The Corner

Politics & Policy

Brazening It Out

President Clinton bulling through the Lewinsky scandal in April 1998 (Larry Downing / Reuters)

Tim Alberta’s account of Donald Trump and TrumpWorld when the Access Hollywood tape came out is highly entertaining. (You remember the episode: “When you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab ’em by the . . .”) A lot of people said that was it: He’d have to get out of the race. But Trump simply brazened it out.

It’s amazing what you can brazen out — if you’re disposed to do so. I’ve taken a short walk down Memory Lane.

In 1992, everyone said that Candidate Bill Clinton had to release his medical records. He refused. Everyone said he had to. He refused. And then everybody . . . shrugged.

Flash forward to 1998 — the breaking of the Lewinsky scandal. A lot of people said Clinton had to go. Had to resign. But he refused. “We’ll just have to win,” he famously told Dick Morris. Honorable men might feel they had to resign in such circumstances, Profumo-style. But you can brazen it out, if you want to.

Everyone said Ralph Northam (Virginia governor, yearbook, blackface) had to go. And he said, in effect, Nope. Brazened it out.

This is a phenomenon, probably worthy of an essay, rather than, or in addition to, a little blogpost.

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