Michelle Goldberg: “The Epstein case is first and foremost about the casual victimization of vulnerable girls. But it is also a political scandal, if not a partisan one. It reveals a deep corruption among mostly male elites across parties, and the way the very rich can often purchase impunity for even the most loathsome of crimes. If it were fiction, it would be both too sordid and too on-the-nose to be believable”
That was the good response, and I think it identifies two key issues: gender and money. Even when he taught high school, his flirting with students creeped others out. But he managed quite nicely to purchase impunity and redeem his reputation with a mix of PR, financial donations and a feeling people had that yeah, he’d crossed some lines but he’s done his time, no big. Plus he allegedly intimidated witnesses.
You know what isn’t an issue? That Epstein is Jewish. But men’s rights activist Stefan Molyneux, points to Epstein as a Jewish guy preying on Christian children. As noted at the link, Molyneux has apparently decided saying the quiet parts out loud won’t hurt his brand as a YouTube philosopher. Anti-semitic preacher Rick Wiles claims Epstein was a Mossad agent gathering blackmail material on powerful Americans.
And smug pundit Erick Erickson, who defended Roy Moore and Brett Kavanaugh, thinks the big issue is that liberals would defend Epstein if he were gay and a drag queen. Because, of course, defending the rights of gay people and drag queens is exactly the same as defending their right to assault kids (as others have pointed out to Erickson, there was no wave of liberals defending the molesters in the Penn State scandal. Or the Boy Scouts. Or the Catholic Church). I do expect biased coverage from the right, but Erickson’s take is dumb-ass.
Republicans and even some Dems are still supporting Trump Labor Secretary Alex Acosta, who gave Epstein his original illegal sweetheart plea bargain. According to what I’ve read elsewhere, some of that may be because Acosta’s not as aggressively anti-labor as his successor will probably be — although he has tried to gut 80 percent of the budget of one Labor program for fighting human trafficking. Trump’s response, though, seems to hinge on whether Acosta comes across badly on TV. But regardless, Acosta resigned last Friday.
Meanwhile the believers in the mythical Pizzagate pedophile ring are holding up Epstein as proof they’re right.
And Alan Dershowitz, Trump-supporting lawyer, has admitted he’s visited Epstein’s mansion (he was one of the attorneys on the original plea deal) and gotten a massage, but it was from a really old woman — he never saw anyone underage there, honest!
Epstein, meanwhile, is hoping for bail, while prosecutors warn he’s a serious flight risk.