It used to be that liberal men (and a distressing number of women) tolerated sexual misconduct by powerful men (it was usually men) in their ranks. Harvey Weinstein got away with his behaviour for decades, and continued to enjoy the company and attention of pretty important people despite warnings. And, hum, the fact that apparently "everybody" knew what he'd been up to.
At the time - and ever since - conservatives rarely missed a chance to point out that despite their lofty ideals on feminism and the rights of women, democrats suffered from a bad case of lack of political hygiene. How could they lecture anyone on the proper way to treat women when they wouldn't condemn abuse and questionable behaviour in their midst?
Now it seems the tables have turned. Democrats are finally discovering political hygiene, putting pressure on Al Franken and others to scram, while conservatives seem much more reluctant to condemn Roy Moore and that fellow who lives at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
I even read about some conservative men defending their reluctance to condemn Roy Moore by pointing out that the #metoo movement and sudden intolerance to sexual misconduct would lead men to stop courting women. Some have also called this a demonization of male desire, which is obnoxious and spectacularly besides the point. And no, it didn't sound much better when some liberals were using the same points decades ago, or claiming the only women who complained were the kind nobody tried to grope.
It's unfair to say that all conservative men today tolerate sexual misconduct, the same way it was unfair to level that accusation at all liberal men back in Clinton's days. There are good guys and jerks on all sides.
But the unpleasant fact is that political hygiene seems to go with power. When you're out of it, you know you need to be clean yourself if you're going to go against the other guys. When you're in power, well, you have too much to lose by being pure. So you compromise.
It's one reason among many why I can't stand partisan politics. If it's wrong to tolerate sexual predators, then it's always wrong, no matter what colour tie they wear.
It shouldn't be that complicated.