The Magazine


Mar 15, 1999, Vol. 4, No. 25 • By CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER
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The Democratic party is certainly a gloat-free zone today. You could see not only discomfort but actual shame in the face of Democrats, who having made careers of defending women's rights and protesting their abuse, must now dismiss a rape charge, not with a denial but with shoulder-shrugging agnosticism. Democratic leaders Dick Gephardt and Tom Daschle, evincing not the slightest curiosity as to whether their leader is a rapist, say that it is time for the country to "put this behind us" and "move on" to more important business.

Six years ago, the Senate deemed it quite the nation's business to look into charges against Sen. Bob Packwood -- ah, a Republican -- some of which were older than Juanita Broaddrick's (they went back to 1969) and none anywhere near as severe. Under pressure of outraged feminists and agitated Democrats, Packwood was forced to resign and Washington pronounced itself satisfied at his political decapitation.

This time around, the move-on Democrats throw up their hands with it's just "he said, she said." (Actually, it is "she said, his lawyer said." He's said nothing.) Do these people have no shame? Of course they don't. But more important, and the reason the feminist cause is irretrievably damaged, is that its erstwhile champions have no arguments. What do they say the next time a public man is charged with grossly exploitative (if consensual) workplace sex? With creating a hostile work environment? With lying under oath in a sexual harassment suit? Good God, with rape?

Let's move on?

Charles Krauthammer is a contributing editor to THE WEEKLY STANDARD.