Those of you old enough to remember the ’90s probably remember the moral contortionist act Bill Clinton’s ardent supporters engaged in to rationalize the way he disgraced his office and America. The revelation of misogynistic comments from Donald Trump eleven years ago has his backers sounding just like the Clinton apologists of old.
When the story broke about Bill committing perjury about his sex romps in the Oval Office with a 20 year old intern, the “conventional wisdom” the Democratic media forced on us boiled down to “yeah, he lied under oath, but everyone lies about sex and everyone cheats on their spouse.” This was dutifully parroted by Democrats on the street. I remember getting some satisfaction watching some of them stammer when I would ask them, “Does your wife/husband cheat and lie about it?”
The mantra that Bill Clinton himself started was about how the scandal was a distraction keeping him from “getting back to the business of the American people.” (Diddling the help was apparently not distracting.)
Back then the rally cry of conservative talk radio was “character matters.” This was primarily started by Rush Limbaugh, who was 90% of the conservative media at the time. I doubt that present Trump shills like Sean Hannity would deny having said that “character matters” at the time.
For a lot of people on the right, character now only matters when it doesn’t damage their chosen candidate.
Fox News’ Judge Jeanine Pirro is on TV this weekend calling Trump’s comments disgusting but she emphasizes that they were eleven years ago. If he was in his early 30s, the fact that it was eleven years ago might have some bearing. It seems unlikely that Trump’s moral character has completely turned around between the ages of 60 and 70. Pirro’s remaining apologia is essentially telling us this is a distraction and to get back to the “business of the American people.” Character doesn’t matter. Only beating Hillary does.
Bill Clinton was counseled by fellow philanderer Jesse Jackson and this, we were told, was a sign of his penitence and we needed to forgive and forget. Congressman and tax dodger Charley Rangel routinely misused biblical verses like “let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”
Where Clinton had Jackson and Rangel, Donald Trump has Pastor Mark Burns (who has his own character issues) and Trump Catholic advisory committee member Patrick Walsh. Trump has repented and been forgiven and his boasting about adultery is irrelevant.