Don’t Worry, New Hampshire Women, Bill Clinton’s Got Your Back on This One

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Pity the poor Democrats. Bill Clinton a problematic figure. Who knew?

New Hampshire Democrats are under fire over their annual fund raiser, which they currently call the Kennedy-Clinton Dinner.

Why is that a problem?

It’s not clear. Democrats are the party of women. And Bill Clinton is all about women, too.

There must be some sort of misunderstanding.

It’s an ancient tradition, this Kennedy-Clinton Dinner. Goes all the way back to 2016. (Is anybody reading this old enough to remember 2016?) That year, it was held in late October (or so the chronicles say), just 10 days before Hillary Rodham won her great victory and became president of the United States.

She did, didn’t she? My 2016 history is a little rusty.

Now, for you antiquarians, long before 2016 the Kennedy-Clinton Dinner had another name. As in many other states, the New Hampshire Democratic Party used to call its annual fund raiser the Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner, after the two presidents that Democrats consider their founders.

They would be Thomas Jefferson, the slaveholder, and Andrew Jackson, the slaveholder and oppressor of Elizabeth Warren’s non-ancestors.

Before our present enlightened age, most people looked at our past leaders as sort of a mixed bag – more or less memorable, more or less unmemorable; more or less good, more or less bad. George Washington and Abraham Lincoln were at the top, and everyone else vied for somewhere in the middle.

Jefferson, for instance:  Nobody admired him for his slave-owning, his lavish personal spending and accumulation of debts, his prickly personality, his hypocrisy, or his deviousness. Everyone (once upon a time) admired his inventions, the Louisiana Purchase, the University of Virginia, and that Declaration thingy.

No more. Now these men of the past are remembered for whether they could win the endorsement of the Daily Kos.

On that basis, of course, Jefferson and Jackson had to go.

But they had to be replaced. And how?

The new Democratic Party is nothing if not modern. So why not go with statesmen from the modern age?

What could go wrong?

Except that Democrats are apparently just now hearing about Bill Clinton’s treatment of women. Some people are claiming he wasn’t always as a good a listener as he might have been.

O what a tangled web we weave
When first we practice our olden names to heave

Could Walter Scott have said it any better?

Reporter Paul Steinhauser attended the Kennedy-Clinton Dinner on Friday night for The Concord Monitor, and he did a good job of getting Ray Buckley, chairman of the New Hampshire Democratic Party, to answer questions about whether the former philanderer-in-chief is a good honoree, given our new national conversation about how men in power treat women who aren’t.

First time up he got the brushoff. So he tried again.

And Buckley of course defended Clinton.

Or did he?

First response:  “I think it would be an interesting conversation right after we see the resignation of Donald Trump.”

Second response:  “I think that once we see the Republican Party really stands up and represent the real values of America, I think we can have a number of other conversations about other officials. But right now this country, this world, is under assault by Donald Trump and that’s really the most pressing issue.”

Now, I’m no French general, but that sounds like the rumblings of a forthcoming unconditional surrender.

Willy, we hardly knew ye.

The best line in the story comes right after that:  “No other state party officials or Democratic activists at the dinner wanted to talk on the record about whether Clinton’s name should be removed from the dinner.”

Heads I look like I don’t care about women. Tails I end up in an Ozarks swamp. Can we go off the record here?

The story mentions Monica Lewinsky, naturally. Even the young’uns have heard of her.

Then there’s the story’s lone misstatement of fact:  “Women such as Juanita Broaddrick and Kathleen Willey have long accused the former president of sexually harassing them years ago.”

Actually, Juanita Broaddrick accused Bill Clinton of raping her. (“You better put some ice on that.”) The heavily corroborated Lisa Meyers story in 1999 on Dateline NBC is riveting television.

But to be fair, it was a long time ago. Almost as long ago as slavery and the Trail of Tears.

There ought to be a way out of this, and luckily, there is.

To you New Hampshire Democrats wringing your hands over the Kennedy-Clinton Dinner:  I feel your pain. I know you respect women, I know you love your party, and I know you’re confused.

But cheer up. Even if Bill Clinton has to go from the name of your dinner because you care about women so much …

At least you still have JFK.


Matt McDonald is Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of New Boston Post. See other articles by him here.