News of rampant sexual harassment at a leading progressive public relations firm seems to have surprised some on the Left: How can enlightened liberals, so staunchly committed to women’s equality and progress, allow old-school sexism and abuse of power to persist?
How could FitzGibbon Media, which represented MoveOn.org, NARAL Pro-Choice America, and the AFL-CIO, have a CEO sending text messages asking for dirty pictures from female underlings?
Conservatives shouldn’t start throwing stones: There are plenty of cads in every political party. Yet progressives really shouldn’t be surprised that such behavior exists in liberal enclaves; in fact, there’s reason to suspect there may be more mistreatment of women by the Left than the Right.
It’s a phenomenon I call “the Bill Clinton effect.” President Clinton wasn’t just another example of a prominent pol who habitually cheated on his wife with many women, including those on his staff. Clinton showcased how those who normally police behavior and work to penalize men for mistreating women will excuse men aligned with them politically.
In other words, Clinton revealed that liberals can expect to get away with a lot more in terms of abusing women than conservatives.
Young progressives may only know a whitewashed version of the Clinton scandals, in which rabid conservatives tried to make a mountain out of a consensual-affair molehill. Yet the undisputed facts of the Lewinsky affair reveal a clear and classic example of a powerful man abusing women under his power and creating a hostile work environment: Clinton was a powerful executive having sexual relations with a 22-year-old intern working in his office, whom he rewarded with a taxpayer-financed job and other special treatment.