Nothing tells me that Republicans are terrified of Hillary Clinton’s presidential candidacy more than Republicans and Fox News rehashing Bill Clinton’s old sex scandals. This is before Hillary Clinton has even announced she's running.
The trend started yesterday, as far as I can tell. On Meet The Press, Senator Rand Paul slyly “defended” Republican behavior toward women by citing the 16 year-old Monica Lewinsky scandal. Politico reported:
“The Democrats—one of their big issues is they’ve concocted this, ‘Republicans are committing a war on women,’” Kentucky Republican said on NBC’s “Meet The Press.” “One of the work place laws and rules that I think are good is that bosses shouldn’t prey on young interns in their office. I think really the media seems to have given President Clinton a pass on this. He took advantage of a girl that was 20-years-old and an intern in his office. There is no excuse for that and that is predatory behavior.”
Politico also reported that Paul demurred when asked if Hillary Clinton should be judged on her husband’s behavior. But then he added, “It’s hard to separate one from the other.”
Fox, however, jumped at the opportunity to make Hillary about Bill's sexual peccadilloes.
On The Kelly File, Megyn Kelly pointedly suggested it was not fair to judge Hillary on Bill’s behavior, especially since Lewinsky was a consenting adult. But she also just happened to gratuitously bring up some of the other Clinton sex scandals in order to suggest that Bill really is a predator:
After guest Marc Thiessen opined that nobody was going to base their vote for Hillary on Bill’s behavior, Kelly jumped in to suggest that maybe they should:
Let me just expand it in fairness to… Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton’s critics because it wasn’t just Monica Lewinsky. I mean that was a, from what we understand, a consensual relationship – and it was obviously problematic for many reasons but it was consensual – but he was accused by Paula Jones, by Juanita Broaddrick, of non-consensual sexual behavior. He denied it. But in the Paula Jones case, they settled out of court, he said he did it for nuisance reasons and so on. All that… is that gonna get dredged back up, Marc, or do you think, as some have suggested, if they do, they do that… it’s gonna backfire on the critics, because Bill Clinton now has a 71% approval rating!”
Of course, Kelly never mentioned that Broaddrick’s story was called into question by none other than Fox’s own Howard Kurtz (back when he was at the Washington Post) and, as Kurtz also reported, even the (Republican) House impeachment managers decided not to pursue her allegations. As for Jones, her case was dismissed as meritless before it was appealed and then settled.
Thiessen said he hopes it doesn’t get dredged up again. “Frankly, I don’t want to relive it all,” he told Kelly.
But it may be too late.
On the Hannity show, a banner on the screen “just asked,” about Bill Clinton: “PRESIDENT OR PREDATOR?”
And who better to consult for an answer than Ann Coulter? Just because she has called Clinton “a very good rapist” and a “scumbag” is no reason to think she wouldn’t be fair and balanced, Fox News style.
Coulter “quipped” that “Teddy Kennedy was the only confirmed kill in the war on women.” Then, moving on to smear those who want contraception covered by health coverage (after Hannity called it “just a lie” that Republicans don’t care about women), Coulter sneered:
No, insurance is for catastrophes. It’s for you know, an encounter with Bill Clinton, a fire, a hurricane. It’s for catastrophes, it’s not day by day behavior.
Hannity, really getting into the spirit, named other Bill Clinton supposed ex paramours that insurance might be appropriate for.
The O'Reilly Factor also covered this "story" tonight though I don't have video available.
Memo to Fox: Bill Clinton’s sex scandals didn’t prevent him from getting elected president twice or maintaining high approval ratings after leaving office. What makes you think that revisiting them is going to suddenly start hurting Hillary? Or, more to the point, win over women voters?
First, it does indeed show that the GOP is really scared that Hillary could actually get the nomination in 2016 and they’re willing to throw anything they can at her in the meantime. Keep in mind that we’re still two years out from the primaries and anything could happen between now and then. Fox News is trying to keep up a patter of attacks and establish a counter narrative about her – the same way they think that one was created about Mitt Romney.
Second, it shows that even Fox News is unable to do much with the Benghazi games at this point. Their latest failure in that idea came when the Christie bridge scandal went big. Fox News couldn’t defend that behavior so it tried to celebrate how Christie spoke about it and then tried to amp up discussion about two GOP-led congressional counterattacks regarding Benghazi. (And those counters were both to the current Christie story and to the NY Times article that completely demolished their version of events.) Shockingly for Fox News, no other media outlets thought it was particularly newsworthy for two congressional committees, led by the GOP to suddenly have some thoughts on a consulate attack that was heavily discussed back in 2012. So Fox News is now looking for a new potential embarrassing story to throw at Hillary.
Third, the raising of old Bill Clinton stories serves more to fire up angry right wingers who were as determined to destroy his presidency in the 90s as they are to destroy President Obama’s work today. So they dredge up the gossip from before, which gives an ideologue like Marc Thiessen a chance to grimace before the cameras and talk about how awful the 90s were for everyone. (Which raises yet another reason why this site is important – if these guys were left unchallenged, there are people who could point to ridiculous assertions like Thiessen’s and assume they reflected facts somehow) The hope is clearly to smear both the Clintons with the same brush. And this clearly didn’t work during Hillary’s terms in the Senate, nor during her 2008 presidential campaign.
Somewhere along the way, somebody on the air noted that this approach could potentially backfire (this may have been Kelly). That was the one bit of actual common sense being spoken in the middle of all the hysteria.
Watching the Sunday shows it seems obvious that the memo from the RNC or some right wing think tank was to start the Monica bit. Of course the right feels that the Chris Christie story is past the expiration date for discussion anymore but to bring up this from 16 years ago is still fresh meat to them. Eventually Vince Foster name will be brought up again.
All they’re accomplishing is pleasing the extreme far right base, and that’s not going to win over independent or moderate voters, so Sean and Ann get your jollies and continue with this silliness.
NOBODY DIED WHEN CLINTON LIED!
Hannocchio is in no position to talk about other people’s problems, given his own spotty, dark background.
Since Annie loves to bring up the past, we decided to do the same.
Now here is a story worth talking about:
Author Coulter’s ex-boyfriend charged in campaign finance case
Since she refuses to talk about it we will to all the masses. We’ll continue to remind the masses of Annie’s linked to this clown through all of social media.
A pity. They were the perfect couple. She could have married him, and had little Dinesh babies, but it’s too late for Annie. She blew this one.
This bitter old spinster has the worst luck when it comes to men. Hannocchio is the only man who keeps her in line.
You can tune in almost any day of the week to Slanthead’s pitifully diminished radio show and hear him mention Lewinsky, Gennifer Flowers, et. al., as well Rev. Wright, Ayers, “corpseman,” dirty air and water (we just discussed that)…on and on and on…
Hannity will never — repeat NEVER — give it up. He may not have graduated from a 4-year college, but somewhere along the way, he earned a PhD in regurgitation!