[guest post by Dana]
The worst example of party loyalty is when a sexual predator’s bad behavior is brushed away, rationalized, overlooked, or worse: acknowledged as being rooted in truth, or altogether true but dismissed anyway because supporting the party trumps everything else – especially when an election is involved. And even if the opponent is as morally pure as driven snow, better to have an accused sexual predator in office than one from across the aisle.
This week we’ve been treated to journalists now asserting that they believe Juanita Broaddrick and condemn Bill Clinton’s sexual misconduct, even if leaving the door of excuses cracked open. Of course the timing of these tabloid confessionals is painfully and childishly obvious, given that Hillary no longer stands on the brink of becoming the first woman president thus the Democratic party no longer needs the Big Dog to help usher her into the Oval Office. For well-connected professional journalists with access to all manner of information and historical records, and whose very profession consists of research and examination, to claim they simply were unable to see the forest through the trees (until politically convenient), rings hollow. And if Hillary supporting celebrities who are leaving their profession to become full-time political activists, offer up the feeble excuse that they didn’t even know about Juanita Broaddrick’s story when confronted by Broaddrick herself (until politically convenient), rings even more hollow. I can’t help but feel like we are supposed to be applauding the left’s collective epiphanies about the real Bill Clinton. Sorry. Too little, too late. They knew. Because if a nobody like me knew, how much more the professional working journalists, and the celebrities who actually rubbed shoulders with the Clintons? These people are childish in their efforts to appear as if they heroically confronted and took down a beast of burden weighing heavily on their collective woke conscience. I’m not playing this game. Whatever propels the Democratic party forward is always the priority of the left. And it doesn’t matter if that entails staunch denials and dismissals of Bill Clinton’s “peccadilloes” (because that’s what accusations of rape are referred to by the left) when necessary. That has always been the modern moral tell of the Democrats. I think this week should be referred to as the week of convenient reckoning.
But convenience is not limited to the left side of the aisle. The disgust I have at the Democrats’ decades-long denials and efforts to dismiss and rationalize Bill Clinton’s awfulness until politically convenient to admit them, is the same disgust I feel about the right side of the aisle currently circling the wagons around Roy Moore. To my mind, there is little difference. Both men have been accused of heinous behavior toward women. And far worse, claims of sexual assault on this side of the aisle involved a minor. Victims have shared their stories. Family members and friends have backed them up in their allegations. And yet, because Moore is a Republican, a party which once claimed the moral high ground, it is now seemingly willing to overlook the accusations, make excuses for Moore and dismiss any allegations because of the R after his name and because there is an upcoming election. It’s taken a long time, but Republicans are now this close to becoming as morally bankrupt as the Democrats.
In the spirit of equal-opportunity criticism (and disavowal) of public figures accused of sexual misconduct in well-sourced reports, Los Angeles news anchor Leeann Tweeden has gone public with her claims of sexual misconduct by Al Franken, so have at it:
In December of 2006, I embarked on my ninth USO Tour to entertain our troops, my eighth to the Middle East since the 9/11 attacks. My father served in Vietnam and my then-boyfriend (and now husband, Chris) is a pilot in the Air Force, so bringing a ‘little piece of home’ to servicemembers stationed far away from their families was both my passion and my privilege.
The headliner was comedian and now-senator, Al Franken.
Franken had written some skits for the show and brought props and costumes to go along with them. Like many USO shows before and since, the skits were full of sexual innuendo geared toward a young, male audience.
As a TV host and sports broadcaster, as well as a model familiar to the audience from the covers of FHM, Maxim and Playboy, I was only expecting to emcee and introduce the acts, but Franken said he had written a part for me that he thought would be funny, and I agreed to play along.
When I saw the script, Franken had written a moment when his character comes at me for a ‘kiss’. I suspected what he was after, but I figured I could turn my head at the last minute, or put my hand over his mouth, to get more laughs from the crowd.
On the day of the show Franken and I were alone backstage going over our lines one last time. He said to me, “We need to rehearse the kiss.” I laughed and ignored him. Then he said it again. I said something like, ‘Relax Al, this isn’t SNL…we don’t need to rehearse the kiss.’
He continued to insist, and I was beginning to get uncomfortable.
He repeated that actors really need to rehearse everything and that we must practice the kiss. I said ‘OK’ so he would stop badgering me. We did the line leading up to the kiss and then he came at me, put his hand on the back of my head, mashed his lips against mine and aggressively stuck his tongue in my mouth.
I immediately pushed him away with both of my hands against his chest and told him if he ever did that to me again I wouldn’t be so nice about it the next time.
I felt disgusted and violated.
Unfortunately, for Leeann Tweeden, Franken didn’t really give a hoot about how disgusted and violated she might have felt after he forced tongue in her mouth:
I couldn’t believe it. He groped me, without my consent, while I was asleep.
I felt violated all over again. Embarrassed. Belittled. Humiliated.
How dare anyone grab my breasts like this and think it’s funny?
I told my husband everything that happened and showed him the picture.
I wanted to shout my story to the world with a megaphone to anyone who would listen, but even as angry as I was, I was worried about the potential backlash and damage going public might have on my career as a broadcaster.
But that was then, this is now. I’m no longer afraid.
Every time I hear his voice or see his face, I am angry. I am angry that I did his stupid skit for the rest of that tour. I am angry that I didn’t call him out in front of everyone when I had the microphone in my hand every night after that. I wanted to. But I didn’t want to rock the boat. I was there to entertain the troops and make sure they forgot about where they were for a few hours. Someday, I thought to myself, I would tell my story.
That day is now.
Senator Franken, you wrote the script. But there’s nothing funny about sexual assault.
You wrote the scene that would include you kissing me and then relentlessly badgered me into ‘rehearsing’ the kiss with you backstage when we were alone.
You knew exactly what you were doing. You forcibly kissed me without my consent, grabbed my breasts while I was sleeping and had someone take a photo of you doing it, knowing I would see it later, and be ashamed.
And why is Tweeden going public now with her story? To encourage others to come forward, and because she wants the days of silence to be over forever.
(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)