Our Imperial Elite Unmasked

 

When Pravda-on-the-Hudson and Ronan Farrow at The New Yorker broke the Harvey Weinstein story, they seem to have had Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama in their sights, as I suggested in an earlier post. Pravda certainly sought a purgation. Its editors bluntly demanded that the two Democratic standard-bearers repudiate one of their most generous donors; and this, with evident reluctance, they did.

I doubt, however, very much whether anyone involved in breaking this story thought that theirs was the first salvo in what would turn into an exposé of the prattling class as a whole – including not only our entertainment elite but also our media and political elite. But this is what happened – and there is hardly a single left-liberal institution that has thus far emerged unscathed. A venerable Congressman has been driven from office. It looks as if a celebrity Senator will soon follow suit, and leading figures at NBC, CBS, NPR, and Pravda itself have been suspended or given the boot.

There is something especially delicious about this particular scandal. For everyone thus far fingered has long posed as a defender of women’s rights; and, though Pravda and Ronan Farrow carefully avoided any reference back to the conduct of William Jefferson Clinton, it was inevitable that the subject come up. After all, there was nothing that Weinstein is now accused of having done that his old pal had not been plausibly accused of having done on a similar scale decades ago.

It was left to Caitlin Flanagan to throw the cat among the pigeons. We should not, she wrote in The Atlantic,

forget the sex crimes of which the younger, stronger Bill Clinton was very credibly accused in the 1990s. Juanita Broaddrick reported that when she was a volunteer on one of his gubernatorial campaigns, she had arranged to meet him in a hotel coffee shop. At the last minute, he had changed the location to her room in the hotel, where she says he very violently raped her. She said that she fought against Clinton throughout a rape that left her bloodied. At a different Arkansas hotel, he caught sight of a minor state employee named Paula Jones, and, Jones said, he sent a couple of state troopers to invite her to his suite, where he exposed his penis to her and told her to kiss it. Kathleen Willey said that she met him in the Oval Office for personal and professional advice and that he groped her, rubbed his erect penis on her, and pushed her hand to his crotch.

It was a pattern of behavior; it included an alleged violent assault; the women involved had far more credible evidence than many of the most notorious accusations that have come to light in the past five weeks. But Clinton was not left to the swift and pitiless justice that today’s accused men have experienced. Rather, he was rescued by a surprising force: machine feminism. The movement had by then ossified into a partisan operation, and it was willing—eager—to let this friend of the sisterhood enjoy a little droit de seigneur.

Then, Flanagan did the unthinkable. She attacked feminism’s uncrowned queen, alluding to what she called “the notorious 1998 New York Times op-ed by Gloria Steinem” and suggesting that it “must surely stand as one of the most regretted public actions of her life.”

It slut-shamed, victim-blamed, and age-shamed; it urged compassion for and gratitude to the man the women accused. Moreover, . . . it characterized contemporary feminism as a weaponized auxiliary of the Democratic Party.

And Flanagan did not hesitate to draw the logical conclusion: “The widespread liberal response to the sex-crime accusations against Bill Clinton found their natural consequence 20 years later in the behavior of Harvey Weinstein: Stay loudly and publicly and extravagantly on the side of signal leftist causes and you can do what you want in the privacy of your offices and hotel rooms.”

It is high time, she argued, that the Democratic Party come to a “reckoning” with regard to the way it protected Bill Clinton: “The party needs to come to terms with the fact that it was so enraptured by their brilliant, Big Dog president and his stunning string of progressive accomplishments that it abandoned some of its central principles.”

In the aftermath, the left-liberal journalistic intelligentsia picked up the theme and acknowledged that Clinton had raped Juanita Broaddrick, and this caused Flanagan to re-enter the fray and push the envelope further. “I believe Juanita” doesn’t just mean that you’re generally in favor of believing women when they report sex crimes,” she wrote. “It means you believe that for eight years our country was in the hands of a violent rapist.” But that, she thought, was not the end of it.

