Dems Better Put Some Ice on That 'Rape' Talk
The other day I received an e-mail from the suddenly famous Sandra Fluke under the simple heading "Legitimate rape." Presuming that the message was not exactly personal, I deleted it, but I could have guessed its tone and tenor.
Indeed, I had heard more about Rep. Todd Akin's unfortunate choice of words on the subject of rape in the last few days than I had heard about the actual commission of rape in the last decade, including rapes and other sexual abuses by members of a certain political party.
Mimi Alford's recent book, Once Upon An Affair, details a few such incidents. No one who has read the book doubts its veracity. Alford's "affair" with John F. Kennedy began when she was a 19-year-old virgin working in the White House. To her great surprise, Alford found herself being given a private tour of the family quarters by a president whom she barely knew.
"He placed both hands on my shoulders and guided me towards the edge of the bed," she writes. "I landed on my elbows, frozen between sitting up and lying on my back. Slowly, he unbuttoned the top of my shirtdress and touched my breasts." It goes on from there. The emotionally overwhelmed Alford did not resist, but if this isn't rape, it is something damn close -- a flagrant abuse of power, what the French might call droit de seigneur, the right of the master.
To flaunt his power, Kennedy later had Alford perform oral sex on one of his aides. "It was a pathetic, sordid scene," Alford writes. "He had emotionally abused me and debased Dave [Powers]. For what? To watch me perform for him and to show Dave how much he controlled us?" To her credit, Alford refused to comply the next time the president urged her to do the same for his brother Teddy.
Teddy, of course, had his own sordid history. In his exhaustive 1988 book, Senatorial Privilege, Leo Damore tells what happened the night the married Kennedy took an inebriated young aide, Mary Jo Kopechne, out for some casual sex on a Chappaquiddick beach.
They never got there. Their car went off a bridge. Thinking career first, Kennedy left Mary Jo alive, trapped in the car and gasping for air. He bypassed homes near the bridge, from which he could have called the police, and walked over a mile back to the house where he had been partying.
Once there, he sought out his lawyer friends, Joe Gargan and Paul Markham, to help him work out his alibi. Compromised by a presumed lawyer-client relationship, they had to wait for Kennedy to call for help. Kennedy never did. He may have been hoping that Gargan, the family fixer, would take the rap. Mary Jo, meanwhile, struggled to survive for perhaps an hour, even more.
Afterwards, being a Kennedy, Teddy requested and got all three networks to give him 15 minutes of prime time for an unprecedented bit of public dissembling. "There is no truth whatever to the widely circulated suspicions of immoral conduct that have been leveled at my behavior and hers regarding that evening"...and he continued lying from there. Droit de seigneur.
Although Ted was never tried for rape, his nephew, William Kennedy Smith, was. On Good Friday 1991, Kennedy took Smith and his son Patrick out for a long night of drinking. The young men brought two young women home with them. Hoping perhaps for his share of the action, a drunken Ted Kennedy, nearly 60 now, wandered without any pants on into the room where everyone had gathered. "I got totally weirded out," said one of the women. She got up and told the others, "I'm out of here. I'm leaving." The woman left behind the woman who would accuse Smith of rape. He would be acquitted.
Robert Kennedy behaved better. He was too busy tidying up for his older brother. In his new, exquisitely researched book, Marilyn Monroe: The Final Years, celebrity biographer Keith Badman tells how Robert and his pimp brother-in-law Peter Lawford showed up at Monroe's home unannounced one afternoon, told her to shut up about her affair with the president, ransacked the house looking for her diary, and left her in hysterics. She died of an overdose that night. Lawford knew that Monroe was in a bad way but failed to check on her for fear that the attendant publicity would damage the president.
If you asked a Democrat to name the most four most respected members of the party over the last fifty years, he would likely name John Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, Ted Kennedy, and, yes, the unsinkable Bill Clinton. There are any number of female Democrats, however, who would disagree, Juanita Broaddrick among them. In the Ken Starr investigation, Broaddrick emerged as "Jane Doe No. 5." The woman Clinton abused or assaulted had to take a number. After years of keeping quiet, Broaddrick tearfully told her story to Lisa Myers on NBC's Dateline in February 1999.
Broaddrick: "And he came around me and sort of put his arm over my shoulder to point to this little building and he said he was real interested if he became governor to restore that little building and then all of a sudden, he turned me around and started kissing me. And that was a real shock."
Myers: "What did you do?"
Broaddrick: "I first pushed him away and just told him 'No, please don't do that,' and I forget, it's been 21 years, Lisa, and I forget exactly what he was saying. It seems like he was making statements that would relate to 'Did you not know why I was coming up here?' and I told him at the time, I said, 'I'm married, and I have other things going on in my life, and this is something that I'm not interested in.'"
Myers: "Had you, that morning, or any other time, given him any reason to believe you might be receptive?"
Broaddrick: "No. None. None whatsoever."
Myers: "Then what happens?"
Broaddrick: "Then he tries to kiss me again. And the second time he tries to kiss me he starts biting my lip (she cries). Just a minute ... He starts to, um, bite on my top lip and I tried to pull away from him. (crying) And then he forces me down on the bed. And I just was very frightened, and I tried to get away from him and I told him 'No,' that I didn't want this to happen (crying) but he wouldn't listen to me."
Myers: "Did you resist, did you tell him to stop?"
Broaddrick: "Yes, I told him, 'Please don't.' He was such a different person at that moment, he was just a vicious, awful person."
Myers: "You said there was a point at which you stopped resisting?"
Broaddrick: "It was a real panicky, panicky situation. I was even to the point where I was getting very noisy, you know, yelling to 'Please stop.' And that's when he pressed down on my right shoulder and he would bite my lip."
In his book, Uncovering Clinton: A Reporter's Story, Michael Isikoff relates how Clinton, then Arkansas governor, had sex with former Miss America Elizabeth Ward Gracen.
"It was rough sex," Isikoff writes, "Clinton got so carried away that he bit her lip, Gracen later told friends. But it was consensual." Isikoff missed the lip-biting connection. He also failed to acknowledge that at least one of Gracen's friends, Judy Stokes, had told the Paula Jones legal team that the sex was not consensual at all.
"Do you believe Clinton raped her?" investigator Rick Lambert asked her. "Absolutely," Stokes replied. "He forced her to have sex. What do you call that?"
Hillary Clinton deserves a place in the Democratic pantheon as well, if for no other reason than for saving her husband's candidacy during that memorably dishonest 60 Minutes appearance in late January 1992.
"Bill talked to this woman every time she called, distraught, saying her life was going to be ruined," Hillary told Steve Croft about Gennifer Flowers, "and he'd get off the phone and tell me that she said sort of wacky things, which we thought were attributable to the fact that she was terrified."
Although he and Hillary denied it on 60 Minutes, Clinton would later admit the affair with Flowers under oath but lie about the details. During those years, Hillary served as his enabler-in-chief, ready at 3 any morning to suppress those "bimbo eruptions" -- a Clinton staffer term -- and silence, through carrot or stick, women like Broaddrick and Gracen.
You'd think the Dems would forgive Akin his ignorance on rape. He does not have anywhere near their hands-on experience. Bill Clinton, by contrast, always knew what to tell a rape victim: "You better put some ice on that."