Skip to comments.BROADDRICK WANTED TO JUST GET THE STORY "OUT THERE"
Posted on 01/02/2003 8:02:48 AM PST by doug from upland
VAN BUREN -- The previous evening had been difficult. "When that woman cried, I cried," she'd said to her husband, referring to the woman on the television program they'd just finished watching, the woman who just happened to be herself. She was Juanita observing Juanita from afar. She often speaks with this kind of detachment, as this is Juanita Broaddrick's way of protecting herself, of doing her best to distance herself from the pain she endured in 1978 and must recount now.
A couple of days earlier, over the telephone, she had said she could still see herself lying on the bed after, she says, Bill Clinton suggested she put some ice on her swollen lip and left the room. She referred to herself as "the body," as if she felt vaguely dead by then, like so many rape victims. Another detail sprung to her mind, something she hadn't said on camera for NBC. She said she lay there on a bed in the Camelot Hotel that spring morning, unable to move, lip swelling, panty hose torn, until a terrifying possibility entered her mind. "This was a powerful person who had done this to me," she said. "I thought somebody was going to come in at any moment and get rid of the body, rid of the evidence."
No one will ever be able to substantiate her story. But she says she has lived with humiliation and fear for 21 years, so perhaps you can understand at least why she hasn't spoken on your timetable.
The morning after a nation heard her claims of having been raped by Bill Clinton 21 years earlier, she sat on her living room couch and listened to her phone ring for at least the 10th time in 15 minutes. She sighed, contorted her body in black stretch pants, looked awkwardly over her shoulder and cocked an ear toward an upstairs answering machine, whose speaker she'd turned up to a level audible throughout her large house so she could hear the many scratchy, pleading voices without ever having to move.
The voices echoed off her high ceilings. It was like being in a taxi dispatch, with all these loud, harried-sounding strangers wanting her to pick up so they could take her to New York, Washington, L.A., Atlanta, wherever she wanted to go. Now an unctuous female voice, oozing flattery and identifying itself as affiliated with Fox Television, requested a minute of her time, adding that Patricia Ireland of the National Organization of Women had had something respectful to say about her just that morning and the voice would like to fill her in. Please, pickup.
"Fox," Broaddrick groaned. A Fox crew had harassed her once, telling her husband that she might as well submit and let herself be filmed because they'd be getting what they came for in any case, chasing her on an Arkansas highway at speeds approaching 95 miles an hour in an attempt to get footage of Jane Doe NO. 5. "I'm letting that one go."
"Hmm, Patricia Ireland saying something," murmured her husband David.
"Oh." Broaddrick leaned back on the couch, quite underwhelmed, holding some flowers that a friend had sent over, a congratulatory bouquet after her NBC appearance. David turned to a journalist sitting across from his wife. "MSNBC had a poll this morning saying that 84 percent of the people believe Juanita; only 16 percent Clinton."
"But that doesn't really mean anything," his wife quickly interjected. "It wasn't a scientific poll. Who knows what people really think?"
This is one of Juanita Broaddrick's charms, her level-headed bluntness. She doesn't have much patience for imprecision or half-truths, which probably best explains why last summer and autumn she was never so much as tempted to amend (which is to say bend) her version of the truth (after the lies of her earlier affidavit) to supply Ken Starr's and Henry Hyde's lieutenants with a better opportunity to oust Bill Clinton from office. They asked her everything that might have changed the course of the impeachment proceedings and subsequent Senate trial: Did Bill Clinton ask you to lie? De he or any of his aides attempt to intimidate you from testifying truthfully in the Paula Jones case? Did the president offer you a bribe or do anything in your matter that we could construe as an effort to obstruct justice?
No, no and no, she answered.
She never sought to aid Clinton's impeachment. She never has showed any signs of wanting to file a lawsuit against him or make money off a lurid book.
Of course, her story would have been more useful to the prosecutor, not to mention sensationally compelling, had she merely added that, say, a sinister Clinton threatened her in that room at the old Camelot Hotel before he donned his sunglasses and left. It would have been more perilous for Clinton had she claimed he offered her a bribe in exchange for her silence.
