Apparently, when I jokingly said yesterday that “every Democrat in existence” had described Bill Clinton’s impeachment as a “lynching,” I was underselling matters. Go figure.
Overnight, RedState received dozens more examples of the term being thrown out to defend the former President, who I’m pretty sure is a white guy. More hilariously, many of the legacy media outlets that feigned outrage the past few days unsurprisingly chose to circle the wagons around Clinton, using the terms lynch, lynching, lynch mob, etc. to describe what was happening in 1998.
I’m not going to post every new example I’ve got because it’s a hilariously large number, but here are some highlights.
Rep. Danny Davis (D-IL) Called The Impeachment Of President Clinton A “Lynching.” “So, Mr. Speaker, I will not vote for this nightmare before Christmas. I will not vote for this lynching in the people’s House. I will vote against these resolutions.” (Danny Davis, Congressional Record)
Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) Called The Impeachment Proceedings Of President Clinton A “Lynch Mob.” REP. CHARLES RANGEL (D-NY): “Whether it is the FBI files, whether it is Whitewater, whether it is discussing something that Hillary has done, or whether it is Lewinsky, the whole idea is a lynch mob mentality that says this man has to go.” (Charles Rangel, Congressional Record)
Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY) Again Compared Impeachment To “Lynchings” In The South. REP. CHARLIE RANGEL: “You better weigh the rules very carefully. There’s been a whole lot of lynchings done…in South where they followed the rules but they knew they were going to lynch the guy in the beginning.” (Rep. Charlie Rangel, “1998: The Year In Review,” CNN)
Congressman Robert Brady (D-PA) Referred To Impeachment Proceedings Against President Bill Clinton As A “Political Lynching.” REP. ROBERT BRADY: “I’m not going to talk about Constitutional Law, except to say that I don’t see how the President can be removed from office in this case even if the charges could be proven. While President Clinton is guilty of bad behavior and lack of moral judgment in this issue, he didn’t put the country in jeopardy. Instead, I’ll tell you about the political lynching that’s been going on, how we got here, and why we can’t seem to get back to the issues of the people of America.” (Robert Brady, Congressional Record)
Rep. Major Owens (D-NY) Referred To The Clinton Impeachment Effort As A “Religious Lynching.” REP. MAJOR OWENS: “As a member of Congress I am sorry that there is an escalating hysteria that may lead to the religious lynching of a great president. President Clinton has gone further than he should have been asked to go in offering a public statement about his intimate personal life.” (Major Owens, Congressional Record)
Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-RI) Described The Clinton Impeachment As A “Political Lynching.” REP. PATRICK KENNEDY: “Representative Patrick J. Kennedy, Democrat of Rhode Island, a nephew of the late President John F. Kennedy, spoke of ‘a political lynching…’” (R.W. Apple, “With Partisan Rancor, A Bitter House Debates The President’s Impeachment, The New York Times)
Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) Referred To The Clinton Impeachment As A “Political Lynching.” “Speaking just off the House floor, Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-3rd District, decried the Republican effort to impeach the president, charging that it was an attempt to undo the results of the past two elections. ‘This has been a partisan lynching,’ she said. ‘They have hijacked the Constitution to impeach our agenda and to impeach our ideas.’” (David Lightman and Michael Remez, “Clinton Impeached,” Hartford Courant)
House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt Invoked The Term Lynch Mob To Describe Impeachment. REP. RICHARD GEPHARDT: “This is a sacred process. This goes to the heart of our democracy. This is not a second election. This is not politics. This is not spinning. This is not polling. This is not a lynch mob. This is not a witch-hunt. This is not trying to find facts to support our already-reached conclusions. This is a constitutional test.” (Richard Gephardt,Congressional Record)
In 1998, Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) Referred To Talk Of Impeachment As “Irresponsible,” “Absurd,” And Reflecting A “Lynch-Mob Mentality.”“The ranking Democratic member of the panel, Rep. John Conyers of Michigan, said talk of impeachment was irresponsible and absurd and reflected a “lynch-mob mentality.’ ‘Let’s consider what we don’t know,” said Conyers of taped conversations with Lewinsky. ‘None of us know what is on the tapes. Even if there are incriminating statements, none of us know whether any of the statements are reliable.” (“Patrick Sloyan, “The Specter Of Watergate / Beset President, Wary Congress”)
In 1998, Rep. Tim Roemer (D-IN) Compared Clinton’s Impeachment To A “Lynch Mob.” “Rep. Tim Roemer (D-Ind.) said an inquiry is warranted. He first voted for the Democratic alternative because it provided a time frame, but once it was defeated, he supported the Republican measure. ‘I don’t think the high threshold necessary for impeaching a president has been reached’ so far, he said, adding that the inquiry must be fair. ‘The distinction between a lynch mob and a constitutional inquiry is politics.’” (“Deborah Barfield and Elaine S. Povich, “31 Democrats Back GOP / Break With Party, See Need For Unlimited Probe”)
James Carville Referred To Ken Starr As “The Leader Of This Nasty Little Lynch Mob.” (James Carville, And The Horse He Rode In On: The People V. Kenneth Starr)
I’m gonna stop there because I think we all get the point.
