Ruth Marcus offers more Clinton Chronicles

Joan Didion:

No one who ever passed through an American public high school could have watched the current president of the United States running for office in 1992 and failed to recognize the familiar predatory sexuality of the provincial adolescent. The man was, Jesse Jackson said that year to another point, “nothing but an appetite.” No one who followed his appearances on The Road to The White House on C-SPAN could have missed the reservoir of self-pity, the quickness to blame, the narrowing of the eyes, as in a wildlife documentary, when things did not go his way: a response so reliable that aides on Jerry Brown’s 1992 campaign looked for situations in which it could be provoked.

Ellen Willis:

I could imagine John F. Kennedy, who appears to have had a blanket contempt for wife and girlfriends alike, having the droit-du-seigneur mentality to behave as [Paula] Jones alleged. But Clinton has never conveyed the impression of misogyny or unquestioned confidence in his right to dominate. On the contrary, he is insecure. He wants to please, to charm; and the drop-trou scenario is anything but charming

Willis again:

In any case, the Bill Clinton of the Starr Report does not come across as an arrogant exploiter, a Sadeian libertine, the creepy exhibitionist depicted by Paula Jones. Rather, he seems needy, affectionate, attracted yet painfully cautions and conflicted, and terrified of being caught — in short, a neurotic middle-aged married guy, ordinary to the point of banality, except he happens to be the president of the United States.

I cite so generously because I can see the ’90s are about to begin, with shots fired by labored hack Ruth Marcus in The Washington Post. “Trump has smeared women because of their looks. Clinton has preyed on them, and in a workplace setting where he was by far the superior,” she writes, demonstrating her third grade command of what we used to call reading comprehension. To bang the table about Bill Clinton’s purported predatory behavior, Marcus denies Monica Lewinsky and Gennifer Flowers independence and the ability to make their own decisions, and the Starr Report makes plain Lewinsky’s role in the imbroglio. And Marcus ignores worse shit. Digby:

And that’s what makes that statement so astonishing. Trump has said that he plans to torture and kill wives, girlfriends and children of people he thinks might be terrorists or “know something”. When asked if would bring back waterboarding he said “you bet your ass I will”, and “I’d do more than that because it works.” “”And even if it doesn’t they deserve it for what they’ve done to us.”

He has also said he plans to round up and deport 12 million or so people, including American children, and has spoken approvingly of what the government did in the 1950s which is drop them in the middle of the Mexican desert so they cannot come back — at least until he builds a wall to keep everyone out.

Perhaps Marcus doesn’t find these ideas worrying. It appears millions of Americans think they’re great so she’s not alone. But I’d guess the rest of us find that just a little bit “worse” than Bill Clinton’s tawdry past.

I suppose the most lamentable part of the Clinton impeachment proceedings was to delegitimate any worthwhile claims to his predatory behavior. But most of the American public accepted the personal/private divide. Meanwhile Trump’s stated ambition to annihilate the family of suspected terrorists gets giggles on “Morning Joe.” Sit down, folks.

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