Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Who is in denial now?

I realize the NY Post is just a reactionary rag, but I don't think they realize how nuts this is.

Critics of the Clintons think Bill Clinton's sex life from two decades ago is a big deal. No one else in the country does. In fact, almost no one else, other that Bill Clinton's critics, thought so when this stuff originally came out during the Clinton presidency. When Bill Clinton was impeached for lying about his sexual relationship, his approval rating went up to the highest point in his presidency. The lead up to his impeachment is why Republicans lost seats in the 1998 midterm elections, bucking the usual pattern in which the party holding the Presidency loses seats in a non-presidential year.

Stories about Bill Clinton's sex life never hurt Bill Clinton politically. It's even more insane to think that those stories would hurt the political prospects of Hillary Clinton.

First, there's the logical problem. Hillary Clinton is a different person from Bill Clinton. Even if you think that what Bill did was terrible, that does not mean that she did anything terrible. Clinton critics are trying to spin this as some kind of hypocrisy issue. They think that Clinton's sexual conduct showed that he "abused woman" and that by not leaving Bill, Hillary therefore does not really believe in women's rights. But that only works if you buy the premise that Bill's actions constitute misogyny and that by not divorcing Bill, Hillary endorsed that misogyny. The people who hate the Clintons buy both of those premises. No one else does. Without both of those premises, the argument against Hillary Clinton just doesn't work.

And second, the argument that Bill's sexual misconduct will hurt Hillary is directly contrary to how Hillary's popularity has been effected by Bill's scandals in the past. Bill's sexual scandals have always increased Hillary's support. Hillary's decision to stand by Bill in the fact of the scandals was popular. The burst of popularity she enjoyed at the end of the Bill Clinton presidency is what got her into the Senate and what originally started the talk about her presidential prospects. It is why Clinton has polled as the most admired woman in twenty different years.

The NY Post editorial board apparently believes that the public at large is unaware that Bill Clinton had affairs. That alone shows a degree of detachment from reality. The editorial board also believes that if the public became aware of those affairs it would hurt Hillary Clinton's political chances even though when those affairs were first brought to the attention of the American public they did the opposite. I recognize that there are problems with Hillary Clinton as a candidate (what candidate does not have problems?) But the idea that Bill's past is one of them is simply insane.

(via Memeorandum)