Skip to comments.Monica Lewinsky Affair Marked Official Death of Liberalism
Posted on 05/10/2014 12:18:28 AM PDT by dignitasnews
Monica Lewinsky's Vanity Fair essay has provided those of us who lived through those months an opportunity to re-hash the spectacle it became, and allowed younger Americans an opportunity to finally "meet" the girl who inspired oh-so many of the Clinton jokes they've grown up on and discover who Beyoncé was singing about. It also provides us an opportunity to accurately pin-point the exact moment when the term "liberal" became synonymous with "Democrat." With the Monica Lewinsky affair, liberalism in America officially died and marked the moment when the left sold out all principles in the name of "der Party" and political expediency.
With rare exception, no longer do liberals base their positions on the ideals they so loudly espoused in the turbulent period of the late 1960's. Nearly two decades after the story broke, whether it is on matters of war and peace, government surveillance or bureaucratic harassment, the American left determines issues based on their political opposition first, then defines the rhetoric thereafter.
] The same forces who railed against Bob Packwood turned on the female accusers of Bill Clinton
While many a journalist on the left have called the Lewinsky-Clinton affair the episode which ushered in the era of the sex scandal, they conveniently forget that just prior to this they stood in unanimous righteous condemnation of both Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and former Republican Senator Bob Packwood of Oregon, both of whom faced accusations of harassment and impropriety. At the time of the Packwood affair, Patricia Ireland, then the head of the National Organization for Women (NOW) was initially a big supporter of Packwood, given his strong pro-choice stance and a consistently "pro-woman" voting record. When the allegations against Packwood surfaced and feminist anger intensified, Ireland quickly turned on Packwood, leading demonstrations and calls for his resignation. In an interview she stated that although the Republican Senator had been a consistent ally on a number of issues important to the group, that "principles and right and wrong," not politics, must govern NOW's actions.
Curiously these same standards did not apply as numerous women stepped forward with allegations against Democratic President Bill Clinton. Long before Monica Lewinsky became a household name, Paula Jones, Juanita Broderick, Gennifer Flowers and Kathleen Willey all faced the wrath of the American Left, being called a number of vile names and generally assumed to be seeking publicity, money or fame in besmirching the good name of the then-hero of liberalism. As we fast-forward to the modern day, a similar strategy is employed with their anointed savior of today, Barack Obama, although the term "whore" has been replaced with "racist."
It wasn't always this way, as Democrats of the past such as Harry Truman and John Kennedy often put national interests ahead of that of party and while liberals and conservatives of course had political disagreements with one another, the term "loyal opposition" still meant something. Chris Matthews, host of MSNBC's Hardball often speaks romantically of the days when he, an aide to then Democrat House Speaker Tip O'Neil, and Republican opponents would fiercely argue their positions, then join one another at the corner pub to knock down a few pints. Of course Matthews fails to add himself among those culpable of the toxic nature of modern politics, or his role in the death of liberal objectivity begun during the Monica Lewinsky affair.
The hypocrisy of the left was not so much in that they stood loyally by their President and party leader, that much can be understood. It was the methods that they chose to employ in the fight and how they have made this a template for nearly all political battles since. While the Republicans built their case on President Clinton's perjury and obstruction of justice, Democrats and their liberal allies willfully chose obscure this by falsely insinuating that he was being prosecuted simply for a "blow job," a narrative gladly echoed by a liberal media that, at the time, was void of a strong conservative counterpart such as Fox News.
While Republicans were certainly utilizing Clinton's perjured testimony as a tool of political opportunism, the media and liberal activists painted them as puritanical hypocrites, dredging up various conservatives family histories to prove their accusations. One finds it hard to believe that he party of FDR or JFK, not to mention the party that led the prosecution against the transgressions of Richard M Nixon (aided by a young lawyer named Hillary), could turn such a blind eye to the seriousness of a sitting President committing perjury. Even without this skullduggery, the ultimate conclusion would have most likely remained the same, with the House voting to impeach and Senate opting not to formally discharge from office. But this strategy was employed and a "loyal opposition" forever became a bitter-enemy, whose defeat took precedence over all sense of reason, fairness or consistency.
It didn't take long for this pattern to emerge in national politics, as the contested 2000 Presidential results in Florida provided an opportunity to resume the tactics of hyperbole and a scorched-earth policy. With little regard to the consequences on the republic, Democrats fought to the bitter end for Al Gore in his fight against George W Bush, despite all logical evidence pointing to the accuracy of the initial results. It was certainly fair and within reason to call for a recount, but it soon became apparent that Democrats would employ a win-at-all cost strategy by insinuating that both Florida Governor Jeb Bush, the GOP candidates brother, and Republican Secretary of State Kathleen Harris had conspired to fix the election. Once again, they utilized a strategy that defied reason, given that the main object of disputed votes occurred in counties heavily controlled by Democratic Party officials.
] 2000 Florida Recount
Even after the final recounts, and close scrutiny by nearly every media outlet in the country, Democrats perpetuated the belief among the public that the results and Bush's presidency were somehow illegitimate. In addition, the further questioned his victory by continuously speaking to the fact that Gore received more votes overall, nationally, knowing full well the nature of our electoral process. Their reasons for this were to weaken the incoming Bush among the public, thus gaining an edge for future policy battles, and to lock down their political base not by bettering their lives, but by tagging the opposition as a criminal element who stole power from the rightful heir-apparent.
This rhetoric was carried on full-board up until the evening of September 10, 2001. The next morning, of course, changed everything temporarily. Sensitive to the national mood, Democrats backed off the "stolen-election" meme and for a short period joined in the collective spirit of the American people that was tired of inner-bickering and came together in response to our joint enemy. Democrats even reached out to groups on the far-fringes of the left, such as the ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) Coalition and MoveOn, advising them to tone down the rhetoric against Bush and Republicans, given the "uncomfortable climate" of a unified America.
As the Bush Administration pursued its foreign policy goals of stabilizing the Middle East and removing the Taliban in Afghanistan and Saddam Hussein's Baathist regime in Iraq, Democrats were unified with Republicans in granting Bush the votes he sought prior to prosecuting the two wars. As the post-occupation period in Iraq began to began to go sour, groups like ANSWER broke free of their leash and set out on full-fledged anti-war efforts, often mimicking the rhetoric of our Islamist opponents in calling the United States and Imperial invader and the source of all ills in the region. As the 2004 elections began to draw near, Democrats sensed a political opening in this and quickly began a campaign of insinuating the Bush Administration had falsified intelligence (or somehow had information they had not shared with Congress) and we were once again on the road to division and a weakening of the American image worldwide.
Democrats gladly embarked on this road, despite the fact that it was the Clinton Administration who had (rightfully) designated our official national policy toward Iraq as one of "regime-change." The left conveniently dismissed its rhetorical attacks on Bush's father, George H.W., mocking him for being a "wimp" and not engaging the Baathist's further during the original Gulf War and not taking Baghdad. A war that, by and large, they did not support in the first place. They furthermore mocked the international coalition put together when George W eventually took out Hussein, choosing to highlight the meager inventory list of some of the coalition partners contributions, while failing to acknowledge the real efforts and sacrifices of the bulk of the coalition. Soon Bush was being accused of "Nazism" and being a war criminal who should be brought before the Hague in a Nuremberg-like tribunal.
This came from the same group of people that not only voted and supported Bush and Republicans during the initial phases of the war (including celebrating the quick victories), but also turned a blind eye of the actions taken during the Clinton Administration, relating to Iraq. While Clinton did not send in ground troops at any point during his Presidency, he did embark on a large-scale carpet-bombing campaign. On a few occasions America was criticized by the international community for improper intelligence which resulted in number of civilian targets being mistakenly bombed. There was no universal condemnation from the left on this, with some exceptions. While I find them to be a reprehensible group overall, ANSWER spoke out very vocally on this, and while their motives are dubious at best, one must admit that they display more integrity and consistency than than their mainstream liberals allies.
