Bill Clinton’s enablers | On Politics | Chicago Reader

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Bill Clinton’s enablers

It’s about time Dems stop treating Bill Clinton like he’s a hero.

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I was somewhere in the middle of Bill Clinton’s speech at John Lewis’s funeral when it hit me—I’m so through with this guy.

If I never see Bill Clinton’s face again at another state funeral or convention or, really, any important cultural event, it will be too soon.

I realize he was at the funeral because of his friendship with Lewis and because his status as a former president lent stature to the tribute Lewis deserved.

But Clinton abused the presidential office. Much like Donald Trump has. OK, not as much as Trump. But bad enough.

Not sure what it was about Clinton’s speech that irritated me the most. It might have been the passive-aggressive shot he took at Bernie Sanders when he slyly smiled and “thanked” South Carolina congressman James Clyburn for “with a stroke of a hand, ending an intrafamily fight within our party.”

Man, the Clintons will never forgive Bernie for having the audacity to challenge Hillary back in 2016.

Or, it may have been his gratuitous swipe at Stokely Carmichael, a prominent leader in the fight for civil rights and Black Power.

Like Lewis, Carmichael was a fearless advocate. Like Lewis, he was a Freedom Rider. At age 19, Carmichael got arrested for trying to integrate the white section of a segregated train bound from New Orleans to Jackson, Mississippi. He spent two months in the notorious Parchman Penitentiary—a prison farm in Mississippi.

In contrast, Bill Clinton had it easy. So who the hell is Bill Clinton to criticize Stokely Carmichael?

Listening to Clinton take his shots at Sanders and Carmichael brought back memories of the “triangulation” games he mastered as a presidential candidate.

It reminded me of how he rarely missed a chance to adopt Republican talking points to bash progressives in order to win over swing voters. Essentially, saying things like—Don’t worry, I’m not one of those soft-on-crime Democrats you’ve grown to hate. And then he’d turn right around and tell progressives, You gotta vote for me ’cause you have no choice.

It reminded me of how he rushed home to Arkansas from the 1992 campaign trail to figuratively pull the trigger on electrocuting Ricky Ray Rector—just to demonstrate he was different than Michael Dukakis, the 1988 presidential nominee, who opposed capital punishment. And may have lost the election because of it.

Or how he seized the opportunity to criticize Sister Souljah and Jesse Jackson. It was a calculated move to let white people know Bill Clinton wasn’t one of those white liberals who was afraid to criticize Black people.

It was such a blatantly obvious campaign moment that they named a thing after it—a Sister Souljah moment. 

At the time, Clinton said he was taking a moral stand in criticizing Sister Souljah.

What a joke, coming from a man whose reputation as a philanderer was already well known.

And that brings me to his so-called affair with Monica Lewinsky, a 22-year-old White House intern, that went on for the better part of two years.

Back then, Clinton’s defenders were angrier at the prosecutors and Republicans who impeached Clinton for perjury and obstruction of justice.

Back then Clinton’s defenders said the Republicans were making a mountain out of a molehill. And that it was no one’s business what Clinton and Lewinsky did. As they were consenting adults. And the only one who should care is Hillary. So, shut up already.

I should know what Clintonian defenders were saying—’cause I was one of those defenders saying it.

How pathetic it sounds now. As though there’s such a thing as consenting adults when one person’s the president of the United States and the other is an intern.

I realize the Republicans who hounded Clinton were a bunch of hypocrites. And still get a charge at how effectively he enraged them by ducking and dodging their blows.

But in retrospect, we were all a bunch of enablers. Not much better than the MAGA-hat crowd that remains silent in the face of Donald Trump’s crimes.

In retrospect, I think we might have been better off had Congress thrown Clinton out of office. His second term was largely a waste of time. So many good people wasted so much energy and effort trying to save his sorry ass from impeachment.

If only we fought so hard to enact universal health care.

Bill Clinton has never apologized to Monica Lewinsky for how he treated her. Or how his followers treated her. Or how the media treated her. Or how the talk show hosts mocked her. Turning her into the butt of their jokes.

When asked in 2008 if he would handle the response to revelations of his affair with Lewinsky differently, Clinton replied: “If the facts were the same today, I wouldn’t.”

Who the hell knows what that means. It’s classic Clinton slipperiness. Slick Willy to the end.

Bill Clinton was an anchor around the neck of Al Gore in 2000. His inability to curb his appetites and impulses led to George W. Bush’s victory. Which led to two wars and the loss of thousands and thousands of lives.

Just as he was the anchor around Hillary’s neck back in 2016. Trump was able to survive the fallout over his infamous “grab ’em by the pussy” comment in large part because he said Bill Clinton was no better. “Bill Clinton has said far worse to me on the golf course,” Trump said at the time.

It may have been the one time Trump wasn’t lying.

Now we have Clinton’s embarrassing connection to Jeffrey Epstein. Virginia Giuffre, who’s accused Epstein of sex trafficking, says she saw Clinton visiting Epstein at his mansion on Little Saint James Island in the Caribbean.

“I remember asking Jeffrey, ‘What's Bill Clinton doing here?’” Giuffre said. “And he laughed it off and said, ‘Well, he owes me favors.’”

A spokesman for Clinton denied the former president had ever been to Little Saint James Island.

Of course, Clinton’s the same guy who looked America in the eye and said: “I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Ms. Lewinsky."

Hey, Dems, how long are you going to cover for this guy? It’s high time we stopped being Bill Clinton’s enablers.  v

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