedophile Dennis H. and the serial adulter, Newt Gingrich who served divorce papers on his cancer-stricken wife while she was in a hospital bed. Yeah, that's Bill' s fault too.
Petey tonei (Ma)
James, apologizing for Bill is what is the real problem with our nation’s hypocrisy as well as failure to embrace honesty. As a nation we love gossip can’t have enough of it, but when it comes to morals, we are selective, depending on our “political” or “tribal” preference. Stepping back, taking a look at the situation with a fresh perspective is the reason my daughter and her friends gag at the mention of Bill Clinton and were hesitant to vote for Hillary. Bill and Hillary are joined at the hip, they are a couple. You cannot separate them. In the light of the Weinstein scandals it is very clear that even while in the WH, with his daughter and wife present in the building, Bill then in his 40s, could not keep his hands off women and girls. Bill should have been in treatment for sex addiction, instead he was on steroids in politics and his wife who never kicked him out, continued to stay in politics. Because we liberals are hypocritical with our morals and then we blame republicans for being so. Bottom line, as a nation, we are gossip hungry, celebrity star struck, gun loving, violence loving,?out of control Americans. Nice.
PJ (Colorado)
Most people thought Bill Clinton was guilty at the time but it didn't prevent him being elected. Most people thought Donald Trump was guilty but it didn't prevent him being elected either. Most people think Roy Moore is guilty but he'll quite likely be elected also. There's the real problem.
Check the timeline of the Clinton allegations against the last time he ran for office. The situation is not comparable to Donald Trump or Roy Moore.
Marylee (MA)
Most of Bill Clinton's exploits were not as blatantly obvious before election. 45 was and is a dangerous liar.
Marc Kagan (NYC)
We felt we had to rally around Clinton because the Right's attack was so clearly political in nature. But Clinton should have done the right thing and resigned, leaving the Republic in the hands of Al Gore who would have then been re-elected in 2000 and read that memo about bin Laden and the airplanes. Ok, maybe we don't know that last part but Clinton used us too, to satisfy and gratify his own ego at the expense of the national well-being.
MyThreeCents (San Francisco)
I think Hillary handled it about as well as she could have: "It was clear to me even before election night that one of the things voters held against Hillary was her continued association with Bill." She had 2 choices: dump Bill or don't dump Bill. Whichever choice she made, some voters would be dissatisfied. She basically "split the difference" (as she usually does) by NOT dumping Bill but keeping him at a distance. There was a brief period during which she said Bill would play a "prominent role" in her campaign, but she dropped that idea like a hot potato when polls showed that voters didn't like it. Bill left Hillary between a rock and a hard spot on this. There really was no easy answer for her.
jb (weston ct)
This column ends: "We should err on the side of believing women, but sometimes, that belief will be used against us." What she really means to say is: we should err on the side of believing women who accuse Republicans but we have to somewhat sceptical when Democrats are accused because, well, we all know how the conservative press is about these things.
MyThreeCents (San Francisco)
Bill Clinton has been "marginalized?" He doesn't have "a place in decent society?" Not that I've noticed. He's made many million dollars giving speeches, and is highly sought after by Democratic candidates for public office. Hillary initially announced that Bill would play a prominent role in her campaign. She changed her mind fairly quickly about that, but not because of Bill's past. She changed her mind only because polls had told her that voters felt that since SHE, not Bill, was running for President, SHE, not Bill, should be running things. Though she never actually said that Bill would be in charge of her campaign, polls showed that many voters feared that that would happen if he were given a "prominent role." (Sexism in that voter sentiment, anyone?)
