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S2 Ep. 7: Bedfellows


Today it’s conventional wisdom that all feminists hypocritically turned their backs on Monica Lewinsky. In fact, the scandal provoked an intense debate within the feminist movement about sex, power, and consent. For some, it was obvious that Clinton had victimized Lewinsky and needed to be thrown overboard. For others, it was just as obvious that the scandal was part of a political war in which Clinton was the good guy. In the seventh episode of our series on Clinton’s impeachment, Leon Neyfakh excavates the arguments and ideas that divided liberals—and feminists in particular—at the height of the scandal. 

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
The following? Podcast contains explicit language, LISA Chase and all her friends loved Bill Clinton from the beginning after a lot of years in the political wilderness, if you're a liberal Democrat Manhattan and ninety ninety three, but Clinton was what you dreamed up. You know that Kind of valuable intelligence- and he had was like a thousand aphrodisiac, for, I think- lots of people, women and men He spent the second half of the ninety nine working as an editor at the New York observer, a small weekly newspaper known for covering Manhattan society in columns like sex in the city, which became HBO Series Chase. As a liberal in her thirties and as a woman, I always thought of Bill Clinton as being on her side. A lot of feminist did because, broadly speaking, his policies, The agenda of the women's movement- that's not they all left, leaning women saw Clinton is their ally. He had needed many supporters, particularly women of color, with his approach to welfare.
Warm and other issues. Even so Clinton got credit for being pro choice. During his first we can office. He marked the twentieth anniversary of Roby weight by lifting chickens and abortion that have put in it's by his republican predecessors today. I am acting to separate our national health and medical policy from the divisive conflict over abortion. Later men feminist organisations. Cheered Clinton for signing legislation like the violence against women act. Also. Four points, Ruth better Ginsburg to the Supreme Court. A pioneering work in behalf of the women of this country. She compiled a truly historic record of achievement in the finest in knowing more women in senior positions than any administration in history. He wise enthusiast about working with women you now he did not. Come across as a sexist. You just now What he loved was intelligence any liked
when Chase knew the Clinton had a history of sexual indiscretion, but is apparent in Nobody to control himself was almost part of the appeal he like that guy was so great but flaw. And you were trying to figure out right, you're just trying to unlock it, and if you can unlock it, you could potentially fix him. The Monica Lewinsky story broke in January of ninety ninety eight about week later chase was at a bar with a bunch of her friends. They were talking about the scandal. The only thing that anyone wanted to talk about one of us said I've been me might have been one of the other women. Well, would you sleep. With the present you now. Would you fuck the president and every woman said yeah conversation gave chase and idea what, if the observer brought gather a group of notable New York women and ask them to and on the record, would they fuck Bill Clinton? Why are we not the observers, vote
Group included, Katy, Righty, Erika John Patricia Marks and a half dozen others, Each woman was influential in her field. To them, are somehow involved in the public dialogue around sex, the modern, It was Francine prose occasion was Laburnum Bernardin. Fancy, restaurant in midtown. That was chosen in part because it was owned by woman, the resulting peace ran in February of ninety ninety eight under the heading in New York. Superpowers love that naughty press. At this point, and was still denying that, he'd had an affair with Lewinsky Everyone quoted in the peace, pretty much took it for granted that he had an Baden care. Just a march talked about how she, like the president, more now, Katy Roy fees, Did this virile president was suddenly fulfilling a forbidden fantasy of an old fashioned taboo aggressive male Erika John declared, I want to present to be alive from the waist down the through and was that these women were kind of excited for Monica Lewinsky,
