David Brooks Blames Victims for Cain Scandal; Ignores His Own Brush With Sexual Harassment

Both sides do it!

Why the New York Times continues to allow David Brooks to crap all over the opinion page, I will never understand.

Picking up where DougJ left offBrooks’s comments about the Cain scandal are so fraught with fail and stupid, I’m surprised his brain didn’t short-circuit and burn out while writing this drivel:

Let’s start with the politics of it. My first question is over whether the Clinton statute of limitations has expired. My assumption, post Lewinsky scandal, was that for at least a decade no president or presidential candidate could be punished for an improper workplace relationship because if Clinton could get away with it then no one else should suffer. (This excludes cases involving Congressional pages, public bathrooms and bare-chested pictures delivered by e-mail.)

This is just stupid. I’m sure I need not remind Bobo that Clinton was impeached for perjury, and ultimately not convicted. Also, I’m sure I need not remind Bobo that Monica Lewinsky was a willing participant in the “improper workplace relationship,” and that the relationship was, therefore, consensual.

Furthermore, don’t you just love how Bobo excludes all the Republican scandals from his made-up “Clinton statute of limitations”?

A consensual (albeit adulterous) relationship between consenting adults?  BURN HIM!

A family values Congressman who has gay trysts with young congressional pages?  Bah!

A family values Senator who tap dances his way to the glory hole?  Who cares!

A married congressman who delivers “bare-chested pictures” “by email”? Fuggettaboutit!  (Notice that Bobo carefully adds “by e-mail,” in order (I assume) to exclude Anthony “TwitPic” Weiner from Bobo’s magnanimous absolution.)  The bottom line for Bobo is IOKIYAR (It’s okay if you’re a Republican!).

There’s so much stupidity here that it makes my brain ache.

Moving on:

Do you think Cain can be excluded from the presidency based on what we know so far, given the Clinton standard? My impression, for what it’s worth is that no, he can’t. Even if everything that is alleged is true, this is less egregious than Clinton.

Hey, jackass? Clinton was already president. Cain is running for president. What do you not understand about this crucial difference?

Oh, everything? Good to know.

And by the way, any unwanted sexual advances by Cain would be more egregious than a consensual relationship between Clinton and Lewinsky. Honestly. Are you out of your mind? The egregiousness is measured from the standpoint of the woman, not from the partisan standpoint of a knuckle-head journalist. (That would be your standpoint, Bobo.  You are the knucklehead journalist in this scenario.  I thought I’d spell it out for you since you’re a bit slow on the uptake.)

Moving on:

Now we turn to ethical issues. My first question, and this is a genuine question, concerns the victims. Let’s detach ourselves from the specifics of the Cain case and consider a general question: If you are the victim of sexual harassment, and you agree to remain silent in exchange for a five-figure payoff, should any moral taint attach to you? In the old days, somebody who allowed a predator to continue his hunting in exchange for money would certainly be considered a sinner. I’m reluctant to judge people in these circumstances, but I’m inclined to agree. Am I missing something?

First of all, Brooks is never again allowed to use the word taint. Just don’t.

Second of all, everything Brooks said is victim-blaming bullshit. It’s the same argument that the uninformed and unenlightened make when they claim that rape victims have a duty to report their rapist lest they be held morally responsible should the rapist strike again. It’s a callous, anti-feminist, bullshit argument that has no place in public discourse, much less splattered on the New York Times by a person who could have simply googled it, and read one of a hundred blog posts written by feminists on the subject of victim-blaming in the context of sexual assault and harassment.

But here’s the kicker — David Brooks need not have even spent the fifteen minutes it would have taken him to discern that his “ethically responsible women don’t settle” argument is a load of horseshit because David Brooks himself has been the victim of unwanted advances.

In 2009, Brooks appeared on MSNBC with Lawrence O’Donnell to talk about a Republican Senator (whom he refused to name) making an unwanted advance on Brooks. He stated that during a dinner, a Republican Senator had “his hand hand on my inner thigh the whole time” and it made Brooks uncomfortable.

