What Rand Paul needs to stop doing
By Andrew Malcolm
Posted 09:34 AM ET
Here's a little unsolicited suggestion for likely 2016 Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul: Ditch the Clinton-Lewinsky meme.
Twice in recent days, the Kentucky senator has gone out of his way to drag into his comments Bill Clinton's smelly sexual scandal with a White House intern.
On a recent "Meet the Press" Paul pointed out, accurately (except for her age): "He took advantage of a girl that was 20 years old and an intern in his office. There is no excuse for that."
Then, on C-SPAN's "Newsmakers" over the weekend Paul pointed out, again accurately, Democrats' hypocrisy charging Republicans with a war on women. All while making ex-President Clinton likely the top political fundraiser in the country among Dem donors eagerly overlooking his numerous alleged marital infidelities and predatory behavior toward women over many years.
Said Paul: "“If they want to take a position on women’s rights, by all means do. But you can’t do it and take it from a guy who was using his position of authority to take advantage of young women in the workplace.”
Bill Clinton's sexual appetites are infamous. They are regular staples of loud national laughter on every late-night comedy show, including obligatory cigar references. And calling someone a "regular Bill Clinton" has nothing to do with being tall, gray-haired and an effective folksy speaker who lost a lot of weight over a heart problem.
Paul's references may be lame efforts to deflect Democrats' playing, accurately, on polls showing many women have a dubious attitude about the Republican Party's clumsy, ineffective and often counter-productive efforts to communicate with female voters.
But here's the deal: Monicagate occurred late last century, fully 16 years ago. Ms. Thong-Flasher turns 41 this year. Paul is beating a horse that's not only dead, it's decomposed.
Polls indicate, inexplicably to many, that both Clintons are currently among the most-admired Americans. Perhaps it's the stark contrast with the current cacophony of corruption in this presidential administration. Or just the passage of time. Or the Clintons' apparent marital accommodations to the realities of their private worlds. Or a combination.
Americans' moving on with their own lives too doesn't necessarily mean approval of Bill Clinton's behaviors. He successfully outlasted the months of awful media, the investigations, the impeachment vote, the same brand of sly stonewalling, by the way, that Barack Obama is employing over Benghazi, the IRS, ObamaCare and his other serial scandals.
Once again, as in 2007-08 Hillary Clinton seems to be a lock for the Democrat presidential nomination in 2016. However, more stories like today's about a ruthless, vengeful first lady may alter that during the 1,001 days remaining before Nov. 8, 2016.
But meanwhile, ruthless or not, do we really want to drag her name into the midterm's political discourse as the wronged woman, another victim of another philandering spouse?
That's a real political minefield because, truth be told, wandering eyes, hands and other body parts are something Washington pols do in a real bipartisan way. There's enough ammo to use against Hillary besides her husband's cheating.
Here's an approach that might make more sense for GOP wannabe leaders positioning themselves to actually win the White House, as opposed to spiking the ball after capturing a primary or two:
Relentlessly highlight Hillary Clinton's healthcare plan that was the precursor to ObamaCare, as well as the vast void of her Senate record. Or her undistinguished years as Barack Obama's itinerant mouthpiece abroad, including the gratuitous ousting of Moammar Gadhafi that turned Libya into al Qaeda's newest lawless safe-haven.
As an undeclared candidate, Clinton won't be responding for many months.
Then, there is history. As the opposition to the White House party, Republicans controlling Capitol Hill after 1994 performed their counter-balancing role digging up Bill's messy Oval Office activities, his lies and his misleading statements, never contradicted by Mrs. Clinton.
As payment for doing their constitutional duty, probably too dutifully, Republicans were rewarded in the 1998 election by losing five House seats and gaining none in the Senate.
That was the first time since 1822 that the non-White House party failed to gain congressional seats in the sixth year of a presidential tenure.
So, Monica didn't work when the issue was hot. Maybe it will 14 years later? Seriously?
Finally, after the 2008 debacles with sitting senators as party nominees and presidents, Americans seem likely in 2016 to revert to their historical political preference of executives as chief executives.
Still, Sen. Paul has sounded like a plausible candidate in recent weeks, an eloquent spokesman for the conservative principles of less government and fiscal and personal responsibility and a balanced diplomatic approach wary of military involvements abroad.
The Republican side could do with a whole lot more such careful explaining of what it is for. Less klutzy government involvement in private lives could resonate loudly as Obama's ideas implode.
'Cause by now after five years of that Chicagoan, as opposed to the Chicagoan who wants to move back into the White House, everyone has a pretty clear idea of what the GOP is against, including -- yawn -- the Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinsky scandal.