maybe even a little envious of her. We were projecting ourselves onto her. But it was. It was almost as if a lot of women that room felt. This is a right that reads: we'd bought for the right to pursue powerful men and in whatever way you know professionally, or you know, sexually journalist, Marjorie Williams, writing and vanity. Fair said: the observer, This was the most embarrassing thing she had read in a long time. Williams who died in two thousand five called out the women who participated in the round table. For the gleefully wrong. She way in which they had talked about the Clinton Lewinsky affair. Why Williams asked do feminist, find it so hard took now which the ugliness of this arrangement as well uses peace itself demonstrated not everyone did. Dave conventional wisdom that all feminists hypocritically turn their backs and Monica Lewinsky. In fact, the scandal provoked an intense
debate within the feminist movement about sex power consent and priorities? For some? It was obvious that Clinton had victimized, Lewinsky and needed to be thrown out. Bored, despite his policies for others, likely to chase. He was just as obvious the scandal, was part of a political war which Clinton was the good guy. You know we felt that There is this incredibly ridiculous thing happening Anderson. We dangerous thing happening and we felt defensive for our president you know when we weren't sure what was gonna happen. We weren't you who's, gonna win It is clear from the beginning how Clinton's enemies we're going to react to the Lewinsky revelation. The more interesting question was friends thing: what were the arguments and ideas that divided liberals feminists, in particular the height of the scandal, and what did it mean
Monica Lewinsky herself always considered her relationship with clean to be a consensual, love affair. This is slow burn. I'm your hosting Leon, Neva! Everybody is talking about the feminists in their absence. I think those that would accuse the feminist movement of having a double standard don't understand. Well what we do as women continue to talk round the country about the man, the women and the presidency have pursued seven bedroom about three weeks after Clinton, We confessed to his affair with Monica Lewinsky. He called it. That meeting in the White House residents the mood was tense. Clayton had been depressed, distracted and afraid that at any moment he might be abandoned by his allies, both in the ministry and I'm Capitol Hill after about two
cabinet members filed in and took their seats. Clinton stood in front of a fight, place and addressed the group in a sombre voice. He began apology, he's trying to explain. I am to them. He's got tears in his eyes. This is journalist, Peter Baker, who can the White House for the washed imposed and is a powerful moment. He get support from people who stand up in hope, Bio verses and tell him that there behind him, and they know that God believes forgiveness and then find come to Danish Luella Donna, Lila was Clinton Secretary of Health and Human services. She was a clue. Illustration lifer she had joined it at the very start of his first term of the weak Lewinsky story broke sheets in front of the press corps and said that she believed the president remember the Madeleine Albright statement. You heard in last week's episode The allegations are completely untrue, sucking that, third, it surely all that
but carefree voice, saying: third, it that was to Leyla Bateman. Later she sat and listened to her fellow cabinet members assured Clim one by one. They forgave him with every It shall Leyla grew more resolved to change the temperature in the room. Here she is talking back in two thousand. Seven Eric the Dep. I defended him publicly that told me. He had done it and told everybody else. We wrote. To tell the President's dress. I told the truth. Should we, I declare that would bothered her most was not his lying who's that Louis He was just barely out of college an affair with a merry personal lied about. I don't think I would have been bothered about in Bali. Was the young person thing? This wasn't some apps. Principle, for she assure me, the Clinton she had served as a college president? Earlier in her career and she'd fired professors for exactly this type of behaviour? gets every principle. I've had my life and the world that I come from Europe,
college president. Lessingham do with let people hit on students. We have rules these things, and it was just unacceptable and everybody was being a bit of an apologist form in the room- and I just blew up actually, what this mean you'd, prefer Mr Dickson, over John F Kennedy, according to Peter Baker, show was exact words response were you, ve got to be kidding members who were around the At that time were just you know, stunned and their eyes were wide and there. Actually, riveted by this confrontation, and now how much I got through Declan, I don't know, but she gave it to him and at the end of the meeting he pulled her sides as well. You know, you're, always tough on me, and she said only when you deserve it. Did the end of the thing. But I was just pissed on sugar, considered resigning, but after discussing it with few of her colleagues were considering the same thing. She concluded that you should, stay by Clinton side.
