Poor David Letterman. Not only did blackmail force him to publicly admit unseemly workplace sexual trysts, as a simple talk show host, he's not in a position to buy off feminist condemnation with legislative goodies.
But back in 1998, when Bill Clinton was perjuring himself about Monica Lewinsky, NOW (along with other feminists) was strangely silent. Even Maureen Dowd noticed. She called them out in her Pulitzer Prize winning article “The Slander Strategy,” saying, “Ms. Lewinsky must die so that the women of America can have better child care, longer maternity stays, toll-free domestic violence hot lines and bustling mutual funds.”
The organization itself admitted that Clinton had “appointed more women and women's rights supporters to positions of power than ever before.” But NOW still insisted that it wasn't holding back in its reaction to Clinton's sexual relationship with Monica Lewinski.
Letterman's current situation is, actually, quite similar to Clinton's sex scandal. Both of them were “the boss” that preyed on a subordinate(s), both of them were in a serious relationship at the time of the affair, and both of them were caught.
But, although not a single woman on Letterman's staff has accused him of wrongdoing, NOW charged him with de facto harassment, saying:
In the case of Letterman, he is a multi-billion dollar host of one of the most popular late-night shows; in that role, he wields the ultimate authority as to who gets hired, who gets fired, who gets raises, who advances, and who does entry-level tasks among the Late Show employees. As “the boss,” he wields the ultimate authority as to who gets hired, who gets fired, who gets raises, who advances, and who does entry-level tasks among the Late Show employees. As “the boss,” he is responsible for setting the tone for his entire workplace – and he did that with sex.
But when Bill Clinton – the most powerful “boss” in America – admitted that he'd had sex with a subordinate, NOW dismissively said, “After all this time and money, it appears Ken Starr has found nothing to pin on the Clintons … nothing more than some sort of consensual relationship between Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky.”
NOW also criticized Letterman's decision to willingly and preemptively admit his sexual relations with his staff, saying:
He can crack a few jokes and publicly apologizes for his mistakes. It is this kind of hypocrisy that perpetuates the image of men in power preying on women, while many look the other way.
But on the exact day that President Clinton admitted that he had committed perjury to hide his sex scandal, NOW released a statement that toyed with the idea of a right-wing conspiracy and said that “the majority of women still approve of his performance in office, apparently judging him as a president whose strengths outweigh his flaws.”
Third, at the end of the indictment against Letterman NOW demanded that CBS “recognize that Letterman's behavior creates a toxic environment and to take action immediately to rectify this situation.”
Of course when the House Judiciary Committee announced in August 1998 that it was going to begin an impeachment inquiry on President Clinton, NOW was “appalled by the extremely partisan cast that this process has already taken” and said, “Two-thirds of the people are ready to move on with the business of the nation. Yet, two-thirds of Congress is tied-up in knots as they line-up to take pot shots at the president and his political agenda. Enough is enough.”
And instead of accusing Clinton of creating a “toxic environment,” they pointed their fingers at Congress and the Republicans for trying to ruin him:
Washington is spinning out of control. The Congress is seriously considering the impeachment of a president who not only was elected by the people, but also continues to have the overwhelming support of the nation. The Republicans are mired in a partisan game of chicken; their feet are firmly planted on the accelerator, and they seem determined not to stop until this government crashes.
You have to feel for Letterman as he learns it's just not enough to be a Democrat in good standing. You need some real political power if you want feminists to ignore your womanizing.