Hillary, Bill And Monica: An Affair To Forget

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I seriously doubt that Vanity Fair magazine gave the cover of its most recent edition to Monica Lewinsky in an effort — as some suggested — to damage the Presidential candidacy of soon-to-be-crowned 2016 Democratic standard-bearer Hillary Clinton. One friend of mine actually claimed the whole affair about the affair involved a cabal comprising Vanity Fair, Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and former President Bill Clinton’s plus-sized paramour; although that would require cooperation between an aging glossy well on its way to joining Newsweek in the print boneyard, a conservative Republican Senator and a woman whose best days are more than 15 years past.

I also doubt that Vanity Fair decided to spray-paint its pages with Lewinsky’s latest “dear diary” letter in an effort to gin up sympathy for the former first lady. The retelling of a pathetic chapter of Hillary Clinton’s life, not to mention Lewinsky’s, is hardly going to cover the gargantuan gaps in Madame Clinton’s political resume. Hillary Clinton was a profoundly unlikeable first lady, treating her husband’s election as carte blanche to exercise her own will over policy and with a healthy addition of whining about “vast right-wing conspiracies.” Reminding even a readership like Vanity Fair’s that Hillary Clinton stood by her man while he made a fool of himself might make for nice filler, but it’s a dubious plan to bolster her electoral chances. “You know, that Hillary Clinton hasn’t really accomplished anything of consequence without riding on Bill’s big-and-tall coattails; but since her husband’s a pig, I guess she’s got my vote,” said no one… ever.

political cartoon
John Darkow, Columbia Daily Tribune, Missouri

As for poor Lewinsky, she lit the cigar. As she pointed out in her latest version of a story the whole world remembers far more about than they’d probably like, “… I will always remain firm on this point: it was a consensual relationship.” She knew what she was doing; and it went really, really badly. Given the tendency of some of the Clintons’ acquaintances to end up in places like Fort Marcy Park (in a manner of speaking), she ought to count herself lucky. Given the poor circumstances of some of the women who tried to rebuff Bill Clinton’s advances, she should count herself very lucky, indeed. Ask Paula Jones what happens to women who tell Bill Clinton “no.” Better yet, ask the so-called “feminists” who gave Bill Clinton a special exemption from “no means no.” No means no unless Bill Clinton wants to hear “yes” — in which case, you’re a lying Republican whore. At one point, Bill Clinton’s poor ex-girl Friday goes so far as to blame Matt Drudge for her travails. Sorry, sweetie. Drudge didn’t pimp you out; you did that all by your lonesome.

No, I suspect that this sudden rekindling of a 1990s White House soap opera is nothing more than a desperate old-media dinosaur hoping the tabloid-ization of politics will translate into readership. Vanity Fair would hardly be the first to try it. For all the left’s criticism of Drudge, he is the undisputed heavyweight champion of capitalizing on the Democrats’ unerring ability to sprinkle their scandals with both sex and violence — America’s favorite pair of pastimes. Of course, Drudge has been at it for close to 20 years, whereas Vanity Fair is arriving late — and still in the wrong format.

The reality is that the Republicans ought to stay as far from any Monica-Hillary-Bill nonsense as humanly possible. Everyone already knows Bill Clinton is an inveterate cad. They likewise know that Hillary Clinton was perfectly comfortable with his philandering, just as long as he helped her get elected to the Senate and then named Secretary of State despite a resume that actually includes “hair icon.” Meanwhile, picking a fight with Bill Clinton is a waste of time, and picking on Lewinsky is just sad.

As for the Democrats, I can’t figure out what they’re so upset about. According to them, the Clinton-Lewinsky saga was a private matter and had no bearing on Bill Clinton’s job performance. I’m willing to accept that, even if it doesn’t explain why Bill Clinton felt compelled to perjure himself under oath about it. And if they’re under the impression that the Vanity Fair clickbait will somehow create either a meaningful boost for Hillary Clinton or a real distraction from Benghazi, … well: Bill’s a pig, Monica’s a dupe and Hillary’s a shrew. We all already knew that. But even if we didn’t, what difference does it make?

–Ben Crystal

Ben Crystal

is a 1993 graduate of Davidson College and has burned the better part of the last two decades getting over the damage done by modern-day higher education. He now lives in Savannah, Ga., where he has hosted an award-winning radio talk show and been featured as a political analyst for television. Currently a principal at Saltymoss Productions—a media company specializing in concept television and campaign production, speechwriting and media strategy—Ben has written numerous articles on the subjects of municipal authoritarianism, the economic fallacy of sin taxes and analyses of congressional abuses of power.

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