Donald Trump has done it again. Shortly before the New Year, Hillary Clinton declared herself concerned over Trump’s “penchant for sexism.” But the Republican frontrunner countered by warning her that if she wanted to go that route, Bill’s sordid past was on the table. [Trump slams Bill Clinton's 'sexism' in attack on Hillary Clinton, By Karl de Vries, CNN, December 27, 2015] And guess what? Clinton shortly thereafter informed us that she had made a “New Year’s Resolution” to not mention Trump anymore.[ Hillary Clinton, citing New Year's resolution, won't talk Trump — sort of, by Cooper Allen, USA TODAY, January 5, 2016]
The Monica Lewinsky scandal was only the most famous of Bill’s escapades: there is a protracted pattern of women claiming that he sexually assaulted or even raped them, with Hillary playing an active role in smearing the women and covering up her husband’s crimes. [Rap Sheet: The Women Who Claim to Be Victims of Bill and Hillary Clinton, by John Nolte, Breitbart, December 31, 2015] As even Dylan Matthews in the Leftist Vox has recently acknowledged, many of these women have had no obvious incentive to lie, and some were even Democratic activists and volunteers. Matthews’s conclusion:
...just a couple of months ago [Hillary Clinton] was tweeting, "Every survivor of sexual assault deserves to be heard, believed, and supported." There's no easy way to reconcile that view with her allies' dismissal of [Juanita] Broaddrick's allegations. The rape allegation against Bill Clinton, explained, January 7, 2016
Already, both conservatives and liberals are giving Trump credit for a brilliant tactical move.
But if you weren’t paying close attention over New Year’s, you may have missed the typically stupid and cowardly Republican reaction in the few days between Trump’s raising the Bill Clinton scandals and Hillary’s vow not to mention Trump any more:
Many of these Republicans said that rather than going back to the fights of the 90s, we should be going after Hillary where it really hurts: Benghazi and e-mails.
Few can now doubt that Trump has, once again, proved himself a better politician than these Establishment consultants or so-called experts we see on TV. But the fact is that it didn’t take a political genius to see Hillary’s vulnerability on this issue. Many of the Clinton allegations are indeed “old news,” but so are the charges against Bill Cosby. At least they were, until a relatively obscure black comedian mentioned them during his live show and told his audience to Google it.
The emergence of the Cosby scandal, involving a powerful man using his position to hide his abuse of women, begs the question of why society has let Clinton off the hook over the last few decades. Ann Coulter has wickedly blamed “white privilege” for the differing reactions to Clinton and Cosby:
More runaway white privilege: If Hillary's so jazzed to have sexual— Ann Coulter (@AnnCoulter) December 29, 2015
predator Bill Clinton campaign for her, why no invitation to Bill Cosby?
And, as a matter of fact, Bill’s scandals aren’t even a thing of the past. On January 8, Joe Scarborough revealed that not only have Bill’s ongoing affairs been an open secret among the establishment for years, but that, contrary to what they say publicly, the left has been worried about it.
“Since 2008…everybody that came on the air [when off camera] talked about the same three women that Bill Clinton was having an affair with…And they said it’s going to destroy his (sic) campaign… And everybody can repeat the three women’s names…where they’re from, their positions…There are some people that are smooching Hillary Clinton left and right right now that were running around the Washington bureau saying this is going to blow up, it’s going to kill her campaign. Nobody ever talked about it, because everybody played by the rules.” Scarborough: Bill Clinton’s Association with Sex Offender Jeffrey Epstein ‘Big Problem’ for Hillary — Donald Trump Will Use, by Jeff Poor, Breitbart, January 8, 2016
In 2014, the Daily Mail named Julie McMahon (right) as one of Clinton’s girlfriends. Bill’s ongoing affairs, while his wife has been Secretary of State and running for president, testify to his sociopathy and add even more credibility to past charges against him. [Is this society blonde the 'Energiser' who's been one of Bill Clinton's secret lovers for 13 years?, by Tom Leonard, July 26, 2014]
Today, even the accusation of rape is enough to make a man an object of hatred of scorn. The current atmosphere created by feminists and the Cosby scandal should together be enough to sink a spouse’s presidential campaign, especially when she’s implicated in going after his accusers. Even the taint of rape and its cover-up is more damaging than everything that Republicans allege about Benghazi and the use of a private e-mail server.
