THE POLITICS OF BELIEVING: IN WASHINGTON AND HOLLYWOOD, ETHICS IS STRICTLY A MATTER OF TIMING

225px-Bill_ClintonJudge_Roy_MooreBelow is my column in the Hill newspaper on the ever-increasing list of politicians and celebrities accused of sexual assault or harassment.  The latest news cycle has brought more instances of strategic belief or non-belief.  When Clinton was accused in his first term, many of us wondered how Democrats would ever be able to regain their credibility on future sexual harassment cases. The solution is simple. You delay your believing until it no longer costs you politically or personally.

President Donald Trump indicated that it was better to elect Roy Moore over a liberal to guarantee a majority in the Senate.   Trump’s advisor KellyAnne Conway also made highly controversial comments that appeared to dismiss the allegations against Moore as less relevant than the loss of his vote on the tax bill.  It is one thing to say that you simply do not believe the allegations and quite another to want to secure this vote at any moral cost.  As I have previously stated, I found the allegations of these women (who are largely Republican, Trump voters with no partisan axe to grind) to be highly credible.  It is not enough to simply dismiss the allegations as “unproven” or (as noted by President Trump) denied by the accused.  Even if the statute of limitations had not run, there would be no time for a trial before the election.  Voters have to reach their own conclusions based on the credibility of women and their allegations.  That is what many voters (and President Trump) did in finding the accusers of Clinton credible despite Clinton’s denials.  Many struggle to ignore the large number of women alleging a pattern of abuse by Moore — accounts supported by an array of neighbors and former colleagues (including a police veteran who came forward yesterday to say that she was told to keep Moore away from teenage cheerleaders).  It is still an inconvenient time to believe alleged victims despite the different standard applied to Clinton’s controversies.

What is striking is that some do believe these women but still insist that the need to secure a GOP vote takes priority over the concerns that Moore is a possible pedophile or even a rapist.  These people are selling their ethics (and the ethics of Republican Party) quite cheaply.  It is not everyday that one is able to establish your specific price on ethics. In this case, it is a vote on a tax bill.  For others, there is no choice but to draw a line in the sand . . .with Moore on the other side.  Indeed, when so many politicians are standing on principle in Washington, you know that there is no real alternative.  If you find these women credible, there is no principled way to vote for Roy Moore. I find them quite credible.

Here is the column:

In Washington and Hollywood, principle, like politics, is always a matter of timing. With a constantly growing list of politicians and celebrities accused of sexual harassment or assault, many long silent figures are suddenly calling for action. Democrats are now saying, more than 20 years too late, that they believe that Bill Clinton raped a woman and sexually assaulted others.

In Hollywood, celebrities and politicians who once fawned over producer Harvey Weinstein have come forward to say that they now stand with his accusers, after decades of his well-known abuse of women. In Alabama, numerous people are coming forward to discuss former Alabama chief justice and Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore’s creepy and possibly criminal penchant for very young girls.

Many in Washington put their ethics on layaway during the Clinton presidency and that bill is suddenly due. Despite his denials, Clinton did little to hide prowling for women throughout his career and, like Moore and Weinstein, multiple women accused him of a strikingly similar pattern of sexual assault and even rape. At the time, however, the White House and Congress was at stake and no one was prepared to believe anything that would threaten political control.

Now, a poll found 53 percent of those who voted for Hillary Clintonbelieve the allegations of sexual assault and rape against Bill Clinton, allegations that the former first lady herself once dismissed as just new “bimbo eruptions.” While it has become more and more difficult not to “believe” the many victims coming forward in the various scandals, there remain sharp differences in what believing means in a modern scandal.

Public figures often accept blame or cast blame when it no longer threatens personal costs for them to do so. The key is to suspend your belief in victims until your believing is beneficial. One of those proclaiming that she now believes Clinton’s accusers is Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), a long Clinton defender and the person who took the seat in the Senate once occupied by Hillary Clinton, apologized and said that Bill Clinton should have resigned after the Monica Lewinsky scandal. She has been joined by some other reluctant Democrats who now say that they were wrong.