Public Servant (Civic Duty, USA)
I've lost friends I've had for decades because they didn't seem upset about the Trump tape in which he was caught red handed, no doubt about it, bragging about behavior I can't even imagine wouldn't ruin his career. Now he is the leader of the rapidly deteriorating free world --glad handing dictators and despots. And I watched the Anita Hill hearings, and was dumbfounded then, too. But I must admit, I am now feeling squeamish because I was not as outraged at Bill Clinton and I do feel that some of those stories were buried on back pages. This is an historic moment for women. Change is coming. We have all overlooked and normalized so much for so long. We are at the threshold of a new era. We will never be able to go back to pretending that this behavior is ok, or this state of affairs is normal. Mr. Trump has unleashed a social catharsis. Lines in the sand have been drawn. Hashtag never Trump has now morphed into a future tense...never again. We are watching and we are awake.
NB (Texas)
Whatever Bill Clinton did to Ms Broaddrick, does not excuse what Trump or Moore has done to women. Bill Clinton is rapidly showing his senility and is irrelevant politically. That is not the case for Trump and Moore. Times have changed and this sort of behavior in politicians is reason to disqualify them from office NOW. Moore and Trump don't get a pass because of Bill Clinton's behavior. Two wrongs don't make a right.
Petey tonei (Ma)
I disagree, Bill Clinton is not irrelevant politically. Ask the DNC and the officials of democratic party, who really controls them. Hillary by herself is not a politician of Bill's caliber. She couldn't have pulled it off this far, alone. She and Bill are tied at the hip or cuffs, whatever imagery comes to your fancy.
Julia Holcomb (Leesburg VA)
Trump is showing his senility, too, at least that's how it looks--and sounds-- from where I sit. Listen to him.
ChristineMcM (Massachusetts)
"Discerning what might be true in a blizzard of lies isn’t easy, and the people who spread those lies don’t get to claim the moral high ground. We should err on the side of believing women, but sometimes, that belief will be used against us." A good conclusion to a column that couldn't have been easy to write. Thank you for your honesty, as well as your consistency, Michelle Goldberg.
joiede (Portland OR)
Agreed, well done. Difficult truth to face, difficult column to write, at a very difficult time in America.
I believe Jessica Leeds, who accused Donald Trump of groping her on an airplane many years ago. Decent society? Mr. Trump is the president. If Ms. Leeds is generally considered to be credible, what obligation do we have as decent citizens?
Vik Nathan (Arizona)
Trust the right wing to turn the #MeToo moment of the victims into a #ThemToo discussion about the perpetrators, and trust the liberals to take that bait. Every injustice has a time when it comes into focus - and outrage against Clinton or Clarence Thomas just did not gain traction in the nineties. I don’t see that as a fault of liberals. In fact, the Lewinsky story was not about the victim at all, but rather a partisan sideshow of a real estate investigation; Bill Clinton’s follies do not mitigate DJT’s crudeness or Roy Moore’s transgressions, and those are the topics for today. Even setting aside their treatment of women, DJT and Moore are spouting enough bigotry and hatred to disqualify them for public office. For, with power, they will be doing a lot more damage to everyone, women included.
Charlierf (New York, NY)
Forcible rape ain't no "folly."
BHB (Brooklyn, NY)
It was clear to me even before election night that one of the things voters held against Hillary was her continued association with Bill. Democrats kidded themselves into thinking that he was not at issue, but I know if at least one Trump voter who found the thought of Bill back in the White House to be disgusting for reasons described in this article. Great irony of course is that we got the Pussy Grabber (Trump) instead. How about next time we elect a leader who is not a sexual predator OR married to one. Oh what a pretty picture that would be.
Lucy (Becket, MA)
We did elect one: Barack Obama. And we can do it again, if we stick to the mission.
Reader In Wash, DC (Washington, DC)
It's not so much that Hillary is married to a sexual predator but that she actively aided and abetted him.
Sandra Garratt (Palm Springs, California)
I feel uncomfortable about the fact that Hillary threw these women under the bus in an effort to not only protect her husband but to protect their business & political future including her own political ambitions. How is she a Feminist? She should have stood by his side and been silent or walked away and then divorced him. She enabled his behavior for years. I am grateful that he is not lurking around the Whitehouse.....we have other things to deal with but Bill & Hillary should not get a pass on this...ad Gloria Steinham has tarnished her image w/ me after her anti Bernie Sanders remarks....she is very much out of touch w/ modern women. Please keep the very immature Chelsea Clinton out of our politics, she has nothing to say or to offer. No more qualified or dysfunctional families in our Whitehouse please.
