Weiner and the Gray Lady's Hypocrisy
"At some point, the full story of Bill Clinton and his sexual relationships... will finally be told. In the meantime, the serially evasive Mr. Clinton should take his marital troubles and personal compulsions out of the public eye, away from cameras, off the Web and out of the race for the presidency."
Never written by New York Times' editors about Bill Clinton, you say? Those words were lifted from the Times' editorial about Anthony Weiner?
You, in fact, are correct.
One tends to think that the difference between Mr. Clinton's sexual adventures and Mr. Weiner's are matters of flamboyancy and degree. As the Times writes about Mr. Weiner so is true of Bill Clinton: there's a fuller story yet to surface about Mr. Clinton's compulsive sexual trysts, his forcing - or attempting to force - sex on women (remember Juanita Broaddrick?), and, perhaps, his perversions (judge for yourself whether or not Monica Lewinsky's performance with a expensive cigar furnished by President Clinton counts as a perversion).
In 1992, Mr. Clinton's no-holds-barred extramarital sex life, the Arkansas stories about his sexual aggressiveness, his bald-faced lying about his escapades (and his wife's covering up) were well known to the Times' reporters covering Mr. Clinton's presidential run then and the editors who dispatched those reporters. That's nearly a generation ago, but it would be fatuous for today's Times' editors to claim no institutional memory.
In fact, in 1992, the Times endorsed Mr. Clinton for president. Here's an excerpt from that endorsement:
Bill Clinton, though highly regarded by other governors, has not previously been tested on the national stage. He has, when pressed, shown a discomfiting tendency to blur truthful clarity. But he, much more than his rivals, manifests qualities of leadership: intellect, years of immersion in government, the capacity to attract first-rate people-and the perseverance that has carried him through a brutal campaign. [Italics added]
Of course, the Times added a "But" to the Clinton endorsement. But then-Governor Clinton's virtues outweighed a suspect and checkered personal life. Character, as we were told in the Clinton 90s ad nauseam, could and should be separated between the public and private. What Mr. Clinton did in his personal life had no bearing on his public duties.
Anthony Weiner is an intelligent man by all accounts; he demonstrated capability in his duties as a New York congressman. Why shouldn't Weiner's perverse private sexual life be excluded from considering his merits as the Big Apple's next mayor?
Mr. Weiner's lewd sexual conduct became too public; there were, after all, photos and tweets. The former congressman left a digital trail of his sexual proclivities that Mr. Clinton couldn't have left a generation or more ago (the technology was limited), and would have been too devious to do so, anyway. True, Mr. Clinton did have his fixers when stories of his sexual flings and, perhaps, crimes, bubbled to the surface; when he was a tad reckless or sloppy. Certainly, mainstream media outlets - liberal in worldview - played their roles in fixing for Mr. Clinton once he reached the national stage.
Frankly, one wonders what Times' editors would have to say about Mr. Weiner if he were the only Democrat game in town? If there was a real threat from a conservative Republican (or any Republican) winning the mayor's office?
How goes the old saying, "Hypocrisy is the homage vice pays to virtue."
The New York Times is guilty of something like that.