During the election of 1940, the married Republican candidate, Wendell Willkie, gave speeches from the apartment of his editor girlfriend, Irita Van Doren (who helped write them for him), while the campaign train of President Franklin D. Roosevelt made routine stops at a certain small town in New Jersey so that the president could see his old flame. Flash forward twenty years to the year 1960 and you will see the press not writing of the all-but-open affairs of John Kennedy, and a year later FBI director J. Edgar Hoover would use these affairs to blackmail Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy into letting him gather proof of the similar activities of Martin Luther King.

While it is true that Willkie and FDR were your normal philanderers while King and Kennedy were bona fide addicts who should have had therapy, it is undeniable that the country was much better governed, much better off, and much happier when Willkie and Roosevelt, King and Kennedy, were its lead politicians than it has been in years after, when the feminists, the Christian conservatives, and other self-styled enforcers of morals held sway. Clearly, their efforts have not made things better, while our soi-disant moral thought leaders have embarrassed themselves in spectacular fashion, presenting profiles in partisan opportunistic behavior that only they could pretend not to see.

In 1991, militant feminists began with a bang when they almost derailed the Supreme Court nomination of Clarence Thomas (whose actual crime was being black while conservative) on the unproven claim that he once had talked dirty, which helped them elect Bill (and Hillary) Clinton, along with four new militant feminist senators, three of whom are still with us today. Emboldened by this, they played the harassment card against conservative men for the next five or so years, while ignoring the problems presented by Ted Kennedy, not to mention liberal Republican and abortion proponent Bob Packwood, whose persistent habit of lunging at women was covered up until it was deemed unacceptable just at the moment a Democrat became president, and the value of his vote had declined.

This golden age ended in 1998, when it was revealed that President Clinton had not only been involved in an affair with a very young intern but had also been accused of groping one volunteer, exposing himself to a state employee back in Arkansas, and raping another at a conference in Little Rock in 1985. Almost at once, it was proclaimed that a woman’s word was not always believable, and even assault was not really that serious. This provided no end of glee to conservatives, who added hypocrisy to the long list of sins that they held against liberals, assuming the same thing would never happen to them.

But it did. In 2016, the GOP nominated a bully, a bore and an utter vulgarian with a long history of adultery and/or predation, and all of a sudden religious conservatives came to the conclusion that character didn’t matter at all. He was a ‘baby’ Christian, and babies make messes. We all were sinners. No one is perfect. And if he had some of the flaws of FDR, JFK, King David, and numerous others, it was fair to assume that he had their virtues, too. This last is dubious, but what is not is that we should now judge both the feminists and the ‘Christian’ conservatives as absolute frauds with no right to judge anything. They ought to be tossed in the dustbin of history, which is where they so clearly belong.

Noemie Emery, a Washington Examiner columnist, is a contributing editor to The Weekly Standard and author of “Great Expectations: The Troubled Lives of Political Families.”

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