Yet liberals call opposition to Obama unprecedented.
While this strategy was not able to carry John Kerry to victory over Bush in 2004, it caused the election to be much closer than most would have thought and left him damaged and largely impotent for the whole of his second term. It caused his plans for much-needed Social Security reform to die without so much as a fight and his growing unpopularity is the primary reason the GOP lost so badly in the 2006 midterm elections, giving Democrats control of the House and Senate. While he has presided over a fairly strong economy for the first six years of his presidency, he forced to largely acquiesce to Democrat demands thereafter, which many conservative economist cite as the reason for the 2008 financial catastrophe, if not its cause that we were unable to adequately respond to in those crucial early weeks. For Democrats it was god-send, as it virtually guaranteed that whichever candidate secured their nomination, Obama or Hillary Clinton, would sweep to victory in November.
This hypocrisy and willingness to abandon all principal to protect or advance the fortunes of Democrat politicians has carried through to the present day in instances such as the Benghazi investigation, NSA snooping and the brewing IRS scandal. On Benghazi, one can easily imagine a young Senator Harry Truman tearing through Washington to get answers as to why there was no action taken by our State Department on that fateful evening, if for no other reason as to assure this does not happen in the future. Instead, we find a liberal apparatus from the Hill, to the media centers to the Facebook Bolshevik dismissing this as a matter of, in presumed 2016 Democrat candidate Hilliary's words, "what difference does it make?"
While liberals and their media allies have expressed concerns over the NSA-spying discoveries, the response has been at best muzzled. Much of the focus on the left has either been to condemn Edward Snowden or point to Bush's involvement and in particular the Patriot Act, neglecting to acknowledge that many believe Snowden's accusations to go far beyond that of the jurisdiction provided in the Act, including its authors. Add this to their seeming lack of concern over the use of drones on American citizens makes one wonder if they would be as obtuse if a Republican were occupying the White House.
The IRS scandal is most troubling, as conservatives look with puzzled amazement at our liberal friends and neighbors. Here is an instance where, of all these political fights, we wold expect them to join sides on. In this we have a situation where a very powerful government bureaucracy, one that generally feared and loathed equally by all citizens, targeting a specific group of citizens for increased scrutiny and intimidation solely based on their beliefs and legal participation in our political system. The targets of the IRS have not been wealthy power-brokers and multinational corporations, but by and large working and middle class individuals thrusting themselves into political activism to organize voter registration drives, impromptu rallies and cupcake fundraisers. That they happened to be political opponents of the current party in control of the federal agency involved is the sole cause for their being targeted. This could very easily occur to liberals as it has conservatives, all depending on the year shown on a calendar. The indifference to this discrimination and the callous comments and rhetoric from the left regarding any attempt to investigate these matters, on the behalf of people who they may very well sit next to at little league games and school plays is something that conservatives not only find disheartening, but cause questions as to the level of hatred our fellow citizens harbor against those of us who happen disagree with them on (by a matter of a few percentage points) on taxation and other issues.
While Americans can almost universally agree that the greatness of our republic comes from our political traditions of two-party conflict and debate, those of us on the conservative side of the aisle are beginning to wonder, aloud, if we find ourselves facing simply a political opposition or a true enemy that seeks to destroy and silence us, to pave the way for one-party rule and an end to our democratic traditions. And as we look at the actions, ferocity and methods of the modern left in the two decades since the Monica Lewinsky affair, we cant help but wonder if this marks the death of pluralism and if we need employ similar methods to avoid becoming extinct. As we survey the political landscape, we no longer can find any 'classical" liberals, only Democrats who seek victory at all cost.