HH (Midwest)
"It’s fair to conclude that because of Broaddrick’s allegations, Bill Clinton no longer has a place in decent society." Dateline NBC aired Broaddrick's allegations in 1999. Bill Clinton made $132m in paid speeches alone from 2001-2013. http://edition.cnn.com/2016/02/05/politics/hillary-clinton-bill-clinton-... Bill Clinton was allowed to speak at the DNC 2016 convention. https://www.politico.com/story/2016/07/full-text-bill-clinton-dnc-speech... How is this accused rapist not part of "decent" society?
David (Monticello, NY)
Innocent until proven guilty?
Nelda (PA)
Because society is changing before our eyes. #MeToo has arrived.
JWC (Hudson River Valley)
Bill Clinton certainly cheated on Hillary. Bill Clinton never raped anyone, and certainly not Juanita Broaddrick. She has lied under penalty of perjury. It just depends now which lie you wish to believe because she's told multiple stories under oath.
LMG (San Francisco)
Let's see--the GOP-led Justice department is apparently considering appointing a special prosecutor to investigate the Clinton Foundation (for what, exactly?) and a uranium deal with Russia with which all acknowledge Secretary Clinton had no involvement while running the state department. Should liberals have protected Bill Clinton? Maybe not. But had they not, would they have played right into GOP win-at-all-cost hands? Yes.
teach (western mass)
Last I checked, Bill Clinton is not running for Senator from Alabama.
SteveRR (CA)
Yes - he has been absolutely a model citizen by excusing himself from carrying the Dem banner - with the modest exception of the past 20 or so years.
Lisa (Charlottesville)
teach--Nor is Clinton currently president of the United States--let's not forget that. Somebody made this point here in the last couple of days: the Democrats excoriate and punish their own (see Weiner, Weinstein, Clinton) when they transgress, while the sanctimonious Republicans line up behind their man (it's always a man) and scream that he is innocent. Then they put him on SCOTUS or the White House. Is this horror show coming to an end soon? Surely, surely it must...
21st Century White Guy (Michigan)
Right. But this editorial is not about that. It's about whether we will apply the same standard and the same principles no matter who the subject is. If the accusations against Clinton are as credible as those against Moore (or Trump, or anyone else), but we don't believe them because of ideology or partisanship, then our standards and principles are meaningless.
DSM14 (Westfield Nj)
I think Bill Clinton has a lot of sleazy, sexist aspects, and Roy Moore is despicable, but what a far distance there is between "innocent until proven guilty in a court of law after both sides are subject to investigation and cross-examination" and "innocent until someone prepped at length by a lawyer gives a press conference and I believe her."
Lennerd (Seattle)
I believe Anita Hill and another woman who said she would testify against Clarence Thomas back when he was being vetted for a seat on the Supreme Court. Wikipedia says, "After interviewing a number of women who alleged that Thomas had frequently subjected them to sexually explicit remarks, Wall Street Journal reporters Jane Mayer and Jill Abramson wrote a book which concluded that Thomas had lied during his confirmation process."
Marylee (MA)
What has most disturbed me about republicans is their hypocrisy. Democrats are not sanctimoniously preaching about the evils of sex, abortion, birth control, etc., while the republicans are.
Sue (Chapel Hill)
Finally a columnist dares to connect the dots! I think it's now clear that some powerful men use their power for their own sexual gratification and disregard and/or lie about the terrible impact it has on those they pursue. It doesn't seem to matter what industry or political party they hail from, or whether they prefer young women, young men, or teenagers. We must recognize that there are powerful men, who may be genius wonderful creative visionary leaders in other parts of their lives, who are ALSO sexual abusers, predators, and rapists.