Liberals seem almost giddy with relief, admitting what they believe—which is how it always feels when you finally decide that you’re going to say what you really think and to hell with the consequences. The truth does set you free, but it usually comes at a price, which is why it will probably take another 20 years to open The New York Times and read an editorial called “Hillary Knew.”

“How,” Flanagan asks, “could she not have known? She’s a hugely intelligent woman, a visionary, and a political street fighter.”

[S]he must have looked at the facts about Juanita Broaddrick and decided to put them in the same locked box where she kept the truth of Bill’s consensual affairs. As a wife, she had every right to do that. But as a Democratic candidate for president—one whose historic campaign was largely centered on the glass ceiling and the rise of women—she had a Grand Canyon–size vulnerability, as she learned a year before the general election when she blithely tweeted out this corker: “Every survivor of sexual assault deserves to be heard, believed, and supported.”

That’s our Hillary—and that’s the woman even some of her staunchest supporters have been gritting their teeth about for decades. . . . Hillary had put the many women who’d credibly accused her husband of sexual misconduct into the forgetting hole.”

I quote Caitlin Flanagan at inordinate length for a reason. What she says about Hillary Clinton can be applied to virtually every woman (and man) who has been at work in the last couple of decades within our imperial liberal elite – whether it be in Hollywood, in journalism, or on the Hill.

Meryl Streep, Kamala Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand, and the other members of the sisterhood have turned their backs on Harvey Weinstein, Mark Halperin, Charlie Rose, John Conyers, Al Franken, Glenn Thrush, Matt Lauer, and the like. They say that they didn’t know or that, at most, they had heard a rumor or two. They are for the most part lying. Nearly all of them knew, as did Gloria Steinem and the liberals who defended Bill Clinton. The scale and the scope of these men’s misconduct were too large to have been anything other than an open secret.

Moreover, those who knew were all complicit. Meryl Streep is a case in point. She did not give a damn about the antics of Harvey Weinstein. She was a public defender of Roman Polanski, whose taste as a rapist ran to underage girls. He was, after all, an artiste – a man beyond good and evil.

If you doubt my claim that nearly everyone in our imperial elite was complicit, read Fox News’ report regarding the Friars Club dinner given in honor of Matt Lauer nine years ago. Everyone who was anyone in New York media circles was there, and the roast to which Lauer was subjected was a celebration of his . . . er . . . “accomplishments” with the women with whom he came into contact while doing his job as a journalist. I would quote snatches of what they said in their speeches were they not too graphic to pass the Ricochet Code of Conduct. In any case, you can read it for yourself, and you can read the account published in The Village Voice back in 2008 on which it was based.

When you next see any one of these people engaged in moral posturing, pinch yourself and remind yourself that they are all – especially, the politicians – in show business. They would not be where are if they could not persuasively take on a persona entirely foreign to what they really are and thoroughly fool you in the process. It is not an accident that in ancient Greek the word for an actor is hypocritēs. When you next see any of these figures, ask yourself, “Whose misconduct is she covering for now?”

There are 36 comments.

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  1. Thatcher

    Paul A. Rahe: [Hillary is] a hugely intelligent woman …

    I believe the traditional formulation is “assumes facts not in evidence.” As a contraindication, I offer the email server. Stupid on every level.

    • #1
    • December 6, 2017 at 3:45 pm
    • 6 likes
  2. Contributor
    Paul A. Rahe Post author

    Yes, indeed. Caitlin Flanagan is writing to and for liberals. She has to say such things.

    • #2
    • December 6, 2017 at 3:52 pm
    • 4 likes
  3. Member

    Harvey Weinstein and Bill Clinton share the same lawyer. He settles their sex scandals for them. No I am not kidding. The number is in the dozens.

