Fatherhood Coalition

Clinton's Shame is Feminism's Gain

By Mark Charalambous

Feb. 25, 1999

It's no secret that women are attracted to men of authority and power. Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger once said that power was the ultimate aphrodisiac. That some powerful men violate their marriage vows by acting on this perquisite of power is their business, not yours or mine.

The President was impeached for lying in response to questions that should never have been asked, and if asked should not have been answered. Our national circus was best summed up by Congressman Barney Frank’s sarcastic allusion to Watergate: A question of "what did the President touch, and when did he touch it?

If the Founding Fathers believed that lying about sexual behavior was grounds to remove a president, they would not have limited the offenses to "high crimes and misdemeanors" when they established the grounds for impeachment (200 years ago "misdemeanor" meant crimes against the State). What would the list of presidents look like today if Kenneth Starr's standard for impeachment was applied to past presidents?

But that's the argument, isn't it? We live in a different age. Morality has evolved. The information age has made the personal the political. It's not valid to apply present-day standards of morality to past presidents, and so the argument goes.

And what are these new moral taboos that Bill Clinton breached? Sexual harassment, for one which he himself signed into law, as some gleefully point out. The belief that a 22-year old woman is not wholly responsible for her actions when she engages in a relationship with a man twice her age, for another. Such a relationship, once regarded with chagrin, resentment, or envy depending on your perspective, is now tantamount to a crime. This new feminist morality holds that such sexual relations are not "consensual," a term now reserved for "partners" of the same age, rank, or oddly enough sex.

Here’s the rub. President Clinton was impeached for feminist gender crimes. This is the essential reason why his presidency will be forever tainted yet JFK's will remain unbesmirched. Not because there was no People magazine, or Internet, or Drudge Report in 1962, but because this new feminist morality hadn’t yet taken root. And yet the sexual politics of Clinton’s fall from grace is perhaps the only aspect that hasn’t been strip-mined by the media.

A reformed social liberal, I lost my virginity and was administered my vows of poverty in the Massachusetts Family Courts. I recognize Bill Clinton's contributions to the suffering of my victim class: non-custodial fathers. I understand why I should rejoice at his trauma. Men of my stripe were practically frothing at the mouth to see this man, who has earned their ire, publicly disgraced and punished; but they erred by joining the Republican lynch mob.

Having watched the Clintons advance the feminist agenda—which is ever hostile to all things male, including the father-child relationship they salivated at the thought of his removal from office. Furthermore, they believed that his impeachment gave feminism a black eye, since it exposed hypocrisy that defended a politician guilty of gender crimes solely because he pandered to their cause. But they are mistaken. The impeachment of WJC was one of feminism's greatest triumphs: The world’s most powerful man on trial for gender crimes. It read as one huge "Men behaving badly" story. Think of it, even those men who act like they "get it" are scum, too!

The lynch mob argued that if Presidential perjury is permitted even about private matters having nothing to do with affairs of state it will precipitate a meltdown of respect for law and contribute to the devaluation of integrity, a denigration of the office, and the nation’s moral collapse.

Nonsense. Perjury is a fixture of U.S. courts. If it was prosecuted for private behavior, all divorce litigants would leave the courthouse in handcuffs. We couldn't build enough jails to hold them. Clinton did what just about any married person would do if caught fooling around. He equivocated, squirmed, and lied; the normal human reaction when trying to avoid the ultimate domestic catastrophe. Nobody approves of this behavior, but everybody can relate to it; that's why the polls showed support for continuing his tenure as President.

The impeachment fallout will deliver additional collateral damage to us from another source: Hillary Clinton. As Bill Clinton's stock has fallen, Hillary's star has risen in direct proportion. Whether viewed as a stand-by-your-man symbol of wifely martyrdom or as a victim of male infidelity who eventually jettisons "the bum," she will emerge as an icon of female strength. From this platform her own political ambitions have already begun to take flight. Men: Even if you despised Mr. Clinton for his feminist pandering, nothing will prepare you for what this Wellesley-educated, professional feminist has in store for you once she achieves political office independently.

Hillary is schooled in all the flavors of feminism: victim-feminism, N.O.W.-feminism, radical-feminism, eco-feminism, run-with-the-wolves feminism, etc. As First Lady, she has been instrumental in exporting these thought-contagions to the rest of the world. Fragile fatherhood must not endure a Hillary Rodham crafting domestic social policy in the Senate—or even worse, as chief executive or Vice-President in the White House.

By allying themselves with the Republican lynch mob, men's/father's rights advocates demonstrated a limited understanding of the broader politics involved. The impeachment of the President was not just another media event like the OJ trial or the death of Princess Di. It has serious implications for the health and future of the body politic. In attempting to depose Clinton, the Republican Party not only harmed itself, it performed a grievous disservice to the American people—that's all of us: men, women and children alike.

Will impeachment become a permanent fixture of presidential politics? Stay tuned for the next Act in this modern-day Greek tragedy, the Clintonesteia.

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