November 21, 2017

KEVIN WILLIAMSON: We Were Young.

Yglesias may have been a callow youth in 1998 rather than the callow adult he is today, but that excuse doesn’t go very far outside of Vox’s little orbit. James Carville wasn’t a kid when he dismissed one of Bill Clinton’s accusers as what you get when you “drag a $100 bill through a trailer park.” Paul Begala wasn’t a child when he defended Clinton and lambasted the man investigating him — not for adultery, but for perjury and obstruction of justice — as a sex-obsessed reincarnation of Roger Chillingsworth. Maureen Dowd wasn’t young when she lampooned Monica Lewinsky as “a ditsy, predatory White House intern who might have lied under oath for a job at Revlon” and suggested that the affair was the result of psychological problems rooted in Lewinsky’s being “too tubby to be in the high school ‘in’ crowd.” The men who awarded her the Pulitzer Prize for that work were not middle-schoolers. The editors of the New York Times and the Washington Post weren’t little ’uns. Hillary Rodham Clinton was a grown woman when she took charge of destroying the women caught up in her husband’s “bimbo eruptions.”

And Matthew Yglesias wasn’t a high-schooler in 2008 or 2016, either.

Juanita Broaddrick, who says she was violently raped by Bill Clinton, has been trying to tell her story since 1999. In 1999, Bill Clinton wasn’t the pathetic, used-up has-been he is today: He was, if memory serves, the president of the United States of America. As Mrs. Clinton’s political career advanced, Broaddrick continued trying to tell her story, to the general indifference and occasional hostility of the media and the self-satisfied progressives who advertise themselves as the champions of women. Why did no one listen? Yglesias credits Mrs. Clinton’s status as the presumptive first woman president with “creating a kind of reputational vortex that shielded her husband’s behavior from scrutiny.” If reputational vortices were named the way hurricanes are, the one surrounding the Clintons would be named “Matthew Yglesias.” It would have a few other names, too: Call it Legion, for they were — and are — many.

And they will remain legion. Today’s purge is just clearing the deck for tomorrow’s new generation of power users and abusers.