Anyone who’s ever been single has found themselves calling an old ex late some night. You tried your best to make something special happen with them, but it just never worked out. You call, thinking maybe, just maybe, you could try again. But you know the prospect will always spell doom. Monica Lewinsky is back in the news with a spread in Vanity Fair, and Republicans everywhere are going back to a well that yielded little for them after so much effort. Much like that misguided, lonely single person, Republicans should know better. But the angle this time seems to be some play for women voters, who vote overwhelmingly with Democrats.
Not one aspect of the 15 year old scandal has generated any political benefit for the Grand Old Party. I graduated from the University of Florida the day the House of Representatives voted to impeach the 42nd President of The United States. I was a registered Republican then, and the foolish fiasco was part of what drove me from the party. At the time, the GOP hoped to tarnish the popular president with the sordid details of the affair. Their efforts had the exact opposite effect as was intended. Bill Clinton’s highest approval ratings as president came during the depths of the Lewinsky scandal. Yet now almost two decades later Republicans are crowing about the Lewinsky scandal as if it will yield some fresh benefit that heretofore has been non-existent. But this new effort is pointed more to Hillary Clinton’s coming presidential run in 2016, than the aging former president.
A review of the current polling shows the Oval Office is Hillary’s to lose. The GOP suffered badly in 2012 with women voters and the prospect of America’s first female president makes that a crucial gap to close. The angle with Monica now seems to be painting liberal “feminists” as the ones who truly savaged the poor, innocent intern the most. It seems to be a new meme with conservatives, saying “______ are the true oppressor.” Basically it’s feminists who brought Monica to the public eye and they are the true misogynists, so vote Republican in 2016. But it was Republicans that beat the Whitewater horse to death before they drug Lewinsky through the media mud in hopes of destroying the Clintons.
Even if this sudden concern for the dignity of Monica Lewinsky were to generate some electoral gains with women, it takes focus away from another huge demographic problem for Republicans; young people. When the Monica Lewinsky scandal dominated the airwaves, today’s 25 year old voter was in the 5th grade. Talking about this now is akin to Democrats campaigning on the Iran-Contra scandal in 2004. Good luck squeezing any juice out of that old turnip.
What I long for the most is the prospect of seeing Newt Gingrich go on Fox News to reminisce about the scandal. Bill Clinton first met Monica Lewinsky during the budget shutdown fights of the mid-90’s waged between him and Gingrich. Gingrich himself was married, and began an extramarital affair with an aid during the same time. He’s now married to that woman. . . . for now.