Fun, fun, fun! Matt Yglesias demonstrates the fine liberal art of feigning repentance as he throws the no-longer-useful Bill Clinton right under the feminist issues bus. Former heroes of the Left are all very well, but getting Roy Moore could mean one more vote in the Senate.
I, like most Americans, was glad to see Clinton prevail and regarded the whole sordid matter as primarily the fault of congressional Republicansâ€™ excessive scandal-mongering. Now, looking back after the election of Donald Trump, the revelations of massive sexual harassment scandals at Fox News, the stories about Harvey Weinstein and others in the entertainment industry, and the stories about Roy Mooreâ€™s pursuit of sexual relationships with teenagers, I think we got it wrong. We argued about perjury and adultery and the meaning of the word â€œis.â€ Republicans prosecuted a bad case against a president theyâ€™d been investigating for years.
What we should have talked about was men abusing their social and economic power over younger and less powerful women. ….
Unfortunately for me, Iâ€™m a little too old to get away with claiming to have had no opinion on this at the time. My version of a sophisticated high schoolerâ€™s take on the matter was that the American media should get over its bourgeois morality hang-ups and be more like the French, where FranÃ§ois Mitterrandâ€™s wife and his longtime mistress grieved together at his funeral.
As a married 30-something father, Iâ€™ve come around to a less â€œworldlyâ€ view of infidelity. As a co-founder of Vox, Iâ€™d never in a million years want us to be the kind of place where men in senior roles can get away with the kind of misconduct that weâ€™ve seen is all too common in our industry and in so many others.
Most of all, as a citizen Iâ€™ve come to see that the scandal was never about infidelity or perjury â€” or at least, it shouldnâ€™t have been. It was about power in the workplace and its use. The policy case that Democrats needed Clinton in office was weak, and the message that driving him from office would have sent would have been profound and welcome. That this view was not commonplace at the time shows that we did not, as a society, give the most important part of the story the weight it deserved.
As the current accountability moment grows, we ought to recognize and admit that we had a chance to do this almost 20 years ago â€” potentially sparing countless young women a wide range of unpleasant and discriminatory experiences, or at a minimum reducing their frequency and severity. And we blew it.
And, if no Republican were in the cross-hairs, let us ask ourselves: what would Matt Yglesias be saying? We know perfectly well he’d be taking the same position he did twenty years ago.