I'm struck by: 1. Calling Hillary Clinton, the dominating presidential candidate, "his wife." 2. Using a gun violence metaphor — "takes aim" — about an American presidential candidate. (Never do this, whatever your politics. It's never needed. And there are weak people with impressionable minds.) 3. Dehumanizing Hillary's opponents as a "machine." 4. The idea that problems relating to Bill Clinton's interactions are manufactured — machine-made — and don't come from real people who think there really was something wrong. (I have always had a problem with the sexual harassment aspects of Bill's misdoings, though I was never a Republican, and I voted for him twice.) 5. A supposedly serious newspaper straining so obviously to carry the Clintons' message: It's old, it's manufactured, it's unfair, it's (metaphorical) violence against women. 6. The mixed metaphor: a manufacturing device, a gun, and — "gain new traction" — a vehicle.
So I clicked. At the article, the headline is different, and much more appropriately journalistic: "For Hillary Clinton, old news or new troubles?" It's so different that I didn't think I'd arrived at the article I'd clicked on. But the byline is the same — Karen Tumulty and Frances Stead Sellers — and I double checked.
Tumulty and Sellers observe that the sexual troubles are old but there's a "fresher case being made" that Hillary has been "hypocritical"...
In November, Hillary Clinton tweeted: “Every survivor of sexual assault deserves to be heard, believed, and supported.” She has made women’s issues a central focus of her campaign and is counting on a swell of support for the historic prospect of the first female president.... or, worse, "complicit."
[Juanita] Broaddrick, now a Trump supporter, tweeted Wednesday: “I was 35 years old when Bill Clinton, Ark. Attorney General raped me and Hillary tried to silence me. I am now 73. . . .it never goes away.”And times have changed. We have "a new sensitivity toward victims of unwanted sexual contact." Interesting. I remember when we had "a new sensitivity" in the early 1990s, when male Senators, chided with "You just don't get it," stepped up and took it very seriously. That new sensitivity got lost to a politically opportune insensitivity when Democrats decided it was more important to protect their President. They subordinated feminism to Democratic Party power, and it required a long struggle to get back to a second new sensitivity. And so, once again, the question is whether sensitivity or insensitivity better serves the interests of the Democratic Party.
If you don't remember "You just don't get it," here's a Washington Post column from May 5, 1994, by Richard Cohen: "Bill Clinton's Anita Hill":
Conservatives (and others) have wondered out loud the last several weeks why The Post, which reported [Anita] Hill's allegations [against Clarence Thomas], was so silent about a similar accusation lodged against Bill Clinton....
As few conservatives failed to note, the Jones story and the Hill story have much in common.... The fact remains that both women have made unsubstantiated accusations of a grievously wounding nature. They both amount to bulletless assassinations...Ugh! Another cheap gun violence metaphor.
... of character and possibly of career. It's hard, moreover, to gauge their relevance -- although if Jones is on the level, then Clinton has truly given womanizing a bad name. Her story is revolting, and the purported use of state troopers as procurers is deeply disturbing. But liberals had this coming...And thus the new sensitivity became the new insensitivity until a new sensitivity seemed like a good idea again and now — once again for the Clintons — it seems to be time once again for a new insensitivity. As if feminism is nothing but what the Democratic Party needs it to be and believing women depends on whether we like what they are saying.
The mere invocation of the phrase "You just don't get it" during the Thomas hearings seemed to banish common sense, not to mention decency. In Thomas's case, so much -- feminism, the abortion movement, civil rights -- was invoked to justify the public trashing of a man who, whatever his politics, was hardly evil. It's hard to see him now and not wonder what all the fuss was about. Hill was just the means to try to bring about Thomas's end.... Paula Jones is to Bill Clinton what Anita Hill was to Clarence Thomas. It's that simple -- and that regrettable as well.
I get it.
BUMPED: Originally published at 6:53 AM, but it got buried.