The sudden epiphany of ethics from long silent politicians and commentators has left Clinton diehards with only a type of transactional ethics. Former Hillary Clinton adviser Philippe Reines reminded everyone that, once bought, you are supposed to stay bought. Reines tweetedangrily in response to Gillibrand that for more than 20 years she “took the Clintons’ endorsements, money, and seat. Hypocrite.” Reines does not offer a denial of Bill Clinton’s conduct, only an objection to selling out and then trying to cash in.

It is also possible to believe victims while supporting the victimizer. Take Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey, who left many scratching their heads last week when she announced that she had “no reason to disbelieve” any of the women accusing Moore of acts ranging from sexual assault to sexual harassment to the pursuit of young girls at malls. But she still said that she would vote for Moore because “we need to have a Republican in the United States Senate to vote on the things like Supreme Court justices.”

The public admission that she would vote for a presumed sexual assaulter of young girls on a blind party basis is almost refreshing in its honesty, if it were not completely devoid of any moral foundation. Ivey is saying that she is willing to put a man in the Senate who was allegedly barred from malls as a danger to young girls because he is “our” alleged sexual predator. Few politicians are willing to be that honest in expressing a completely amoral viewpoint. It is particularly curious when you are saying that you will vote for a presumed immoral man who is fraudulently running on a moral platform because you want to support good morals.

Lena Dunham recently showed the flipside of calculated belief. Sometimes it is beneficial to believe even if you actually do not believe accusers. When Murray Miller, writer for the HBO series “Girls,” was accused of sexual assault by actress Aurora Perrineau, Dunham and executive producer Jenni Konner issued a statement in support of Miller. While noting other worthy claims of assault and harassment, they said this was the “wrong target” and that “our insider knowledge of Murray’s situation makes us confident that sadly this accusation is one of the 3 percent of assault cases that are misreported every year.”

Despite revealing their “insider information” about the claims as the basis for their letter, they were quickly denounced for not standing by the accuser regardless of such information. Nevertheless, “What We Lose” author Zinzi Clemmons called Dunham a “hipster racist,” writing that she was quitting Dunham’s weekly online newsletter and that it is “time for women of color, black women in particular, to divest from Lena Dunham.”

Dunham quickly issued an apology and promised to believe the accuser despite saying that she did not believe there was an assault, tweeting, “I naively believed it was important to share my perspective on my friend’s situation as it has transpired behind the scenes over the last few months. I now understand it was absolutely the wrong time to come forward with such a statement and I am so sorry.”

Recently, the New Hampshire Democratic Party held its annual Kennedy Clinton Dinner. Faced with calls for the party to drop Bill Clinton’s name from the dinner due to the sexual assault allegation, New Hampshire Democratic Party Chairman Raymond Buckley used a classic Washington side step and said, “I think it would be an interesting conversation right after we see the resignation of Donald Trump.”

In other words, you do not have an obligation to act ethically because it is right, but rather you can wait to act when others are acting ethically. It is akin to saying that you did nothing on sexual harassment because other people didn’t do anything. This is the same spin used by Hillary Clinton in refusing to release her Wall Street speeches until Trump released his taxes. The result is that both parties get to refuse to address ethical questions while waiting for the other do so.

Strangely, in this motley crew, Ivey’s approach of “I choose party over ethics” comes strangely the closest to a consistent ethical position. In American politics, that is what passes for principle. It is also why it is not the absence but the pretense of principle that is so maddening among our ethically challenged leaders.

Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University. He testified in the Clinton impeachment hearings. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanTurley.

241 thoughts on “THE POLITICS OF BELIEVING: IN WASHINGTON AND HOLLYWOOD, ETHICS IS STRICTLY A MATTER OF TIMING

  1. I’ll put money on Al Franken winning his senate seat. Here in Minnesota, they will put politics ahead of ethics. Indeed, much of his constituency here wouldn’t find what he did was wrong. They’re so far left, they’re right.

    We have photographic evidence of Franken’s obnoxious and adolescent behavior. Won’t matter.

      • Positive thinking is a good thing. I’ve been hoping both of them would leave the public arena for decades. Franken isn’t going anywhere. Next state fair, he’ll be handling women’s backsides at the DFL booth. I have no doubts.

