In a blistering rejection of Republican “logic,” Bill Maher wiped the floor with Rand Paul and the Republican Party for using the Lewinsky scandal to attack Hillary Clinton.
Maher was arguing that the American people like their presidential candidates to be new, fresh, and unknown. The Real Time host pointed to the electoral failures of Bob Dole, Walter Mondale, John Kerry, John McCain, and Mitt Romney as proof that voters like their candidates to be baggage free.
He moved on to the topic of Hillary Clinton, “And who has more baggage than the current favorite for the Democratic nomination? This week Rand Paul and Reince Priebus both announced that the old Clinton scandals were fair game in 2016. As if it was Hillary’s fault that her husband got blown while he was president in the nineties. Like she was in on it. Like it was a p**n movie where Bill and Monica are doing it, and she’s watching from a white leather couch while she bites on a string of pearls.”
It only took Bill Maher a moment or two, but he completely explained why using the Lewinsky scandal against Hillary Clinton in 2016 is a recipe for disaster. Republicans don’t remember this because they were busy trying to impeach her husband, but the scandal made Hillary Clinton a very sympathetic figure. It could be argued that the Lewinsky scandal is what helped to change Mrs. Clinton’s public image and put her on the path to winning the Senate seat in New York.
Before Republicans attack former Sec. of State Clinton with the Lewinsky scandal, they should take a look at some of the polling done in the late 1990s. An August 1998 ABC News/Washington Post poll asked people how they felt about President Clinton misleading the country about his relationship with Monica. Forty five percent of respondents answered bored, and another 45% said they were disgusted. Sixty-eight percent of those polled said that President Clinton should remain in office, and his job approval rating was 61%.
Time is the other factor that is working against Republicans. Many of the young voters who powered President Obama to victory twice were small children when the Lewinsky scandal happened. They are likely to have a totally different view of this piece of ancient history than the still rabid Clinton hating Republicans of today.
This emphasis on blaming Hillary for the Lewinsky scandal is only going to deepen their hole with women voters. The implied message that the Republicans are sending with this attacks is that Mrs. Clinton is responsible for her husband’s philandering because she couldn’t keep her man happy at home. That talking point should go over like a lead balloon.
Republicans are returning to the past because they have no agenda for the future, and they are already on a path to defeat by alienating more voter ahead of 2016.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor, who is White House Press Pool, and a 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