The same, all decided the same thing but we should not turn this into a constitutional crisis. We should just get our work. Keep the government together are parts the government together that we should not be drawn into this, and that's what I'm not doing a job to three other cat. Members who I don't wanna name and all of them were feeling the same way I was, and that is this is disgusting, but we gotta keep going. On Capitol Hill, the independent Chaus report arrived the sovereignty of its two FBI bands to deliver the evidence. Eighteen is that what can storing is prosecutor say is proof of possibly unimpeachable offences by the President, The office of the independent council delivered its four hundred and forty five page report to Congress on September. Ninth me then, for years in the making. If you include the white investigation. The report was meant to inform.
Members of Congress of what the independent council had learned and to make a case as to whether the president should be impeached. For two days. The report sat unread the foreign office building all Democrats and Republicans in the house debated what to do with it. Finally, they voted to release it to the public site unseen They would get to read it at the same time as everyone else how Speaker Newt Ingrid call it a gesture of transparency intended to anti and unbiased airing of the facts. This is an you news special report. House in prices, Mostar Report The report from can star is out some major surprises. None of unpleasant the United States. The details are tough to take decidedly not for the fate of art, certainly not for children. The gun, printing office couldn't produce enough copies for every congressmen and all seven thousand journalist who wanted one too We demand the House Clerks Office, struck
I shall deal with King Gos to get the report printed and just seven cents. A page. General public, the quickest way to get a hold of them. What was online as news organisations and even local libraries uploaded it to their servers. Just internet event, ever the scramble to get access to the star report. America online said traffic was thirty percent higher than normal, the star it was an immediate sensation. This was due to the so called narrative portion. The consistent detailed descriptions of Clinton and Lewinsky's sexual encounters a customer's here at the Java, CAFE are among the millions reading the star report all over the country and around the world. There is nowhere to hide from the star report. I don't think there's any that first, twelve pages of other major newspapers have sexual Syrian the free oral sex appeared in the star port eighty five times as in
President initiated the oral sex by unzip, his pants and exposing his genitals, the word breasts here fifty one times as in the president lifted its Lewinsky sweater fondled her her breast with his hands, Atwater. Meanwhile, the Arkansas Land Deal it started out to investigate when he became independent council was mentioned just four times. The number two in was happy to round down to zero. When pushing on the report White House lawyers, pointing out that there is no mention of that snow Lamb deal controversy nor the FBI this case nor the skin involving the travel lost, and here Big irony Congress once tried to pass a law protecting kids from internet smut. Now, thanks to the star report, it sets in Congress. That's putting x rated material on the net, but the star report contained more just bureaucratic smut and also formally accused Clinton of committing unimpeachable offences. Star point
multiple instances of obstruction of justice witnessed hampering abuse of power. Perjury. Both civil and criminal context The star Clinton had done more than lie to apology owns lawyers back in January. He had also lie the stars: grand jury in August with his parsing of the term, sexual relations, specifically the president, told the grand jury that he never touch. Lewinsky's breast or intimate parts of her body and therefore had not perjured self in his deposition in the Jones case last January, when he said Edna head sexual relations with Lewinsky, if you recall, The Jones lawyers had defined sexual relations as touching another person's genitals with intent to arouse were gratify theirs. Sure desire in his grandeur Testimony Clinton had insisted that, according to that definition, Lewinsky had sexual relations with him, but not the other way around.
But the star team was not having a prosecutor side at least thirteen instances in which he touched her in very intimate ways, including one episode involving a cigar. This was star justified going into such excruciating detail in his referral to Congress. Clinton was the encountered a argue about what kind of touching counted wanted sex play. If that was how no choice to play it and gnarly but to include all the gnarly details that proved Clinton was lying as it turned out. Many Americans found that argument about his persuasive, a star had found Clinton's. Remember Clinton an extremely popular president and his supporters not want to see him humiliated like this. I remember where I was when I read it in the New York Times and how pissed off I was it can star for having pursued this. This is novelist Elizabeth Benedict, She was one of the women who participated in the New York observer. Roundtable she'd been in because she was the author of book about how to write sexiness cancer
was the only person who cared about this Monica wasn't complaining. She wasn't filing a charge against him. His wife wasn't threat to divorce him that we knew about, but there was this government official who was prosecuting him and persecute him about this and he was restarted the pervert in this, and I think people found that very disturbing they kind of understood that he was the weird all right. He was like the boy you're and he making all this happened. When Benedict read the star report, her reef, was to imagine yourself being pursued and exposed. The way can star, had pursued and exposed Bill Clinton because we're human beings in whatever do sexually. You dont really want in the New York Times, and then there We can start saying these are matters of great importance and it was like no they're not for some people, Our investigation had a curious, effective, humanizing Clinton, here's Patricia Ireland
president of the National Organisation for women, better known as now talking about how the scandal might be affecting Hillary Clinton. She is seeing her husband. I suspect, in the same way, that the women voters do that is as a complex human being with strength and flaws. I think Sure him up and is not a human stain, Philip broth would later cried the summer of ninety ninety eight. As a sum Nada in one passage raw imagined a banner hanging from the front of the White House. That said, human being, lives here that image echoed comment. Clayton Clinton had made during his grand jury testimony which the house today The committee voted to release on video one week after location of the starter port, You tried not to let anyone else know about this relationship, but of course, what did you do but I never said anything about wanting in doubt.
What people do when I did wrong thing? I tried to do it. Nobody else is looking. I did. Would people you when they do the wrong thing well, not heed intended it. This way, Clinton's free invited Americans to see themselves in him. It also a meaningful distinction between his misdeeds, committing adultery in covering it up and those of Richard Nixon, the last press, to face and impeachment campaign the difference was Nixon. Use the power he had as the President of the United States and had done something anyone could do. You didn't we President's to lie about an affair If you're looking to reduce unnecessary trips out and trying to
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the release of the star port hills That would happen between Lewinsky, including had nothing to do with workplace sexual harassment. The star report did absolutely clear that Lewinsky had pursued Clinton with unreserved enthusiasm, unlike in the past Jones case. No one was including making unwanted advances towards Lewinsky or try, the course her into sex, but was. Can context of an affair between the most powerful man in the world and twenty two powerful man in the world and a twenty two year old. In turn, this was question for anyone trying to assess the nature and gravity of Clinton's misdeeds at this is a place for reasonable broken turf for China make it into a cat fight, but it's a major difference, a worldview. This is Linda, Hersman, a philosopher historian, who studies the intersection of sex social movements and the law when Hersman. So looking at the Lewinsky Clinton relationship back and ninety ninety eight. She sauce the other than a consensual affair. Don't have
fraud relationships with people who are self control just went back to her grand jury testimony and it is really wrenching I mean, and what her friends were saying that the time and what her mother Obviously, there was available to objective observers, evidence of how painful this was for her. No matter what she was saying about how she was fine and then a mother of teenage daughter, no said, though always say their fine She was sure that Monica Lewinsky had been abused by a predator and she stand by that. I spent now it's pretty clear that their work, an inequality not just of age and money and power, but of rationality. I she was delusional and he was in store I mean he was using her forward. So whatever sexual satisfaction, he could.