  2. Roy Moore is unfit to serve public office. So is Al Franken and John Conyers. in the public sector, guys like Mark Halperin, Bill O’Reilly, Charlie Rose, Kevin Spacey, the list goes on, are summarily fired for their deeds. But, that is because companies want to protect their company brand. WTF brand do Dems and Rep have? That’s right, NONE, so there’s little to protect.

  3. “Timing”, ethics,….
    When will Turley’s blog add a story about Trump’s federal judge appointee, Brett Talley? Only three times since 1989 has the American Bar Association unanimously found an appointee “unqualified”.
    Media describes Talley as never having tried a case and as telling reviewers that he had no family members who could present a conflict of interest. Reporters found his wife is an attorney at the Whitehouse and, they describe her as a witness in the Mueller investigation.

    • Washington Post and factchecker in the same sentence are oxymoronic. The allegations were debunked. Washington Post knows it and you do too.

  4. I suppose that the theory that the party should be supported despite the immorality of the candidate or office-holder is that the other party will cause greater harm to the Republic. As a matter of pure logic, this makes sense.

    No, I don’t like it.

  5. Let’s keep it simple, or at least as simple as possible. Do we accept that this “presumed sexual assaulter” is beyond the reach of the criminal law? The media, the pundits and some law profs say so, right? It must be true, then. But I don’t accept that. I don’t know Alabama criminal law, but why do we accept that? Let a real DA and judge make a ruling that there is no way he can be prosecuted.

    Second, I don’t see where a sitting senator can’t face a criminal trial. Of course he can. He can face legal justice whether he wins the election or loses. Let the DA examine the accusers and make a determination. Why not push the issue to the place it counts, the justice system, not the mob-driven media.

    When it comes to power politics, the truth is a footnote. Anita Hill lived with the “truth” for years, but suddenly it was important to tell it publicly. Sure, the allegations against Moore are much worse, but the process is the same. Use the “truth” to gain power, and try to win without having to comply with the Bill of Rights protections given to all accused Americans.

    I think the people of Alabama will loss by voting for who they think will protect their interests best. As for justice, let the accusers be tested by Constitutional standards.

    • Moore isn’t about to admit to anything. He is most afraid of the sexual abuse of the 14 year old and of any woman he raped.. It’s my understanding that there is NO statute of limitations on sexual assault of minors in AL.

      Statute of Limitations, Criminal:

      No statute of limitations: rape, violent sexual abuse, sexual abuse with the threat of violence, and any sexual abuse of a victim under the age of 16,

      Other felony sexual abuse: three years

      Misdemeanor abuse: one year.

      • If that old predater Moore acted out now the old buzzard would be on a sex tape or a dic pic. Franken grabbed some butts but he did not get neked. Joe Joe Barton is da turkey of da day and a fat ass one at that.

          • Paul, are you suggesting that the shadows of Franken’s hands on Tweeden’s flack-jacket are an optical illusion or a forgery, or the real boob grabbers?

              • Why wasn’t Huffington wearing body-armor like Tweeden wore? If the woman isn’t wearing body armor, then is that almost as good as getting her mother’s permission? Suppose Huffington was a consenting adult. Or am I straining your credulity too far?

                • Diane – and now 2 more women have come forward saying he groped them. This makes 4 total. BTW, Huffiington was wearing a dress and it was a formal photo shoot for something. One might be an accident, two is deliberate.

                  • The photo shoot was for a Bill Maher comedy show titled Strange Bedfellows. As for the woman at the Minnesota State Fair–I believe her. The fourth one I haven’t read about yet. But chances are I’ll believe her, too. Gather up as many bargaining chips as you can, Paul. You’re all going to need them–soon.

                    • Diane – I am keeping an open mind. When I see the yearbook and it is examined, then I will start believing and not believing. However, Allred does not give me a vote of confidence in her client. So I am wavering towards not believing at this point.

                    • Paul, I just read up on the details about the two anonymous accusers of Franken. I believe them. Franken has a pattern of sexual misbehavior during photo-ops. Keeping an open mind starts to look like fence-sitting after awhile, you know.