From Think Progress:

BROOKS: You know, all three of us spend a lot of time covering politicians and I don’t know about you guys, but in my view, they’re all emotional freaks of one sort or another. They’re guaranteed to invade your personal space, touch you. I sat next to a Republican senator once at dinner and he had his hand on my inner thigh the whole time. I was like, ehh, get me out of here.

HARWOOD: What?

BROOKS: I can only imagine what happens to you guys.

O’DONNELL: Sorry, who was that?

BROOKS: I’m not telling you, I’m not telling you.

Brooks said that he has “spoken to a lot of young women who are Senate staffers and they’ll have these middle age guys who are sort of in the middle of a mid-life crisis. Emotionally needy, they don’t know how to do it and sort of like these St. Bernards drooling everywhere.”

Here’s the transcript of his conversation with O’Donnell (again, from Think Progress):

O’DONNELL: What, what’s happened?

BROOKS: You know, all three of us spend a lot of time covering politicians and I don’t know about you guys, but in my view, they’re all emotional freaks of one sort or another. They’re guaranteed to invade your personal space, touch you. I sat next to a Republican senator once at dinner and he had his hand on my inner thigh the whole time. I was like, ehh, get me out of here.

HARWOOD: What?

BROOKS: I can only imagine what happens to you guys.

O’DONNELL: Sorry, who was that?

BROOKS: I’m not telling you, I’m not telling you. But so, a lot of them spend so much time needing people’s love and yet they are shooting upwards their whole life, they’re not that great in normal human relationships. And so, they’re like freaks, they don’t know how to, they’re lonely. They reach out. I’ve spoken to a lot of young women who are Senate staffers and they’ll have these middle age guys who are sort of in the middle of a mid-life crisis. Emotionally needy, they don’t know how to do it and sort of like these St. Bernards drooling everywhere. And you find a lot of this happens in mid-life and among very powerful people who are extremely lonely.

O’DONNELL: Can I ask one other question David? Do you think, what about female or women politicians? Are they dignified and are there examples of when they have not? Or does it tend to be the men who less dignified?

BROOKS: Yeah, I think that’s mostly a matter of genetics. I do think that…I do think there’s loneliness.

O’DONNELL: That was just a softball, David, and you really hit it very well.

BROOKS: Yeah, I wish I could think of sort of St. Bernards, sloppy women who are licking their aides, but but no, I can’t think of any.

HARWOOD: I’m not going there.

O’DONNELL: Did you have a couple drinks at lunch, David? I mean, this is clearly.

BROOKS: No, you’ve hit me…I’m trying not to be too dignified and stuffy.

O’DONNELL: Well, David Brooks as always, thank you very much. That was a lot of fun. You may not have gotten best column of the week, but you got best appearance of the week, certainly.

So, Bobo, why didn’t you out the Republican Senator who played grab-thigh with you, and made you so uncomfortable you wanted to flee?  Are you a sinner, Bobo?  Is there something immoral about your taint?

That’s what I thought.

Now, have a seat and stop talking.

(H/T Marc!)

[cross-posted at Angry Black Lady Chronicles]

59 replies
  1. 1

    […] I see this passage also raised ABL’s eyebrows. Check her post out. Share […]

  2. 2

    IIRC, there was majority support in the Senate for a censure of Pres. Clinton. But most people in Congress (and America) didn’t think that his immoral, consensual affair didn’t merit impeachment. Nobody anywhere said, “free pass!”

    But all that Republicans can remember is that they hate Bill Clinton. And their guys can sexually harass whoever they want to because Clinton.

    I frankly don’t grasp the mindset.

  3. 3
    Brachiator says:

    You know, all three of us spend a lot of time covering politicians and I don’t know about you guys, but in my view, they’re all emotional freaks of one sort or another. They’re guaranteed to invade your personal space, touch you. I sat next to a Republican senator once at dinner and he had his hand on my inner thigh the whole time. I was like, ehh, get me out of here.

    Poor Bobo. could have been worse.

    A former Southern California reserve police officer has pleaded no contest to drugging and raping a friend before shaving the unconscious man’s body hair.
    __
    Los Angeles prosecutors say 56-year-old John Haig Marshall entered the plea Tuesday to a charge of sexual penetration of an intoxicated person.