All this seems quite obvious. But if the Republican Establishment had its way, journalists would’ve never been forced to ask about Hilary Clinton’s complicity at all.
This raises the question: why could the Republican Establishment—assuming that they want to beat the Clintons—not see this? There are two possible explanations. First of all, they may care more about their self-image as “responsible moderates” than they do about winning. Talk of Clinton’s past simply strikes them as “icky,” something that just isn’t done by Republicans who are respectable.
Secondly, the Republican Establishment may just be stupid. As Ann Coulter recently pointed out, if you do a little bit of research on the educational credentials of the Republican “elite” you find that they’re generally not as impressive as the MSM would lead you to believe.
Personally, I believe that it is some combination of the two—putting most of the emphasis on the first theory.
Political psychologists have discovered what they call “motivated reasoning.” Most of the time, we do not hold the beliefs that we do because we carefully considered the evidence for and against our position. Rather, we start with the conclusion that we want, and then work backwards, latching on to whatever arguments are available to tell us what we want to believe.
GOP elites are simply uncomfortable with anything that gets the Left too riled up. This explains not only the GOP’s inability to prosecute the impeachment case against Bill Clinton—although he unquestionably did commit perjury and was subsequently disbarred because of it—but their unwillingness to take their own side on certain issues.
To take two examples, illegal immigration and the transgender movement are wildly unpopular, but the Republican Establishment has convinced itself that it would be unwise to capitalize on these issues. Similarly, when liberals are adamant that Clinton’s scandals are uninteresting, “old news,” or “unappealing to women,” Republicans are all too willing to believe them. For too long, they have let the Left decide what the acceptable issues are and how debates are to be framed.
Thus, when Chris Matthews says (incredibly) that nobody has even implicated poor Hillary in Bill’s scandals, Republicans repeat the lie. And Republicans join with the Left in creating the impression that the only Clinton sex scandal we could be talking about is the one involving a White House intern.
But after only six months in politics, Donald Trump has given Republicans the blueprint on how to beat the Left. Their definitions of “racism” and “sexism” are so broad that the Left is just as open to such charges as are conservatives. When faced with these kinds of accusations, trying to change the topic to the corporate tax rate only makes conservatives look even guiltier. But simply saying “No, you’re the sexist”, as Trump has done, is usually enough to neutralize the issue. Adding that “Oh, by the way, you helped cover up your husband’s sexual assaults” cannot possibly be a political loser.
Saul Alinsky, in his Rules for Radicals, talked about making political opponents live by their own standards. This is all too easy to do when taking on the modern Left, which has invented terms like “mansplaning” and “whitesplaining” to shut down debate. Simply being the wrong sex or gender is enough to create suspicion. Furthermore, the Left has created a culture where females making accusations of rape are to be believed and males who are so accused are stripped of their due process rights on college campuses across the country. The fact that Bill Clinton has remained a hero on the Left only speaks to the depths of their hypocrisy.
We can be absolutely certain that a Republican with Bill Clinton’s past could not have been elected to two presidential terms and then remained a political asset for his wife for two decades after that. Hillary’s entire political career is a testament to the failures of the Republican Establishment.
Regardless of whether Trump wins the GOP primaries, he has already ensured that with Hillary as the nominee the Democrats will be a lot less able to play the women’s card.(His latest Instagram ad is a stroke of genius.)
And once you’ve taken away identity politics, it is an open question whether the Left has anything else.
It’s a lesson that American conservatives need to learn if they are ever going to win.
David Sanders [email him] is the name a young American academic is living under.