JWC (Hudson River Valley)
And, to be fair, there are women about whom Henry Kissinger said, "Power is the ultimate aphrodisiac." I have witnessed women virtually throw themselves at famous and somewhat powerful men, including, drum-roll, Harvey Weinstein (I was on the Miramax screening / premiere invite list for a short while many years ago). I have witnessed young, ambitious and simply star-struck women use their youth and their beauty to try to get access to powerful and oft times much older men. Not sure what we can do about that. Read "I'm with the Band" or many other Hollywood or Rock n' Roll memoirs. Let's get more women in positions of power. Let's encourage men and women to value stable relationships over illicit affairs. But let's not kid ourselves to think that these men who abuse their power have not been trained to behave this way by a small but active group of women who respond positively. No one greets dozens of actresses in a hotel room in a bathrobe asking for a back massage if it doesn't produce results from some very willing women. That in turn leads to some terrible experiences for others and plays a hand in some terrible, harassing behavior. Google "Lori Maddox David Bowie Thrillist" if you want to read something that will give a glimpse into a world that horrifies me, but is looked back upon by the participants as the good ol' days.
Southern Boy (The Volunteer State)
@Sue, I agree. I admire Michelle Goldberg for stating her support for Juanita Broaddrick. Few men and women are brave enough to do so.
Saints Fan (Houston, TX)
She didn't connect a thing that wasn't know 20 years ago. And she still is making excuses for the left's lack of morality now and then.
MauiYankee (Maui)
I believe Leda. I believe Mary. I believe the Sabine women.
Gail Giarrusso (MA)
I'm a liberal democrat and have always believed Bill Clinton's accusers, and always believed he raped Juanita Broadrrick. I also voted for him. I distinctly remember reading her story in this paper. I think I even remember the placement of the piece. It was buried in the middle of the paper, and under the fold. I also remember feeling sickened when I read it, and telling people about it. I was much younger then, and full hope for the man from Hope and the dancing foursome. Now, many years later, I had this icky feeling all through the election while supporting Hillary. I think she is brilliant and would have been good at the job, but have always felt that Bill was a big albatross around her neck. She could never really come out with guns blazing at Trump about his harassment of women. Her hands were tied. And what a bummer that was for the first woman candidate, and for all of us women. This is a watershed moment in history right now. Finally, the women are being believed. I also was riveted by the Anita Hill/Clarence Thomas hearings. Anita Hill was the pioneer here. She was the brave soul, who testified under oath, in front of a huge white male power boys club, and her elderly parents, about the humiliating details of her sexual harassment. Everyone in that room, and in the world, knew she was telling the truth, (you too, Joe Biden). How could she not have been. Yet look at who's got a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court.
Socrates (Downtown Verona NJ)
Well said, Gail.
Gwe (Ny)
Anita Hill was such a watershed moment for me as a 22 year old. I remember being INFURIATED when he Clarence got elected. Here I am so many years later, still infuriated.
I watched the Hill testimony with a sinking heart. I was a third-year law student, working part-time at the white shoe firm at which I would later become an associate. I was watching in the firm library, along with a number of partners and associates. When Hill had finished her story, one partner turned to the group of us and said, regarding Thomas, "he's done." This was an experienced litigator. Hill was telling the truth, and every lawyer in that room knew it -- as, I believe, did every Senator in the Senate hearing room. Many if not most of those Senators had law degrees. Nonetheless, Thomas sits on the Supreme Court, while Hill's reputation was tainted. We wonder now why women remained silent for decades? The lesson that I took away after watching Hill's testimony with some of the leading attorneys in the country, and then seeing what happened to her (and Thomas), was that no woman's reputation or professional career could survive her filing a sexual harassment charge. I, too, believed Bill Clinton's accusers. Yet I rejected the cynical exploitation of those women by the far right. The Clinton accusers were used; had their abuser not been Bill Clinton, they'd have ended up in the same place as Anita Hill. When white men decide that the women's claims are politically useful, those claims are "believed." The bottom line is that we women have always been at the mercy of male agendas. Until women rise to positions of power in greater numbers, nothing will change.
