Favorite

1991 - Have you ever …? 

Brummett predicts the media's below-the-belt fascination with candidate Clinton.

You know, political columnist John Brummett may be a legendarily grumpy old bear in the dark woods of Arkansas media, but that don't mean the boy ain't right - maybe even right most of the time. A good example is Brummett's June 1991 column in the Arkansas Times. Therein, Brummett read the tea leaves, predicting the coming crush of media scrutiny about soon-to-be presidential candidate Bill Clinton's sexual infidelity. During the 1990 gubernatorial race, Brummett pointed out, a fired employee of the Arkansas Finance Development Authority first raised the zipper issue about Clinton, claiming the governor had carried on affairs with several women, including a few local celebs. The allegations, mostly well-worn, went largely unreported in the local press. "An equally pertinent question went unasked," wrote Brummett. "Whether the reports, if true, were of any legitimate interest to anyone other than the governor, his wife, and the women who were named." The sleeping dog slept until 1991, when Clinton made a trip to Cleveland to chair a meeting of the Democratic Leadership Council. As soon as Clinton's feet touched the tarmac, the Cleveland Plain Dealer ran with a story detailing rumors of Clinton's indiscretions and quoting Arkansas Republican Sheffield Nelson as saying that Clinton would never run for president because he would not address questions about his infidelity. Citing previous politicians who had gone down in flames over a specific sexual dalliance - and the lack of anything more concrete than rumor to pin on Clinton - Brummett wrote, "I think Nelson is wrong to say that Clinton will have to answer the sex question if he runs for president. It is more accurate to say that his refusal to answer it will kindle the speculation that he is vulnerable to it, and he will be dogged by it." Give that man a cigar. Too, Brummett could hear the avalanche rumbling in the distance. "We have had capable presidents who were unfaithful to their wives," he continued. "But we live in a new, increasingly puritanical time. Ever since Gary Hart was photographed with a blonde in his lap on a friend's sailboat, marital infidelity has been established as a flaw that is appropriate for public consideration." How right he was. Soon after Clinton announced his candidacy for president in October 1991, the mainstream media damned the torpedoes and went full speed ahead with stories about Clinton's alleged sexcapades in Little Rock. Still, Brummett admits today that he didn't anticipate how far they'd go to root out Clinton's past. "I expected the media to go chasing after every rumor during the campaign," Brummett told the Times in a recent e-mail. "I mistakenly thought it would end after he won, naively unaware of the right-wing attack machine, not quite a vast conspiracy, encompassing rich benefactors and biased media outlets. "They went after Clinton because he's what Republicans hate most," he said. "A politically talented Southern Democrat."
Favorite

From the ArkTimes store

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Arkansas Times Staff

Readers also liked…

Most Shared

  • A mayor stands up against freeway widening. No. Not in Little Rock.

    Another booming city, Indianapolis, fights ever wider urban freeways. Meanwhile, back in Little Rock .....
  • In the margins

    A rediscovered violin concerto brings an oft-forgotten composer into the limelight.
  • Donald Trump is historically unpopular — and not necessarily where you think

    My colleagues John Ray and Jesse Bacon and I estimate, in the first analysis of its kind for the 2018 election season, that the president's waning popularity isn't limited to coastal cities and states. The erosion of his electoral coalition has spread to The Natural State, extending far beyond the college towns and urban centers that voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016. From El Dorado to Sherwood, Fayetteville to Hot Springs, the president's approval rating is waning.
  • Arkansans join House vote to gut Americans with Disabilities Act

    Despite fierce protests from disabled people, the U.S. House voted today, mostly on party lines, to make it harder to sue businesses for violating the Americans with Disabilities Act. Of course Arkansas congressmen were on the wrong side.

Latest in Cover Stories

  • Locked away and forgotten

    In 2017, teenagers committed to rehabilitative treatment at two South Arkansas juvenile lockups did not receive basic hygiene and clothing supplies and lived in wretched conditions.
    • Feb 14, 2018
  • For lovers

    We put our usual cynicism and grousing on hold as we genuflect in the direction of Aphrodite, with highly questionable sex and relationship advice from our staff, much sounder advice from an honest-to-God sex therapist and entertainment editor Stephanie Smittle's survey of two of the state's finer rubber schlong and porno emporiums.
    • Feb 8, 2018
  • The frontier of X-rated

    Peddling porn in Johnson County.
    • Feb 8, 2018
  • More »

Event Calendar

« »

February

S M T W T F S
  1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28  

Most Viewed

  • Locked away and forgotten

    In 2017, teenagers committed to rehabilitative treatment at two South Arkansas juvenile lockups did not receive basic hygiene and clothing supplies and lived in wretched conditions.

Most Recent Comments

 

© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation