Brett Kavanaugh defense: "But Clinton!"

This keeps getting brought up and sort of buried by all the other stuff. I’d like to talk about it, all by itself.

Bill Clinton was impeached (not convicted) for lying under oath about his sexual relationship with Monica Lewinsky. Is that not correct?

There was a decided power imbalance between the two, there is no question about that. Is there any evidence that this was a factor in Lewinsky participating in these sexual encounters? Is there evidence she was afraid of losing her job, or of physical harm, or anything? Is there evidence of who pursued whom? What has Lewinsky said since then about these questions?

I’m trying to figure out if there is any real parallel between Clinton’s actions and the actions of which Kavanaugh is accused. Whether Kavanaugh actually did those actions is not part of this discussion; if he is completely innocent of the charges then the whole point is moot.

Although this is not in Great Debates, it would be swell if there could be cites for any answers to my questions in the third paragraph.

I think there are two parts to your question. Kavanaugh was saying that this process was payback for the way [he?]/[the Republicans?] went after Clinton. I don’t know if he was claiming that the Clintons are personally part of the people going after him or just Democrats in general are getting revenge. Remember that he was a Vince Foster conspiracy theorist, so he’s not exactly rational when it comes to the Clintons.

The other part, that may be more analogous, is Juanita Broderick (sp?) who accused Bill Clinton of actually raping her. That’s where the parallel would be to Kavanaugh’s actions, but I don’t think that’s what Kavanaugh himself was referring to – his reference was more about my paragraph above, where the rape accusation is used by his defenders to point out liberal hypocrisy or something.

Let’s say that I’m your boss and ask you to sleep with me, and then you sleep with me.

In reality, you slept with me because you think I’m hot and you couldn’t care less that you’re my boss.

But, in reality, I have no power to read your mind. It is just as likely that you agreed because you need the job and can’t say no.

Despite that fact, I have decided to go ahead and sleep with you.

Obviously, I will choose to believe that you simply think that I’m hot, and that you would have slept with me regardless of whether I was your boss or not, but that doesn’t make it so.

That all said, there’s clearly a difference between asking someone out and snatching someone from a side-passage and then trying to rip their clothes off, while holding them down and covering their mouth.

And even being someone’s boss, there are cases where the boss might explicitly say, “Get in the bed, if you want to keep your job.” And there are going to be cases where it’s general knowledge that everyone is financially well-off, they could both get another job at the drop of a hat, etc. and there’s really no reasonably doubt that they simply were a good match and all is right with the world.

I think it’s reasonable to say that Clinton took advantage of his position, knowing that Lewinski was star struck and pliable. I personally don’t condone that, but it’s also probably human nature. Every single rock star that ever shagged a groupie is guilty of the same.

But unless the person is just pulling a (bad) prank to give someone a scare, dragging someone into a room and making moves to rape them really has no clean justification nor way to reduce the evil quotient.

I’ve heard someone (not Kavanaugh himself, but I forget exactly who) say that the Dems are hypocritical specifically because they didn’t think Bill Clinton should be successfully impeached for his affair with Monica Lewinsky.

If the issue is the lying (I never had sex with that woman vs. I never drank to the point of forgetting stuff/“ralphing” refers to my weak stomach) then yes, I think the non-hypocritical position is that both Kavanaugh and Clinton were big fat liars.

But I interpreted the statement I heard about Democratic hypocrisy to be referring to Clinton’s actual affair with Lewinsky and Kavanaugh’s alleged rape attempt on Ford. Those two actions are not equivalent. It was absolutely wrong for Clinton to fool around with Lewinsky, but both she and Clinton were sober and she (by her own account) was in love with him, so presumably a willing and eager partner. In the Kavanaugh case he was drunk, she may also have been under the influence of alcohol, and she was NOT a willing partner. So while both actions were wrong, there is no hypocrisy in seeing them as not the same.

Kavanaugh was on Ken Starr’s special investigation staff into whitewater, Monica Lewinsky, et al.

Lewinsky has recently made statements that what Clinton did take advantage of her in his position as a very powerful man.

Not surprisingly, there’s a wikipedia page for that, and it’s not quite so simple:

Clinton was accused of a lot more than having an affair with Monica Lewinsky.

Juanita Broderick says that Bill Clinton raped her and punched her in a hotel room in 1980.

["]Kathleen Willey](, a Democratic campaign volunteer, says that in 1993 Clinton assault her in the White House, groping her breasts and forcing her hand onto his crotch.

Leslie Millwee says that when she worked at a television station in Arkansas in 1980, Clinton groped her without consent multiple times.

And there are others.