    • #3
    • December 6, 2017 at 4:30 pm
    • 7 likes
  4. Member

    America’s getting old. She used to love a sexy guy. Oh, she knew about Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson and, as you point out, Clinton. But now her reproductive years are drawing to a close, she’s repulsed by what she used to find titillating. She can’t believe she ever cared so much about it. The life-force sings in her no more.

    • #4
    • December 6, 2017 at 4:32 pm
    • 6 likes
  5. Member

    “…the prattling class…” is a great description!

    • #5
    • December 6, 2017 at 5:02 pm
    • 2 likes
  6. Member

    Percival (View Comment):

    Paul A. Rahe: [Hillary is] a hugely intelligent woman …

    I believe the traditional formulation is “assumes facts not in evidence.” As a contraindication, I offer the email server. Stupid on every level.

    I offer the email server in support of the contention that she is a hugely intelligent woman.

    • #6
    • December 6, 2017 at 5:06 pm
    • 1 like
  7. Member

    Paul A. Rahe: A venerable Congressman has been driven from office.

    Venereal is better.

    • #7
    • December 6, 2017 at 5:07 pm
    • 5 likes
  8. Member

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    Paul A. Rahe: [Hillary is] a hugely intelligent woman …

    I believe the traditional formulation is “assumes facts not in evidence.” As a contraindication, I offer the email server. Stupid on every level.

    I offer the email server in support of the contention that she is a hugely intelligent woman.

    Bill,”I offer you my honor”

    Woman,”I honor your offer”

    All night he was honor and offer.

    • #8
    • December 6, 2017 at 5:10 pm
    • 7 likes
  9. Member

    Thanks for this, Professor. Sometimes rational and impassioned don’t go together. Not here.

    • #9
    • December 6, 2017 at 5:26 pm
    • Like
  10. Thatcher

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    Paul A. Rahe: [Hillary is] a hugely intelligent woman …

    I believe the traditional formulation is “assumes facts not in evidence.” As a contraindication, I offer the email server. Stupid on every level.

    I offer the email server in support of the contention that she is a hugely intelligent woman.

    She could have kept a separate server for her money laundering charitable endeavors. She could have not routed DoS business through her personal server. No questions, no investigations, no last minute reopening of the case …

    • #10
    • December 6, 2017 at 5:34 pm
    • Like
  11. Member

    Honestly, for the past however many decades, I never attended to the details of WJC crimes against women.

    Maybe its lazy of me, but I hated him for what he did without knowing the facts. I hated HRC more for covering for him.

    While I detest her on so many levels, her willingness to shield him, while in the light, pretending to speak for women, was among her most egregious life and political choices.

    They are falling out of fashion and power. Sadly Obama may be more dangerous…would that the rising powers break his spell on the public, and unmask him too.

    • #11
    • December 6, 2017 at 5:41 pm
    • 4 likes
  12. Member

    Percival (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    Paul A. Rahe: [Hillary is] a hugely intelligent woman …

    I believe the traditional formulation is “assumes facts not in evidence.” As a contraindication, I offer the email server. Stupid on every level.

    I offer the email server in support of the contention that she is a hugely intelligent woman.

    She could have kept a separate server for her money laundering charitable endeavors. She could have not routed DoS business through her personal server. No questions, no investigations, no last minute reopening of the case …

    Isn’t it all one and the same business?

    • #12
    • December 6, 2017 at 5:49 pm
    • Like
  13. Coolidge

    A venerable Congressman has been driven from office

    “Venerable” meaning old, corrupt and decrepit?

    • #13
    • December 6, 2017 at 7:09 pm
    • Like
  14. Member

    That picture of, I think, Katie Couric sitting next to Trump, looking so much more natural than she usually looks, looking wolfish in spite of her tasteful black dress and pearls (first link in next to last paragraph) is chilling. It sort of reminds me of Goodman Brown finding the most respectable people, even his dear sweet wife, worshipping the devil in the woods.

