Ross Douthat says he’s long thought that Bill Clinton ought to have resigned after his sexual misconduct in the White House came to light, but that GOP efforts to impeach and convict him were going too far. He’s rethinking all that in light of the Harvey Weinstein mess and all that has followed, and now, after re-examining the evidence, believes that Ken Starr and the 1990s GOP had it right. Excerpt:
There is a common liberal argument that our present polarization is the result of constant partisan escalations on the right — the rise of Newt Gingrich, the steady Hannitization of right-wing media.
Some of this is true. But returning to the impeachment imbroglio made me think that in that case the most important escalators were the Democrats. They had an opportunity, with Al Gore waiting in the wings, to show a predator the door and establish some moral common ground for a polarizing country.
And what they did instead — turning their party into an accessory to Clinton’s appetites, shamelessly abandoning feminist principle, smearing victims and blithely ignoring his most credible accuser, all because Republicans funded the investigations and they’re prudes and it’s all just Sexual McCarthyism — feels in the cold clarity of hindsight like a great act of partisan deformation.
For which, it’s safe to say, we have all been amply punished since.
Well put. Read the whole thing. I am glad that Bill and Hillary Clinton have to see this column in their hometown newspaper.