Clean in his very constrained situation, her from them. Where's hearing other feminists argue that Clinton's private life was no. One else, is business she's on this argument. A betrayal of women, a world view in which men, sexual behaviour is cordoned off from moral judgement by the bailiff privacy. When we spoke Hersman made the analogy to domestic violence not so long ago. She said police office, show up at the home of a domestic abuser turn right around as soon as he told them that everything was fine. The big achieve Four feminism was to bring this social technology of law in two single family twine that was where women lived in anarchy with a strong player and so to me, the philosopher, to say that six between
in turn out of has said the United States or or in any unequal power situation, is beyond judgment, is just a variation of. We now go into the house and police domestic violence above all, Hersman felt, sorry for Monica Lewinsky. Look now Nicole Wednesday suffered there's that sea where he wins the election. Ninety six inch expects them to call her back to the White House where she gets a fresh hair cut and sheep lays out her clothing. That's Madame butterfly, I'm an opera gower. Butterfly right. She sees the ship coming into the harbour and sitting there in her house and the hill waiting for kimono waiting for him all night. That's one of the saddest scenes in the entire western culture show you can't take that degree of human intensity and sensitivity and it's me
borrowing meaningless, meaning. It's safe to say that Linda Hershman was far outside the mainstream. Ninety ninety eight that September the sea News poll showed that most Americans viewed Lewinsky unfavourably issues more unpopular with women than with men. Meanwhile, on tv and on the radio Monica was a young tramp. Monica Wednesday's behaviour was unacceptable about Monica Wulf trade not as a victim, but the desperate and cannot having slut. We so behaviour was to blame for the whole mess as someone who basically blackmail the president of the United States, that's your mom, Andy eight. After the star report came out and
Ralph. What a great article the other then she said there should be a term cannot in the opposite of sexual harassment when a person of less power uses her sexual attractiveness or personal relationship with a person and greater power get ahead upon a it now as Mars. The situation, it was Lewinsky reduced Clinton, I think Monica Lewinsky, is the one who should apologise to America, she's, the home reykir anyway, nobody really. I was an apology. I think it's her Howard Stern, the radio personnel the commission, the song about Lewinsky, look at me, I'm gonna get low Wednesday. They ve been pictures of my bad base and my do though, I barely finish. I still no, the golden rule, you aren't you others and then have them. Do you too jokes poured in Monica she herself was silent,
granting no interviews and making no public statements for one, and only press appearance came when she paused for a photo spread and Vanity fair photographer. Its shot, her on a beach malibu wearing diamonds and wrapping herself, an american flag of photos or out they help or hurt the lawyers or trying to new, predictably that photo shoot only earned Lewinsky more criticism. Only earned Lewinsky, more criticism or India in writing. In the New York Times said she Second, to see. Lewinsky mocking her role as the silent center of a case. It could bring president, Her short nails are painted red like a little girl who was put on her mothers. Polish doubted wrote, shape of Jean Monet Ramsay, Jennifer, Baumgardner and Amy Richards or in their lay twenties when they wrote an essay for the nation magazine called in defence of Monica. I remember in very angry. This is Richards.
I interviewed her and Baumgardner together a few months ago, and then I remember feeling an we, both about harmonica was being treated but feeling angry about every young woman who wasn't given respect now If you're listening to this twenty eighteen, you might be thinking what leave to learn, there were some one willing to call out bill more and Howard, stern and everyone else who had ridiculed and damned Monica Lewinsky, but while chosen. Baumgardner did briefly address Lewinsky's public humiliation in their peace. They are primarily folk, on defending Lewinsky from a different threat. Honest and Linda Hersman Mould, who insist on treating her like a victim, here's baumgardner too high Somebody speak on behalf of Monica Lewinsky answer. She says her experts was there, but it's actually. This to me is so distasteful in their essay. Baumgardner and Richards wrote that at the root of feminism is the right to make our own choices and with freedom
