Stop airing the Clintons' stale dirty laundry

Ask any conservative why Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonHillicon Valley: FBI fires Strzok after anti-Trump tweets | Trump signs defense bill with cyber war policy | Google under scrutiny over location data | Sinclair's troubles may just be beginning | Tech to ease health data access | Netflix CFO to step down Signs grow that Mueller is zeroing in on Roger Stone Omarosa claims president called Trump Jr. a 'f--- up' for releasing Trump Tower emails MORE shouldn’t be president and he or she most likely will offer a laundry list of reasons. Yet, the most confounding reason actually involves her husband and his history of sexual peccadillos — most famously his White House hookup with then 22-year-old intern Monica Lewinksy.

While presidential candidates should be thoroughly vetted and held to a higher standard, considering Hillary list of scandalous behavior is so long it is ridiculous to even bother including Bill’s infidelities. However, it is something that seems to matter to conservative voters. So let’s dive into this dirty water.

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Hillary’s campaign team clearly is weary of batting down this issue. As Clinton spokesman Brian Fallon put it: “The country closed the book on these matters close to 20 years ago, and there is nothing whatsoever new here.”

So, why do conservatives persist in airing the Clintons’ stale dirty laundry? Why do they consider her husband’s 20-year-old scandal a disqualifier for Hillary?

To understand this, liberals must don a pair of conservative goggles. Many conservatives pride themselves on their strong moral values steeped in Christianity and the Bible.

Just look at the Conservative Party USA’s website, which preaches to the conservative choir: “The Conservative Party USA takes a strong position on protecting our nation’s Judeo-Christian ethic; i.e. morals, charity, marriage, sanctity of life, honesty, the power of prayer, etc. This Judeo-Christian ethical foundation is individually protected by each Conservative Party state leader.”

Notice how one of the positions on this list is “marriage.” In line with the Judeo-Christian belief, many conservatives consider marriage sacred and divorce a sin. Given that, one might presume conservatives would celebrate Hillary’s forgiveness of her husband. She did not sin and divorce him; instead, she forgave his indiscretions and vowed to rebuild their marriage.

Isn’t that what a good Christian woman should do? Apparently not.

So what is driving this anger towards Hillary and her adulterous husband?  Perhaps it has less to do with religion — in fact, only 50 percent of registered Republicans identify themselves as Christians — and more to do with shifting beliefs in gender roles.

Over the past couple decades, women have transitioned into influential and powerful positions. Women now are seen as leaders. Women are not afraid to speak out against injustice, inequality, and sexual harassment. These changing societal norms around sexual misconduct and harassment may lead some voters — particularly younger voters — to see Bill’s behavior and Hillary’s role in defending him as a far more serious manner. This may be the issue for Hillary.

It is well known that Bill’s affairs didn’t begin with Lewinsky. His adulterous black book included Connie Hamzy, Gennifer Flower and Dolly Kyle. Moreover, other women have accused Bill of rape (Juanita Broaddrick) and sexual harassment (Kathleen Willey and Paula Jones). Fox News reports that he has frequented Jeffrey Epstein’s private plane.

Epstein, a sex offender, spent 13 months in prison and home detention for solicitation and procurement of minors for prostitution. Bill’s behavior suggests that he would probably agree with Carl Jung, who once wrote in a letter to Sigmund Freud, “The prerequisite for a good marriage it seems to me, is the license to be unfaithful.”   

Perhaps the reason that conservatives are quick to add Bill’s behavior to their inventory of anti-Hillary condemnations is that her acceptance of Bill’s behavior disappoints them.

Trump, the candidate running on the conservative platform (saddled with his own checkered past in debasing women), even exclaimed after the debates, "Hillary Clinton was married to the single greatest abuser of women in the history of politics. Hillary was an enabler — and she attacked the women who Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonMcAuliffe: We should look at impeaching Trump over Putin summit What ISIS is up to during your summer vacation Kavanaugh once said president would likely have to testify before grand jury if subpoenaed: report MORE mistreated afterward.”

Surprisingly, Trump’s claims have been supported by two White House employees who worked for the Clintons. They revealed that during his presidency Bill purportedly always treated women poorly, and Hillary not only knew about his inappropriate behavior toward women, but Linda Tripp alleged on “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio” earlier this year that Hillary also “made it her personal mission to disseminate information and destroy the women with whom he dallied.”

These accounts and several others consistently report that Hillary enabled Clinton and she attacked the women who accused her husband. These supposed behaviors contradict everything that Hillary claims she represents today. She claims to firmly believe in gender equality and yet her ostensible behavior reveals otherwise.

It is likely that conservatives are picking up on this purported hypocrisy? Is all this talk about Bill’s affairs fair to Hillary? Probably not. Yet, just as the value of an object is whatever someone is willing to pay for it, the value of a presidential candidate derives from the voters’ opinions.

And opinions on this matter are in no short supply.

Dr. A.J. Marsden is an assistant professor of human services and psychology at Beacon College in Leesburg, Fla., the first accredited college to award bachelor's degrees primarily to students with learning disabilities and ADHD, who specializes in motivation, emotion and attitudes, and social psychology.


 

The views expressed by contributors are their own and not the views of The Hill.