  6. Two hypotheticals:

    1. It is the late 1960’s or early 1970’s. The Senate is taking a vote on whether to withdraw all U.S. troops from Vietnam. One vote will decide the issue. A prominent dove is contesting a vacant Senate seat, currently held by a hawkish Senator. The hawk is unquestionably ethical, moral, and honest. The dove molested underage women years ago, was never charged and, due to the expiration of the statute of limitations, will never be charged. If you are passionately anti-Vietnam war, do you still vote for the molester?

    2. It is today. The Senate is taking a vote on whether to repeal Obamacare. One vote will decide the issue. One Senate seat is vacant. One candidate for the vacant seat wants to repeal. He is an upstanding citizen in every respect. The other candidate is Anthony Weiner. If you like Obamacare, does Weiner get your vote?

    A show of hands, please. No ducking the questions allowed. No changing the hypotheticals permitted. Unless you can answer “No” to both questions, you cannot logically condemn President Trump for wanting Moore elected.

    • No, Vince. Weiner doesn’t get my vote under any circumstances.

      As for hypothetical 1, I need more information about “the dove.” For instance, if the dove is anything like Weiner . . . Hey. Wait a second. Since when did the U. S. Senate get to decide troop withdrawals? Is there a peace treaty on the table? If the hawk currently holds the seat, then why is it vacant?

      Mr. Jankowski, Sir, are you trying to trick me, again?

      • OK, so my hypo should have been more precise. The Senate should have been considering de-funding the war and the seat did not need to be vacant. The questions still stand.

        • Vince, the defunding revision to hypothetical 1 triggered my memory of Henry M. “Scoop” Jackson. There’s no way the hawkish Scoop Jackson would’ve voted to defund the Vietnam war. So, if the hawk in your hypothetical were Scoop Jackson, and if the dove were a purely fictitious Republican who favored defunding the Vietnam war and had been accused of molesting underage women, then . . . O! Bother. I can’t get Wolfowitz and Perle out of my mind, now. That last anachronism muddies the waters too much.

          Sorry Vince, but the best answer I can give is that your hypothetical question is still insufficiently complicated to match any actual dilemma facing either the voters of Alabama or the GOP, today. Will you accept that equivocation as an answer, Vince?

          • Sorry, but no. You have ducked, as did just about every other respondent to my hypo. So, I guess you are in good company. No shame there. Just a recognition of the complexity of the dilemma.

    • I wouldn’t vote for any of the four candidates. A war hawk is no more moral than a molester. His/her moral lacking kills kids and their families. One who would deny access to affordable medical care would probably line up with rest of those advocating for the corporations and the 1% so is no more moral than a molester. In the second instance, if the candidate wanted to replace ACA, and was a strong advocate for, Single Payer, I would vote for that person but they don’t seem to line up that way

      • If you would not vote for any of the four candidates, including the two who support what I think your positions are, you are decreasing the likelihood of achieving a result you seem to favor. By withholding your vote from the dove/pervert, you are increasing the probability that he will not be elected, that he will, therefore, not be able to cast a deciding vote and that the war will not end.

          • So, do you vote for the pervert and possibly and increase the chance that the war will end or not vote for the pervert and allow the war to continue? I said no ducking the question.

            • Vince, I must concede that, at the time, my desire to see the Vietnam war come to an end was no less intense than the desire of some people, today, to end abortion, to end affirmative action and to end same-sex marriage.

              On those grounds, the dilemma currently facing the voters of Alabama and the GOP is sufficiently complicated as to go through, to go around and even to grab Turley’s overly simplistic dilemma by the horns and give it the damned good thrashing that Turley deserves.

              But not so on the grounds of the Republican-sponsored tax reform bill.

              • Good answer. The seriousness of the issue (or more correctly, how serious the issue is perceived by the voter) is a component of the dilemma. Ending a war may be worth voting for a weirdo, but naming a post office is not. Tax reform and health care reform are somewhere in the middle.

        • The women say he molested them. This is not a criminal trial. It is an election. Rules of evidence and criminal procedure do not apply here.

          • I can say you sexually harassed me…does that mean you did?

            Moreover, why won’t they submit the yearbook for scientific examination?

            And what were the 14 year old’s parents saying when then 30-something Roy Moore called for their daughter on the telephone?

