Support Paula Jones; Question Her Suit

Article excerpt

When Paula Jones heard about the Supreme Court's 9-0 opinion in her favor, she reportedly screamed with delight, asking a companion over and over, "Can you believe it?"

Many conservatives had similar reactions - and for understandable reasons, though caution is in order.

For the first time, it seems that President Bill Clinton's execrable personal conduct is about to catch up to him. Houdini-like, he has escaped from one impossible situation (of his own making) after another, dancing away from Whitewater, Filegate, the campaign fund-raising scandal, Travelgate, Troopergate, hush money to Hubbellgate and much more. The glib lie has served him well. There are other reasons to rejoice at the Supreme Court's ruling. The president's claim of sovereign immunity for private, unofficial conduct was breathtakingly arrogant, and it was gratifying to see the Supreme Court shoot it down with a few swift strokes. Then, there was the double standard. It was galling for conservatives to witness the contempt with which Paula Jones was treated - not just by the president and his agents but by the national press - when she first came forward. Whereas the national media had embraced Anita Hill as the Rosa Parks of sexual harassment, Paula Jones was reviled and defamed. "Trailer-park trash" said James Carville. "A floozy with big hair," echoed a compliant press. The lectures about "believing women" to which the nation was subjected during the Hill/Clarence Thomas fiasco were forgotten. When the hypocrisy of the press and particularly the feminists was identified by a liberal (Stuart Taylor, in the American Lawyer last November), explanations poured forth. Some commentators were honest enough to admit that class and political bias had prejudiced them against Jones - Evan Thomas of Newsweek, for example. But most insisted that Jones was greeted skeptically just because she first surfaced at a meeting of the Conservative Political Action Conference and because she only filed suit when the statute of limitations had two days left to run. Please. None of that would have mattered one iota if Jones had accused Newt Gingrich or Dick Armey. …