"He's got it coming to him," said Ben Bradlee, former editor of The Washington Post. "You can't do that in this town anymore. Probably could do it 50 years ago, but you can't do it now."
The "he" was Herman Cain. The "that" means sexual harassment. And the "got it coming" means the media firestorm around the Republican front-runner as he deals with the sexual misconduct accusations that threaten to derail Cain's surprisingly strong candidacy.
Bradlee made the Cain comment while at a book party for MSNBC host Chris Matthews' new biography about the Democratic Party's icon, John F. Kennedy, handsome, dashing and forever young — who screwed around big-time on his popular and elegant wife. When asked what he liked about Matthews' new book, Bradlee said, "I like the guy who wrote it, and I like the guy he wrote it about."
The irony seemed to be lost on Mr. Bradlee.
Bradlee wags his finger at Cain for alleged "sexual harassment" and insists, "He's got it coming to him." But on the same night, Bradlee celebrates a man who not only serially cheated, but who jeopardized national security by sleeping with the girlfriend of a big-time Chicago mobster.
Certainly, "it was a different time," with the all-male reporter's boys club looking the other way. But Kennedy kept his affairs secret from wife and country for a reason. Trying telling your wife — even in the '60s — "Honey, this afternoon — when you're out with your lunch friends — I'm throwing a nude pool party. There may be, some, you know, some 20-something young ladies, some actually wearing bathing suits. Oh, then I'm going out with the girlfriend of a gangster. Don't wait up."
"Certainly, dear"??? "Have a good time"??? "I'll leave the porch light on for you"???
Not likely. Even in the '60s, on a deal like this, Harriet ditches Ozzie, June leaves Ward, and Lucy drops Ricky.
And if 15-year-old allegations of "sexual harassment" rate high on the Democrats' character scale, please explain the deification of Bill Clinton. OK, he balanced the budget. But there was ...
Paula Jones: About whom a Clinton surrogate said, "If you drag a $100 bill through a trailer park, you never know what you'll find." Apparently you find $850K to settle a lawsuit. Clinton accused Jones of lying about sexual harassment and filing a lawsuit that lacked merit, then settled the case out of court for $850K.
Gennifer Flowers: Clinton surrogates trashed her as a "saloon singer." (Do we even still have "saloons"?) Clinton publicly called her a liar. Years later, Clinton finally admitted that, yes, Flowers told the truth when she said their relationship had been sexual.
Monica Lewinsky: Clinton publicly accused the White House intern of lying; then lied about the affair under oath; became the first sitting president in history to be found in contempt of court; was impeached for lying under oath and obstruction of justice — the first and only elected president to have been impeached; and temporarily lost his law license.
Kathleen Willey: Told "60 Minutes" that she visited Bill Clinton in the Oval Office, where, she says, Clinton hugged and kissed her. When she tried to push him away, "he touched my breasts with his hand ... and then he whispered ... 'I've wanted to do this ever since I laid eyes on you.' ... He took my hand, and he put it ... on his genitals." Finally, says Willey, she managed to push him away. In a classic exercise in rationalization, feminist Gloria Steinem said, So what? "Even if (Willey's) accusation are true," Steinem insisted, Clinton is "not guilty of sexual harassment." Why? Well, Steinem wrote, "(Willey) pushed him away, she said, and it never happened again. In other words, President Clinton took 'no' for an answer.
Juanita Broaddrick: Told NBC News that then-Arkansas Attorney General and gubernatorial candidate Bill Clinton raped her: "I first pushed him away. I just told him 'no.' ... He tries to kiss me again. He starts biting on my lip. ... And then he forced me down on the bed. I just was very frightened. I tried to get away from him. I told him 'no.' ... He wouldn't listen to me."
GOP haters delight in denouncing former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich as "the guy who served divorce papers on his wife as she was in the hospital for cancer." But as to JFK, the sexually reckless president from Camelot? Hey, whatever.
The National Enquirer, not the "mainstream" media, broke the story about John Edwards' love child and his long extramarital affair — as his wife was dying of cancer. But the same slow-on-Edwards media snapped to attention on the Cain allegations. Are the Cain allegations newsworthy, legitimate areas for media investigation? Absolutely. Sexual misconduct and the gravity of the misconduct go to the issue of character.
Except, of course, when applied to Bill Clinton and Jack Kennedy.
Larry Elder is a best-selling author and radio talk-show host. To find out more about Larry Elder, or become an "Elderado," visit www.LarryElder.com. To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
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