It didn’t stop with Democrat Congressional members either. The media were right there to parrot their rhetoric, as they always are.
In An Op-Ed By Frank Rich In The New York Times, Called The Impeachment Proceedings Of President Clinton A Lynch Mob Due To The Anti-Clinton Members Of Congress Being White Southerners. “If nothing else, this is a measure of how deeply blacks still fear that our legal machinery can be stacked in favor of a lynch mob. And it’s hardly a mindless argument. The most rabid Clinton-haters in Congress are white Southerners, led by Bob Barr, who has spoken before the racist Council of Conservative Citizens. An impeachment trial’s jury of 100 senators will be whites only.” (Frank Rich, “Journal; Let It Bleed,”)
A New York Times Op-ed, By Bob Herbert, Referred To Impeachment Proceedings As A Lynch Mob. “Forget about the will of the people, the democratic process and the good of the country. The extremists in the Republican Party are trying to bludgeon their way to an impeachment that hardly anybody wants and nobody needs. If the Government and perhaps even the economy are thrown into a tailspin as a result — well, so be it. The fanatics of the right are willing to pay any price, bear any burden, to hammer the man they hate above all others, Bill Clinton. I’m no champion of the President, but I know a lynch mob when I see one.” (Bob Herbert, “In America; The Capitol Hill Mob,”)
A New York Times Op-ed, By Maureen Dowd, Referred To America’s Dislike Of Lynch Mobs When Discussing Clinton Impeachment. “The Clintons attack Mr. Starr to deflect attention from the President’s immoral behavior. They appeal to decent American impulses — we do not like lynch mobs, we do not like hate-mongering, we do not like women who rat out girl friends, we do not like Big Brother peeking through bedroom windows. The Clintons elicit our public-spirited impulses and use them for their private political gain. But the choices they ask us to make are false ones. You can think the notion of impeachment is ludicrous and still think that Mr. Clinton has acted with monstrous selfishness.” (Maureen Dowd, Op-ed, “Liberties; Saturday Night Bill,” )
In An Op-ed In The New York Times, William Safire Described The Bork Hearings As A “Lynching.” “Every liberal pressure group in Washington was patting itself on the back. Senators Joe Biden and Ted Kennedy, champions of integrity and protectors of womanhood, were congratulating each other on their triumph in turning the Bork hearings into the personal vilification and public lynching of a proponent of judicial restraint. The media gathered at the White House for the surrender and humiliation they had been predicting for weeks.” (William Safire, “ESSAY; Judge Bork’s Victory,”)
And that’s just The New York Times. What about The Washington Post?
A Washington Post Op-ed, By Elizabeth Drew, Claimed That Clinton Impeachment Was Currently Threatening To Look Like A Lynching. “The Republicans don’t seem to realize what a dangerous game they’re playing, near- and long-term. To begin with, impeachment has to be bipartisan if it is to have legitimacy. And it can’t look like a lynching, which it is currently threatening to do. The Democrats were engaging in a bit of crocodile-ism in their show of outrage that documents and the famous tape were being released: Some among them, including the former inquisitor John Dingell, urged the Democrats to not let the Republicans control the materials and leak them as they chose.” (Elizabeth Drew, Op-ed, “Why Clinton Will Be Impeached,)
A Washington Post Op-ed, By Richard Cohen, Claimed “The Republicans Are Trying To Lynch Clinton” Regarding Campaign Fund-Raising. “The whole thing is a study in disproportion, in a madness that, in other places, would entail an examination of the water supply. Campaign financing badly needs reform but, rather than do that, congressional Republicans are trying to lynch Clinton and Gore for what, it appears, is their most serious offense: winning the last election. No independent counsel is going to change that.” (Richard Cohen, Op-ed, “Who Needs An Independent Counsel?,”)
What’s the media’s response to all this? That it’s different of course.
Analysis: Why Trump’s lynching comment drew outrage now, and not when Joe Biden and others used it in the ’90s https://t.co/jLzFdeEDHm
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) October 23, 2019
Makes sense. It’s not like the term lynch wasn’t historically charged 21 years ago. The awful things done to black Americans were not new revelations at the time. So why was it ok then, but not now? Screaming Orange Man Bad isn’t much of an answer, even though the Post tries really hard to make it one.
Here’s the reality. We just live in stupider times. Back in the ’90s, people simply didn’t get up in arms like they do today over the use of metaphors and analogies. The use of the term lynch to describe political battles is not new. It’s not even that controversial and it doesn’t suddenly become so because Trump.
If someone thinks that people should not use the term lynch outside of the Jim Crow era context, that’s fine. There’s nothing wrong with trying to be sensitive to that. But is it really that big of a deal? Was it worth two straight days of breathless coverage and dozens of op-eds?
I’d posit not, and the fact that Democrats and the media found it be perfectly acceptable when defending Clinton’s impeachment tells us all we need to know. This was nothing but partisan rancor and now they are scrambling to justify their hypocrisy.
Enjoying the read? Please visit my archive and check out some of my latest articles.
I’ve got a new twitter! Please help by following @bonchieredstate.