  4. 4
    SST says:

    Yup. My thoughts exactly when I read the piece. Didn’t know that inner-thigh tidbit, though.

  5. 5
    SST says:

    @reflectionephemeral: Funny enough, though, nowadays some of them seem to have forgotten how much they hated Clinton.

    “Even with Clinton in office, and I didn’t agree with him, he NEVER would’ve gone so far as to arglebargKenyansoshulism.”*

    *Not an actual quote, but they say shit like that all the time.

  6. 6
    Calouste says:

    (Notice that Bobo carefully adds “by e-mail,” in order (I assume) to exclude Anthony “TwitPic” Weiner from Bobo’s magnanimous absolution.)

    Occam’s razor says that it is because Bobo has no clue about the difference between email and Twitter.

  7. 7
    harlana says:

    One would like to think Brooks has some sort of understanding of the law and the nature of sexual harassment suits when weighing in on the credibility of the plaintiffs, knowing absolutely nothing about the specific allegations, or the plaintiffs (other than the fact that they were former employees), or the case, since such details have not yet surfaced. (Unless I’ve missed something in the last 30 minutes, which is entirely possible).

  8. 8
    dmsilev says:

    Since today seems to be all-Cain all the time, this is awesome:

    “Quite frankly, this is one of the actions in America that is the reason people don’t get involved in politics,” he [Cain’s chief of staff] told Fox. “The Perry campaign needs to apologize to Herman Cain and his family, and to America, for this despicable action.”

    I think we’ve now officially entered the Thunderdome phase of the GOP primary. I’ll take my popcorn with extra butter, please.

  9. 9
    Roger Moore says:

    @reflectionephemeral:

    I frankly don’t grasp the mindset.

    IOKIYAAR. Just repeat it any time the Republicans act like shitheads to protect one of their own.

  10. 10
    Calouste says:

    Furthermore, don’t you just love how Bobo excludes all the Republican scandals from his made-up “Clinton statute of limitations”?
    __
    A consensual (albeit adulterous) relationship between consenting adults? BURN HIM!

    Mark Sanford is leading the polls for the GOP primary at the moment, isn’t he?

  11. 11
    Sophia says:

    @reflectionephemeral: Nobody anywhere said, “free pass!”

    I am/was pretty far from Bill Clinton’s #1 fan, but I argued at the time and still would today that the affair Lewinsky was a completely inappropriate topic of public discussion. Fuck Congress (and the American people) and the widespread need to publicly censure private consensual sex acts. And the perjury excuse always struck me as a pretty ineffective fig leaf. Not every lie under oath is perjury, it needs to be material and I’ve never seen a decent (or any, really) argument that what Clinton allegedly (as prissy English nitpicker, I thought his defense was plausible) lied about was material to the charge of sexual harassment. It’s impeachment material in the cross-examining sense, not the Constitutional sense and certainly not a crime.

    As for “lied to the American people,” I don’t see anything wrong with lying about your sex life to people who have no business demanding answers about it.

  12. 12
    Zifnab says:

    Hey, jackass? Clinton was already president. Cain is running for president. What do you not understand about this crucial difference?

    In all fairness, the barrage of scandals that hammered Clinton in the early 90s were very much intended to impede his *re*-election. Lewinsky broke a little too late to do the GOP much good, but not for lack of trying.

    That aside, it is worth noting the intent of these scandals was to unseat a rival politician. What I find amusing in this continuous heavy-handed focus on Clinton is what Bobo deliberately skips. This allegations against Cain didn’t just spring from the ether. Someone with friends in high media places has decided to level the boom on the front runner. And I could easily name half a dozen contenders that would love to put a bullet in the head of the king – chief among them Mr. Romney.

    Why, then, is Cain constantly in juxtaposition with Clinton? For the same reason that no one talked about Gingrich or Hyde in ’95. We want to keep the lime-lite off the character assassins in this story. What’s more, we want to keep invoking the name of a Democrat because we want Cain to be identified as *another Democrat*.

    This is pure political calculus on Bobo’s part, and his writing – if obnoxious and whiney – remains very shrewd. Put the front-runner Republican side-by-side with a scandalous Democrat. You’ll paint Cain both as scandals AND a Democrat.

