See, younger journalists and other millennials may have very little understanding of this, but the 1990s were politically exhausting in large part because of the many, many, many, many, many allegations of sexual abuse and harassment on the part of Bill Clinton. He was famously impeached on one count of perjury and one count of obstruction of justice for how he lied about the sexual relationship he had with just one of these women, his young intern (word to the wise: don’t read the footnotes of the Starr Report if you have and want to keep an even slightly favorable view of the former president, yeegads). He defended his lies about the sex he had with her on the grounds that he didn’t know oral sex (Of various kinds! Again, do not read the footnotes!) was sex, and that he could — and would! — quibble about the meaning of the word “is.” It was like everything you hate about how Hillary Clinton parses her wrongdoing, but with women claiming rape, exploitation, assault, and other wrongdoing.
And younger folks might not quite get the arrangement that Americans worked out with the former President, which is that they were content to pretend the aggrieved women didn’t exist if he’d just lay low and not make everyone deal with his insecurities and immoral behavior constantly.
Americans also generally held mixed views on how Hillary Clinton handled the sexual transgressions of her husband. On the one hand, she was the wounded wife. On the other, she blamed other people for his infidelities, and was reported to have targeted his accusers and certainly not defended them or believed them. The “rape culture” moment we’re in requires tweets like the following. But Clinton’s behavior when it came to allegations against her husband could not have been more opposed.