    Leftist elites don’t come across as deserving to be condemned as hypocrites—even when they’re caught being the opposite of what they make themselves out to be—because they don’t really seem crushed and self condemning the way people are when they get caught failing to live up to a moral code in which they genuinely believe. They’ve only been caught lying to us—They didn’t lie to themselves or each other.—about what they are or what they live by.

    • #14
    • December 6, 2017 at 9:26 pm
    • 2 likes
  15. Contributor

    The end result of all of this might be liberal self-congratulation for casting out the pervs as a matter of principle. The right may have been correct about Bill Clinton, but for the wrong reasons – they were censorious, prudish Comstocks consumed by partisan hatred.

    Since the inconvenient portions of history can be reset to a null state every new day if required, this will be the forthcoming narrative: we took care of Conyers, Louis CK, Levine, Weiseltier, Lauer, Rose, Franken, Tambor, and all the others, but you guys elected Roy Moore. We still, as ever, have the moral high ground.

    • #15
    • December 6, 2017 at 9:28 pm
    • 7 likes
  16. Member

    Just read the Village Voice piece linked in the OP. Wow. Same planet, different worlds.

    • #16
    • December 7, 2017 at 1:01 am
    • 2 likes
  17. Member

    James Lileks (View Comment):
    The end result of all of this might be liberal self-congratulation for casting out the pervs as a matter of principle. The right may have been correct about Bill Clinton, but for the wrong reasons – they were censorious, prudish Comstocks consumed by partisan hatred.

    True. I hated Ken Starr. I know people who say: Clinton lied to a grand jury, he should have been impeached . Yuh but why was a grand jury questioning him about private, consensual sexual relations?

    Since the inconvenient portions of history can be reset to a null state every new day if required, this will be the forthcoming narrative: we took care of Conyers, Louis CK, Levine, Weiseltier, Lauer, Rose, Franken, Tambor, and all the others, but you guys elected Roy Moore. We still, as ever, have the moral high ground.

    I only hope and pray the next Dem senator to be accused is from a state with a GOP governor. Then we’ll see about the “high moral ground.”

    The thing is, though: remember that list of women paid off by Congress? If we could get that, we might find out about a bunch more Dems they’d have to force out. Undoubtedly though, there’d be some from our side. But why has the story about that list died out so fast?

    • #17
    • December 7, 2017 at 2:35 am
    • 7 likes
  18. Member

    This come to Jesus moment just isn’t credible, and Judge Moore isn’t reason enough for them to embrace this turn around so rapidly and completely. Sure, getting rid of these old dirt bags is fundamentally beneficial to the young people in line who are even further left but, I can’t help believe that this thing was given a powerful push by yet to be undisclosed information about our President. I find the whole thing a little frightening.

    • #18
    • December 7, 2017 at 4:28 am
    • 1 like
  19. Contributor
    Paul A. Rahe Post author

    That story died for the same reason that the story about large numbers of pederasts in Hollywood died.

    • #19
    • December 7, 2017 at 4:32 am
    • 3 likes
  20. Reagan
    iWe

    It looks to me like the blood-letting of the French Revolution turning on its own. There is a blood frenzy.

    I love it.

    If we could only unseal Congressional ethics records, this purging process might be the most effective form of term limits yet implemented in the US.

    • #20
    • December 7, 2017 at 5:25 am
    • 6 likes
  21. Member

    Percival (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    Paul A. Rahe: [Hillary is] a hugely intelligent woman …

    I believe the traditional formulation is “assumes facts not in evidence.” As a contraindication, I offer the email server. Stupid on every level.

    I offer the email server in support of the contention that she is a hugely intelligent woman.

    She could have kept a separate server for her money laundering charitable endeavors. She could have not routed DoS business through her personal server. No questions, no investigations, no last minute reopening of the case …

    We may be quibbling. I suspect HRC is indeed very intelligent. But intelligence is no protector from foolishness or hubris. And she is guilty of both.

    • #21
    • December 7, 2017 at 5:34 am
    • 4 likes
  22. Reagan
    iWe

    Paul A. Rahe: She’s a hugely intelligent woman, a visionary, and a political street fighter.”