          • It is an election. Rules of evidence and criminal procedure do not apply here.

            Well that conforms to rules of the DNC. Anything goes, until it doesn’t. What Happened?

            • Has nothing to do with the DNC. Rules of evidence are used in court. Moore is not on trial.Thought this was supposed to be a legal blog.

              • Moore is not on trial.Thought this was supposed to be a legal blog.

                You and others have put Moore on political trial. I’m glad you’re now open to make a legal argument. Is there anything legally speaking that Moore has done to disqualify him from running for the Senate seat vacated by Sessions? Anything legally speaking that he has done that should prevent him from being sworn in once elected?

                Before you respond, believing someone to be a scum-sucking pig is not a legally disqualifying characteristic. If it were, we wouldn’t need term limits.

                • Moore has not been convicted of a felon so he is eligible to run but then again Harvey Weinstein has not been convicted either and could technically run for office. Enticing someone younger than 16 into a home for genital touching is a felony in Alabama. Returning to cooking…..

                  • Enticing someone younger than 16 into a home for genital touching is a felony in Alabama.

                    Unless you’re going to list every statute on the books then your comment is not a legal argument. You are reverting back to making a political argument.

                    Happy Thanksgiving!

                    • Olly said, “You are reverting back to making a political argument.”

                      Is there something about political arguments that rubs you the wrong way, Olly? I seem to remember something about “Crooked H, Lock her up. She never should’ve been allowed to run.” Maybe political arguments are your “sometimes friend,” Chief.

                    • Diane – Olly was making a legal argument about Hillary, which you clearly missed. I still agree, Crooked Hillary and Lock Her Up are valid still. I am hoping someone is working on getting this done.

                    • Paul, I think you’re wrong about Olly. Olly wants legal arguments presented in courts of law. Olly does not want legal arguments presented in such courts of public opinion as the press or election campaigns.

                      Meanwhile, it’s in the nature of the 1st Amendment that a free press gets to foil Olly’s gentlemanly desire to keep legal issues out of election campaigns for public offices–same as it ever was. It’s so unfair.

                    • Diane – you are of the “hang them first, then we will give them a trial” rule of thinking. Trial by the press is not trial by your peers. And unfair press coverage can get you a change of venue. This is a political assassination at this point unless you have other proof.

                    • Paul said, “This is a political assassination at this point unless you have other proof.”

                      You’re exaggerating. At worst it’s a politically-motivated character assassination.

                      As for your scurrilous accusation against me–I’m opposed to capital punishment.

                    • Diane – whether you are for or against capital punishment, the thought process is the same. Own up to it. 😉

                    • Roy Moore is alive and well. Abraham Lincoln was politically assassinated. Just because public figures running for public office assassinate one another’s characters with reckless abandon doesn’t make me a vigilante. An internet rendition of Charles Isaac Parker–maybe. But you’d still be exaggerating with that one as well.

  7. I remember back in the 90 s, a lot of people were defending Bill Clinton, saying what he does in the Whitehouse was his personal business. We pay for the whitehouse, what goes on in there is our business. Hollywood is nothing more than a collection of crackheads and whores.

    • Transitioning away from democracy to oligarchy has been at the core of the Republican Party for some time. Alliances, like those with the religious right, are expedient. Issues are deftly crafted and sold by “conservative” leaders, who then, quickly dismiss the ruse after elections.
      The overturn of net neutrality which slows (or, effectively eliminates) blog voices like those of Turley, reflects the further erosion of communication that could have served to marshal political support against corporations and the richest 0.1%.

  8. The following sentences from Turley’s original post on this thread can and should be equally applied to both of our major political parties.

    “Strangely, in this motley crew, Ivey’s approach of “I choose party over ethics” comes strangely the closest to a consistent ethical position.”

    “It is particularly curious when you are saying that you will vote for a presumed immoral man who is fraudulently running on a moral platform because you want to support good morals.”

    If the moral corollary of one person/one vote were one person/one act, then Turley’s improperly constructed dilemma would be exactly how elections make hypocrites out of us all. But few of us are the candidate for whom we vote. And presumably few of us ever commit the act alleged or proven against the candidate for whom we vote. Our dilemma remains a choice between Tweedledee versus Tweedledum. If we take Turley at his word, then would his admitted vote for Bill Clinton in 1992 make a hypocrite out of Turley as well?

