In all likelihood the elite Progressive Left were just as bewildered as the rest of us that a serial sexual predator ended up at the top of their pyramid in the 1990s. Bill Clinton wasn’t anywhere near the ideal of a progressive President. His willingness to compromise and “triangulate” as a practical politician certainly infuriated the Progressive Left.
And yet, given the collapse of Communism in 1989, Democratic Party president Bill Clinton represented the only remaining vehicle for progressive power. Were a Democratic President to meet the same political fate as the reviled Republican, Richard Nixon, the demise of the Democratic Party as a viable means to achieving progressive ends would have been significantly harmed. So, when the Monica Lewinsky scandal broke there was no alternative to protecting President Clinton at all costs.
And, after all, it wasn’t as if the elite Progressive Left hadn’t done something like this before. Who of my age cannot recall their whitewash of Senator Ted Kennedy’s sexual predator-ship, peaking in his vile, evil behavior when he drove his car into the water at Chappaquiddick and then left his passenger, Mary Jo Kopechne, to die in the sunken car. Senator Kennedy delivered a (to the twisted minds of the Progressives) bountiful return for that investment when, in 1987, he delivered his infamous “Bork’s America” speech on the Senate floor.
And, the cost of defending President Clinton to the hilt was high indeed. Although much smaller in magnitude, the Progressive Left’s sudden and unmistakable shift from “sexual harassment is driven by male power” to, in President Clinton’s case, “it’s nobody’s business but ours” felt like the communist international shifting overnight from anti to pro Nazi Germany after the Nazi–Soviet Pact of 1939.
No less a card carrying Progressive than Maureen Dowd eventually admitted that unprincipled support for President Clinton “killed feminism.” Here’s the central point from Dowd’s 2016 New York Times column.
The interesting thing about the spectacle of older women trying to shame younger ones on behalf of Hillary is that Hillary and Bill killed the integrity of institutional feminism back in the ’90s — with the help of Albright and Steinem.
Instead of just admitting that he had had an affair with Monica Lewinsky and taking his lumps, Bill lied and hid behind the skirts of his wife and female cabinet members, who had to go out before the cameras and vouch for his veracity, even when it was apparent he was lying.
Dowd explicitly connected the feminist support for Clinton to his usefulness in advancing their policies (emphasis added).
Feminism sort of died in that period,” she told Yahoo News host Katie Couric Monday. “Because the feminists had to come along with Bill Clinton’s retrogressive behavior with women in order to protect the progressive policies for women that Bill Clinton had as president.”
This pathetic betrayal finally achieved it nadir in 1998, when elite journalist Nina D. Burleigh said, on the public record that (asterisks added):
I would be happy to give him a bl***ob just to thank him for keeping abortion legal. I think American women should be lining up with their Presidential kneepads on to show their gratitude for keeping the theocracy off our backs.
Although its true that the feminists took the lead, Bill Clinton’s presidency couldn’t have been saved without full support from the entire Progressive power structure. And, line up they did in unanimous full throated support for President Clinton, and, moral assassination of any of his credible accusers/detractors.
Prior to Bill Clinton’s ascension, protection had been a consequence of achieving the pyramid’s peak. With the Clinton case, protection became the purpose for attaining the peak. Protect him they did, in no small measure to also protect the political future of his spurned wife, Hillary, who served as leader of the “bimbo squad,” a group who destroyed the reputation of any woman victim who was so foolish as to complain publicly of their treatment.
It turned out that these intellectual and moral Progressive giants achieved their short term goal while contributing to the destruction of Hillary’s long term political prospects. For, in 2016, her previous life as an enabler of male sexual predation came back to haunt her campaign for the Presidency.
But, prior to that cataclysmic event, the elite Progressive Left had quite a successful run.