  13. 13
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    From the headline, I knew who the front pager was, without seeing the author tag (viewing it from the prior thread).

    All I can add is sing it, sister. Sing it loud.

    “Jackass” doesn’t properly deliver the rebuke to BoBo that is needed. Something…stronger…is needed here.

  14. 14
    Canuckistani Tom says:

    My assumption, post Lewinsky scandal, was that for at least a decade no president or presidential candidate could be punished for an improper workplace relationship because if Clinton could get away with it then no one else should suffer

    Bobo has trouble with the math

    The ‘Lewinsky scandal’ broke on January 17, 1998, Clinton was impeached by the House on December 19, 1998, and acquitted by the Senate on February 12, 1999. We’re 7 weeks shy of 13 years since the impeachment.

  15. 15
    Catsy says:

    @harlana:

    One would like to think Brooks has some sort of understanding

    This sentence cannot end well.

  16. 16
    KG says:

    If you are the victim of sexual harassment, and you agree to remain silent in exchange for a five-figure payoff, should any moral taint attach to you?

    No. Because lawyers, who are advising both sides in these situations, always suggest and prefer a clause that says neither side can talk about it. That way, the employer/supervisor can’t go around calling the employee a lying bitch and hussy that clearly wanted it; and the employee can’t go around calling the employer/supervisor a misogynistic asshole with a tiny dick. You always agree to mutual confidentiality because that way it doesn’t come back to bite either of you in the ass later.

  17. 17
    Catsy says:

    @Sophia:

    I don’t see anything wrong with lying about your sex life to people who have no business demanding answers about it.

    QFT.

    And this applies to more than just sex.

  18. 18
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @dmsilev:

    Oh, so they know with metaphysical certitude that the Perry people dropped the dime on them?

    This is rich. Everyone around here is pretty much operating in the speculative mode, but not the Cain campaign. They know who did this to them.

    The sad thing is, for Cain, that the shit is piling up faster than he can shovel.

  19. 19
    Keith says:

    The ironic answer is that Brooks didn’t out the senator because Bobo secretly liked it and is therefore a slut.

  20. 20
    Calouste says:

    @KG:

    the employer/supervisor can’t go around calling the employee a lying bitch

    Cain might have a bit of a problem there with his statements this week.

  21. 21
    harlana says:

    @dmsilev:

    I think we’ve now officially entered the Thunderdome phase of the GOP primary. I’ll take my popcorn with extra butter, please.

    Sometimes, I have to pinch myself :)

  22. 22
    KG says:

    @Catsy: it’s a shame that politicians can’t just answer stupid questions with “that’s a stupid question, next” and when they try to follow up say “seriously, shut the fuck up”

  23. 23
    KG says:

    @Calouste: yeah, which is why one of the accusers is asking for a waiver of the confidentiality portion after Cain’s statements.

  24. 24
    harlana says:

    @Catsy: lol, i knew that was a mistake, a sort of farting in the wind exercise

  25. 25
    Boots Day says:

    I fail to see any way in which Herman Cain would be punished for his scandal in ways that Clinton was not. Clinton was vilified and embarrassed and dragged through a humiliating court process, and ultimately lost his bar privileges. Herman Cain has been embarrassed by all of this, and isn’t going to be elected president, but he wasn’t going to be elected president anyway. He’s certainly not going to jail or anything like that.

    Until Cain has a congressional investigation on his ass and is harassed by spooge-seeking Newsweek reporters, I’m going to say he got off lighter than Clinton did.

  26. 26
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Sophia:

    As for “lied to the American people,” I don’t see anything wrong with lying about your sex life to people who have no business demanding answers about it.

    Yet Richard Milhous Nixon…who lied to the American people, Republican senators, and his own lawyers…about his involvement in the Watergate Coverup, using government resources to do so…and we’ve got the evidence of said criminal conspiracy on tape…was “hounded out of office” by the evil Democrats, liberals, and of course the liberal Washington Post.

    The hypocritical stupid. It burns.

