Archive for October, 2016

The Clinton Doctrine

Tuesday, October 11th, 2016

Is anybody else detecting hints of hypocrisy in the vehement criticism of Donald Trump’s remarks on the privileges rich and famous men enjoy in the presence of attractive women? His observations, recorded eleven years ago over an open microphone during a casual conversation with another rich and famous man, were actually a succinct statement of the Bill Clinton/Clarence Thomas doctrine, which holds that high-status men have a license to exact sexual submission from lower-status women. 

When I was admitted to the bar in 1978, there was no legal redress for a woman who submitted to sex with her boss. On the contrary, it was common knowledge that a pretty girl could, with minimal effort, advance her career simply by letting the boss touch her and talk to her in certain ways. Unscrupulous men in positions of authority routinely took advantage of this privilege.

Bill Clinton and Clarence Thomas came to the bar around the same time I did, and, like Donald Trump, they must remember when the legal landscape was suddenly transformed. They should remember, because both were confirmed sexual predators at the time and should have anticipated that somebody would eventually complain.

Like so much of our law, the right of working women to be secure from sexual predation at the hands of their bosses turned out to be illusory. Thomas got away with it and sits comfortably on the United States Supreme Court. Clinton got away with it and is cheered enthusiastically whenever he appears before an audience of women. Trump tells an inconvenient truth when he says a star has license to grab a beautiful girl by the crotch if he feels like it. That’s because there’s a corollary to the Clinton doctrine providing that it’s futile to complain if you are a victim of one of these men. You won’t be believed.

I saw the rule in practice as a lawyer. I’ve sued a few bosses for humiliating the female help. They followed the Clinton/Thomas strategy of denial and character assassination as if they’d attended a seminar on it. They start with an acknowledgement that, yes, they do like women, and they do compliment them from time to time, and there’s nothing wrong with that. And, yes, they’re pleased when the women who work for them get dolled up, and, yes, they show their appreciation, and there’s nothing wrong with that either. But they would never ever resort to any sort of unwanted attention, and anybody who says they would is either mistaken or a liar. Because, look, rich and powerful men are easy targets for opportunistic women, and nothing’s easier than an accusation of sexual misconduct, and that’s how disgruntled female employees become plaintiffs in sex harassment lawsuits.

My clients were exceptionally strong in the face of such brutal defense tactics, and we eventually got some money out of the wrongdoers, but the retribution was always insufficient, and no lessons were learned. On the contrary, the lesson of Clinton, Trump and Thomas is that you lose if you complain. Hillary Clinton, who accused her husband’s victims of being whores and opportunists, is poised to move back into the White House with Bill at her arm. Trump, who continues to enjoy the protections of the Clinton doctrine well into his dotage, is altogether immune to any sort of legal accountability for his licentious activities. And Thomas’ crimes are so distant from us today that they have been forgotten, even by staunch feminists.

Come down on Donald Trump if you like for being a pig, but don’t doubt what he says. The Clinton doctrine is in full force and effect. If you’re touched by a rich, handsome, powerful man, why get all mad about it? Confront him, and you’ll regret it. Why not just appreciate the attention?

Second Place

Friday, October 7th, 2016

The embedded mass media have decreed the results of the 2016 presidential election, and they have let us know that any effort to thwart their plan is doomed to fail. In a few weeks, the Clintons will prepare to move back into the White House and the Republican candidate, as second-highest vote-getter, will return to his business in New York City. The Libertarian and Green Party candidates will receive a few “protest” votes and will be forgotten within days.

The media narrative conflicts with the expectations of the Green Party candidate and her entourage. They believe there is a substantial proportion of voters who foresee a continuation of corrupt government with either the Democrat or the Republican and are determined to cast a vote consistent with conscience. The media tell us this is a tiny minority, but their bias is blatant and they’re not embarrassed to let it show. Nobody knows how strong this voting bloc is.

What we do know is that the mass media are committed to a Clinton victory and are doing everything they can to see that it is secured. To hear the newspapers and news readers tell it, there is one issue and that issue is Trump. He’s rotten. How rotten is he? Twice as rotten as he was yesterday. And dangerous. Want to compare him to a mass murderer? Fine. Even the candidate seems to agree. The character he plays on TV is a textbook psycho, with not the slightest resemblance to somebody who wants to win an election.

Character assassination is indispensable in this election because the Democrats’ nominee is also a person of low character, an architect of the permanent state of war that afflicts our nation and the principal defender of the sexual predator who defiled the office she now seeks. She’s not a likeable person.

That leaves us with a challenging confluence of circumstances. There’s a bunch of voters–we don’t know how many–who reject both major party candidates for a variety of reasons. There’s a campaign of unprecedentedly vicious character assassination against the Republican candidate, who seems to be taking a dive. The Democrat will win, but she is poorly tolerated, and many voters can’t hold their noses tightly enough to choose her. Why, under these peculiar circumstances, shouldn’t the Green Party expect to take second place in this election?

If the Greens were to strive for second place, it could remove the “spoiler” label that the mass media like to hang on minor-party voters. These voters would consider the minuscule risk of a Trump presidency to be worth the effort to overtake him and deal a powerful blow to the right wing he and his opponent represent. Maybe it’s time for the Tea Party and its Republican affiliates to become the third party. It would take lots of voters to accomplish that, but they are out there. We saw them pack the rallies for Sanders. Why shouldn’t Greens contest the Clintons for these votes? Don’t principled people owe that to each other?

And what if Trump wins? Trump is not going to win. He doesn’t want to win. It would cost him a bundle if he won this election. He would have to quit acquiring assets and abandon his businesses. Plus, when the Clintons return to Washington, they will owe Trump a huge debt for making himself a candidate, and they will be in a position to pay handsomely. He’ll have a good laugh over this election, and it will be at the voters’ expense. It’s pretty clear that he’s used every conceivable tactic to lose this election, and for good reason. You want to take the smirk off Trump’s face? Make him come in third.