Republicans torn over how to talk about Monica Lewinsky

Rick Wilson, a Florida-based media strategist widely known in conservative circles for producing a controversial 2008 ad tying Barack Obama to the extreme statements of Rev. Jeremiah Wright, said Republicans should avoid calling up the sordid details of the Lewinsky affair, but instead focus on how the Clinton White House responded to it. “It would be smarter to remind everyone of the massive, government-funded Clinton operation to destroy Monica, and oh so many bimbo eruptions that came before, and Hillary’s bloodless froideur when it came to keeping Bill in power,” he said…

But while this kind of rhetoric delights right-wing activists and conservative media outlets, some Republicans believe reviving talk of the Lewinsky affair would be more about indulging the conservative id than following sound political strategy. They argue that in dredging up the sins of Clinton’s past, conservatives risk ignoring the lessons of their own party’s recent history…

“I think a lot of Republicans view Hillary as calculating and manipulative, and that she went through that Lewinsky process and did everything she could to stay in power,” said Hogan Gidley, a GOP operative who has worked on the presidential campaigns of Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum. “That’s fine… but let’s not forget that the House impeached President Clinton and in fact Democrats then picked up seats in a midterm basically around this issue. So, let’s learn from history here and stick to policy.”