As the Lion is Known

By Stephanie Herman
Rightgrrl Co-Founder
February 22, 1999

In reaction to Juanita Broaddrick's allegation that President Clinton raped her in 1978, the buzz around Washington is that the details Broaddrick describes aren't all that far-fetched, given what we already know about Clinton's treatment of women.

If it hasn't already, Clinton's documented pattern of behavior is now beginning to betray him -- even if he is totally innocent of committing rape.

The past now hounding Clinton includes charges by other women that he has threatened physical harm. NewsMax reported last year that Kathleen Willey's encounter with Clinton was "almost to the point of an attack," according to Linda Tripp (who spoke with Willey shortly after she left the Oval Office).

It was reported by Carl Limbacher that Judy Stokes, a friend of Elizabeth Ward Gracen, informed attorneys for Paula Jones that Gracen had confided her sexual encounter with Bill Clinton was not consensual. Gracen told the press it was consensual, but later conveyed to the Toronto Sun that White House investigators had been tailing her family and she described Clinton as "dangerous."

Carl Limbacher, who first reported Broaddrick's allegations, as well as corroboration from Philip Yoakum and Norma Rogers, has crunched the numbers and claims that up to seven women may have been "assaulted" by Bill Clinton.


And the lack of surprise that an allegation of rape is being made against this president is telling. On Fox News Sunday, which aired February 21, commentator Juan Williams admitted that Broaddrick's story isn't outside the realm of believability, considering the president's pattern of behavior. The old adage, tanquam ex ungue leonem, is beginning to apply to Bill Clinton: "as the lion is known by its claw."

And yet, Clinton's female support base remains unflappable -- a base more willing to know the lion by its roar than by its claw. Clinton's roar, of course, has been six years of lip service to women's issues, especially abortion, and his willingness to appoint females to high positions within his administration.

The big question now is: Will female Clinton supporters -- so thankful for his ability to articulate a positive women's agenda -- withdraw their support if it's proven he's a rapist? A year ago, pundits predicted a drop in women's favorability toward Clinton if it were proven that he had seduced a subordinate in the workplace. It was similarly predicted that Clinton's popularity would plummet -- and Democrats promised to withdraw support -- if it were proven Clinton had committed perjury.

And we all know how accurate those predictions were.

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This article copyright © 1999 by Stephanie Herman and may not be reproduced in any form without the express written consent of its author. All rights reserved.