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Saturday, October 22, 2016

Monica Lewinsky must be satisfied to learn that with a few stylish photographs and a few innocuous paragraphs, she can still discombobulate Maureen Dowd, Lynn Cheney, and a swarm of demented figures in American politics and media. Few could resist the chance to reminisce about the tapes, the blue dress, the cigars, the salacious Starr Report, and the drama of impeachment.

But this familiar frenzy resembled nostalgia more than news. To make Monica’s sudden reappearance seem fresh and startling, everyone pretended that she had never spoken out during all these 15 years, despite her many television and print interviews and her 1999 book with Andrew Morton, in which she has expressed most of the meditations reiterated in the pages of Vanity Fair.

Explaining herself, Lewinsky offers some reflections on the death of Tyler Clementi, the bullied gay college student who committed suicide, and on the dark culture of Internet bullying. She wants to do something useful. She rejects victimhood, declaring that her relationship with Bill Clinton was “consensual,” although regrettable – all of which makes her far less useful as a political prop for the likes of Senator Rand Paul.

Yet notwithstanding the hysteria she provokes in Joe Scarborough and other outraged luminaries, the story of Monica has nothing to do with illicit sex – and everything to do with the nihilist temperament of the modern Republican Party.  If we are heading back toward the bad old days of scandal and impeachment, as now seems inevitable, then it is vital to put our returned heroine in her true context.

Yes, our heroine – and that is not meant sardonically. For at the moment of crisis, when Linda Tripp treacherously exposed her, Monica behaved more courageously and nobly than anyone could reasonably have expected.

By that time, after nearly five years investigating Whitewater, Travelgate, Troopergate, and all the myriad pseudo-scandals, the Office of Independent Counsel was utterly unable to make a serious case against either Bill or Hillary Clinton. Handpicked to pursue the Clintons by conservative judges, who had overlooked his lack of prosecutorial experience in favor of his ambition and ideological zeal, Kenneth Starr found himself on the verge of humiliating failure. Despite spending tens of millions of dollars, his staff of lawyers, investigators, and FBI agents had nothing – until a group of right-wing lawyers plotting against the White House served up Tripp, her secret tapes, and her hapless, lovestruck young “friend,” Monica.

In the face of Tripp’s perfidy and the bullying of Starr’s prosecutors, who threatened her and her family with long prison sentences, Lewinsky stood fast. She asked to speak with a lawyer and with her mother. She wouldn’t wear a body wire into the Oval Office, as they demanded, to tape an incriminating conversation with the president. And she likewise refused to sign any statement that implicated Clinton in crimes of obstruction that he had not committed.

Lewinsky’s stubborn courage helped to protect the nation from a determined, fanatical, lavishly financed gang of conspirators, operating under the color of law, who aimed to depose a popular, successful, elected president. Had she buckled under the frightening pressure applied by Starr’s thuggish prosecutors, Clinton’s presidency might have ended on that fateful afternoon.

Whatever her reasons – persistent loyalty to a man she had loved, or plain indignation at the betrayal of her confidence and the invasion of her privacy – Lewinsky did the right thing. Despite the mistakes of judgment that both she and Bill Clinton have repeatedly acknowledged, that is how history will judge her.

So forget the cigars and the dress and all the ephemera of gossip that preoccupy tiny minds. Instead remember the distraught young woman who stood up against a sinister and dangerous abuse of power.

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Copyright 2014 The National Memo
  • Budjob

    Show me a man that doesn’t enjoy a good blowjob and,I’ll show you a weirdo.As a matter of fact show me a man that doesn’t enjoy a bad blowjob and I’ll show you a weirdo.The worst blowjob I ever had was fantastic!

    • JDavidS

      Like I’ve always said…there’s no such thing as a bad blow-job. Just some are better than others.

    • Vance

      I don’t like having my tool scraped with teeth. So I would say no to a bad blowjob.

    • Leftout

      The Boomer rang and Monica listened. It ” WAS described as a boomerang by the investigation, was it not. I prefer women with no teeth, said The Boomer. Teeth marks are traceable. ….Forensic Pathology 201……Baden, et. al.

  • Gary Graves

    Monica was paid well for her role in the Clinton affair. She has run out of money, maybe the Repubs will give he some more if he book doesn’t make her rich. It takes lots of money to publish a book.

    • cleos_mom

      Vanity Fair’s entry in the Elaine Benes Lookalike Contest was just gravy, although leftover gravy.

