Feminists Mostly Mum On Clinton's Behavior
From Correspondent Jim Hill
LOS ANGELES (AllPolitics, Aug. 23) -- Since President
Clinton's public admission of a sexual relationship with
Monica Lewinsky, one normally high-profile group has kept
largely silent -- the nation's feminist leaders.
The women's movement built its reputation battling the kind
of behavior to which the president admitted. But few feminist
leaders have taken a strong stand either for or against
Conservative activist Phyllis Schafley calls it pure
"He gave them everything they wanted, even partial-birth
abortion," she says. "So they are living up to their bargain
not to criticize him."
In other recent cases, feminists were out in force. And in
some instances, they were a powerful force in shaping the
For example, when Anita Hill accused Supreme Court nominee
Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment, feminist leaders were
solidly behind her. They openly criticized former Sen. Bob
Packwood, R-Ore., who resigned over sexual harassment
charges. And during the murder trial of O.J. Simpson,
feminists rallied against domestic violence.
However, Clinton is a politician who has championed
feminist issues and appointed women to positions of power,
including the first female attorney general and the first
female secretary of state.
Some feminist leaders admit to conflicting loyalties.
"His personal behavior -- his indiscretions -- do not match
the high caliber of his public behavior, and it is
disturbing," says Marion Goodman.
At least one former Clinton supporter, feminist attorney
Gloria Allred, struggled with just such issues before taking
"Very reluctantly -- and I'm heartbroken to say this, it's
very painful to me -- I feel that he should resign," she
But for the most part, feminist leaders appear to be watching
quietly, waiting for the final report on the Lewinsky matter
from Independent Counsel Ken Starr.