The Blog

Bill Bennett's Gambling "Problem"

The author of "The Book of Virtues" is a high roller. Does it matter? Should we care?

9:12 PM, May 2, 2003 • By JONATHAN V. LAST
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Men who commit adultery lie to protect the feelings of their wives and to protect themselves from the anger of their wives. They often ask friends to lie for them. The Washington media community is full of people who have done this but now seem unable to forgive Bill Clinton. For me, his Flowers-Jones-Lewinsky-related sins are not nearly as important as his good deeds as president . . .

See? Adultery, perjury, whatever. But how about the very credible charge of sexual assault that was levied against the former president? The Washington Monthly--which spent 1,600 words on Bennett's gambling and put 4 reporters on the story--has mentioned Juanita Broaddrick's name only twice (spelling her name wrong both times). The first was in the April 1999 issue where Susan Threadgill reported:

Juanita Broadrick, just three weeks after her alleged rape by Bill Clinton in 1978, attended a Clinton fundraiser with her husband. In 1979 she accepted an advisory committee appointment by him. In 1984 she wrote Clinton a congratulatory letter, appending a handwritten note, "I admire you very much" Our friends tell us this is just like what Anita Hill did following Clarence Thomas' advances. Hmmm. Isn't rape considerably less forgivable and forgettable than talking about pubic hair?

One month later, Threadgill mentioned Broaddrick again:

Oops. We were dead wrong when we reported last month that Juanita Broderick had written Bill Clinton "I admire you very much." It was he who had written those words to her, a fact that alters the significance more than a little bit.

How big of her.

Is Bill Bennett's gambling a legitimate story? Sure. Although if I was the editor I would have played it in Newsweek's Periscope section, not as a 930 word exclusive "scoop." It will probably cause Bennett some embarrassment. The rest of the hyperventilation should stop now.

Jonathan V. Last is online editor of The Weekly Standard.