Editor’s note: Kathleen Willey came to prominence in 1997 as part of the Paula Jones’ sexual harassment lawsuit against President Bill Clinton after being subpoenaed to testify in the case. Courted by the White House to remain silent, Willey reluctantly testified about the sexual assault she suffered at the hands of the president – unleashing the brutal and unrelenting Clinton spin machine, determined to ruin her at any and all costs.
When Bill and Hillary Clinton mounted their attack on me from the Clinton “War Room” after my testimony before Ken Starr’s grand jury and my “60 Minutes” interview, I placed a personal call to Patricia Ireland, the former president of the National Organization for Women. I was in desperate need of support and thought that she and NOW would at least be willing to hear me out.
She did not return my phone call, so I called again, pleading once more for help from her and her women’s organization. Again she did not return my call, and I finally got the message. There would be no help. There would be no support. I would have to go it alone.
Today marks the 91st day since Chandra Levy disappeared. Where are the women’s groups? Where is NOW and others like it? Why won’t they speak up? What are they afraid of?
This young woman went to Washington as an intern with the Bureau of Prisons. Her dream was to join the FBI. Then she had the terrible misfortune of meeting Congressman Gary Condit.
Yes, she is an adult, and yes, she did enter into an illicit affair with a married man twice her age. And yes, she should have been more careful. But she fell under the spell of an attractive, powerful man who knew all the right moves.
From what we have seen and heard, he has perfected this art of seducing women, convincing them to enter into his little conspiracies with him, furtive visits to his apartment, disguises, secret trysts in out-of-the-way restaurants in Virginia, the need to leave IDs behind when in his company. He was “lonely.” His wife was on the other coast. She didn’t “understand” him. They didn’t enjoy the normal “husband and wife” relationship. “This must remain a secret,” first and foremost. Heady stuff for any woman, much less one as young as Chandra.
And now she is gone, and he refuses to talk.
He struts around the streets of Washington swinging his jacket over his shoulder, smirking at the reporters who follow him daily, ignoring their questions. He has told those around him that he will escape from this ordeal “unscathed.” What a horror this must be for Mr. and Mrs. Levy as they wait for word from their beloved daughter, willing the phone to ring and hear her say, “Hi, Mom and Dad. I’m all right. Come and get me. I’ll explain everything. Please don’t be upset with me.” And so they wait.
And Gary Condit mocks them daily.
He mocks the relationship he had with their daughter. After all, it was just a fling. He was a married man and couldn’t commit to her. Certainly she was “important” to him and “if only things could have been different.” He just can’t help them in their search. It wouldn’t be politically wise. He has a political career to tend to. And so the Levys wait.
And now, to add to their horror, they have to listen to Cary Condit’s spokesperson, Marina Ein, trash their daughter’s reputation with words I won’t even repeat. Marina Ein should find another career. She issues denials, telling us that she too is a mother and never intended to cause the Levys any pain. Some mother. And where is NOW and the other feminists groups? Why will they not defend this young woman who is voiceless right now?
Last week I heard a surprising and encouraging statement from Kim Gandy, the new president of NOW. Speaking on Chris Mathews’ “Hardball,” she said, “Nuts and sluts is no longer a credible defense.” Finally! A positive step. Why did it take you so long?
Why don’t you now take it one step further?
Why not demand the resignation of Ein. She has sullied the reputation of an unsuspecting young woman whose only mistake was to fall in love with a cad, the cad her PR firm represents. Some client. He hides behind a despicable woman whose answer to all of this is to trash the young woman he conned. What a guy!
Where are you Kim Gandy? Where is NOW and your sisters? Step up to the plate and do something. For once, don’t be political. Don’t look at Gary Condit as a Democrat, as one of your guys, the way that you looked at Bill Clinton. Let’s run this reprehensible creep out of Washington. We don’t deserve the likes of him. We women can do better. The Levys deserve answers. By withholding your support of Gary Condit, you just may help them find out what has happened to their daughter.
Why not NOW rather than later?