01/30/2014 11:12 am ET Updated Apr 01, 2014

Monica Redux: Bill Clinton's Sexual Past Wrong Issue for GOP in 2016


What's the first thing you think of when you hear the name Monica Lewinsky?

A big fat Cigar?

Or maybe that stained dress that Linda Tripp exposed and the FBI tested? That's the one that concluded that President Bill Clinton was the source of the semen on the garment "to a reasonable degree of scientific certainty."

Are you smirking yet?

No, now that you are really thinking about it, it's more likely your jogged memory is envisioning that infamous denial 15 years ago by a red-faced Clinton, index finger raised in the air like he was taking an oath:

"I want to say one thing to the American people. I want you to listen to me. I'm going to say this again: I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky."

In the late '90s, the whole controversy surrounding the relationship between Monica and Bill was a very contentious issue, to say the least. And at the end of it all, after the impeachment trial in the Senate, both Clinton and his GOP accusers came out bloodied and weaker politically.

That denial helped get Bill Clinton, who now has very high approval ratings, the distinction of being the second president in U.S. history to be impeached. It was a sad chapter that marked the beginning of the dysfunction now ruling the day in Washington.

Most Americans have forgotten or repressed that idiotic episode.

If some Republicans have their way in the 2016 election, we're going to hear round two of whether there's a moral distinction between oral sex and intercourse when a married public official is involved. And, more important, whether Monica was a victim rather than a willing participant in the Oval Office romps.

It's become evident that some GOP presidential contenders may try to take the moral high ground when it comes to protecting America's women and Bill Clinton is going to be the poster boy for exploitive behavior.

On Sunday, Republican Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) of Kentucky dug up Clinton's relationship with Lewinsky.

"One of the workplace laws and rules that I think are good is that bosses shouldn't prey on young interns in their office. And I think really the media seems to have given President Clinton a pass on this," Paul said on NBC's Meet the Press. "He took advantage of a girl that was 20-years-old and an intern in his office. There is no excuse for that."

President Obama and the Democratic Party have been nothing less than brilliant in exploiting the GOP's failure to capture moral high ground on social issues and thus the loyalty of many women.

Most voting women don't share the religion-based beliefs of conservative Republicans on issues such as gay marriage, abortion, birth control and women's rights.

Most women voters appear more interested in such issues than the economy, Obamacare and the foreign affair failings of the Obama administration.

Rand's provocative statement about Clinton's "handling" of Lewinsky is a weak attempt to spoil the early stages of a Hillary presidential run. It's also rather stupid to try to link her husband's conduct 15 years ago as a sign that the Democratic Party is hypocritical on women's issues.

Certainly Hillary can't be held responsible for her husband's bad behavior. It's as if someone would accuse Rand of being an alcoholic after his son got busted at the Charlotte airport for underage drinking last year.

Rand, and the GOP, should stick to hitting Clinton on Benghazi, the failure of the Obama administration to wake up a moribund economy, lies about Obamacare, and a plethora of Democratic failures that would make her a weak candidate for the White House.

If Rand and the GOP bring back a now 40-year-old Lewinsky and Bill's moral failings to campaign against Hillary, they will play into the Democratic distraction game.

Let's leave it to history to be the arbiter of whether Monica was a victim at all.

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