      • Gary Graves

        you are right cleos_ mom

  • Joe, I think we also need to inform people of what wasn’t emphasized by the GOP/Media complex: That the only reason Monica acted on her feelings for Bill is because Linda Tripp, who pretended to be Monica’s best buddy but who was secretly taping everything Monica told her over the phone, talked her into it.

    When Monica tried to end the affair the first time, Linda Tripp then talked her into continuing it. What Monica didn’t know was that Tripp didn’t think she had got enough politically hurtful stuff on tape just yet, stuff she immediately shared with people like Lucianne Goldberg.

    Before the usual suspects get out there and rehash their warmed over garbage, we need to put out the truth that was willfully ignored by the GOP/Media complex the first time around.

    • Interesting… So much about the whole mess that I either didn’t know or didn’t remember.

  • browninghipower

    Very classy column, Joe. Many thanks.

  • FT66

    In whatever manner, Monica doesn’t deserve at all to be remembered. Who is she by the way? Wasn’t she an intern like any other? What makes her so important? Is that she, knowingly without forced by anyone engaged herself in her private life which she opted to make it a public matter? Who doesn’t have private life? This woman to me is a pompous creature I have ever known. Keeping that blue dress as if it was a gold dug from a deep down length; hugging and smiling to a President as if she owned him; taking interviews as if it was something she was very proud to do. She knew what she was doing and she engaged in something other interns didn’t dare to do. She doesn’t deserve any sympathy from anyone. Her behaviour needs to be trashed to the dustbin.

    • mah101

      Actually, she is a rather sad individual it seems.

      • FT66

        Unfortunately, I do not think she is sad. If she was, there is no way to let anyone talk anything which makes her feel sad. Would you? I think you would prefer everything disappear and not want to hear it again and again.

        • mah101

          I used the word “sad” in the sense of “pathetic”

  • Carl Oscar Isaacson

    Not only did Linda’s courageous behavior save herself and Bill Clinton, the impeachment proceedings made Bill a hero. His approval ratings rose. People liked him more, not less because of the attempt to remove him from office.

    The same will prove true for Obama if the Republicans retake the Senate. If they do, the house will move to articles of impeachment – no matter how bogus. They will pass on partisan lines. But will the Republican Senate not vote to remove from office? There is no evidence of anything that rises to the level of high crimes and misdemeanors, no matter how many times the Tea Partiers say there is.

    But we have seen that the Republican party sticks together, even on nonsense. I am fearful that we will see this behavior repeated.

    And I am fearful that the attempt to impeach Hillary will begin – has already begun. The Republicans think that this will get them back the White House. Instead, it will divide the country more deeply and more troublingly.

    • mah101

      If the House were to impeach Obama and the Senate to remove him from office, I fear that the consequences would be open revolt.

    • Two-thirds of the Senate needs to vote to remove a Prez from office, and there is no way the Repubs will have two-thirds of the Senate. If they did, they would have Biden. And they have NOTHING on Obama that I can tell, NOTHING, not even perjury over a BJ.

    • ThomasBonsell

      Seems the Republicans don’t know anything about impeachment, as the Founders intended,

      In The Federalist Papers, Alexander Hamilton specified the conduct warranting impeachment.

      !) The action must involve official duties.
      2) The action must be political in nature.
      3) the action must bring harm to the nation.

      None of these conditions were present in the impeachment of Bill Clinton. All were involved in the Watergate action of Richard Nixon; the Iran-Contra deceit of Ronald Reagan and the rush to war against Iraq by George W. Bush. Now some Republicans talk about impeaching Barack Obama but never mention which, if any, of these three conditions would warrant such action.

      By the way: what “courageous behavior” by Linda Tripp are you referring? I suspect you meant Monica.

      • notafoxfan

        oh how right you are and how quickly the republicans forget!

      • “Party before country” is the true Republican mantra. Ergo, they consider it harmful to be elected to any office while representing any party other than the G.O.P.

        This is what motivated their impeachment proceedings against Clinton, and it is what continues to motivate them to continue searching for a case against Obama: To punish them for being elected as Democrats.