    Here’s one that will be a shocker for some of you (I know I’m still shocked by it): I voted for Richard Nixon in 1968 because I was dumb enough to fall for “the secret plan” to achieve “peace with honor,” which, on closer inspection, turned out to be the same thing that I thought I had voted against: a resumption of the bombing of Hanoi and then some. To this late day and age I still can’t believe I fell for that Trickster’s trick.

    So what’s my point? Well . . . Exactly who does Goody Two-Shoes Turley think he is anyhow?

  9. The fact is, we do not know if Moore is guilty or not. That is the point of a legal system and a jury, the hell with public opinion, the press, and even Turley. Until such time as a conviction, Moore remains innocent.

    If Moore losses and these accusations evaporate, it’s probably a foregone conclusion that he is innocent. However, if he wins and the accusations do not evaporate, it’s probably a foregone conclusion that it all will have been nothing but a political witch hunt.

    Moore will probably win for no other reason but for the fact that the public no longer has confidence in what the MSM has to say, having self-appointed themselves agents of the accusers rather than a benchmark of civil rights.

    I’ve never been a fan of Charlie Rose, but I stand by him until such time as a real conviction. What does it say about a nation when a mere accusation, never mind one 40 years old, can destroy one’s job and career — even alter the course of a country and history? It says its people, including Turley himself, are nothing more than a gang of heinous vigilantes.

    Warren Farrell’s “The Myth of Male Power” shoed how women can be equally as villainous as men, if not more so. Even the FBI knows as much, their tactics calling for taking out female terrorist before male because, left alive, female perps are far more dangerous than men.

    It’s only a matter of time before abused workplace males come out of the closet in the same way political correctness has weaponized women against men. Such a time is long overdue because men have been the victims of attack from every front since the 60s, after female instigators had drawn a line in the sand. Whatever gains women have made will be lost; whatever loss men have suffered will be restored until the currently rigged imbalance will have some semblance of gender parity.

  10. I come from Alabama with my banjo on my knee,
    I’m going to Washington D. C., my true love for to see.
    It rained all night the day I left, the weather it was dry
    The sun so hot I froze to death, Leigh Corfman, don’t you cry.

    Oh! Leigh Corfman, Oh don’t you cry for me,
    For I come from Alabama with my banjo on my knee.

    I had a dream the other night, when everything was still;
    I thought I saw Leigh Corfman dear, a coming down The Hill.
    A buckwheat cake was in her mouth, a tear was in her eye,
    Says I, I’m coming from the south, Leigh Corfman, don’t you cry.

    Oh! Leigh Corfman, Oh don’t you cry for me,
    For I come from Alabama with my banjo on my knee.

    I soon will be in Washington, and then I’ll look around,
    And when I find Leigh Corfman there, I’ll fall upon the ground.
    But if I do not find her, then I will surely die,
    And when I’m dead and buried, Oh, Leigh Corfman, don’t you cry.

    Oh! Leigh Corfman, Oh don’t you cry for me,
    For I come from Alabama with my banjo on my knee.

  11. Back when we shared values, things could get accomplished. Once we decided all cultures were equal and “diversity is our strength” rather than unity, progress became impossible and conflict now rules the day. Thus ethics went right our the door since we can’t agree on just what they are anymore. It’s Balkanization of the Culture via the Left and the results from here are predictable, historically speaking.

  12. The Democrats are backing Franken using his importance in remaining in Congress. What is good for the goose is good for the gander.

  13. I FIND THEM QUITE CREDIBLE.

    How interesting that JT, touted for his sharp, inquisitive, objective and legal mind, finds women–who have remained mute, for forty or so years–spouting recollections of alleged sexual encounters, from decades ago, to be credible. More than simply interesting, I am astounded by it. Baffled by it. Confused by it. I will go out on a limb and allege that JT knows nothing–and, I do mean, nothing–about these middle aged women, who have all– suddenly–awoken from their respective comas, at precisely the same exact time, to reveal these abuses. Nah. Shhhh! Quiet. We’re not supposed to mention that peculiarity. We’re supposed to ignore it. Pretend like it’s normal. Pretend like these women, of whom we know nothing, whatsoever, are sane, rational and honest individuals. We’re supposed to forget about any sort of investigation into the respective past histories of the accusers. Their past crimes. Their past mental health histories. Their past problems, involving lying and deceit. Let’s just say, as JT does, that we find them quite credible. And, why is it that we are to find them quite credible, without one iota of info into their backgrounds? Why? God only knows.

