Donald Trump's repeated threats to bring up Bill Clinton's treatment of women accusing him of sexual impropriety have brought repeated bouts of bizarre arguments that emerged in the wake of the impeachment process in 1998.
USA Today ran an op-ed on Friday with the strange headline "Clinton marriage is something to brag about." Alicia Shepard, a former ombudsman for National Public Radio, ignored all the publicly aired evidence of adultery, sexual harassment, and even accusations of rape, and actually boasted of Bill and Hillary's relationship: "The Clintons' weather-beaten, time-tested, scandal-ridden marriage is something to be proud of, something to brag about. It is as significant an achievement as their daughter Chelsea, and might just be the most human thing about Hillary Clinton."
It shouldn't be difficult to argue that the Clinton marriage has been exposed as devoid of fidelity and truth-telling. Its most obvious strength seems to be their shared greed for presidential power. That's surely "human," but not admirable. Shepard argued that she, as a representative white college-educated women, represents a strain of voter who rejects any attempt to criticize this arrangement:
Hundreds of thousands of “likely white female voters with or without college degrees” have walked in Hillary Clinton’s shoes. We know the pain, the confusion, the tears, the embarrassment, the shame that comes when a spouse strays. And if it didn’t happen to us, it happened to a close friend.
We know how hard it is to get through privately, when only friends and family share the personal devastation. We can only imagine the crucible of humiliation that Hillary Clinton endured with an omnipresent media horde invading every iota of privacy she had.
It's a mystery how Clinton partisans never seem to find any fault in Mrs. Clinton lying for months denying Lewinsky's testimony, just as she denied the testimony of any other sexual accuser of her husband. As a journalist, Shepard never writes about how Clinton told Matt Lauer in a coldly legalistic way that Lewinsky's story would not be "proven true." Is there no accountability in lying before the court of public opinion for months?
Obviously, Donald Trump is not a role model for sound and faithful marriages. But that doesn't mean voters across America have to accept the Clinton sex scandals -- in the lying and intimidating accusers, it's a his-and-hers parade of scandals. The idea that their relentless campaign of deceit and intimidation is "something to be proud of" sounds Orwellian. War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Marriages built on adultery are the most impressive.