  27. 27
    dmsilev says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    Oh, so they know with metaphysical certitude that the Perry people dropped the dime on them?

    Apparently so. It’s not an outlandish theory; Cain and Perry are competing for the role of not-Romney, and it would be worth Perry’s while to kneecap Cain’s campaign. Plausibility, however, is not proof. It’s also plausible that Romney’s campaign felt threatened enough by the latest not-Romney to leak it. Possibly, one of the other camps did, wanting their turn as not-Romney.

    In the interests of completeness, it’s also theoretically possible that Politico dug the information up completely on their own. Not particularly plausible, though.

  28. 28
    harlana says:

    The problem for the Cain campaign that even eclipses the harassment issue is his handling of this matter from day 1, which has been an epic clusterfuck.

  29. 29
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @dmsilev:

    I think they’re casting their net short.

    This has a Rovian taint to it, but Rove himself need not be involved, I’m sure the master has plenty of apprentices working hard to succeed him.

    However, I am pleased to see that the Cain people understand that this is not some “liberal conspiracy” to get him…that the most likely suspects are much, much closer…unlike his fanbase which has become particularly unhinged over this thing, and totally blind to the distinct possibility that this is someone within the tribe…not someone outside…dealing with a rival for leadership of the tribe.

    The Obama folks wisely just sit back and join us in requesting the popcorn be passed.

  30. 30
    Calouste says:

    @harlana:

    Actually, considering that Politico notified the Cain campaign 10 days before they published, it has been a clusterfuck from day -10.

  31. 31
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @harlana:

    Agreed. He’s really messed this up.

    The coverup always seems to be more damaging than the crime.

  32. 32
    The Dangerman says:

    @Canuckistani Tom:

    Bobo has trouble with the math.

    I think it’s just because he’s a shitty writer; I think he is referring to the fact that this event (or events) happened within a decade of Clinton’s acts. Heaven help us if one of the harassed was wearing a blue dress.

  33. 33
    Roger Moore says:

    @harlana:
    No, no. Cain’s inept handling of the incident just proves he’s his own man who answers questions himself off the cuff, not a slick Washington insider being told what to do by a team of handlers and reading his answers off a teleprompter. Also, too, up is down, left is right, and being an idiot is a qualification for President.

  34. 34
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    A year or two from now when they do those documentaries about the “Road to the White House, 2012” or whatever, instead of the usual swelling patriotic music, the whole segment about the process of selecting a Republican nominee should have “Yackity Sax” as the soundtrack.

  35. 35
    mangrilla says:

    Bobo’s morality is just so incredibly out of whack. I honestly don’t understand how the man can have a job, but he’s just like most politicians he describes: He’s so out of touch with what having a real life is about that he can sit here and describe Clinton as being more egregious, I assume, for one of two reasons:
    A) Bobo is always going on about his pseudo-religious morality, so perhaps in Bobo’s mind, Clinton is more egregious because Clinton actually cheated on his wife. Under this interpretation, Bobo doesn’t particularly care whether there was consent or not, and given the fact that he loves blaming the victim, I would be unsurprised that this was his stance. But it could also be:
    B) Bobo’s so enraptured by his position as a member of the establishment media that Clinton’s Lewinsky escapade was worse because it was much more scandalous and, therefore, would be a much bigger story. Compared to cigars in hoohas, a little creepy height comparison here or an inappropriate invitation there just don’t compare.

    Either way, moral of the story is that Bobo is a cretin who lost touch with any semblance of humanity years ago.

  36. 36
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Calouste: I do wonder, though, if Politico bothers to contact the women about this 10 days prior as well. Maybe just a little note: “FYI anonymous women, you are going to be public figures next week whether you want to or not.”

  37. 37
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Bill E Pilgrim: Were Benny Hill still alive, he could stage the re-enactments.

  38. 38
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Sophia:
    Agreed. For my part, I thought then — and now — that Bill Clinton’s behavior was demeaning to the presidency but, since it did not affect his performance on the job, not grounds for impeachment. There was an actual wronged party in the matter, Hillary, and she had handled the situation within their marriage. That should have been the end of that.