      • Allan Richardson

        The motivations of the Republicans in the Andrew Johnson impeachment (ironically, they are referred to by historians as “radicals” just as future historians will probably refer to the TP crowd, although on opposite sides of the race issue) were also blatantly political. Johnson was certainly not the best President, but his impeachment was staged just as Clinton’s was. The radicals overrode his veto to pass an arguably unconstitutional law (which was later repealed) saying that just as the Constitution requires Senate confirmation to HIRE a Cabinet member, it would, from then on, require confirmation to FIRE one also — knowing that Johnson wanted to fire the Secretary of War inherited from Lincoln. When he defied the law, INTENDING to let the Supreme Court decide its constitutionality, he was impeached in a rigged “trial” before the Court could possibly rule on the law! Only because ONE Senator of the two-thirds they had “locked up” sacrificed his political career to vote Not Guilty, did we avoid the shame of having removed a President from office on purely partisan grounds.

        The Clinton impeachment was staged for partisan reasons also, but they used a tiny bit more legal cover for it: denying a sexual encounter that the woman had not yet openly admitted, when asked by a grand jury that had no legitimate reason to ask the question. Any Southern gentleman knows it is against his code of honor to “kiss and tell.” Better not to have kissed improperly in the first place, but if he did, a gentleman will not be the first partner in the encounter to tell on the other! And since we now know that Linda Tripp blatantly ENCOURAGED Monica to start, then to continue, the affair, SHE is the one who ought to be condemned in public opinion. Along with those who hired her for the job, of course.

        • ThomasBonsell

          Right on.

          Nice to hear from someone who really knows what he is talking about.

          Do you realize that the logic you displayed in the Johnson impeachment also refers to the righties’ desire to secede from the union?

          If naming a person to a government position needs a Senate confirmation, then removing that person also requires Senate action is taken as holy writ, and it is, then a union put together by “We, the People” also would need the same arrangement for a state to leave the union. A low-IQ governor like Rick Perry of Texas can not undo what “We, the People’ put together, much to his dismay. So the right-wing prattle about seceding from the union is nothing more than nonsense.

  • FT66

    Hello Dems wherever you are, especially leaders. STOP, STOP to engage yourselves in a Committee to investigate Benghazi issue. It is a tact to delay Hillary’s Presidential bid as it has done to Chris Christie. Please be wise.

    • idamag

      Very good advice.

  • cleos_mom

    If Bill was going to have an extramarital affair of any kind he should have chosen either a great lady or an expensive call girl. Both know to keep their mouths shut; groupies and cheap whores don’t.

    • WhutHeSaid

      Apparently he wasn’t looking for somebody who would keep their mouth shut.

      • Allan Richardson

        One joke going around at that time is that he wanted a woman to do something a lawyer wouldn’t do because it would require her to stop talking.

    • RobertCHastings

      You key point is “keep their mouths shut.” When Clinton was governor of Arkansas, he developed a reputation that became a political liability, and his opponents in Washington knew how to capitalize on it. Monica Lewinsky was not just an innocent intern, for she had things that young ladies in her circumstances could not have afforded. A popular mantra during WWII was “loose lips sink ships”, which is precisely why she showed up in the Clinton White House, and why she has arisen in the public eye now. Should Hillary run in 2016, Lewinsky will travel the rounds much like Palin has been doing for the past several years, and for the same purpose.

  • Vance

    Monica Lewinsky was just one in the parade of Clinton’s bimbos to appear out of the woodwork. Must have been quite an embarassment to Hillary but she took Tammy Wynette’s advice.

  • notafoxfan

    if ms Lewinsky was a “victim” of any kind,she was victimized by linda tripp first and foremost, and secondly by ken starr…she was not an “innocent” schoolgirl,but a 24 year old college graduate who actually did “stalk” clinton and ingratiate herself into every area she could where she might have the opportunity to speak with him,with the encouragement of linda tripp (who has not suffered any ill effects of the deal,up to and including a monetary settlement with the government,past paychecks and marriage and a quiet life outside of Washington) is ridiculous to even discuss this at this point in time..

    • idamag

      Ms Lewinski was the victimizer. Remember it was her who asked Bill Clinton to feel her new thong panties. Then he unzipped his pants and his brains fell out. And now that Hiliary Clinton might run for president, the scandal is being revised.

      • notafoxfan

        agreed! I didn’t mention the “panty incident” even though I remember hearing about is a shame that men (especially politicians) seem to “think” (or not) with their lower regions!!

  • Rolo_Tomasi

    So she has sex with a married man and he cheats on his wife, and yet it’s all the Republicans fault? This article is so laughable I had to check to see if it was real or a joke

    • Sand_Cat

      Your deliberate misinterpretation of the article – or are you really THAT stupid – is so laughable I wondered if it is real or a joke.

