After Years of Slamming Trump, Joy Behar Downplays Clinton's Lewinsky Affair

I’m shocked that there are still people willing to die on Bill Clinton Hill.
If you want to praise his presidency as the kind of liberalism you like, that’s fine. What I don’t get is the same people who believe Trump’s “Access Hollywood” tape or affairs are terminally disqualifying elements for the presidency are willing to publicly argue that having an affair with a White House intern and then smearing her character and lying under oath about it is just fine.
That strange paradox has reared its head again now that Hulu’s new documentary series about Hillary Clinton — appropriately titled “Hillary” — is now available to stream. I haven’t binge-watched it yet because I literally have anything better to do, but Joy Behar and the folks on “The View” took a gander and Behar, at the very least, came away with an interesting interpretation of the whole thing.
In the series, Bill Clinton describes the affair as something he did to “manage my anxieties” and that he regrets “Monica Lewinsky’s life was defined by it — unfairly, I think.”
(He thinks?)
Discussing the clip on Friday’s episode of “The View,” panelist and general ringmaster Whoopi Goldberg began the discussion by noting “the other person who has been defined by it has been Hillary. Because, you know, people are still so angry at her. You know, she stayed with her husband, so we’re angry at her for that. But, you know, nobody came out on top.”
Guest host Sara Haines said “there aren’t winners in that, for sure … but I do think there was a loser and my heart breaks for Monica Lewinsky —”
Enter Joy Behar.
“My heart breaks for the United States of America because Hillary should have been president, and don’t think that that whole affair didn’t play into it,” she said. “That’s who I feel sorry for.”
More than Lewinsky, who has been tarred for a lifetime and was, as Haines pointed out, considered a “pariah”?
For Behar, it was Hillary who was the real victim.
And Bill shouldn’t feel too bad about what he with Lewinsky, although maybe a little:
“He said he did it to release — relieve anxiety. Whatever happened to Xanax?” Behar joked.
Haines pointed out a very relevant angle on this: “I don’t think it was the pressure of the office, I think it was the power of the office.”
Behar admitted that Clinton “was the president of the United States. He needed to think twice about what he did.” Which would have been fine, except for her statement that “he’s sorry, and I appreciate that. He’s very sorry about it and sorry about what happened to Monica.”
Contrarian co-host Meghan McCain pointed out that Lewinsky probably deserved more than an apology, given the trauma she’d endured.
“I follow [Lewinsky] on Twitter and I follow her work she does now,” McCain said. “I think she’s an interesting voice and anti-bullying advocate and I like the person she’s become, but it’s not without these horrible struggles. I do think the #MeToo movement never seems to hit Bill Clinton.”
“Yes, it does,” Behar shot back.
“He got oral sex from an intern who was 21, and I don’t know, I think he gets a lot of passes in the Democratic Party,” McCain said. “When you go back and reread the way some people covered him like [former Vanity Fair editor] Tina Brown and, I believe, [New York Times columnist] Maureen Dowd, they said the fact that he had an affair so it makes him sexier.”
There was a bit more discussion about the double standard and how people blamed Hillary but continued to support her husband. And three, two, one…
“Look at what Trump gets away with, my God, compared to that. It’s unbelievable,” Behar said. Cue applause, because this is “The View.”
But McCain wasn’t buying it, and brought this back to Clinton:
“Trump, to my knowledge, hasn’t received oral sex in the Oval Office and I do think there’s still a big difference between, like, the desecration of our White House. To me, it was the beginning of the end of a lot of things in this country.”
“I hate to say this but the desecration of the White House began long before –” Goldberg said.
“With Trump,” Behar said.
“No, no, it began long before Bill Clinton. You have the Kennedy years and you have — look, nobody comes out on top in this,” Goldberg said, again using that unfortunate turn of phrase.
Beyond the curious idea of Hillary Clinton being the real victim here — keep in mind Hillary was at the forefront of the Clinton White House’s media assault in the wake of the revelation of the Lewinsky affair, an offensive that helped paint Lewinsky as a star-struck fabulist and Clinton’s enemies as a “vast right-wing conspiracy” — the idea that Trump’s behavior prior to being in the White House somehow excuses what Clinton did within the White House is exceptionally wrong.
And this is the kind of reasoning Behar has been peddling for years, as followers of “The View” will no doubt be aware.
Say what you will about Trump’s behavior — and Behar definitely does that — there isn’t any proof he desecrated the White House with that kind of behavior. There have been no furtive cigars, no liaisons alleged anywhere in 1600 Pennsylvania.
This is the invariable problem with Bill Clinton’s defenders.
“Hillary” gives him enough rope to hang himself, and he certainly did. That the president of the United States doesn’t have enough sexual continence to manage his anxieties without having an extramarital relationship in the White House with an intern less than half his age is a uniquely lowering state of affairs, not to mention the most egregious case of a power and maturity imbalance one can imagine.
That this power imbalance was turned upon Lewinsky when she was left out to dry by Clinton and his phalanx of lawyers, politicos and surrogates is even more uniquely egregious.
It wasn’t until the infamous blue dress was produced that Bill Clinton even considered admitting to the affair, but not after one of the most sustained and ugly attacks against a private individual we’ve seen in American political history.
As for the #MeToo movement, aside from a few murmurs that Clinton’s abuses of power sounded an awful lot like those of other famous, disgraced men — and momentarily giving a bit of credence to the claims of Juanita Broaddrick — it didn’t take long for its supporters to forget about the Clinton angle.
There still hasn’t been anything close to a serious look, and certainly not the kind of revisionist scrutiny the movement applied to others.
All of this is what the Joy Behars of the world are defending. There’s no amount of “but Trump! …” that can change those very salient facts.
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