Political Hay

No Harassment Here

Racial double standard on display as media forgets Paula Jones case was dismissed.

By 11.8.11

In sum, the court finds that a showing of a tangible job detriment or adverse employment action is an essential element of plaintiff's Section 1983 quid pro quo sexual harassment claim and that plaintiff has not demonstrated any tangible job detriment or adverse employment action for her refusal to submit to the governor's alleged advances. The president is therefore entitled to summary judgment on plaintiff's claim of quid pro quo sexual harassment.

For the foregoing reasons, the court finds that the president's and Ferguson's motions for summary judgment should both be and hereby are granted. There being no remaining issues, the Court will enter judgment dismissing this case.

It is so ordered this 1st day of April 1998.
-- Susan Webber Wright, United States District Judge

Not so fast.

What Sharon Bialek described yesterday -- an incident from 14 years ago in which she claims Herman Cain put his hand up her skirt and stopped when she requested him to stop -- is not sexual harassment.

And no less than the federal judge in the case of Paula Jones and Bill Clinton -- that would be one Susan Webber Wright -- has quite specifically outlined what is not sexual harassment.

And of all people, Gloria Allred should know. Ms. Allred had Clinton target Paula Jones as a client all the way back then. Something she seems to have forgotten as it emerges she gave $1,000 to Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign. The same Hillary Clinton who, according to Kathleen Willey in her book Target: Caught in the Crosshairs of Bill and Hillary Clinton, hired a private investigator to, in Willey's words, conduct a "terror" campaign against Clinton's female accusers. It certainly appears curious that Ms. Allred, a longtime liberal, would bring forth Sharon Bialek on a fourteen-year old charge that isn't even close to the dismissed Clinton sexual harassment charge -- while giving money to the woman who had other women investigated.

While Clinton agreed to pay Paula Jones an $850,000 settlement, in fact he was granted "summary judgment" by Judge Webber Wright -- and the case of sexual harassment was dismissed.

Let's remember what Clinton was accused of. It's graphic, hide the kids.

As stated in the Webber Wright decision, the then-Governor of Arkansas, in a hotel room with the door closed, "lowered his trousers and underwear, exposed his penis (which was erect) and told (her) to 'kiss it.'"

And after the media had insisted women tell the truth (in the Clarence Thomas affair, in which the latter never touched Anita Hill at all) and that sexual harassment was the be-all and end-all -- suddenly they took to ignoring Paula Jones. Her case only got serious public attention when the Drudge Report surfaced Monica Lewinsky, which in turn, in an irony of ironies, opened the door for prosecutors to start formally dredging through Bill Clinton's sexual misadventures.

So what do we have here with Ms. Bialek, if what she is saying is true?

At most -- at most -- a married man makes a move on a woman not his employee. She rejects the advance, he stops, that's it.

Again, Judge Webber Wright on the actions of Governor Bill Clinton with Arkansas state employee Paula Jones: The Governor "lowered his trousers and underwear…" Said Judge Webber Wright of this behavior:

Reduced to its essence, the record taken as a whole could not lead a rational trier of fact to find for the nonmoving party [Paula Jones] and the court therefore finds that there are no genuine issues for trial in this case…. For the foregoing reasons, the court finds that the president's and [Arkansas State Trooper Danny] Ferguson's motions for summary judgment should both be and hereby are granted. There being no remaining issues, the Court will enter judgment dismissing this case.

In other words, again to be plain, the Governor of the State of Arkansas summoned one of his employees to his hotel suite, closed the door, dropped his pants, exposed himself and asked her to "kiss it."

Sharon Bialek alleges nothing even remotely close to this -- she says Cain put a hand up her skirt, started to tug her head to his crotch, she said no -- and that's it. Fourteen years ago.

So why all this fuss over Herman Cain?

Let's go back to the first Clinton "bimbo eruption" (as the Clinton folks called them in the day) -- Gennifer Flowers. For those who came in late, Ms. Flowers interrupted the Clinton march on the White House during the winter of 1992 with a story that she had been having an affair with Governor Clinton.

Years later, when a somewhat disaffected George Stephanopoulos departed the Clinton White House for a fat book contract and, later, a career at ABC News, he wrote of how the Clinton campaign staff -- that would be George and James Carville -- handled the Flowers episode in his book All Too Human: A Political Education:

We'd either survive now and go on to fight other battles… or… we'd become just another anecdote in the long lore of New Hampshire.

As the reporters talked among themselves, I imagined their conversation: "Should we ask him?... Don't we have to?... Hate to, though…. Remember Paul." In 1987 Paul Taylor of the [Washington] Post had broken a barrier by asking [presidential candidate] Gary Hart flat-out if he'd ever committed adultery. After that uncomfortable moment in a crowded room, many reporters and their papers vowed to resist sex stories….

The ex-Clinton aide goes on to detail how the Clinton campaign set out to make the case that there was no big deal here. It was, of course, only about sex:

OK… He's already said he didn't have a perfect marriage; what more do they want? And what does it matter -- what does that have to do with being president? The tabloids are attacking him to make money; the right-wingers are attacking because they're afraid he'll win and afraid of what he'll do. We can't let them get away with it or it will never stop…. When two of the three network news broadcasts that evening made no mention of Gennifer Flowers, we rejected all the interview requests and returned to Little Rock.

Then came the invite from CBS for Bill and Hillary to appear on 60 Minutes to discuss the situation. The Clinton team prepped the Governor, including with this note from Stephanopoulos:

Use your family as a metaphor for character. You've had problems in your marriage, you've faced them, you've worked through them, and you're coming out stronger than ever.

And what did Clinton say that night to America?

As his faithful aide wrote it up:

He admitted to causing "pain" in his marriage and added that most Americans "get it." And most viewers did. People heard that Clinton hadn't always been faithful, but they also saw a talented and idealistic couple who were committed to their marriage and the country's future…. What's past is past. It's time to move on.

And so… America elected Bill Clinton President of the United States.

Gennifer Flowers was dismissed as he said/she said. Juanita Broaddrick charged rape and was given a big no-never-mind. Kathleen Willey said she was groped in the Oval Office and she was given a big no-never-mind. This was all about sex, thank you very much. Or, as Stephanopoulos said, "What's past is past. It's time to move on."

"Move on"…words that later morphed into an entire left-wing organization that fervently believed Bill Clinton should certainly not lose his job for his behavior. Today this group is formalized, of course, as "MoveOn.org."

And Paula Jones? Her case of sexual harassment was dismissed by Judge Webber Wright. The fact that Governor Clinton dropped his pants in front of his state employee and asked her to "kiss it" was deemed not a "genuine issue" for trial and was dismissed.

When the Lewinsky case exploded -- Bill Clinton was not convicted by the Senate of the United States. He kept his job as president, and today is arguably the most popular living ex-president among the crowd of two Bushes and Jimmy Carter. And, as mentioned in an earlier post, take a real good look over at YouTube where you will find this recent video of Lady Gaga shaking her booty at a laughing Bill and Hillary Clinton (and Chelsea) and a laughing crowd of Clinton supporters.

Note the drum roll of an opening for this video as well, presented in excitedly dignified fashion by the "William J. Clinton Foundation."

In other words, this incident where Bill Clinton had: "lowered his trousers and underwear…" is now just a fond memory of good ol' Bill. That rascal.

So what's the difference between Bill Clinton's case and Herman Cain in terms of media coverage, with every single known charge thus far in both instances out on the table including Sharon Bialek's?

One.

Just one.

Herman Cain is a black man.

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About the Author
Jeffrey Lord is a former Reagan White House political director and author. He writes from Pennsylvania at jlpa1@aol.com.