possibility that we will make bad choices. We want the right too Sexually active without the presumption that we were used or duped, wouldn't we weren't defend, Monica I think, We were they sang was, we believe, her. We that she's telling us the truth and she's telling us that she was not a victim, a Bell Clinton's and we were defending her truth as much I think we were also serve defending choices that she made and that any Other young woman might make a similar situation, Richardson Baumgardner braced themselves for backlash when they publish the essay above all We were thinking about the reactions of an older generation feminists, those widened, It is part of the movements second wave. He felt risque yeah thought risky in comfortable little bed, then anomaly like twenty seven or twenty eight? I guess there was a lot of confusion, competition about who was the bone. I'd feminist, what institution got to be the feminist right institution, which book got to be the feminist book that
where was sort of landing in, was a larger conversation about who set the rule. Of feminism and who was expected to follow them into hammy rules. Gift followed a b, a feminist as expected, the peace Baumgardner and Richard derision, from some of their elders everywhere, were like honey, I remember there's a letter to the other. There is like you too, the eight hurts now dear so naive, yeah, you don't know then and now felt like northern I now we know for Linda Hersman. This is Miller point of view in our family has been having an argument between the labour and the guy tearing feminists, equal rights feminist since the porn moors. The porn wars were bade the divided feminism in the late seventies and early eighties, created a lasting ideological fault line on one? I'd, roughly speaking or feminist, who did
and pornography on the basis that human sexuality should be free and out in the open, not right waited and hidden away. On the other, were those who believed in restricting access to pornography, because degrading misogynistic treatment of women, it's a question At what point do you say that the sexual relationship should be legally regulated or morally regulated? Weird, You draw the line between an area of human life that you look at me. The culturally morally, however, and an air, of human life, that is beyond judgment, but the Clinton, Lewinsky's candle, broke the porn wars were actively settled the pro born feminist had one both in the courts on four Mehmet grounds and and ready life because technology had made point Murphy to ubiquitous deregulate, but the device
with an feminism had persisted in the Clinton Lewinsky affair brought it back into the open On January, twenty sixth, ninety ninety eight, just a few days, the Lewinsky story broke the radio show democracy now convened a panel feminists, discuss the scandal today below the belt way. We'll talk with a group of prominent feminist Will yet what we Linda version was one of the panel's, so was Cathy Pilot writer for the nation who saw the Clinton Lewinsky Affair pretty much the same way in richer than Jennifer Baumgardner did and to say that it is not possible to give consent is the same logic that have a woman can't can't make up her mind about an abortion is the same thing the best thing for a woman to be married. All this garbage was Andy feminist garbage. This leads directly to that and I'm not Hersman acknowledges the power of pilots argument. The research
intuitive about a feminism. The calls for treating Monica Lewinsky as an independent, adult, capable making her own sexual choices fishermen insists that it's not so straightforward what the liberties offer is set six year old enough, you can have it with an older man. You can have it with you thesis adviser in a song, usher happy and you're. Having a wonderful experience, it's all fine that is assessed. To offer and what we gal. Terran feminists have to offer an exchanges knots, easily appealing worse hard things right. Discipline yourself forego the immediate pleasure. Keep an eye on your power relationships. Those are harder cells, but in the long run like not drink it
much gunning into a car smoking cigarettes, it's better but is higher one point: during the democracy now discussion, Linda Hirsch, did something surprising she began to he's republican Senator John Ashcroft to his on the nuclear. Quite moving way convincingly that they did proportion of power between the chief executive of the United day and a young woman two months at a college and the other would at least give you some pie. No ashcombe would later become. George W Bush is attorney. General was a key figure. Christian right, Hersman identifies if a radical feminist, if we did not agree with him on anything This issue seem to be different when Hersman Ashcroft. Speaking about the power imbalance between Clinton and Lewinsky, she found of nodding along and A little weird but not covered.
Unfamiliar that someone, a religious backgrounds, would stand up for the human, Many of us here unsolved Christianity is actually one of the great sources of egalitarianism. Every person has Tom saw until they have equal value. That's a change from the tribal beliefs of the old testament to be clear. Its knowledge, approving of Clinton suddenly made Hersman and John Ashcroft political allies, but they did both The Clinton should resign and they did both revive and idea that. Anti. Ninety eight had become unfashionable, but I've had consensual sex. Governed by rules. The argument that sex as beyond. Human judgment is a relatively recent argument: grave, most of human history. Sex has been heavily regulated by the church and self one. You know gradually and then dating in the sexual revolution.