But it is this very lack of anything akin to a supportable, impeachable allegation, coupled with the ambiguities and gaps in her story that, ironically, make it harder to see her as a liar and--to the contrary for anyone who has recently sat across from her in this living room--only add to the impression of a pained, plain-speaking woman whose charges seem invested with the raw, eerie credibility of a story with no neatly tied bows; a woman with no perceptible motive for lying--not money, not celebrity, not even justice, given that she can't bring her accused attacker into any court, insofar as the statute of limitations on an alleged rape would have run out about 15 years ago.
Twenty-one years is a long time to wait before thoroughly telling a story and so it was almost inevitable that she would forget some particulars, that things would be hazy, that she would remember a few things one week and other details the next. Over the phone the day before, she had thought of something she'd never told the NBC Dateline crew because the point never had occurred to her until that moment. "I told Mr. Clinton at the time he first kissed me in that room that I was in a relationship with another man who wasn't my husband," she said. "He knew it right then. He knew I had that affair to hide; that I would be reluctant to come forward if for no other reason than to cover the embarrassment I felt over an affair. I really feel he held that over me right then and afterwards. He never said so--he never would, that's not his way; he's too smart--but I felt he did hold it over me. He'd mentioned I was married. I think that was useful to him."
As you read this, she is enjoying a weekend of gambling in an undisclosed city with her mother, wearing a baseball cap and sunglasses to conceal her identity, having entered Monica's world.
She has no illusions about what will happen next. There are no witnesses to her claim, so "nothing will probably happen," she says. "But at least it's out there."
Why is having it "out there" at all important?
One can think of several reasons, not least of which is that a brave, reputable woman deserves an airing of a charge so damnable. Aside from this, history merits a complete accounting of the charges against a president of whom we can no longer say that such accusations are "preposterous" or "beyond credibility" or "outrageous." He is not Jimmy Carter or George Bush or Dwight Eisenhower or even LBJ. He is a liar, his true character having been exposed many months and women ago, a man who increasingly looks to us less like Slick Willie than Jekyll and Hyde. Juanita Broaddrick can take some solace in knowing she will have stoked history's redemptive fires.
Imagine if it was a white republican!
An actress named Selene Walters accused Ronald Reagan of raping her back in the 1950's when he was President of the Screen Actors Guild. (link)
Think about that for a minute, and then ask yourself this: did you EVER hear one person, friend or foe of Bill Clinton's, say anything remotely close to that? I never heard anybody even attempt to make the case that he "just isn't that kind of guy," or "he'd never do anything like that.
I replied by posting links to Selene Walters' accusation of similar behavior by Ronald Reagan in order to make the point that we don't have to imagine - it's already happened.
Now, does this mean that I am "defending Clinton by attacking Reagan" or suggesting that "the Reagan-rape story was suppressed by the virulently pro-Reagan media"? Nope.
I have no idea why the media chose to ignore the "Reagan-rape" story, but I can speculate:
1) Maybe it had something to do with the fact that Reagan had already been out of office for 3 years by the time the story broke, so it didn't seem relevant anymore.
2)Maybe the media ignored this story because it happened decades before Reagan became president.
3) Or maybe the media ignored this story because the symptoms of Reagan's mental deterioration were obvious by 1991 and sympathy seemed to be the order of the day, rather than vindictiveness.
4) Maybe Selene Walters was deemed not credible, or had some other grudge against Reagan that later came to light, thus casting doubt upon her motivation.
In the end, who can really know for sure? Not us, I'd wager.
Maybe the media ignored this story because it happened decades before Reagan became president
Maybe the media ignored this story because it SUPPOSEDLY happened decades before Reagan became president
The accusation itself was the story which the media ignored, not the event - just wanted to make that distinction clear.
Like I said (you may wish to reread my previous post) it may be that the media collectively intuited that the charges were to old to be relevant, that since Reagan was already out of office the story wasn't relevant, that Walters wasn't credible, that Reagan was a beloved figure who deserved sympathy rather than dirt-digging, or whatever.
Yes, but is it much more amazing than the complete lie down and play dead stance of the Senate Republicans during impeachment?
a)Kelley embellished Walters' account somehow or
b)Walters herself was less forthcoming with People than she was with Kelley
In either event, it's worth remembering that even if RR was "fighting" and "had his way" with this young woman, it happened a long time ago, in a different era, when that sort of thing was more acceptable (albeit rarely discussed) - the term "date rape" didn't even exist yet!
..a more innocent (naive?) era for sure....