I confess, such is Billary’s reputation for Machiavellianism that my gut reaction to seeing the Monica news was to wonder how it benefited the Clintons. A simple point from Cheney: Would VF have tossed this grenade into the 2016 scrum without running it by Her Majesty first? It’ll sell magazines, but that’s a myopic benefit if the cost is pissing off the odds-on favorite to succeed Obama, with the reduced White House access that that entails. It wouldn’t be the first time a major media outlet has thought twice about greenlighting a project that might displease her eother. And remember, as miserable as the Lewinsky episode must have been for Hillary personally, it was golden for her politically. Go look at the approval numbers from that era that Dave Weigel re-posted today. Reminding the public how she was wronged only makes Hillary more sympathetic.
Riddle me this, though. If the Lewinsky feature ran for the reason Cheney suggests, to re-air the dirty laundry so that it’s really old news before 2016, why would this passage have made it into the article? This is the last lesson that Hillary wants people to glean from l’affaire Monica:
In the Vanity Fair article, Lewinsky responds to reports made public in February that Hillary Clinton, in correspondence with close friend Diane Blair during the 1990s, had characterized Lewinsky as a “narcissistic loony toon.”
Lewinsky writes that her first thought was “as I was getting up to speed: If that’s the worst thing she said, I should be so lucky. Mrs. Clinton, I read, had supposedly confided to Blair that, in part, she blamed herself for her husband’s affair (by being emotionally neglectful) and seemed to forgive him. Although she regarded Bill as having engaged in ‘gross inappropriate behavior,’ the affair was, nonetheless, ‘consensual (was not a power relationship).'”…
Asked about those conversations between Hillary Clinton and Blair, Lewinsky writes: “Yes, I get it. Hillary Clinton wanted it on record that she was lashing out at her husband’s mistress. She may have faulted her husband for being inappropriate, but I find her impulse to blame the Woman-not only me, but herself-troubling.”
Reminding people that Hillary derided Monica while ultimately excusing Bill is … unhelpful messaging for the would-be First Woman President, who’ll be counting on sisterhood and the idea of empowerment to help her win. (Check out the second clip below for more on that, in which Hillary sounds a note of sexism in HillaryCare’s failure. There’s an outside chance that we’ll be hearing excuses in this vein for the next 10 years.) Lewinsky is a political asset to her only insofar as she’s reminding people that Hillary’s a victim; if Monica’s positioning herself as the ultimate victim — again, unhelpful.
But maybe it’s unhelpful to the GOP too. No matter how this plays out, with newfound public sympathy for Monica or for Hillary, it makes it harder for the GOP to dredge it up again later, even if they’re inclined to. Which, maybe, they’re not: Hard to believe anyone’s voting against Clinton in two years because they’re concerned that Bill, in his dotage, will be sneaking women into the coat room while Hillary’s busy running the country. It’ll come up if and when the Democrats get too heavy-handed with their “war on women” crap, as a way to parry those attacks, but otherwise it’s a nonfactor, I think.