    I don’t believe any of these things.

    Hillary is not that bright, clearly.

    She has no vision whatsoever.

    She IS a street fighter, but lacks all the political instincts common to politicians who actually worked for, instead of inheriting, their positions.

    • #22
    • December 7, 2017 at 5:59 am
    • 6 likes
  23. Contributor
    Paul A. Rahe Post author

    One thing to add. There were 1900 people at the Friars Club roast of Matt Lauer. Everyone in elite circles knew. Everyone.

    • #23
    • December 7, 2017 at 6:24 am
    • 4 likes
  24. Thatcher
    TG

    Hypatia (View Comment):
    True. I hated Ken Starr. I know people who say: Clinton lied to a grand jury, he should have been impeached . Yuh but why was a grand jury questioning him about private, consensual sexual relations?

    As I recall (memory may be faulty), WJC’s testimony under oath was originally in connection with a suit by Paula Jones about sexual harassment. In other words, one of his accusers was seeking legal justice.

    • #24
    • December 7, 2017 at 7:52 am
    • 3 likes
  25. Member

    One left-liberal institution that seems unscathed so far is academia. I am curious about why.

    • #25
    • December 7, 2017 at 8:13 am
    • 1 like
  26. Coolidge

    Paul A. Rahe: A venerable Congressman has been driven from office

    I also like the word Venerable. Mostly because of its close resemblance to Veneer.

    Like this venerable person is just a veneer of the monster underneath. Like a wealthy business man and philanthropist who also happens to be a mafia don. Everyone is just a veneer or facade, we keep ourselves hidden.

    • #26
    • December 7, 2017 at 8:18 am
    • Like
  27. Contributor
    Paul A. Rahe Post author

    The academy is dominated by hard-core feminists. They put the kabosh on the reigning sexual anarchy, insofar as it involved the professoriat and the administrators, more than twenty years ago. Sexual anarchy continued to be the pattern among undergraduates, and that may still be the case. As far as I can tell, however, there was never sexual anarchy at Hillsdale. If there was, it was a long time ago.

    • #27
    • December 7, 2017 at 8:19 am
    • 1 like
  28. Coolidge

    Songwriter (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    Paul A. Rahe: [Hillary is] a hugely intelligent woman …

    I believe the traditional formulation is “assumes facts not in evidence.” As a contraindication, I offer the email server. Stupid on every level.

    I offer the email server in support of the contention that she is a hugely intelligent woman.

    She could have kept a separate server for her money laundering charitable endeavors. She could have not routed DoS business through her personal server. No questions, no investigations, no last minute reopening of the case …

    We may be quibbling. I suspect HRC is indeed very intelligent. But intelligence is no protector from foolishness or hubris. And she is guilty of both.

    I also see little evidence that Hillary should even be called ‘bright’.

    • #28
    • December 7, 2017 at 8:27 am
    • Like
  29. Member

    I Walton (View Comment):
    … this thing was given a powerful push by yet to be undisclosed information about our President …

    Indeed, I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop.

    • #29
    • December 7, 2017 at 9:46 am
    • 1 like
  30. Member

    Paul A. Rahe (View Comment):
    The academy is dominated by hard-core feminists. They put the kabosh on the reigning sexual anarchy, insofar as it involved the professoriat and the administrators, more than twenty years ago. Sexual anarchy continued to be the pattern among undergraduates, and that may still be the case. As far as I can tell, however, there was never sexual anarchy at Hillsdale. If there was, it was a long time ago.

    Or are the powers-that-be afraid that looking into academia might start a process that could reveal a very large number of problem professors, and the prospect of having to deal with them in the public eye? The academy seems to me (an outsider) a perfect place for problems – professors in regular contact with the young and impressionable, and with the power of professional life and death over those students.

    • #30
    • December 7, 2017 at 10:18 am
    • 2 likes
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