Rick Jensen, 1/7/2016 [Archive]

Bill Clinton's Bill Cosby Problem

By Rick Jensen

Strong opinions beget strong reactions.

Those of us who have worked to affect public policy and opinion understand and accept this, especially in an age of instant rebuttal and pushback via social media, email, and the ubiquitous cell phone.

It's also understood that entrenched and polarized political and social beliefs contradicted by opposing arguments, regardless of how reasonable, elicit emotional eruptions.

This is why I understood the defensive reactions of Bill Cosby fans (as I was for decades) to a column I wrote last year excoriating the accused rapist for devaluation of every positive message he delivered.

His grown children will be met with the undeniable shudder of recognition of their famous father's crimes with every new handshake they encounter.

Some readers were sincerely outraged that anyone would suggest the sheer volume of accusations could merit presumption.

I suspect most of us can accept the fact that any man in public life can be wrongly accused of sexual misbehavior by one, two or maybe three women (and perhaps men) who are seeking some recognition better understood by a PhD in psychology.

When that number exceeds nine, 10, 11, etc., doesn't it seem fair to presume a few of them might not be part of some conspiracy?

That was the reaction of some readers - that the 30 (at the time) or more women were all part of some leftwing conspiracy to bring down the black man who preached individual responsibility and "bootstrap philosophy" to life.

It's a strong philosophy, one that liberals writing about Cosby abhor.Reading recent articles on liberally political sites such as Salon and Huffington Post will remind you of their disdain for the concept of individualism and "bootstrap rhetoric."

A celebratory tone to the articles was thinly veiled at best.

From many conservatives who appreciated The Cos' philosophy, humor and personal success, denial set in immediately. The rest of us completed the 5 stages of grief rather quickly. The numbers are just too great to deny intellectual honesty.

So it goes now with Bill Clinton.

When confronted at a recent Town Hall meeting by a local New Hampshire Republican questioning Hillary's covering for husband Bill's accusations of sexual abuse and rape, Hillary declared, "You are very rude. I am not going to ever call on you."

Like fans lining up for Cosby shows last year, Hillary's fans dismissed the questions, cheering on their hero.

On CNN last Thursday, Errol Louis and Alisyn Camerota got into a conversation about Donald Trump alluding to Bill Clinton's accusations of sexual harassment.

Louis: "Donald Trump wants to take Bill Clinton out of the equation. Wants to either embarrass him or otherwise frighten him off the campaign trail. Unlikely to happen, but that is the strategy. To sort of get him out of the picture so that he can go after Hillary Clinton without her biggest booster, one of the most popular Democrats in the country. I don't think that's going to happen. "But you know, after what we've seen with Bill Cosby, and with old accusations. There are about 14 women who could be said to have made claims at one time or another."

Camerota: "Is that right? 14??!!"

Louis: "Well, if you go to the sort of right-wing websites and the talk radio crowd. There are about 14 names out there."

It's not too surprising Camerota doesn't want to know this, just as some conservatives deny Bill Cosby's accusers.

It's also not too surprising that Louis tries to hide his liberal faux pas behind "right-wing websites," though he knows the number is accurate, if not underestimated.

Some researchers put the number closer to 24 Clinton sexual assault accusers.

The question is certainly pertinent and needs to be addressed by mainstream media reporters and interviewers, not just politically interested people and partisans at town hall meetings.

It's especially relevant as Hillary asserted in Iowa last year, "Today I want to send a message to every survivor of sexual assault.Don't let anyone silence your voice. You have the right to be heard. You have the right to be believed and we're with you."

"Every" survivor, Hillary?"Every"?

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©Copyright 2016 Rick Jensen, distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

Rick Jensen is Delaware's award-winning conservative talk show host on WDEL, streaming live on WDEL.com from 1pm — 4pm EST. Contact Rick at rick@wdel.com, or follow him on Twitter @Jensen1150WDEL.

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