I grew up in a very conservative household during the 1980’s and 1990’s. This positioned me for an “insider’s look” into the mindset of conservatives in that era.
I can tell you without any doubt in my mind that it was about the blowjob(s), but not just the blowjob(s).
It was about all of Clinton’s sexual dalliances, even before he was the president. Conservatives claimed then, as they do now, that the whole Lewinsky Affair was about Bill’s flouting of the law, and only tangentially about Monica. It wasn’t the blowjob, you see, it was the lie about the blowjob.
Because you know, there’s never been a single Republican who held the office who broke a law, much less several, much less had to resign in disgrace and/or retire to a life of shitty paintings, hiding from the public and possible war crimes charges, right? At the true heart of the matter, though, was the fact that the Republicans were on a moral crusade to rid the White House of the Hummer Receiver in Chief, and they executed the witch hunt on Clinton like any good, pious, Bible-thumping preacher character would.
We’ve come to find out that the pious creatures behind the sexual inquisition of Bill Clinton were anything put pure themselves, though.
Newt Gingrich was very famously fucking his now current wife while still married to his then second wife. Bob Livingston resigned the very same day of the impeachment vote under pressure of his own extramarital affair becoming tabloid fodder. But the most reprehensible of the triumvirate of self-righteous moral crusaders was of course former Speaker of the House Denny Hastert, who it has come to light was a likely serial child molester as a high school sports coach before he made himself a houeshold name for the zeal with which he crucified Clinton for his sexual misadventures.
Let me repeat that last part because it’s crucial.
Denny Hastert has been accused of molesting four young teenage boys when he was a high school coach in Ohio. This was before he helped Gingrich and Livingston drag Bill Clinton through the mud, obviously, but there is no possible way that Hastert could have been doing what he was doing to Clinton in the 90’s without it passing through his mind what he allegedly did years before. Or if he managed to do so, he should share whatever drugs he’s on, because that takes some really amazing disconnection from reality to pull of.
As disgusting as Hastert’s alleged molestation is, his hypocrisy makes it even more revolting. What makes me angry beyond all belief is reading in Politico that Tom DeLay is one of about 40 different Republican officials and former officials who have sent letters to the court, asking for leniency on Hastert and professing his good qualities. DeLay’s letter speaks to Hastert’s “strong faith” and “great integrity.”
“He has never disappointed me in any way. He is a man of strong faith that guides him. He is a man of great integrity. He loves and respects his fellow man. I have never witnessed a time when he was unkind to anyone. He is always giving to others and helping anyone including me so many times.” (source)
He never has disappointed you, Tom? Even after you found out he’s very likely a child molester? Really, Tom?
As Politico reported, almost none of the letters that have been sent on Hastert’s behalf even acknowledge his transgressions.
With few exceptions, the letters filed by Hastert’s lawyers say nothing about the alleged abuse or the violation of banking laws the former speaker has admitted to. Instead, they pay tribute to other aspects of Hastert’s life and career. (source)
To be as concise as possible: Anyone downplaying or ignoring Hastert’s crimes to paint the picture of a reasoned, principled man of integrity can eat a chocolate dick. They can eat a chocolate dick dipped in caramel sauce and topped with chopped nuts.
I’m not telling you that people can’t be rehabilitated. But there is something truly disturbing to the point of near-comical hilarity about a man being painted as an upstanding American citizen when we know for a damned fact he’s tried to buy the silence of at least one of his victims of sexual abuse. These are the stories we tell each other every time some Republican stands in front of us and rails against the amorality of gay marriage, or transgender bathroom access.
We snicker at them for being so obtuse and yet so pluperfect in their hypocrisy and total dearth of self-awareness.
So let’s just get really, really real, shall we? For all the hand wringing that the Religious Right did over Monica and Bill’s Blowjob-a-Go-Go, no one was a victim in that case. I know some have clung to this notion that anyone in the position of power like Bill was is a predator of some kind and is victimizing Monica by abusing that relationship, but to me, Monica was a grown-ass woman. She may not have been worldly, but she made choices as an adult, whether or not she knew or could process the ramifications of all those decisions. It wasn’t very presidential, and it wasn’t very smart, but it wasn’t illegal. Not that what Hastert did being illegal is the biggest part of the story, of course.
The biggest part of the story is that Denny Hastert left a trail sexual victims. For all the piety and evangelical fervor with which they persecuted Bill Clinton, Gingrich, Livingston, and especially Hastert, proved to be a pile of festering, hypocritical barnacles on the ass-end of history, and a warning to future generations of moral crusaders to make sure they didn’t leave any floaters in their pool, while they’re raking someone over the coals for a couple dead flies in theirs.