Roy Moore's own bizarre responses to the accusations against him indicate guilt. He began with describing "evil," "politically motivated" impulses behind the charges. Moore went on to give creepy accounts of asking permission from the mothers of teenage girls to date them, and not making a habit, while in his thirties, of dating underage females. Monday, when McConnell tried to pull the plug on Moore's candidacy, the "judge" concluded that his party was against him for being a conservative "Christian." When someone relies on melodramatic, illogical defenses and makes skin-crawling declarations with a straight face, he makes the case against him.
Heidi Haaland (Minneapolis)
A blog post on AL.com by his former law school professor confirms that melodrama and illogical defenses have been a part of Moore's repertoire for decades. Indeed, he was so obstinate and prone to gratuitous disagreement, that class discussion become utterly unproductive and the professor had to abandon them entirely.
Roy Moore’s comment about getting permission from mothers is so creepy and makes it clear that he dated underage girls. It also reminds me of Bill Cosby acting like a “gentleman” to the mother of at least one of his victims, to the point where the young woman didn’t feel she could “let down” her mother by telling her what had happened. Same with what’s-his-name (musician) with his cult of young women who have been forced to cut ties with their parents (who originally thought he was so great and going to help their daughter’s career). The points of similarity in the M.O.’s of many of these men add to the list of situations in which women/girls need to “be careful” (hopefully the day will come when it’s not our job to be on alert!). For example, if you are supposed to have a business meeting with a man in a hotel restaurant and are told to go up to his room instead, insist on waiting in the restaurant/lobby for him to come down! Hopefully, what is happening right now will put men on alert for once, though I fear there will be a major backlash....
Robert (Petaluma)
Asking a parents permission to date their daughter is creepy ??? I always met my date's parents before going out for the first date. Do you think it's OK for a 15-16 year old to pop out a kid and have a list of possible fathers or not know his name?
Tom (MI)
Bill clinton does not hold any office. Clarence thomas is still on the supreme court.
Walker (DC)
And Bill did a fairly good job. whereas...
Jane Bidwell (Scottsdale)
DaveD (Wisconsin)
Phyliss Dalmatian (Wichita, Kansas)
That photo epitomizes Trumps Campaign. Let's pause to consider the utter hypocrisy, cynicism and indecency here. The self acknowledged " kitty grabber" parades these Women, to embarrass and soil Hillary Clinton. And of course, the rubes eat it up, and the Media goes wild. Because, EVERYTHING is HER fault. Or Obamas. Poor, misunderstood Donald.
Bing Ding Ow (27514)
.. to embarrass and soil Hillary Clinton --- Yeah -- that's HRC's problem, and no one else's. Just like being the biggest FOIA violator in history, who lost because she would not campaign in the Midwest.
Reader In Wash, DC (Washington, DC)
Hillary aided and abetted Bill's sexual abuse for decades. Of course she's guilty. She is a co conspirator.
Dave G. (NYC)
Both sides stink: own that fact & life is a tad easier.
James (Savannah)
Many valid points here. One thought about Bill Clinton- in fact, he doesn’t really have a place in the society anymore. Despite an arguably successful presidency, inspiring millions of people worldwide, he was impeached for lying about having extra-marital sex. Since then he’s been largely marginalized, presumably more so than he would have liked. Moore and Weinstein and all the rest of them are still active power players. If people coming forward can deflate their ability to continue abusing others, great. But the eternal anti-Clinton crusade in the public discourse, when the man is already out of the picture, always seems gratuitous. Obviously anyone who suffered his abuse would feel differently.
David (Monticello, NY)
Not really. Up until now he has been the star of the Democratic Party. His speech at the 2012 convention saved Obama's presidency. Many of the people who disparage Bill Clinton are probably too young to remember his presidency, and the incredibly successful campaigns that he ran. It makes me wonder, is Jack Kennedy next?
21st Century White Guy (Michigan)
When I hear the word "marginalized" I generally don't think of someone getting a prime spot to speak at the Democratic National Convention. Just sayin'.
