Let's hope President Clinton isn't dumb enough to follow through
with the latest Lewinsky defense Gene Lyons tested on the American public
In an appearance on NBC News' Meet the Press, Lyons assured Tim Russert
that Clinton's relationship with Monica Lewinsky "could be an entirely
innocent affair." That's not a surprising take for Lyons, a Little
Rock friend and staunch supporter of Bill Clinton's, as evidenced by his
columns that appear in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
What is surprising is that Lyons would dare to further insult
the feminists by suggesting that Clinton's problems with Lewinsky were
the result of women who act "batty" around him. Yes, batty.
And he wasn't just referring to Monica. "Im not talking about
her personally," said Lyons, "Im saying thats a
prediction." A prediction about women in general, or as Lyons qualified
it, "an irreducible number of women." A cross-section of women
Lyons believes swoon at the mere sight of President Clinton and who would
find him attractive "if he came to fix their garbage disposal."
With this sexist remark, Clinton supporters make yet another mockery of
his alliance with feminism. As if the women of America can't
fix their own garbage disposals! And as if the women of America,
the same ones who voted for Bill Clinton, would be home when a garbage
disposal repairman came round -- they'd be at work, where all proper feminist
women should be!
Lyons went on to blame someone, it's not entirely clear who,
for making Clinton the "Alpha Male" of America. "If you
take someone like the President... and you sexualize his image with a
lot of smears and false accusations so that people think he's Tom Jones
or Rod Stewart, then a certain irreducible number of women are going to
act batty around him." Lyons seems to be painting the female gender
with a pretty broad stroke, suggesting women are nothing if not susceptible
to the sexual persona of a man. I wonder what Patricia Ireland may be
muttering under her breath.
The cherry on top came with Lyons' implication that once women begin to
act "batty" around the President, you're bound to end up with
a stalker or two on your hands -- "rather like the woman who followed
David Letterman around." The stories do diverge somewhat, though.
Letterman's stalker illegally entered his house without signing in, and
there were no allegations that Letterman gave his stalker gifts of any
And what about the hugs? We've all seen videotape of Clinton embracing
Lewinsky in public. Would he really reach out that way, repeatedly, to
a woman Lyons described as Clinton's victimizer?
Well, it's not the only defense friends and spokesmen of the White House
will, as they say, run up the flagpole to see who salutes. But we can
deduce one thing from this latest bizarre attempt: Bill Clinton is getting
rather desperate for ideas.