“Bimbo Eruptions.” That’s what Republication strategist Mary Matalin, during the 1992 presidential campaign, called allegations of extramarital affairs against candidate Bill Clinton. But, unfortunately for the president, Juanita Broaddrick is nobody’s bimbo.
In an NBC “Dateline” interview taped before but aired after the Senate impeachment vote, Broaddrick says that in 1978 then-Arkansas attorney general Bill Clinton raped her.
Many skeptics ask, “Why now?” Why does Broaddrick come forward after 21 years and accuse the president of a horrific crime? Wrong question. Given the president’s and his allies’ assault on the integrity of other accusers, the question in Broaddrick’s case should be: “Why ever?”
Paula Jones, who alleged sexual assault, became instant fodder for late-night talk-show hosts, comedians and Clinton attack dogs. We all heard the cracks. Horse-face, big nose, trailer-park trash. Later, the president settles her dismissed case for $850,000. A lot of money from someone who claims he did nothing wrong.
Gennifer Flowers publicly stated that she and Clinton had a long-standing affair. The president went on “60 Minutes,” accusing her of lying. The spin? Cash for trash, since Flowers sold her story to one of the tabloids. Later, in the Paula Jones deposition, Clinton admits that, yes, he did, indeed, have sex with Flowers.
As for Monica Lewinsky, pre-stained dress, the president called her a “stalker.” Post-dress, the president admits to, yes, an inappropriate relationship with Lewinsky, an affair he denied to the nation, his Cabinet, his advisers and his friends.
Kathleen Willey, on “60 Minutes,” described an unwanted sexual advance. She claimed the president took his hand and placed it on her breast, and took her hand, placing it on his genitalia. For this, feminist Gloria Steinem suggested that women should be of sterner stuff and that Willey’s description, if true, is small potatoes. After all, said Steinem, when Willey said, “Stop,” Clinton stopped. No harm, no foul. The White House piled on, releasing letters Willey wrote to the president post-incident, thus suggesting she, too, lied. After all, argues the White House, would a victim of an unwanted sexual advance maintain a cordial relationship with such a cad?
Dolly Kyle Browning, another woman alleging a long-standing affair with Clinton, claims in a lawsuit that the president’s allies tried to intimidate her from publishing a novel based on her relationship with Clinton. The Internal Revenue Service audited her, later apologizing for its excessive zeal.
Now comes Juanita Broaddrick. Like Anita Hill, Broaddrick never sought attention. But, after the alleged rape, why didn’t she call the police? Why didn’t she go to the hospital? Well, recall the bad old days when defense attorneys put the accuser’s virtue on trial. For a refresher, rent “The Accused” with Jodie Foster.
And here, the accused is not exactly the guy who worked the deep fryer at McDonald’s. This is the attorney general of a state.
Broaddrick, living comfortably in Arkansas, seeks no money and has no book deal, movie treatment or line of action figure dolls.
Yes, she signed an affidavit in the Paula Jones case, denying a sexual assault. But when the federal investigators came calling, and testimony before the grand jury seemed plausible, Broaddrick recanted. Didn’t someone named Monica Lewinsky also sign a false affidavit, which she, too, later recanted?
Gennifer Flowers. Paula Jones. Monica Lewinsky. Kathleen Willey. Dolly Kyle Browning. And now, Juanita Broaddrick. Liars, all.
Never mind that the president wagged his finger at us, saying, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky.” Never mind the Gennifer Flowers tape recording of the then-governor in which he said, ” … if everybody’s on record denying it (the relationship), you got no problems.”
A Fox poll, following “Dateline’s” Broaddrick interview, shows that 54 percent of Americans believe Broaddrick’s allegation. Only 23 percent find the charges untrue. And, post-impeachment trial polls show that 84 percent of Americans believe the president both committed perjury and obstructed justice. This means most Americans consider the president a felon and not just a run-of-the-mill felon but a rapist felon.
Still, most Americans believe the rape charges unprovable and complain of scandal fatigue after the impeachment and the Senate trial. And the president continues to enjoy high job-approval ratings. But does our “vindicated” president believe he would have been elected and re-elected had many voters believed he raped a woman 21 years ago?
In the movie “Witness for the Prosecution,” Charles Laughton asks, “The question is, were you lying then, are you lying now, or are you not, in fact, a chronic and habitual liar?”
In Clinton’s case, most Americans long ago decided, yes, yes, and yes.