In a despicable act of political desperation, Rand Paul used the Monica Lewinsky scandal to attack Hillary Clinton on Meet The Press today.
On Meet The Press, David Gregory asked Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) if the Lewinsky scandal is fair game, and should be a part of the 2016 campaign if Hillary Clinton is the Democratic nominee.
Sen. Paul answered,
Well, you know, I mean the Democrats one of their big issues is they have concocted and says Republicans are committing a war on women. One of the workplace laws and rules that I think are good is that bosses shouldn’t prey on young interns in their office, and I think really the media seems to have given President Clinton a pass on this.
He took advantage of a girl that was twenty years old and an intern in his office. There is no excuse for that, and that is predatory behavior, and should be something we shouldn’t want to associate with people who would take advantage of a young girl in his office. This isn’t having an affair. I mean this isn’t me saying he’s had an affair we shouldn’t talk to him. Someone who takes advantage of a young girl in their office. I mean really? And then they have the gall to stand up and say Republicans are having a war on women.
So yes, I think it’s a factor. Now it’s not Hillary’s fault, but it is a factor in judging Bill Clinton in history.
David Gregory followed up and asked if the Lewinsky scandal was something Hillary Clinton should be judged on in 2016. Paul replied, “No, I’m not saying that. This was with regard to the Clintons, and sometimes it’s hard to separate one from the other. But I would say that with regard to his place in history, that it certainly is a discussion, and I think in my state people tend to sort of frown upon that. You know, if there was someone in my community who did that they would be socially, we would disassociate from somebody who took advantage of a young woman in the workplace.”
While saying that this wasn’t an attack on Hillary Clinton, Rand Paul used the Lewinsky scandal to attack the morality of Hillary and Bill Clinton. Paul was arguing that Hillary Clinton shouldn’t be president because of the behavior of her husband. The strategy that Paul is planning on using against Clinton if he wins the Republican nomination is obvious. He is planning on deeming Hillary Clinton guilty by association.
Republicans are going to claim that Bill Clinton’s scandal disqualifies Hillary from office. If Paul really believed that the Lewinsky scandal was irrelevant to Hillary Clinton’s potential campaign, he wouldn’t have continually repeated the line about President Clinton taking advantage of a young girl in his office.
This is an act of desperation on the part of Sen. Paul and any other Republicans who embrace this line of attack. Republicans used the very same attacks on the Clintons in the 1990s. If this is the best argument against Hillary Clinton that Rand Paul has to offer, Republicans are in big trouble. Attacking Bill Clinton’s moral character didn’t work for Republicans in the 1990s, and it is going to be even less effective in 2016.
If Rand Paul is the Chris Christie alternative, Republicans might be staring down the barrel of another big presidential election defeat, because going retro 90s on the Clintons isn’t going to work.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA.Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association