When your last name is "Flowers," writing about the Clintons -- either of them -- can be tricky. It's taken 20 years for me to be able to introduce myself to a stranger without getting the raised eyebrow and the unspoken, "Are you related to ... ?"
No. I'm not. Of course, Flowers is fairly common compared to some other names, so I can only imagine what the one female "Lewinsky" I could come up with in the Philadelphia White Pages has had to deal with these past two decades.
Gennifer Flowers, at least, was able to parlay her roll in the "Hey, Governor!" into a nice little singing career and a photo spread in one of the girlie magazines. Poor Monica was designing handbags the last time we saw her.
What's that? You're chuckling about the phrase "girlie magazines"? It's so old-fashioned, so throwback, so "Mad Men"?
Well, at least I didn't use the word libido. I mean, no one but clueless old lechers like the former governor of Arkansas uses that word these days. No, not him. I doubt Bill could see a libido if it came flying at his face. He didn't care if a woman was ready or not, as long as he was.
No, the governor I'm referring to is Mike Huckabee, the adorably appealing Gomer Pyle of the Fox Channel who holds forth on weekends about a lot of things that many Americans find compelling, and others on the two coasts like to ridicule.
Recently, Huckabee got into some hot water because of these comments at the recent winter meeting of the Republican National Committee:
"Our party stands for the recognition of the equality of women and the capacity of women. That's not a war on them. It's a war for them. And if the Democrats want to insult the women of America by making them believe that they are helpless without Uncle Sugar coming in and providing for them a prescription each month for birth control, because they cannot control their libido or their reproductive system without the help of the government, then so be it."
You could just hear the little "thump thump" as thousands of progressive knees fell to the floor in thanks to God (or Ba'al, or the politically correct deity of the month.) Here was another weapon in their arsenal, one that could be used to protect women against the evil conservative overlords who would socialize their wombs and force them to have unprotected sex with men who talk about things like "real rape." Men like Sugar Daddy's brother.
You have to hand it to the liberals, they are very good at making it look as if conservatives are the ones exploiting women. They do have help from the media, of course, but it goes beyond that. There is something in the progressive heart that pulls them inexorably toward anyone who stands for legalized abortion. This, for them, is the true sign of a woman's advocate, regardless of whatever else that bastion of reproductive independence might do or say.
Which brings this Miss Flowers back to the Clintons.
In the days after Huckabee's linguistic swing through the 1950s, a few conservatives made the gentle observation that liberals should be a bit more egalitarian in criticizing Arkansas governors. Joe Scarborough, former GOP congressman and current ringmaster for the cable show that bears his name, wrote a piece arguing that if Hillary tried to capitalize on that whole GOP Neanderthal meme, it would be fair game to throw her husband's indiscretions in her face.
Predictably, this got the liberals crying foul. One went so far as to say that (1) Monica Lewinsky was an adult when she was (2) not sexually harassed by (3) another consenting adult who (4) turned out to be a great champion of safe, legal and rare abortions (and other stuff women like) and that, anyway, (5) all of this happened 100 years ago.
The interesting thing is that even in the midst of the Lewinsky, Jones and Flowers' scandals, these same liberals were trying to brush off the misogynies of the ex-president as nothing big. It's as if they'd all gone to bed as Americans and awoken speaking French.
That impeachment thing was a bit much, I'll grant you that. It's hard to say with a straight face that the process was initiated because the president lied under oath when the only thing he lied under oath about was his, um, libido.
That still doesn't change the fact that a horny dog was given the biggest pass of all by the women who are now screaming about hateful conservative men. That's both typical and expected. But if Hillary has the chutzpah to accuse men-she-didn't-marry of waging a war on the ladies, watch out. She might have gotten away with saying, "What difference does it make?" about Benghazi, but that won't fly when talking about her husband's, um, fly.
You can trust a chick named Flowers on that one.
Christine M. Flowers is a lawyer and columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News. Email, firstname.lastname@example.org .
By CHRISTINE FLOWERS