      • idamag

        It makes you wonder about their reading comprehension, doesn’t it?

    • idamag

      No one said it was the Republican’s fault. Bill Clinton was a skeeze for his weakness. I don’t know how many of you men would resist if a girl came up and took your hand so you could feel her new thong underwear, but that doesn’t excuse Bill Clinton. A president needs to be aware that there are those out there trying to get him to fall into their trap and be stronger than that. Especially if he is a Democratic president. The Bush lies didn’t seem to bother the Republicans as much. When Clinton lied, no one died.

      • Allan Richardson

        And remember, he lied to save HER honor, since she had not publicly admitted the affair (confiding in a friend who promises falsely to keep a confidence is NOT a public admission, however foolish). at the time he was asked the question. And even though the question was not strictly under the protection of the Fifth Amendment, since answering it truthfully would not have subjected him to criminal prosecution, it was invasive and not relevant to anything except a partisan witch hunt. This lie may be legally unprotected, but morally it was the right thing to do at the time. It could even be considered an act of civil disobedience for a higher principle.

        • idamag

          That is right. He would have been branded as a cad had he kissed and told.

  • idamag

    Bill Clinton was wrong and weak to let himself be seduced. The whole thing looked flaky from the beginning. How many women, do you know, who would describe a sexual encounter in detail to someone on the phone? I don’t know many. They might to a real close friend, but certainly not to a coworker. How many people would say, he got semen on the blue dress with the white collar hanging in my clothes closet? I wonder how much Monical Lewinski received for that job. I am not excusing Bill Clinton. In his position and with those kind of people out there, he was stupid. How many of you men would react if an attractive girl came close to you and asked you to feel her new thong panties?

    • Allan Richardson

      Sounds like typical rebellious college-girl behavior in the early 1970s, showing their “liberation” by talking among themselves the same way that “players” in the men’s locker room did. True liberation is neither limiting oneself to the letter of old literalist and legalistic thinking, NOR displaying and exercising one’s sexuality irresponsibly and carelessly.

      I don’t think Monica got paid for betraying the President, and indeed she did not do so publicly until it was undeniable. TRIPP got paid for working Monica’s “friendship” to get the DNA evidence to expose what Monica probably intended as a “secret” among her close friends, not realizing that Linda was not a true friend.

      • idamag

        I have never known a woman who gives details when they have a sexual encounter. I think it is a man’s fantasy that they do. The curious thing was her telling tripp in detail where to find the semen stained blue dress so it could be subpoenaed.

        • Allan Richardson

          It may be some men’s positive fantasy, but to this man it would be a negative fantasy (if I had ever been the kind of man who tried to bed every woman I dated). Nevertheless, the popular media since the 1970s and even today indicates that “tell all girl talk” exists among some young (and not so young) women, just as “tell all boy talk” has been around for ages. And apparently the media fantasy, while surely very much exaggerated, has some small basis in fact, as the Monica-Linda testimony shows.

          Assuming from your first sentence that you are a woman, you have probably never been a close enough “friend” to women who do give details to hear any from them; they sense you would not approve, so they don’t tell you, assuming they would befriend you in the first place. In other words, you are not part of that subculture that praises women’s promiscuity as a positive value.

          The reason it would not be the kind of fantasy I would applaud is that, while “boy talk” for centuries has centered on WHETHER a girl allowed premature intimacies (to put it politely), with a bias toward saying she DID, in “confidence” of course, whether or not that is a fact, the media stereotype of “girl talk” seems to center on HOW she enjoyed, or not, the encounter. To me, this is too personal, whether the judgement is “good” or not, to discuss with anyone but a therapist; and if the relationship (preferably marriage) is still intact, both partners ought to confide together with a therapist, or with each other alone, rather than bragging or complaining to a third party.

          Still, while Monica was confiding in someone she foolishly trusted to keep a secret, Bill Clinton was being a gentleman even to the point of putting himself into legal jeopardy to save her “honor.”

          Both of them were used and betrayed, and both were foolish enough to allow themselves to be used and betrayed. And presumably both of them know better now.

