Monica Lewinsky’s reinvention begs the question: what has changed since the 1990s?
But especially in the midst of this life-changing pandemic and after the democracy-changing Trump era – which may not be over yet – it is worth looking back at what was really important in the past and what it means today.
She’s involved in the new FX miniseries about it, but Lewinsky has also appeared as an anti-bullying and cyberbullying activist.
It is not inconceivable that younger generations know her as well for her activism, if not more, than for the sensational coverage of her affair with Bill Clinton decades ago.
It’s hard to believe that a male politician like Clinton could survive his affair and his lies about it in this #MeToo era. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo was eventually pressed for harassment charges. And he had started his tenure with the support of activists organized under the Time’s Up banner, although that support did not age well.
Have things changed? Axelrod asked Lewinsky if she thought Clinton’s behavior would be accepted today.
“I hope not,” she said. “I’m not so sure we’re as far away as if it were a handsome young Democratic president who would be good at quoting for women.”
The Clinton example differs from that of former President Donald Trump, who was accused of harassment but still beat Hillary Clinton in 2016.
Bill Clinton was an avowed defender of women’s rights and a man in a position of high power who was compromised by his treatment of a young woman. Lewinsky was right in the middle.
“I was not supported by the left. I was not supported by the right. It was a very painful and terrible place,” she said.
After hearing the Lewinsky episode of Axelrod’s podcast, I noticed another bang from the sensational past on CNN’s excellent Total Recall podcast, in which Dana Bash reviewed Arnold Schwarzenegger’s rise as California governor.
This is proof that scandals fade over time. I remember his governorship and the recall election that got him there. I remember his tenure as a moderate Republican, a role model for the party before it embraced Trumpism.
I actually forgot that Schwarzenegger was also confronted with allegations of fondling and sexual harassment in the final days of the 2003 recall election.
He denied most allegations, apologized “when I offended someone,” and won anyway.
Politicians come and go. Judges stay for a lifetime.
There have been a number of speeches and books by Supreme Court judges lately, and they don’t paint a picture of a harmonious court.
“There will be a lot of disappointment with the law, a huge amount, “Liberal Justice Sonia Sotomayor said Wednesday at an American Bar Association event.” Look at me, look at my disagreements. “
Days ahead of a new court session that could overturn Roe against Wade, Sotomayor said people need to change laws they don’t like and respond to court decisions they don’t agree with. “You know, I can’t change Texas law,” Sotomayor said, referring to the abortion law that the court allowed to go into effect despite their ardent disagreement. “But you can, and anyone else who like it or don’t like it, can go out there and lobby to change laws you don’t like.”
Counter-argument: ‘The court is not a cabal.’ Conservative Judge Samuel Alito, who was in favor of getting Texan law into effect before reviewing its dubious constitutionality, said Thursday ahead of an audience in Notre Dame that there was no secret in the court’s new and likely long-standing Conservative majority Give agenda.
He said his goal was to “dispel some imaginary shadows” and reject the idea that it was “sneaky or dangerous”.
He complained that criticism of the court was falsely implying “that a dangerous cabal is deciding on important matters in novel, mysterious, inappropriate ways in the middle of the night, hidden from the public.” Continue reading.Another argument: the court is not “a bunch of partisan hackers”. Alito’s defense of the court is in line with the newest judge, Amy Coney Barrett, who tried this month to convince a Louisville audience that the court is driven by the philosophy of law.
(Lawyers always say this, and I am sure judges themselves do not appear partisan. The problem is that, with notable exceptions, they generally vote on both sides in extremely predictable ways that reflect the goals of the political party that is nominated has, supports you).
Consent from the left. Judge Stephen Breyer, a Liberal judge, said he and his colleagues were not “junior politicians”.
He said the court will adjust to the times, it just needs time. “If you look back in history, you know the court has had many ups and downs,” he told CNN’s Fareed Zakaria as part of a book tour. He has rejected calls by some Democrats for him to step down in time for Biden to be nominated a younger liberal before Republicans reclaim the Senate, and he opposes efforts to expand the court and dilute the power of the conservative majority.
“If you look back in history, you know the dish has had many ups and downs,” said Breyer.
Consent from the right. Judge Clarence Thomas said something similar in September when he advocated the importance of institutions in society.
“I think the media makes it sound like you always match your personal preferences,” said Thomas. “So when they think you’re against abortion,” they think, “that’s the way you always come out.”
“That’s a problem,” said Thomas. “You will endanger all trust in the legal institutions.”
Final counter-argument. Now that there is a very strong Conservative majority of judges who are likely to oversee the court for decades, even as the country continues to move to the left, particularly on social issues, it means that the court’s “judicial philosophy” is increasingly out of whack could do with what most people want.
The evidence of partisan hacker attacks lies in the political impact of the decisions. It doesn’t matter if the hacks are partisan. The fact is that Roe v. Wade has a very good chance of being knocked over. Electoral laws have a very good chance of gutting further. And so forth.
Shutdown averted for the time being
Legislators ticked an important box off their difficult to-do list on Thursday: They passed a government funding bill. But it’s a temporary reprieve and will only keep the government open until December 3rd.
In the coming months, they will also tackle the more delicate issues of raising the debt ceiling and see if there is enough support to pass infrastructure laws – there is both a bipartisan version and a more comprehensive democratic add-on.
Democrats want to pass the longer-term funding bill in the context of their efforts to raise the debt ceiling, but Republicans, who can block most of the Senate bill, have blocked it.
One-party control is not enough to govern. It used to be rare for a government controlled by a party – in this case Democrats – to struggle to avert the shutdown. But it happened under President Donald Trump. Now President Biden must figure out how to avoid the same fate.
Read more in the CNN report.