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Jewish World Review/ March 3, 1999/ 15 Adar, 5759

Linda Chavez

Linda Chavez If only these were normal times

(JWR) --- (http://www.jewishworldreview.com) ONE WEEK AGO, Juanita Broaddrick went on national television and charged that the president of the United States raped her some 21 years ago when he was attorney general of Arkansas. What's happened since this explosive accusation?


Oh, the president's attorney has issued a two-sentence denial, to which the president himself carefully referred when asked about the accusation at a news conference later in the week. But basically everyone in official Washington -- and indeed around the country -- seems to want the story to go away.

And it's not because they don't believe it -- some 54 percent of those polled by Fox News allegation believe Broaddrick's version of events. But the dilemma is, even if you believe Juanita Broaddrick is telling the truth, what do you do about it?

First, if these were normal times and this president were a normal president, we could call for an investigation. But Bill Clinton is already the most investigated president in U.S. history. We know more about him -- especially his sexual predilections -- than most of us want to know about any human being.

And most of what we know is loathsome.

Still, a huge segment of the American public believes that no matter how badly Bill behaves when he's alone with a vulnerable woman, it's simply none of our business. What matters is Bill's effect on the economy. Period.

So we're not likely to get an official investigation of Broaddrick's claim --- a dubious undertaking 21 years after the alleged rape, in any event. A few news organizations have attempted to verify Broaddrick's account -- most notably NBC News, which aired a 26-minute interview with her last Wednesday watched by a paltry 14 million viewers (compared with 57 million who were watching the Grammy music awards at the same time).

A small number of major newspapers, including The Washington Post and the Chicago Tribune, have conducted their own investigations of the incident.

According to those accounts, most of the verifiable details Broaddrick provided have proved accurate.

Broaddrick came to Little Rock in April 1978 to attend a conference, and stayed at the Camelot Hotel, sharing a room with a friend, Norma Rogers, who returned to the room to find Broaddrick shaken, with horribly swollen lips and torn pantyhose. Broaddrick told Rogers that then-attorney general Bill Clinton had raped her. The two women put ice on Broaddrick's lips and left the hotel to return home, without calling the police.

Did Bill Clinton rape Juanita Broaddrick? Or was it just "bad sex," as Democratic political operative Susan Estrich repulsively suggested on ABC's Sunday public affairs show "This Week"? Of course, it's impossible to know precisely what happened two decades after the incident occurred, especially since Broaddrick herself once denied that she was raped in an affidavit filed in the Paula Jones lawsuit. But the pattern which Broaddrick describes is eerily familiar.

To believe Bill Clinton, you must disbelieve an awfully lot of women -- those who rebuffed his advances and those who succumbed or, as in the case of Monica Lewinsky, invited them. Bill Clinton's behavior with women is not just immoral -- as even his Democrat defenders admit -- but pathological.

And yet women are Bill Clinton's staunchest supporters, recalling to mind the 1980s best-seller "Men Who Hate Women ... and the Women Who Love Them."

What goes through the mind of Bill Clinton's women --- not Hillary, the First Enabler, but Donna Shalala, Janet Reno, Alexis Herman, Madeleine Albright, the female members of his Cabinet? Doesn't any one of these smart, independent women wonder what kind of moral deviant they work for? Shalala once chastised the president after he admitted he'd lied to his Cabinet when he denied the Lewinsky story. But he rebuked her, and she retreated in silence.

What should we do about the Broaddrick story? The only people in a position to do something are the president's staff, his fellow Democrats in Congress and his feminist supporters. First, they must demand a public accounting from the president. And if he refuses or if they have doubts about his credibility -- and who cannot? -- their only avenue of protest is to shun this woman-hater.

They could resign from his Cabinet, refuse his invitations to social gatherings at the White House, in short ostracize Bill Clinton. It won't happen. Not even Diogenes with his lantern could find an honest man or woman in the crowd that surrounds this president.


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©1998, Creators Syndicate, Inc.