Eastern societies have moved sex away from the area of legal regulation, moral judgment, but that's a mistake because x, is a human transaction like any other human transaction, so there are right and wrong aspects to it. Ominously Jennifer, Baumgardner and Amy Richards. The regulation of consensual sex inevitably penalizes the very women it supposed to be protecting I've think we're so repressed as a culture, and I think it totally. You see this in the tragedy of the Clinton store. There's just so much repression around sacks and so much dissociation in our culture, and Feminism was never meant to be a way of like heaping on more oppression for women about in a policing, their behaviour or their bodies. I asked LISA Chase The New York observer, editor weather time of the super gauss round table. She considered herself a feminist
salute me. She said and proudly so. She then made the following point: feminist thinking about sex to be divided into two strains. Why that's all about a woman's right to sexual agency, and one. It's about a woman's right to be free from sexual predation, he's thinks that may be the superpowers LE burned down twenty years ago or more focused on the former, because they were that much closer to a time when women didn't have sexual autonomy and self determination. Everybody was in that room with somebody who had made their way to whatever position of accomplish power being the head their own company being successful author whatever, and how and had encountered sexual stuff on the way from men. They worked with and figured out a way to deal with it and move on. So we didn't feel like victims right. So the thing comes through in that story, is we weren't you weren't thinking about a victim may be to our detriment.
For a long time, Monica Lewinsky herself rejected the label of victim. In her first lawyer, Build Ginsburg told her prey ITALY that he thought Clinton was no better than a child molester. She pushed back on him later in interviews. She does. Her relationship with Clinton is a sincere crush. The blossom into a romance in Israel, these two thousand fourteen she wrote. Any fair sure my boss took it Jimmy always remain firm. On this point, it was central relationship, any came in the aftermath when I was made a scapegoat in order to protect his powerful position. This here Lewinsky returned to the pages of Vanity Fair, with an update in the midst Me too movement. She wrote come to see how problematic it was that she, including even got to a place where there is a question of consent, as for the meaning of their relationship, outfits the conversation around sex in power. Lewinsky wrote, I'm sorry to say I don't have a definitive answer. Yet I am
packing and reprocessing would happen to me over and over and over again. It's worth acknowledging that the intellectual debate we ve been talking about took place within a fairly narrow corner of the world. If you attitude other everyone who read those pieces in the observer in the nation and everyone who listen to that democracy. Now discussion, you wouldn't actually be looking at a cross section of american society, but feminist did not. Street the Clinton. Lewinsky scandal was a moral quandary to be debated at the level of ideas. Was also a mass political issue. One spurred advocacy groups to mobilise here's Patricia Ireland, president of now can the argument and ninety ninety eight, the Clinton's policies. With defending the matter. What women care about the issues they care about child are they care about family and medical leave about social.
Security about public health and public education, and I think that we are not. To be rushed to judgment. None of us believes that a charge made is a charge proven this now which represented the mainstream of the feminist movement had local chow There's all round the country that had real influence with elected officials now lobbied for equal pay and laws protecting women against sexual harassment and its leadership fitted Clinton and Ally in the fight for women's equality. When the clinic Wednesday scandal. First broke The organisation briefly consider having its interns march on the White House with a problem. In condemning sexually intimate relations between employees, and volunteers, but the idea and never came to fruition and within just a few weeks Patricia. Ireland was defending Clinton by emphasising as policy record and contrasting it with that of the politicians who are calling for his head. Most of the Opponents of Bill Clinton oppose him for the very reason that the women in the country support him. He has been
good on women's issues are and was not going out on a limb with this argument, many prominent them including Miss magazine, foundered. Gloria Steinem, defended click, On the basis of his record on women's issues, the It was not just the Clinton had earned the benefit of the doubt through policies whose at those policy would actually be imperilled. If Republicans defeated him is the head Feminist Majority Foundation told Marjorie Williams. To think of the bigger picture. Think about what's best for women here again is novelist Elizabeth Bennet. We really did understand that this was a political crusade, there was a very deliberate hunting of Bill Clinton from the time he was governor? never mind his sexual indiscretions. You know people did go after him. End quote: You know he participated in some of his own destruction, but there was
