She may be a tough cookie, but I don't have to stand by her man

Suzanne Moore on abuses of power

Share
Related Topics
"They didn't act like people and they didn't act like actors. Its hard to explain." When JD Salinger wrote that line in Catcher in the Rye maybe it was hard to explain. These days it needs no explanation at all. I have had an awful lot of explaining to do in the past few days although I swear to God I have never met Bill Clinton or been the object of his legendary "generosity". I have had to explain to my six-year-old that he will not have to go to prison. "Oh I see," she said knowingly. "You can't be the President when you are in prison." I have had to explain to my friend who keeps phoning from the States to tell me that although he has never liked Clinton this is all the fault of "the media" that I am not entirely in control of the entire Western media. "Anyway," I ended up screaming at him, "if you don't want a tabloid mentality you shouldn't have elected a tabloid President". Then I have had to explain to another male friend of mine who questioned the assumption that when we talk of oral sex, we don't know who was doing what to whom, that a little voice, call it feminine intuition if you like, tells me that whatever Clinton may or may not have done, he is hardly being accused of performing gratuitous cunnilingus on various female interns.

But, hey, what do I know? If you are shocked by the very mention of cunnilingus then I am in turn shocked that some newspapers refer to Clinton indulging in an "an unorthodox sex act" with Lewinsky. Unorthodox? And you thought it was compulsory. We all know that American culture is obsessed with blow-jobs and cars and preferably blow-jobs in cars, but somehow we have to put a more serious political spin on all this. War in the Middle East as a distraction? A re-run of Watergate? Character assassination? A right- wing conspiracy? Bring on the body language experts to tell us that Bill is tight-shouldered and bleary eyed and Hillary looks better than she has for ages. Put her on TV in a nice brown trouser suit , not a stained blue dress. Have her made over, made up, making it up? Isn't she wonderful? Isn't she cool, calm and collected?

Well, yes she is and who would really want to be her: accused of having sold out the sisterhood in her lust for power. Standing by her man, not in a Tammy Wynette sort of way obviously; forced to go through the second act though knowing that in American lives there are no second acts. She has ridden many storms and she will ride out this one. This is a battle. James Carville called it a war. George Stephanopoulos says he hopes the President is telling the truth, not that he is telling the truth.

Hillary knows things that we don't. She knows what they have got lined up against Lewinsky, Tripp, Starr. She will sit it out. What else can she do? "Yes, Matt." "No, Matt," she said in her interview on NBC's Today show yesterday morning. She spoke of the "intense political agenda" during these allegations. She is her husband's most credible defender. She made me believe that she knew all sorts of things about his accusers that will discredit them. She made me believe she believed her husband. She did not make me believe her husband. They are in this together, for it is widely assumed that a deal has been done. She knows what he is like; but she also know what she wants.

In the confusion, the schizophrenic nature of American society comes to the fore. The freest country in the world finds its heart beats with a puritan pulse. All this results in the strange games of sexual semantics being played out. Sexual relations, sexual relationships, emotional attachments, what do any of these phrases really mean, and do they mean what we think they mean and does anyone apart from Newt Gingrich himself believe that oral sex with another person still allows you to claim that you are being monogamous? (By the way, where are the long passages in the Bible that discuss oral sex in detail. I sure as hell didn't learn them in my Sunday school class.)

As this whole tale proceeds I feel myself losing sympathy for those who argue that what the President does in private has been blown out of all proportion. He may of course be completely innocent, in which case I alongside many others will have to eat my copy but ... are we really saying that some abuses of power, especially ones that involve young women, are less important than other kinds of abuse of power? Everyone knows that all jobs come with certain limitations. If you want to be the President of America then you may not like those limitations, but you may have to accept them. In return you are given enormous power and privilege. Masses of ordinary people accept those limitations every day of their lives without much reward.

Politicians, of all people, can never be above the law. Their whole modus operandi involves a level of trust from the electorate and Clinton is appearing more shifty by the day. Trust will inevitably diminish. Maybe every single woman who has made allegations against him is a big-haired, big-mouthed, delusional bimbo. Maybe feminists are in a quandary about supporting Clinton because he has at least made a stand on abortion rights. But maybe, just maybe, we have to talk about character and morality and decency; not from a rabid right-wing perspective but from a human one. Is this kind of behaviour acceptable or is it not?

The grudging admiration that some obviously have for Clinton, the endless talk of his appetites, the envy that someone in his position can do whatever they like and still have a woman like Hillary stand by them is nauseating. This is not to say that Hillary is not a supreme lawyer, a tough cookie capable of convincing the nation to stand by her man.

I'm still not convinced. It is not purely Clinton's lack of judgement that is so worrying but his inefficiency. Surely it would have been possible for Clinton to organise and pay for sex without commitment if he had really waned to. Kennedy got Marilyn Monroe, Clinton gets Monica Lewinsky? Please. Surely his lack of discrimination is starting to make him look ridiculous. Are we really to believe that the boy couldn't help it?

As George Bernard Shaw once had a character in a play say, "Do you think that the things people make fools of themselves about are any less real and true than the things they behave sensibly about?" How can we begin to talk of what is real and true in the midst of all this? It's a dirty job all right but do we honestly think that anyone close to the President, even his wife, is actually going to do it?

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

Read Next
If Miliband is PM, it is expected that Cameron will stand down as party leader quickly  

Election 2015: The Ed Miliband I worked with in Downing Street

Nick Rowley
 

Election catch-up: I’m not saying the Ed stone is bad – it is so terrible I am lost for words

John Rentoul
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living