    But I don’t quite agree that the right response when busybodies inquire into your sex life is to tell them lies. That’s something they might catch you out on. Better, I think, to say, “Mind your own business.”

  39. 39
    bobbo says:

    @KG:

    Because lawyers, who are advising both sides in these situations, always suggest and prefer a clause that says neither side can talk about it.

    Yes, this is total b.s. spin by Brooks and it really pisses me off. Does he really not know anything about confidential settlements? Once again, the question: David Brooks, stupid or evil?

  40. 40
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    @Suffern ACE: I think it’s working the other way around, to some degree.

  41. 41
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @bobbo:

    Once again, the question: David Brooks, stupid or evil?

    As Colman (Denholm Elliot) said when asked, at the end of Trading Places, on the beach, if it should be cracked crab or lobster for lunch..

    “Why not both?”

  42. 42
    Humanities Grad says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    I actually doubt Rove has “plenty of apprentices.” I don’t think that’s how Sith Lords work.

    “Always two there are, no more, no less.”

  43. 43
    rikyrah says:

    you all read Bobo so I don’t have to.

    I am finding this hilarious.

  44. 44
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Humanities Grad:

    Point taken. Although I’m not sure that Rove looks to Darth Bane for staffing guidance.

  45. 45

    @Sophia:

    I argued at the time and still would today that the affair Lewinsky was a completely inappropriate topic of public discussion.

    Yeah, I see that. I do think it’s at best extremely poor form to have an affair with a subordinate, but I didn’t think it warranted the inquisition, nor the impeachment.

    As for “lied to the American people,” I don’t see anything wrong with lying about your sex life to people who have no business demanding answers about it.

    Agreed. I remember thinking at the time that I was glad The Crucible had come out decades before– with the line “it was a natural lie to tell!” about a lie to a tribunal about an affair– ’cause otherwise it would have seemed too heavy-handed an allegory.

  46. 46
    Roy G. says:

    @Villago Delenda Est, as if we didn’t have enough ewwww factor regarding Brooks’ taint, now you’ve gone and jacked up a thousand fold with the horrific imagery of ‘Rovian taint.’

    The mind reels for a unicorn chaser, stat!

  47. 47
    Social outcast says:

    If you ask republicans, they’d be happy to get rid of sexual harassment law. They’d wipe it out with the stroke of a pen. But it’s here, and they’ll use it when they can, even if it’s against one of their own.

    Bobo’s problem is that he’s invoking the wrong woman. Paula jones was the one who brought the big complaint against Clinton. The republicans back then were happy to treat her allegations as fact aNd the kind of thing that should disqualify a man for office. Consistency and politics don’t go together well.

  48. 48
    batgirl says:

    You know I can usually laugh at Bobo, but I am actually disgusted by what he wrote. FSM, I hope he doesn’t have any daughters.

  49. 49
    Schaden Freude says:

    Yesterday I was close to suggest we start handing out golden McMegans for Best Performance In Pundisturbation. Today I’m thinking it should be the golden Bobo. Can’t. Decide!

  50. 50

    […] It is serendipitous indeed that on the very day that I posted this, David Brooks out-Friedmaned the ‘stache. Or had Friedman out-Brooksed David Brooks? It is hard to keep track of this sordid race to the […]

  51. 51
    DaveA says:

    I think you misunderstood the beginning. I can’t stand Brooks, with his goofy made-up sociology, but I have to say that I interpreted the beginning of his article completely differently.

    My understanding was that he was saying he thought that post Clinton the country had no appetite for hounding a politician for sexual behavior that’s perceived as basically “normal” (not implying here that I’m in a position to judge what’s normal or that I even think normal is a standard worth considering). He goes on to specifically exclude some high-profile Republican sex scandals from the free pass that supposedly exists in the post Clinton period.

    I think his point falls apart really quickly because (as you said) Cain’s accused of being a harasser, not a partner. However, I still don’t think he was intending to say that Clinton’s sexual scandal was somehow worse than Larry Craig’s.