  • ps0rjl

    I feel sorry for Monica. She was used by Bill Clinton’s enemies and then tossed aside like so much garbage. Now because Hillary might be a presidential candidate they all want to bring up that sordid affair. Why don’t we bring up the affairs of senators such as Vitter? Powerful men of wither party are often seduced by their own power.
    Why don’t we bring up the reason why Ken Starr avoided serving in Vietnam? Look on the Chickenhawk database and you will see his deferment was because he had psoriasis. I had psoriasis too but I was still drafted into the marines where the drill instructors at every chance just made fun of my psoriasis every chance they got. I would love to have five minutes with that man to tell him what I think of him. Sorry for the rant but I hate that man.

  • RobertCHastings

    For how many years has Lewinsky been out of the public limelight, quietly living her life and trying to get on with it? And now that another Clinton is going to run for president she surfaces with the other floating turds in the Rush Limbaugh arsenal, just trying to fuck another Clinton. The same people who backed her when she was an intern are backing her now. I am not a conspiracy nut who sees collusion behind every wall, but it just seems obvious that the story she can bring to the Clinton run for the presidency will titillate any number of Rushites.

    • idamag

      I find that curious, too.

  • 4sanity4all

    This is an interesting take on the old story. I think Lewinsky was in way over her head; she was young, and foolish, but she certainly didn’t deserve the shellacking she got. I was especially disgusted by the Republicans who were crucifying Clinton, even though they were having long term affairs with women, while they were married. Such a bunch of hypocrites! And now they are again dragging up this old story to embarrass Hillary Clinton. I hope the media doesn’t give this any more attention, and I hope that Monica Lewinsky can get on with her life.

    • Allan Richardson

      It could backfire big time and prompt REPUBLICAN women who know their husbands are cheating to vote for Hillary out of sisterly solidarity.

    • idamag

      Since she initiated the encounter, she was not taken advantage of and she probably gets paid well for what she does.

  • Jeany

    The admirable quality she shares with Hillary is neither woman is willing to trade agency for victimhood.

  • Barabbus

    So many people warned idiots like Conason here in 1992 that you really don’t want to elect an acknowledged sexual predator to the Presidency. And his penchant for having sex with every woman but his wife was as commonly known by all in 1992 as anything we’ve ever known about any candidate ever. Remember? He was “a bit of a rogue”. Like it was a cute quality. (They parlayed his sickness into a virtue on 60 minutes for cripes sake.)
    People warned bout electing him for the simple reason that he was sure to do it, and do it, and do it again. Then he’d get caught doing it. Probably with some young woman who worked for him in the White House. The country would then be thrown into the most repugnant scandal involving a President in American history. Years were lost. Years that could have been better spent recognizing and dealing with an Al Qaeda that was on steroids during that same time period. Because of what that slob Clinton did, the country had to deal with the repercussions. Because of the Conason’s of the world ignoring the warnings about that slob in 1992, we got him and his filth. All because they ignored others who simply warned that a “Monica” was bound to happen. Which meant a “Starr” would follow, then an impeachment. Exactly how it all played out. Exactly matching the reasons for the warnings when he first ran.
    Hey Joe? If you don’t like how it all played out, it ‘s avoidable in the future. Just don’t give us any more sexual predators as Prsident. Ok? Very simple.

  • MO23

    Just wondering…..when Billy the KIdder passes on to his greater reward, will they surgically remove Joe’s nose from his rear end, or just put him in the box too. He’d probably prefer the later.

  • Echo Moon

    paint her with whatever color of innocence you want… i will always believe that the whole thing was orchestrated and set up….

  • cgosling

    Being President is a tough job and an occasional “blow job” is small reward. Monica’s therapy was not evil, or illegal, it was a humane act to relieve the tensions of a beleaguered public servant. No harm done except in the minds of moral critics. More leaders than not have had extramarital affairs and it has never been documented that extramarital sex means a president is not doing a good job. I can think of several successful presidents from both parties that have done it, can you?

    • Lovebandit

      If a man will lie to and cheat on his wife and daughter, why wouldn’t he lie and cheat on you? Are you really that stupid?

      • cgosling

        Dear Lovebandit – Have you ever lied to anyone? Most people have, including our religious leaders. Few people have ever lived their lives without telling at least one lie. According to you we can’t trust anyone who has ever lied? How silly.

  • Lovebandit

    You can say whatever you want Joe but she’ll always be MONICA BLEWCLINSKY to us normal people who don’t see Bill Clinton as some sort of God like you do. Nice try, pr1ck…

  • charles

    I feel bad for Monica. Sure what she did wasn’t right however she was not the one who was married, she was not the leader of the free world, and she did not have a lot of life experience.

    She was 22.