“I’m endorsing Hillary Clinton for president.”
So declared Larry Flynt, founder of the Hustler magazine empire that has made millions photographing nude women. Flynt proffered his enthusiastic endorsement in an interview with Bloomberg.
Flynt’s endorsement of Mrs. Clinton, a feminist icon, is ripe for ridicule and taking shots at the Clintons, of whom Flynt has long been a big supporter. It would be easy to simply mock it. That, however, would be a mistake. Behind Flynt’s endorsement of Mrs. Clinton are some serious issues and concerns.
Among them, Bloomberg noted Flynt’s “animating impulse”: the future of the Supreme Court. “If Hillary gets in,” explains the Hustler publisher, “chances are she’s going to have an opportunity to appoint two, maybe three justices … and we could shift the balance there.”
No question about that. The structure of the high court relates to how Flynt is permitted to do “business.” But even then, there’s more to the story.
I was forced to dig into the tawdry Flynt-Clinton relationship in my 2007 book on Mrs. Clinton, “God and Hillary Clinton.” In that book, I detailed a scarcely acknowledged fact concerning the Clinton years—namely, that Bill’s presence in the Oval Office was a boon for the porn industry.
This was captured in an excellent 2002 PBS documentary called “American Porn,” done by Frontline. It quoted Mark Cromer, producer of the X-rated Hustler Video: “When [Bill] Clinton comes in,” said Cromer of Clinton’s arrival at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, “it’s definitely blue skies and green lights and fat bank accounts.”
The green light was directly traceable to the Clinton administration. In the 1980s, the porn industry was on the defensive, targeted by the Reagan administration, notably the vigilant efforts of Attorney General Ed Meese. Then, in the early 1990s, federal porn prosecutions suddenly halted with the arrival of the Clinton administration and its “different priorities” under President Clinton’s Justice Department. “Under Attorney General Reno,” noted Frontline, “federal prosecutions slowed dramatically, and the obscenity task force effectively went out of business.”
The Hustler “empire” was so ecstatic with Bill Clinton that Larry Flynt went to bat for him during the Monica Lewinsky scandal, investigating the sexual lives of the president’s opponents. So busy was Flynt that Washington Post columnist Michael Kelly christened him “the president’s pornographer.”
Flynt is the first to gratefully admit that the porn industry enjoyed a resurrection under Bill Clinton, until things soured again for a time under George W. Bush and Attorney General John Ashcroft. Flynt, not coincidentally, despises Bush.
That’s another subject. As for Hillary Clinton, however, Flynt is again excited. And his excitement relates to a crucial factor: abortion. It’s the elephant in Flynt’s living room, and strikes at why this Flynt-Clinton thing has serious larger political-cultural implications.
Larry Flynt and his industry need abortion badly. And there’s no one more extreme in supporting legalized abortion than Hillary Clinton. In my book on Mrs. Clinton, I laid out at her striking stridency, going all the way back to her Arkansas gynecologist and friend, William F. Harrison, the state’s leading abortionist, who snuffed out the lives of literally tens of thousands of unborn babies. I interviewed Harrison for the book. He adored Hillary and her zealousness for “abortion rights.”
Hillary is now well beyond being zealous. Her statements in recent years, especially her horrific remarks on the Hobby Lobby case, reveal her as fanatical on abortion.
Of course, that’s what Larry Flynt and the porn industry need in the White House. When one of his female “performers” accidentally gets pregnant, Flynt wants her to head to a Planned Parenthood clinic. Many of his male consumers likewise want abortion legal, to free them of certain moral responsibilities. They’re depending on Mrs. Clinton to keep that spigot flowing.
Never mind, of course, that this blatant sexual objectification and exploitation of women for purely selfish male-centered reasons ought to infuriate feminists like Mrs. Clinton. For radical feminists, however, Flynt is tolerated because he supports their high priority: legalized abortion. Indeed, feminists forgave so much of Bill Clinton’s sexual conduct for the same reason. This was unforgettably and crudely expressed in 1998 by journalist Nina Burleigh, who covered the White House for Time. I will not quote her graphic comment, but, in short, she fully defended Bill Clinton’s sexual ruination of very young women (interns, no less) “just to thank him for keeping abortion legal.”
Obscene? Yes. But that’s Larry Flynt’s racket. He is banking on a President Hillary Clinton being good for him and his industry. And that’s no laughing matter.
Dr. Paul Kengor is professor of political science and executive director of The Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College. His latest book is 11 Principles of a Reagan Conservative.