Huma and Hillary

By A. G. Moore 7/29/2013
Photo of the Oval office in the Clinton Library, AR
Photo by Fetchcommons on Wikimedia Commons
I resisted the temptation to entitle this blog Hillary’s Wiener Problem because that title would have sounded like an inelegant pun. I don’t intend this to be a snide, shallow commentary. What I want to do is point out the obvious: Bill Clinton’s indiscretions and Hillary’s decision to “stand by” him are not significantly different from the drama playing out in Anthony Wiener’s public and private life right now. Any honest person who lived through the Clintons’ trial by sex scandal would have to agree.When Bill Clinton was elected President in 1992, it was with the shadow of compulsive sexual activity hanging over his political and social life. Remember Jennifer Flowers? The movie Primary Colors?Clinton’s Oval Office escapades with Monica Lewinsky were consistent with what many suspected about the President all along; he was a risk-taker and sexually compulsive.So how would Anthony Wiener be described? Many who comment publicly suggest a predatory element to Wiener’s activity; is this not how soliciting oral sex from a young intern in the Oval Office can be characterized?When the hatchet brigade went after Clinton for his “lies”, when they sought to undermine his presidency with the scandal, I was appalled. To me the whole impeachment proceeding was like a modern day Salem witch trial. I was embarrassed for the country and dismayed that Clinton had given the opportunists an opening to savage and emasculate him politically.I have a similar reaction to Wiener’s current predicament. Wiener is obviously sexually compulsive and inclined to take what to most of us are unreasonable risks. Huma is standing by him. And why not? Why does Huma get charged with political cynicism and Hillary not get charged? Is what Hillary did, when maritally challenged, any different?I think I know why Huma doesn’t get a pass from the same Democrats who rallied around Hillary: Huma’s story is too close to Hillary’s. Huma has to bow out, these political strategists believe, not because her situation or Wiener’s behavior is any worse than Bill Clinton’s. Huma has to disappear because the whole drama is way too familiar. And because Huma has been Hillary’s right-hand gal for so long. Comparison is too tempting.I’ve heard a number of Democratic commentators–Clinton apologists all–trip over themselves trying to explain why Huma’s loyalty to a straying husband is not like Hillary’s. “That’s an old story,” one says. Another declares, “Hillary was First Lady, a Senator, Secretary of State”. What they’re really saying is, Hillary has been groomed for the presidency for twenty years; she’s political royalty and because of that, different standards apply.Well, not in my book. I let Bill Clinton off the hook back in the 90’s because the political alternative to him was unpalatable. I would have preferred a candidate with character, but I was interested in policy. Holding out for character seemed a luxury.When it comes to Anthony Wiener, I hope the same standard applies with the New York City voter. I don’t live in the city, so I don’t get to vote for or against him. But for those who have this choice, let me suggest that his compulsive sexual behavior is regrettable, but not fatal. The real question is, does this man offer the best opportunity for you to have the kind of government you want? Does he share your goals? Will he be–has he been–an effective elected leader?These are the the questions that matter. As for the possibility that his mayoral candidacy will somehow stain Hillary’s shot at the presidency–well, let the cards fall where they may. She made her choice a long time ago, as did Huma last week. Both women are sensible and strong. They can live with their decisions, as we have to live with ours when we make them at the ballot box.

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