Monday, January 11, 2016

The Juanita Broaddrick Affair

Those under age 35 might be a little unclear as to why there's been such a brouhaha over Hillary Clinton's criticism of Donald Trump's alleged sexism and, more to the point, Trump's rejoinder that Hillary would do well, if she wishes to use her husband as a surrogate in the campaign and if she wishes to stand by her assertion that women who claim to have been sexually abused deserve to be believed, to forego attacks on other men's attitudes toward women. What, it may be wondered by the younger set, does Bill Clinton have to do with Hillary throwing feminist rocks at Donald?

Well, thereon hangs a tale, and Dylan Matthews at the very liberal website Vox gives a fair telling of it here. I recommend that Matthews' entire article be read, but the following excerpts will serve to illustrate why Hillary's claim that women deserve to be believed when they allege that they've been assaulted is, at the least, very awkward:
There really are multiple accusations of sexual assault against Bill Clinton, accusations that have too often been conflated with his much better-established and much less morally concerning history of adultery. Are the women making these accusations survivors who deserve to be believed, to borrow Hillary Clinton's language? Or, as she later insisted, have their accusations all been found to be baseless?

The basic answer is that some of the claims appear more credible than others. There are three main accusers, of whom it seems by far the most credible — based on the publicly available evidence — is [Juanita] Broaddrick. Broaddrick's allegation, while hardly proven, has not been definitively refuted. Only Broaddrick and Bill Clinton know what the truth of the matter in the case is. But if one generally believes it's important to believe the victim, it's hard to argue that this case should be an exception.

In 1978, Broaddrick was volunteering for Clinton's gubernatorial campaign, and claims she met him when he visited his campaign office in her hometown of Van Buren, Arkansas, that April. She says he then invited her to visit his office in Little Rock, which Broaddrick agreed to do a week later, when she was in the state capitol for a conference of nursing home administrators. Once she was at a hotel in Little Rock, she claims Clinton told her that he wasn't going to the campaign headquarters and offered to meet her in her hotel lobby coffee shop instead. Once he arrived, she says he called her room and suggested that they have coffee there, since the lobby had too many reporters. Broaddrick says she agreed. Then, per the Post story:
As she tells the story, they spent only a few minutes chatting by the window -- Clinton pointed to an old jail he wanted to renovate if he became governor -- before he began kissing her. She resisted his advances, she said, but soon he pulled her back onto the bed and forcibly had sex with her. She said she did not scream because everything happened so quickly. Her upper lip was bruised and swollen after the encounter because, she said, he had grabbed onto it with his mouth.

"The last thing he said to me was, 'You better get some ice for that.' And he put on his sunglasses and walked out the door," she recalled.
Several friends of Broaddrick's backed up the story. Norma Rogers, who was the director of nursing at Broaddrick's nursing home at the time, told reporters that she entered the hotel room shortly after the assault allegedly took place and "found Mrs. Broaddrick crying and in 'a state of shock.' Her upper lip was puffed out and blue, and appeared to have been hit." Kelsey elaborated to the New York Times, "She told me he forced himself on her, forced her to have intercourse."
Broaddrick and other women have testified, too, that when they came forward Hillary led a campaign to discredit and suppress their stories. Broaddrick gave a lengthy account of the incident in a 1999 Dateline NBC interview
As Dylan Matthews says, "if ... it's important to believe the victim, it's hard to argue that this case should be an exception." If so, what's the difference between Bill Clinton and Bill Cosby, or Jerry Sandusky? Why is Clinton a hero among Democrats while the others are pariahs?