  52. 52
    cpinva says:

    @reflectionephemeral: wrong. most normal people in america were appalled at the impeachment of pres. clinton, over a consensual, albeit aldulterous affair. his lying about it hardly qualified as “high crimes and misdemeanors”. with a bar set that low, george bush should, by all rights, be rotting in gitmo as we speak.

    the edward’s affair was consensual as well, and adulterous.

    the only thing that came close to sexual harrasment, was the alleged paula jones incident, which, according to ms. jones, consisted of one event. she not only never suffered any ill effects from refusing clinton’s advance, she got a job and several pay raises subsequent to it. that they didn’t impeach clinton for.

  53. 53

    @cpinva: Of course you’re right, cpinva, I just noticed I’d double-negatived it after the edit window was closed. I should’ve written, “But most people in Congress (and America) didn’t think that his immoral, consensual affair merited impeachment.”

  54. 54
    gloryb says:

    IIRC, paula Jones complained later that her Repub lawyers (which included Ann Coulter!!) were too busy trying to hang Clinton that they turned down a much more lucrative settlement than she got.

  55. 55

    Brooks needs to also exclude Edwards (who is under criminal investigation). How about “except when the adulterous partner gets pregnant and is paid off with campaign money” Oh and John Ensign (who resigned from the Senate) so “also except when the ex mistresses husband is allowed to break rules on lobbying to keep him quiet.”

    Ohhh no I get it, he just needs “except for people named John E.”

    Oh hell let’s just go hiking on the Appalachian trail.

    The man didn’t think before filing. He knows perfectly well that political careers are still ended by sex scandals (especially if u r not a Republican). He decided to make a technically true false claim by specifically excluding all of the counterexamples to his claim. But he is lazy as well as stupid and dishonest, so he forgot about three.

    Nothing much compared to confusing sexual harassment with sex but there is no way to respect the 700 word limit when describing how many ways Brooks manages to be wrong in each column.

  56. 56
    Mike D. says:

    This is the one point on which I become a crazy right-winger. I absolutely agree that it’s ridiculous the way Brooks et al. conveniently forget the punishment Clinton actually did receive, as if he got away with it. And the failure to focus on the many worse scandals od Republicans over the years. And further, it’s not clear to me that there were any actions that Clinton took that remotely justified the level of official legal consequences that did result from his actions. (Certainly the specific perjury and obstruction charges of the impeachment were utter bunk.) But it is actually the case that Clinton’s relationship with Lewinski was improper. The marital issue is indeed none of our business. But we would not consider it proper for the CEO of our employer to be conducting a sexual relationship in his company-owned office with a 20-year-old intern in the same company – and it was no more proper for Clinton to do the exact same thing. Lewinski’s consent is completely beside the point, beyond the extent to which, if the affair were not consensual, Clinton ought to have been impeached for sexual assault.

  57. 57
    Donna Miller says:

    “Picking up where DougJ left off, Brooks’s comments about the Cain scandal are so fraught with fail and stupid, I’m surprised his brain didn’t short-circuit and burn out while writing this drivel”

    That’s not possible for a zombie’s brain.

    “There’s so much stupidity here that it makes my brain ache.”

    If you read something like a calculus textbook for a few hours, you can regain the IQ points you just lost by reading something so stupid. Do it quickly so the damage won’t become permanent!

  58. 58
    Deb T says:

    @Bill E Pilgrim:

    You made me snort Diet Cherry Coke from my nose. Yakity Sax – I can hear it now.

  59. 59
    marc sobel says:

    Every Brooks article has at its base a lie skillfully tossed off as a self evident truth. In this case it is in the sentence:

    “My first question is over whether the Clinton statute of limitations has expired. My assumption, post Lewinsky scandal, was that for at least a decade no president or presidential candidate could be punished for an improper workplace relationship because if Clinton could get away with it then no one else should suffer.”

    Here he has equated what was clearly a consensual relationship in the workplace with sexual harassment by the clever phrase “improper workplace relationship”

    It is like equating eating people and hot dogs as “dining on mammals”

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] It is serendipitous indeed that on the very day that I posted this, David Brooks out-Friedmaned the ‘stache. Or had Friedman out-Brooksed David Brooks? It is hard to keep track of this sordid race to the […]

  2. […] I see this passage also raised ABL’s eyebrows. Check her post out. Share […]

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