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Hate Crimes and Love Crimes

May 25, 2000

What if Juanita Broaddrick had had a derringer? There, in a nutshell, is the case against gun control. It may also explain why Mrs. Broaddrick’s alleged rapist passionately favors limits on the right to bear arms.

The alleged rapist was the attorney general of Arkansas. He is now the president of the United States. Even in 1978, when the incident is said to have happened, it might have made national headlines if a state attorney general had been shot dead, or given a low-caliber vasectomy, while trying to rape a woman. Maybe not Lewinsky-sized headlines, or even Chappaquiddick-sized headlines, but headlines.

[Breaker quote: The 
president's libidinal agendaThe alleged rapist has never denied the charge. When asked about it at a press conference, he referred the question to his lawyer. His vice president, when asked whether he believed the charge, gave an evasively affirmative answer: instead of saying he didn’t believe it, he replied that such things must be pardoned as “mistakes” in the president’s “personal life.”

It’s easy to imagine the president’s blood running cold at the idea of women carrying pistols in their purses. He has proposed new federal programs for just about every trendy cause, including “women’s issues” — with the conspicuous exceptions of sexual harassment and rape, on which he has been oddly silent.

Is there a personal reason for his avoidance of these topics? Does he feel an instinctive empathy with certain criminal types? Consider the profile of his legislative enthusiasms and aversions:

• He favors gun control. (He has been accused of rape and other forms of sexual aggression; a single armed woman might have ended the fun for him.)

• He favors legal abortion. (He is a promiscuous male, one of whose former mistresses, Gennifer Flowers, says he gave her $200 to abort his child by her.)

• In two terms as president, he has said nothing about the problem of sexual harassment. (He has been repeatedly charged with molestation of varying degrees, far beyond what Anita Hill alleged against Clarence Thomas. These include exposing himself, uninvited fondling, and outright assault.)

• He supports “gay rights.” (He can’t afford to be judged by conventional moral standards; he flourishes under conditions of limitless “sexual freedom,” in which all vices are shielded — even promoted — in the name of “privacy.”)

The president’s agenda seems to be shaped in part by his personal needs. This is especially true of those items in which he parts company with his liberal and feminist allies.

He can be stern about “hate crimes,” but sexual crimes seem not to stir his vast capacity for indignation, compassion, and the formulation of new federal programs to cope with “national problems.” Comparatively rare “hate crimes” demand comprehensive action, but far more common sexual crimes — or perhaps we should call them “love crimes” — can be tolerated.

This is a president who likes to embrace safe causes. What could be safer than the cause of rape victims? Both conservatives and feminists agree on this one. It would be a natural for Bill Clinton.

Except that he is the alleged rapist of Juanita Broaddrick (and perhaps other Jane Does). Rape is not an issue to which he wants to direct the nation’s attention. Neither does he want to excite public fury against sexual predators. These “safe” causes are hazardous for him.

Sensing this, his liberal and feminist allies have soft-pedaled them for his sake. They have ridiculed Paula Jones, questioned the motives of Kathleen Willey, and ignored Juanita Broaddrick. As for Monica Lewinsky, that was “consensual” and “private.”

We are no longer reminded that powerful men prey on powerless women in the workplace every day; you’d think this ubiquitous problem had utterly vanished since 1992. Even Hillary Clinton, who once praised Anita Hill for raising public consciousness on this issue, has completely dropped the subject in her New York Senate campaign.

So Clinton’s libidinal interests have reshaped the entire liberal-feminist agenda. Once again we live in an America where a business executive may safely hit on his young secretary.

As they say, the personal is the political. No other president has made the law a tool of personal interest as this one has. Or, according to an older slogan: “Private vices, public benefits.” At least for sexual predators, who can take refuge in the long shadow of Bill Clinton.

Joseph Sobran

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