right wing conspiracy to bring him down. Even if Didn't always make it easy to defend him Benedict simply not going to side with his tormentors. It wasn't everybody was defending Clinton innate in and thoughtful way but we also understood that this was a political kind of conflict. And we were you know, Democrats and liberals, and he represented us, and we didn't want him too. Be any more of a victim. Then he already was feminist, like Linda Hersman felt, hot and between two intolerable positions. They could either side and, with Republicans were willing to condemn Clinton and at least pay lip service to the idea that he had abused, Lewinsky or It stand with Democrats who refused to be in their president, because it was politically inconvenient family. Lose both banks they lose if they are the hands of the retrograde reactionary,
southern and religious based american right. The sad thing is They also looms if they are in the hands of the libertine liberal, let it I'll hang out Mayo America I thought it was time. Women got tired I've giving had to them of the left and show feminism meaningful feminism had nowhere to go. On November. Third. Ninety ninety eight, the country held mid term elections is through months after Clinton's public confession to my after the release of the star report and one month through the house began impeachment proceedings in the least to the mid terms. Republicans had widely assumed that all the turmoil with depressed democratic turn, out that by the end of election night,
Republicans, would have an even more powerful majority, both the House and the Senate. So the Republicans made Clinton the issue, the report can party has unveiled something of an October surprise. The Republicans talk to you nationwide tv add campaign, should we reward not telling the truth That is the question of the selection reward publicans one big midterms, who knew what could happen. Maybe the Democrats that remained would get the message. Maybe they would turn up and in big enough numbers that removing him in the Senate would actually become possible. Decision? Ninety eight But that is not what happened tonight there are some major surprises than Monica Lewinsky scandal actually helped. The Democrats, instead of fortifying their control of Congress Report get lost four seats in the house and fail to make. Any gains in the Senate. It was a massive upset and
it was widely interpreted a repudiation of the Republicans, foregoing far in their quest to bring down Clinton and that's cost them a chance to kick start impeachment per se. Things when they return. Nude Gingrich, who had orchestrated the republic Take over of Congress just four years earlier resigned. His power the speaker of the house, it looked like this was finally out of the woods. Yes, he could still be in by Republicans in the house, but even if that happened, No longer any chance that Senate Democrats would turn on him. That meant the tooth. The Senate majority that Republicans needed to remove Clinton from office would remain out of reach. Heading into winter. There was talk about public and leaders about dropping the impeachment drive, but then women from Arkansas aimed Juanita Broad decided to intervene, I was doing Of course, you know telling the people of a mere
oh, who Bill Clinton was and what he had done to made hoping it would make a difference in the impeachment process, Most feminist had decided the Clinton having consensual sex with a subordinate or something forgive. How would they and the rest of the country react to an alligator, of rape the season. Finale of slow burn will appear on Wednesday October tenth, but first special episode next week between excerpts from some of the best slate plus interviews. We been releasing exclusively to our members, if you like slow burn. I promise you that you will like these bonus episodes. Everyone who wishes to them does and you'll get it. Is that what you're missing next week in this week's bonus episode slate, plus
Members will hear an absolutely unique interview with someone who, in turn, in the office of the Independent Council during College and help cop at the start report the people on the offices, doing what they found was important and good work and then all like the gateway, problematic through two things, kind of like David, both exert her name, is doing shout, and if that last names unfamiliar it's probably because you, of her sisters ever who recently ran for New York State Attorney General this episode of slow burn produced by me and Andrew Parsons with direction by Josh, Levine and Gabriel Roth, our region. Yours, Madeline Kaplan our theme song, by special relations in this. Said featured music by next Sylvester of God mode our work, Teddy blanks at chips, and why Stephen? as the executive producer of slate podcast TV, If I always the senior producer for the slave podcast network, thanks to the NBC News, archives C Span: the Miller Centre oral history project, civic, a rate
archives and democracy now archival audio. You heard in this episode for a full Billy Murphy of all the work she consulted. While making this episode Jakarta. Your page at slate dot com, slash slow burn, prescriptive and all kinds of other help. We want to thank Duchess Harris author of the new book, black feminist politics from Kennedy. The trump as well as Russell Riley. Michael Greco, Susan Felicity alone, the house on erosion, Christina caught Aruji Elizabeth Comport, David friend, we'll do Bell Jeff Friedrich, Benjamin fresh than Koala? Mary, Wilson, Chow too obvious gentlemen and Camilla hammer see you next week.
Transcript generated on 2020-07-22.