Monday, February 17, 2014

Paul Resurrects Clinton/Lewinsky Scandal

Right-leaning columnist Ron Fournier nails the recent attempts by Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) to tar Hillary Clinton with the Lewinsky scandal in National Journal.

Bill Clinton uses a car-racing metaphor to explain the difference between rash and calm decision-making in politics. “The great drivers, when the cars get close, the turns get hairy, they calm down, and they see everything, and they act,” he says. “The ones who are fearful and can't concentrate and can't calm down, run into the wall.” Republican leaders should pay attention, because on the issue of whether Clinton’s sex life is relevant 14 years after he left office, they’re once again careening toward a wall.
Sen. Rand Paul dredged up Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky and his subsequent impeachment, telling an interviewer last month that Democrats don’t have the moral high ground on women’s issues because the former president’s “predatory” behavior toward the White House intern...Though Paul said that Hillary Clinton shouldn’t be judged for her husband’s behavior, he suggested the Lewinsky affair would be a factor if she sought the presidency in two years. “Sometimes it’s hard to separate one from the other,” Paul said of the Clintons.
Here’s the problem: While Clinton bashing may be a good pre-primary tactic, it’s a lousy politics for the Republican Party in general...In July 2012, Clinton’s approval rating registered at 66 percent, higher than any time since he left office. Two-thirds of women gave him high marks, as did 44 percent of Republicans.
Elections are about the future. The GOP is harping on the past. Romney seemed to acknowledge the problem when he said Sunday, “I don’t think Bill Clinton is as relevant as Hillary Clinton if she decides to run for president.” He added, “She has her own record and her own vision.”
What exactly is the GOP vision beyond attacking President Obama and two Clintons? That’s what brought to mind the Clinton car-racing metaphor, which I’ve heard him deploy over the years in different contexts. Lacking a fresh, forward-looking agenda, Republicans should worry that attacks on Bill Clinton’s character could backfire again, making them appear to be acting out of fear, unable to concentrate or calm down.

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