In a September profile for Vogue, Sen. Rand Paul’s wife, Kelley Ashby, was quoted as saying: “I would say [Bill Clinton’s] behavior was predatory, offensive to women.”
On Meet the Press this past Sunday, for reasons that escape me, Sen. Paul was asked about it.
Paul was, no doubt, stunned the question came up (talk about a non sequitur), but he responded by noting the hypocrisy: “Someone who takes advantage of a young girl in their office,” he said, “And then they have the gall to stand up and say, ‘Republicans are having a war on women'”?
Whether he was simply displaying chivalry by backing his wife, or not, Paul had a point — even if it was fraught with danger. On one hand, it’s certainly fair to juxtapose the abstract Republican “war on women” accusation versus the concrete actions of the last Democratic president. It takes a lot of chutzpah for Democrats to defend Bill Clinton, even as they claim the moral high ground in terms of sensitivity to the plight of women.
On the other hand, the last Democratic president also happens to be married to Hillary Clinton, and, as Paul said, “it’s not Hillary’s fault.” This is true. And while it’s hard to blame Hillary for her husband’s actions, it is interesting to note that a few years ago, Hillary did something pretty similar to Kelley Ashby.
But instead of dishing to Vogue, it was this 1992 interview with Vanity Fair that set tongues wagging:
“Hillary boils over at what she perceives as a double standard—that the press has shied away from investigating long-standing rumors about George Bush. ‘I had tea with Anne Cox Chambers [the heiress who is chairwoman of her media empire’s Atlanta newspaper group],’ Hillary recalled to me in a later interview, ‘and she’s sittin’ there in her sun-room saying, ‘You know, I just don’t understand why they think they can get away with this—everybody knows about George Bush,’ and then launches into this long description of, you know, Bush and his carrying on, all of which is apparently well known in Washington. But I’m convinced part of it is that the Establishment—regardless of party—sticks together. They’re gonna circle the wagons on Jennifer _____ and all these other people.” (Anne Cox Chambers remembers telling Hillary, “I don’t understand why nothing’s ever been said about a George Bush girlfriend—I understand he has a Jennifer, too.’)”
Kelley Ashby and Hillary Rodham aren’t so far apart, I suppose. (Except, of course, the obvious fact that Bill really did what he was accused of doing.) Both, complained to fashion magazines about double standards, at least.
Granted, Hillary was essentially just spreading gossip — not technically making the accusation herself, since she had no evidence. Still, when the author of the piece circled back with her, she “didn’t back away from it.” (Note: Hillary did later apologize.)
In any event, this is one more reminder that, eventually, everything comes full circle.
And I think we all know what the real lesson here is: Kelley Ashby will be running for president in 25 years!