- - Wednesday, July 29, 2015

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

“Those who cannot remember the past,” the philosopher George Santayana reminded us, “are condemned to repeat it.” The young, particularly the young voters of 2016, have no memory of Bill Clinton, and along with the rest of us they’re about to get a reprise of the Hillary story.

The many sexual misadventures of Bill, who was the Bill Cosby of his day, and the excuses and enabling of Hillary Clinton on his behalf, will come not as old news, but as the newest of scandal. We’re about to suffer a few memories of the past. William Faulkner wrote that the past is not dead because it is not even past, and he observed that without the help of the Internet and social media, where nothing goes to die. The reprise of old news won’t be flattering to Hillary Clinton and her second presidential campaign, which is not off the rails but does not look as steady on the rails as it once did.

Paula Jones, Gennifer Flowers, Juanita Broadrick, Kathleen Willey, Sally Perdue, Linda Tripp and Monica Lewinsky, names that once dominated conversations, enlivened front pages and lit up television screens across the land, are ancient history now, names as remote as Mary Pickford, Aimee Semple McPherson and Amelia Earhart.

But everything that goes around usually comes around, and Kathleen Willey, a particularly embarrassing name from the Clinton family past, announced this week that she is putting up a web site to remind everyone of Bill’s gory days and Hillary’s unsavory supporting role.

Ms. Willey tells how she, who had been a volunteer in Clinton campaigns, called on the president after her husband died unexpectedly to ask for a job. Instead of talking about job prospects, she said, he attempted to kiss and fondle her. She has set out to hear from women who have been “harassed, stalked, intimidated or persecuted by a person of power or public trust.”

But it’s not just Bubba for whom she seeks revenge, retribution and further accountability, she’s after Hillary for what she calls, with considerable evidence, her complicity in her husband’s sexual abuses and scandals.

“She is the war on women, as far as I am concerned,” the Widow Willey says, “because she made it a point to find out about every woman who crossed his path over the years. She’s orchestrated a terror campaign against every one of these women, including me.”

In fact, the angry Hillary called Monica Lewinsky, the object of the president’s dalliance that led to his impeachment, “a narcissistic loony tune,” and dismissed Gennifer Flowers, a Clinton mistress when he was governor of Arkansas, as “trailer trash.” Ms. Flowers alleged in a lawsuit in the year 2000 that Hillary ran a “war room” during the Clinton presidential campaign in 1992 to “smear, defame and harm” women such as herself. Juanita Broadrick, who credibly accused Bubba of violently raping her in a Little Rock hotel room when he was the state attorney general, said Hillary threatened her face-to-face in the days after she made the accusation in a television interview. Not exactly solidarity in the sisterhood.

When Sen. Bob Packwood was accused of sexual harassment in unrelated incidents early in the Clinton presidency, Hillary complained to friends that she was “tired of all these whiney women,” and she needed the Packwood assistance in the health-care initiative her husband had assigned to her. The initiative eventually failed, whiney women or not.

This would be old news but for Hillary’s early determination to build her campaign this time about women’s issues. She appeared in early events in April and May of this year to boast of her record as an advocate for women. This is what makes old news relevant as “new” news, the double standard, encouraged by Hillary, that persists and grows stronger in the wake of the Bill Cosby disclosures that particularly infuriate young women.

“Right from the start,” Camille Paglia tells Salon, an Internet magazine, “when the Bill Cosby scandal surfaced I knew it was not going to bode well for Hillary’s campaign because young women today have a much lower tolerance of these matters. The horrible truth is that the feminist establishment, led by Gloria Steinem, did in fact apply a double standard to Bill Clinton’s behavior because he was a Democrat.

“The Democratic president and administration supported abortion rights, and therefore it didn’t matter what his personal behavior was. But we’re living in a different time now.”

She thinks modern young women, the millennials who are intolerant of both abuse and Hillary-like excuses for abuse, are reflective of the age, with emotions and feelings politicized along with everything else, and particularly sexuality.

Hillary’s cruise to the Democratic nomination, planned as a fiesta in the sun, is suddenly interrupted by events, and none of them happy ones. Santayana nailed it.

Suzanne Fields is a columnist for The Washington Times and is nationally syndicated.

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