By Paul M Winters
Slick wuz a gorny Huy.
reject the premise.
Great read. Nailed it.
If liberalism died back then, it came back as a vampire pretty darn quickly.
If liberalism died then, it sure came back to life stronger than ever.
Gary Condit...no punishment for him either.
And if Monica hadn't saved the dress and made a tape...I have no doubt....she would have wound up dead, too.
I think he means “liberalism” in the classical sense. The word “liberal” has morphed drastically in recent years, becoming a synonym for “radical leftist” rather than having any meaning on its own.
Thanks zeebee. Much appreciated.
Thats exactly what I meant. There are no more “liberals.” They can call themselves progressives, bolsheviks, or whatever they wish, but there is nothing liberal bout this ilk.
He means exactly that, and uses the term “classical liberal” explicitly in his concluding paragraph.
That concluding paragraph should be read/re-read carefully by all. He is warning that we are up against single party statists, with all e ugliness that implies.
How is sexual harrassment despicable, ugly and perverted only when it involves a republican or a conservative but cool, acceptable and a non story when bubba or another liberal progressive does it
That, to me, is the key conclusion of the entire essay. The part about "a true enemy" rings true to me. We're not facing political opposition; instead, we're facing an enemy which wishes to destroy us.
It seemed like every time Bill Clinton was caught in a sexual pecadillo, some Republican had to resign in disgrace.
It just smells like it.
I asked someone well politically connected about why the two parties always took opposite positions. After all, Id have thought both parties would be in favor of ending the German Nazi regime, but Republicans became the peace party. He said that no matter the issue forty percent of the voters were on each side of it. If you dont take the opposite position then you give up that forty percent and forever doom yourself to lower representation and thus political power. I think that although the Republicans talked the peace talk they also supported the war in all important votes or wed never have gotten the level of national participation we needed to win in such a relatively short time.
Having had the opportunity to speak often to Democrats among my acquaintances (acutely, I mostly just listened as theyre impossible to reason with) I realize they get their talking points from MSNBC and CNN and have no independent critical thinking. Yet, they believe they do have independent critical thinking. If you engage them in conversation and back them into a logical trap they instantly change the subject or go on the attack someplace else. (What now does it matter?)
So, where the World War Two Republicans cynically took a position for votes they had no intention damaging national interests. But Democrats of today will happily damage national interest for votes. It may be short sighted, but they dont care. When, as a result of fifty successful Democratic years it becomes national policy for women to wear burkas and get their clitoris clipped theyll come up with reasoning that its for the good of the children. (Or, some such rot.)
” principle took a back seat to winning elections.”
Exactly. It is also when I finally woke up and saw the Left’s and NOWs hypocrisy and started listening to conservative talk radio. It took a few years of reeducation, but I left the Democrat party because of their blatant hypocrisy. It was all about winning elections and preserving their sacrament of abortion.
The part about "a true enemy" rings true to me. We're not facing political opposition; instead, we're facing an enemy which wishes to destroy us.
I wrote a post yesterday recounting my youth in the 1960s when I believed the liberal line about them being seekers after good such as freedom of expression. More than half a century of witnessing history has disabused me of that naïveté. If one reads Alinsky, Cloward and Piven, or the Marxists of The Frankfurt School one must come to the conclusion that we are in an existential struggle with leftists who do not share our values, who do not share our commitment to decency, but who subscribe to a worldview that exhorts them cynically to deconstruct everything of value in Western civilization to pave the way for their utopia.
Right and wrong as these things are known to us do not enter into their equation, the words are in their vocabulary but the meaning has been altered beyond recognition. Means are justified by the ends and so the felonies committed by Bill Clinton surrounding the Monica Lewinsky affair, including perjury in an effort to fix a court case, become not just condoned but exalted as the normal reaction of any healthy male to lie when caught cheating at sex. The world, not just the language, gets stood on its head.
This is a fight to the political death.
And now we recognize it in it's "true form"...