Whataboutism is not a defense nor a debate strategy. Shouldacouldawoulda doesn’t count either. Clinton was an ass for listening to the little guy in his pants. Kennedy (all of them) from the 50s/60s was an ass too. Trump’s guilty as well for much of his adult life.

Elective offices. This a Supreme Court lifetime appointment - you know - best and brightest without regard to political positions [Steve - you’re killing me; can’t believe you just wrote that].

Is he the best available? Doubtful. Bad with drinking and money (ref. his big season ticket bills that miraculously got paid off). Multiple lies about his background and conduct. Blotto drunk and can’t recall is not a defense.

Close to but probably not perjury in regard to previous inaccurate statements to Judiciary Committee during his federal judgeship hearing.

He wasn’t on Trump’s original list but popped up when the heat over indictments got really warm. His stance that a sitting president can’t be indicted was his ticket to appointment - besides all the religious glurg that Republicans have to pay lip service to.

Trump is covering all his bases. Looks like the Senate will remain Republican or have an impeachment conviction proof number. 25th amendment removal from office is covered by have dolts (DeVos, Perry, Carson) and various swamp dwellers beholding to him in the cabinet. This is the third leg, Judiciary. What a coincidence? All three branches of government to prop up his wanna-be dictatorship.

I believe it’s important to note that this was 20+ years ago. Times change. No way in hell could Bill get elected these days. Not as a Dem anyway.

Tu quoque is a fallacious argument in defense of just about anything.

What I don’t understand about the argument by those bringing up Clinton is that they seem to be saying that since they think Bill Clinton committed sexual assault and committed perjury, then Kavanaugh should also be allowed to commit perjury and get away with sexual assault. It’s like arguing that since OJ got away with killing two people, you should be allowed to get away with double homicide.

Yeah, I personally believe this is why the Dems are going after him so viciously.

As for the idea “times change”, I think Clinton’s sexual assaults are still relevant considering that the Democrats tried their best to ram through the election of his wife, who sided with him against the rape accusations, just two years ago. So I do think it is hypocritical to say that a vague accusation of rape is disqualifying, when Dems vigorously supported a rape apologist just a couple years ago.


Thanks for this post! Really appreciate you being so up front about things; it certainly save me time later, ya know what I’m sayin’?

What the argument is that selective outrage is a window to the real motives. For example, if a black guy is sentenced to 10 years for robbery and a white guy is sentenced to six months for a similar robbery, then the judge probably has something against the black guy and is not just someone who hates robbery.
Kavanaugh has been accused of attempted rape and some want him to not be confirmed to the Supreme Court. Clinton was accused of rape and some wanted him to receive no sanctions at all. To the extent that there are the same people in both camps we can infer that they have something against Kavanaugh and are not just people who hate accusations of rape.

Paraphrasing from aTED Talk, that she fell in love with her boss and what mainly blows for her is the consequences. “Yeah, I fell in love with my boss, get over it, world! Sheesh!” But she says it with better manners.

That particular relationship was consensual.

The argument is: “Hey, Senator Democrat, you are full of righteous indignation and insisting that women’s accusations should be believed. But Juanita Broaderick accused Bill Clinton of rape, and you didn’t believe her. So I suspect your indignation is merely a cover for a political move: you believe accusations from women about sexual assault when this would benefit Democrats, and reject them when belief would harm Democrats.”

I don’t endorse this argument – merely explaining it.

Came here to post pretty much the same thing. It would help if the OP would cite a few examples of “But Clinton” because by focusing on the differences between Clinton and Kavanaugh, I think he misses what the “but Clinton” argument is about. It’s not about differences between the two men, but how people react differently to the two situations.

Of course, one might also ask if Kavanaugh supporters don’t believe Ford, why do they believe Broaderick?

…who either has sworn under oath she was not raped or is an admitted perjurer.

That’s pretty much in line with what I said: they are saying that they don’t care about what Kavanaugh did, just that he’s a Republican. Basically, they are saying they are just as terrible as they think the Democrats are.

I think there is a principled distinction to be made between the Kavanaugh and Clinton cases: twenty years have passed.

Someone may quite legitimately say, “Look, in 1998, I had a very different view of sexual assault allegations; I was not nearly as aware of the social costs imposed on sexual assault victims and I held such accusations to a standard that I now believe is unworkable. So, yes, at the time I disbelieved Broaderick, and now I believe Ford, but that’s not because I throw my support behind Democrats reflexively. It’s because twenty years ago I was wrong, and now I’m right.”

I don’t speak for myself here, but, again, merely offering a rationale that explains the apparent inconsistency.