    • Bam bam:
      I don’t know how to find a disparate group “credible.” I think you take the stories one at a time and analyze them. Then you can pass judgment. Like Edmund Burke, I can’t condemn a whole people by one decree, nor can I exonerate them by the same standard.

    • bam bam:

      Yes, it is troublesome that the accusers waited so long. But many of them were justifiably fearful that they would not be believed (and many were not when they made timely accusations). Many of them were in tenuous employment situations – see what accusing a sitting governor gets you. The culture has changed dramatically. Now there is protection (in their numbers) for the accusers. And they understandably feel more safe in outing the perps.

      Yes, innocent until proven guilty in court. But public outing is not a matter of criminal conviction, but conviction in the court of public opinion.

      • Ahhh. . .yesssss. . .the infamous and age-old conviction in the court of public opinion, where random, unvetted and uninvestigated individuals, get a crack at spewing anything and everything that they wish about you. The truth be damned. Who is worried about the truth? Let’s just, without a moment’s hesitation, believe and accept everything levelled against you. Yes. Let’s make it about you, personally, RDKAY. Let’s make it about a spouse, a parent or any other loved one. Maybe then, and only then, will you get it. Maybe, only then, will it sink in. Maybe, only then, will you grasp the gravity of having the world, instantly and automatically, believe strangers who allege any myriad and assortment of atrocitirs and wrongs, purportedly, committed by you, decades ago. Committed by a spouse. Committed by a parent. Committed by a loved one. Is that what you would wish with regard to your own fate? That your community and the world, in general, immediately take the side of individuals, who have leveled unsubstantiated charges against you, without any investigation into the veracity of said claims? Without the benefit of the doubt accorded to you? Your life, instantly, destroyed. Your career, in tatters. Condemned, without anyone ever stopping to wonder about the motivations of your accusers. The criminal histories of your accusers. The mental health problems of your accusers. Very, very easy to dismiss, what is happening to others, as just a part of life. No big deal. No big deal, until and unless, that searing laser beam is, instead, aimed at you. No big deal until you are in a similar situation. Then, of course, you will wonder, why everyone is so quick and eager to condemn and vilify you on the words of those who seek to destroy you, never stopping to verify the accusations or question the veracity of the accusers.

      • Should Juanita Broaddrick have reported her rapist to authorities?

        The rapist was the Attorney General of the State of Arkansas.

  14. Professor, if the allegations weren’t serious or prosecuted 40 years ago, why are they serious now?

    Is that the rationale for statutes of limitations?

    Statutes of limitations should be extended to include limiting political deployment of expired allegations.

    If the allegations had no relevance to the community for 4 decades, what is the relevance now?

    What is the culpability of people who had knowledge of a crime and failed to report it?

    What is the culpability of local officials who failed those people making the allegations?

    What is the culpability of the media which failed to investigate and reveal the truth for the benefit of those

    making the allegations and their community?

    What is the culpability of biased media which have weaponized unproven, expired allegations for political purposes?

    If Bill and Hillary Clinton can ignore extremely serious allegations, why can’t all other politicians?

    Something is definitely wrong in this scenario but it’s not entirely clear it’s the republican candidate.

    • George has very good points. Innocent until proven guilty. Guilty beyond any reasonable doubt. By real evidence. As found by a jury of your peers.

    • Darren, I know what you mean, but I have to tell you that ethics have never been convenient for me; not once. In fact, I’m pretty sure that inconvenience is a necessary condition for morality. There may be others as well. Uncertainty, for instance. Fallibility, for another. And then there’s that especially inconvenient one: Care. Why? Oh why does nature makes us care? Can’t nature mind her own business for a change?

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