New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd says that the momentum behind the women’s movement took a hit during President Bill Clinton’s scandal-plagued years in the White House.
“Feminism sort of died in that period,” Dowd told Yahoo News Global Anchor Katie Couric on Monday. “Because the feminists had to come along with Bill Clinton’s retrogressive behavior with women in order to protect the progressive policies for women that Bill Clinton had as president.”
The women in Clinton’s administration, Dowd said, were forced to support him while he denied allegations of sexual misconduct against the likes of Monica Lewinsky and Gennifer Flowers. He would later admit some of the allegations.
“Bill Clinton had [Secretary of State] Madeleine Albright and [Secretary of Health and Human Services] Donna Shalala come out and say he was telling the truth on Monica,” Dowd said. “And so all of these amazing, accomplished women that worked around him were kind of called to support him, and it’s almost a class issue, because they would put these women down on class or, in Monica’s case, they would say she’s a delusional stalker.”
Dowd was responding to the Times’ Monday front-page story, which detailed how Hillary Clinton dealt with her husband’s infidelity and his accusers while she was first lady. Republican nominee Donald Trump, who floated the possibility of inviting Flowers to the first presidential debate, has threatened to raise the issue at his next bout with Clinton.
“I think all that stuff is problematical,” Dowd said. “I know that Hillary’s campaign says that, you know, it’s old, and we shouldn’t be paying any attention. But I do think feminism died a little bit.”
Defending Bill Clinton’s so-called “bimbo eruptions” in order to preserve his pro-women policies was something feminists shouldn’t have bargained for, Dowd argued.
“You shouldn’t have to have that kind of Faustian deal,” she said.