Susan (Houston)
I think Weinstein's heyday of power has come to an abrupt end, to put it mildly. No one is doing business with him; I doubt he can get a table at Denny's at this point.
R.P. (Bridgewater, NJ)
Point of the article seems to be that if the accusations are against a Republican politician you should automatically believe them, but if they are against a Democratic politician you should be skeptical. Sigh.
Boltar (Gulf Coast)
Or, phrased differently, Republicans have a record of making dubious sexual allegations about their political opponents, whereas Democrats don't. That may or may not be true, but that is the author's point.
Dw (Philly)
I thought the point was the opposite!
CityTrucker (San Francisco)
That's not what I read
Amy (Merica)
Ok, lets believe her. Yes. But "me too" is now turning cynically into "you too," else these Rs would bring up all of them. Juanita, Anita, how about just ALL of them? All of US. If we buy into this one by one, one side and then the next, we diminish the spotlight we women have so badly needed.
Kevin (Bronx)
I believe Juanita, Paula, Monica and all the rest of Bill Clinton's accusers for the same reason I believe the 79 women who have accused Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault. People like Harvey Weinstein, Roy Moore and Bill Clinton sexually assault women because they know they can get away with it and they enjoy humiliating their victims. Let's hope this year is part of a sea change in which women are not afraid to speak out, and sexual predators are afraid to pounce on their potential victims.
Maggie Harper (MA)
Sorry, but what did Monica Lewinsky "accuse" Clinton of? It was a consensual, albeit sordid, affair. As a liberal woman, I have to say it made me nauseous at the time, and still does. The whole Jennifer Flowers episode is sickening. Among the other allegations against him: I believe something nasty DID occur between Clinton and Paula Jones -- he apparently whipped it out, and God know what else -- but no charges of rape, or assault -- "only" sexual assault, which is also nauseating. Kathleen Willey's story is also believable. The one I continue to have problem with is Juanita Broaddrick -- I guess it's because she changed her story so frequently AND because she continued to work on his campaign well after the alleged rape, the date of which she couldn't name. The allegation that Hillary threatened her also seems specious -- what Hillary reportedly said seems benign: “I want you to know that we appreciate everything you do for Bill.” Hardly sounds like a veiled threat to me. But the real point of confusion to me, is that she was having an affair with David Broaddrick, who she would eventually marry. Did she accuse Clinton of rape to possibly cover up the affair? Bottom line is that Bill Clinton, Roy Moore and certainly Donald Trump are all cut from the same creepy cloth. It will be lovely one day, when these kinds of assaults become something out of an ancient historical text.
Mulling (North Carolina)
Why do you skim over Trump's accusers? My life is no longer affected by Bill Clinton. Donald Trump supposedly represents the entire US and makes decisions that affect millions. Shouldn't you start with the self-described sexual predator at the top?
Mark W (watchung)
If you believe Monica then you realize that she bragged about going after him. That has been well established. SHE pursued him. She spoke about it to her friends. She said this under oath. So what in the world are you talking about?
Me Too (DC)
I believe Juanita also. The detail that her friend noticed her tights were torn has always stuck with me. One of those little things someone might not think to include if making up a story. I don't want sexual abusers in office, regardless of party. Enough.
drbobsolomon (Edmonton Canada)
Dear Me Too, you never tore tights? Only rapists do? I am never buying new ones for my wife or daughter... Oh, and Bill is not in or running for office, is he? "I don't want sexual abusers in office" - neither do I. If one runs, let's get him, e.g. Mr. Moore. OK?
Brian (Ohio)
At this point the corruption of the legal system and the media are more damaging than a simple coup. This voting thing is getting out of hand just end it.
cd (Ohio)
My only hope is someday there is a true women President. One who the entire Nation can look up @. One that see a birth of a baby as a miracle and being a parent not a job but something you work together @. That as President her first words are not ( I am first women President ) I will lead this entire Nation. Hillary Clinton was so far from that goal it was sicken.
See also