`STAND BY YOUR MAN!!!`
Article I wrote for the ‘New Statesman’ magazine when Monica was causing a bit of bother for Bill Clinton!
“Let`s get one thing clear. There are two important differences between Hillary and me when it comes to `standing by our man`.
First, on his own admission, Bill is guilty of impropriety. Neil is not, and continues his search for justice against Mohammed Fayed in the European Courts to prove it. Secondly, Hillary knows Bill lied repeatedly – not just to the American people but also to her.
In the `good` old days, a wife stood by her man because she was his appendage. As a thoroughly modern woman, Hillary Rodham Clinton rightly rejects that and takes full responsibility for her own decisions.
The mystery is why this iron-clad icon of virago feminism allowed herself to be publicly and humiliatingly trampled by her husband. In 1992, Hillary was bidding to become First Lady when Gennifer Flowers popped up as First Floozy, giving lurid details of a 12 year affair with Bill. Hillary accepted Bill`s denials and furiously rejected a Tammy Wynette `Stand By Your Man` little woman role.
Clearly, their public togetherness achieved vastly more than the sum of their private parts. But it devalues marriage, still the bedrock of society, when the most powerful man in the world casts aside so flippantly its obligations.
Bill dances on a Levitical pinhead in defining `sexual relations`. But, tacky details apart, he clearly shattered the trust between husband and wife, solemnly entered into before the God he affects to revere. What bizarre Faustian pre-nuptial agreement did this couple have, enabling Hillary to cope with this for so long.
We did not take our marriage vows lightly and we intend to keep them. I never hesitated in standing shoulder to shoulder with Neil, repelling an onslaught which was, incidentally, more dreadful than you can possibly imagine. I could confront the baying mob because I knew the truth about Fayed`s lies. But, if Neil had betrayed and lied to me as Bill has deceived Hillary I could not have stood by him.
Politics is a ruthless business and the press in baying pursuit of their quarry is a gruesome sight. Respect for truth dims as bloodlust surges. This happened with Neil and it is happening with Clinton, whose survival is now a nauseating but fascinating gladiatorial spectacle.
I hold no brief for Clinton. He betrayed his wife, his daughter and his country, is a disgrace to the Presidency, should never have been elected and should now resign. Of course he won`t. He has no principles or shame.
If Hillary reads the press (Thatcher was right, be fed edited highlights on a silver salver each morning) she will be maddened and amused as her thoughts and motives are analysed by people with no idea what and why she is thinking, or when and what she knew.
I laughed at the psycho-babble about my `body language` and my `inner self` – often the drivellings of inadequate males probably living out female-domination fantasies. Even the brooches on my lapels supposedly sent out signals of my moods – was I the pussy cat, the lion or the dragon? – not just a flaming cheek but total tosh!
Nevertheless, I do sympathise with Hillary. Neil and I went through the fire together emotionally solid, with unbreakable bonds of love and trust. But the man Hillary should be able to trust and turn to for emotional support, pathetically unable to control his seedy hole-in-corner sexual appetites, has betrayed her too. At the risk of psycho-babbling myself, she must feel very, very alone in the small dark hours. By contrast, Neil and I have an intuitive understanding which enables me to know when he has indulged in the simple pleasures of a Mars Bar, never mind a cigar!
Hillary has looked the other way throughout her married life, allowing Bill to defile her dignity as a woman. She powered him to the White House and, unlike him, knew what she wanted to do with the levers of power. She has been his enabler; her pay-off, power and prestige.
One of the many `Billary` jokes hits the target: Bill and Hillary stop at a gas station. Hillary jumps out of the car, talks animatedly to the attendant for several minutes and then hugs him. She gets back in the car and Bill asks “Who was that?” “That was Chuck, an old boyfriend of mine I almost married.” Bill replies: “Well, I bet you`re glad you married me – he`s only a gas station attendant and I`m President of the USA.” Hillary says: “So what! If I`d married him, he`d be President!”
Now this hard-baked cookie is either a victim or a liar. Whilst she doesn`t want to be thought of as the former, it is better than the latter. Look how she has changed since the Lewinsky confession.
The woman who took the White House team by the balls and pulled it together in past crises now stands back – detached. No longer is she electrifying on TV, as when she declared that if Bill had done what was alleged, it would be truly awful, but it was all just a right wing conspiracy.
She cannot afford not to stand by him now, as he clings on by his grubby fingernails but neither can she afford to go down with the ship. She is none-too-subtly distancing herself, not risking her own position, making visible her personal hurt at the Lewinsky truths. As in the final scene of `Titanic`, our heroine is madly scrambling up the taffrail ready to jump as Bill`s sordid ship goes under, leaving their shared dream of power wrecked and bobbing in the oily debris.
I have been through too much not to pity her personal tragedy. One impudent male hack said, to describe me as Lady Macbeth was to insult Lady Macbeth. It would be cruel to depict Hillary as pure Lady Macbeth: `False face must hide what the false heart doth know`.
Nor must one get Biblical about it. But Leviticus ch. 15 v. 17 is eerily apt: `every garment whereon is the seed of copulation, shall be washed with water, and be unclean until the even.` Monica was meant to take the offending stained frock, not Bill, to the cleaners. Had Hillary got to it first, she would have washed the garment rather than her hands, uttering Lady Macbeth`s words: `Out, damned spot! Out, I say.`
I know, come hell or high water, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, till death us do part, I will always be with Neil and he with me. I pity Hillary who does not have that emotional security which enables me to take on whatever life throws at us. I will always stand by Neil. For now, Hillary must stand by her President if not her man.”